Introduction to Environmental Issues & Causes
Environmental issues are issues that affect the environment in some way. These can be problems that are happening on a global scale. In this article, we will explore some of the major causes of environmental pollution, as well as some of its effects. We will also cover some ways you can help protect our environment from potential threats.
If you need to take action to protect your environment, there are many things you can do. You could walk or cycle instead of driving or taking public transportation when possible. If you must drive, carpooling with coworkers or friends is one way to reduce your carbon footprint. You can also choose not to use plastic straws and utensils in restaurants and coffee shops even if they are offered for free.
Pressing Environmental Issues
Following are a few examples of environmental issues:
There are many environmental issues that are currently affecting the world. One of the most pressing issues is plastics. Plastics are not biodegradable and have to be recycled in order to be reused. Plastic pollution in the ocean is also a major concern, with an estimated 100 million tons of plastic being present in our oceans. The United Nations reported that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight).
The phenomenon of global warming is well-known. The Earth’s climate system is changing at an alarming rate, with the effects being felt worldwide. It has been proven that our planet has gradually been getting warmer over the years due to these greenhouse gas emissions. This is of particular concern because of the potential for catastrophic tipping points in the Earth’s ecosystem and the fact that we have already seen many wildfires and a greater number of natural disasters due to climate change. However, it is also important to understand that global warming is an inevitable geological process, but anthropogenic activities have accelerated this phenomenon over the last few centuries.
Ozone is found in the stratosphere, which is located between the troposphere and the mesosphere. It prevents harmful ultraviolet light from reaching the Earth’s surface. Ozone-depleting substances, such as chlorine, with naturally occurring airborne compounds containing nitrogen or methane can create holes in the ozone layer, letting in harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Deforestation is the process of clearing forested land for human use. It is often seen as a problem because it reduces natural habitats and increases greenhouse gas emissions. There are many causes of deforestation – logging, agriculture, urbanization, mining and more.
Air pollution is a broad term that includes a range of substances, including smoke, smog and dust. Air pollution in the modern world is largely caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. It is a danger to human health and the environment in that it can affect plants, wildlife, and water quality. The health effects include aggravating asthma and lung diseases, increasing susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, and breathing problems in children. In some cases, it can also lead to an early death.
Reducing Your Impact on the Environment
Every day, we make choices that can have a lasting impact on the environment. We all have a part in the environment and it is never too late to do something about it. Here are a few easy steps to protect the environment:
1) Reduce waste and recycle when possible – This will help the environment and protect animals from ingesting harmful materials. Animal corpses are often found with plastic, glass, metal, food wrappers, and other non-biodegradable materials in their stomachs due to our neglectful behavior.
2) Use reusable shopping bags or bags made from biodegradable substances – Plastic bags are harmful to our environment. Every year, billions of them end up in landfills or the ocean. Using reusable shopping bags or bags made from biodegradable substances can reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in the environment and they also save a significant amount of money.
3) Offset your travel emissions with a carbon offset program – Carbon offset programs are a way to mitigate the negative effects of one’s carbon footprint. With a carbon offset program, one can invest in renewable energy and projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and compensate for the amount of pollution created by one’s activity.
4) Conserve energy at home and work – With the rising costs of energy, it’s important that we all do our part to conserve. The rising costs of energy are a major concern for many people. In order to meet the global demand, we need to make sure that we are using as little power as possible. Some easy ways to conserve energy are:
- Turn off computer monitors and appliances when not in use
- Use natural light in lieu of using artificial light
- Turn off the water when brushing teeth or washing hands
- Purchase energy efficient electronics. For instance, use HVAC systems with Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER).
5) Choose renewable energy sources when possible – As we all know, a majority of our energy requirements come from finite resources such as coal and petroleum. Hence, we need to find sustainable options to power our offices, homes and automobiles. One of the most popular renewable energy sources is solar panels. They’re easy to maintain and they produce clean, green, renewable energy that doesn’t pollute. Electric cars and cars powered by renewable resources are the future.
6) Use public transportation or carpool when possible – Driving to work everyday can be a major hassle. For many people, the cost and time of commuting also leads to higher levels of stress. Fortunately, public transportation and carpooling are a great option to save money, time, and the environment.
7) Compost food scraps instead of throwing them away – Throwing food scraps in the trash is a terrible idea. It rots and produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas. You can easily avoid this by composting your food scraps instead. Also, the demand for sustainable and eco-friendly products is on the rise. For many, the top item on any environmentalist’s list of recommendations is to “reduce, reuse and recycle,” but that usually means recycling.
8) Plant trees and other plants to reduce carbon footprint – Planting trees and other plants can provide a variety of benefits for the environment. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air by absorbing it, making them ideal for combating climate change.
9) Recycle electronics or try to repair them if feasible rather than buying new ones. You may be able to save money by recycling old electronics rather than buying new ones. Moreover, many electronics contain toxic materials and can release hazardous substances when they are disposed of improperly.
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