The Inconvenient Truth About The Environment
In the last years, the planet has gone through dramatic and detrimental environmental changes due to industrialization and urbanization. Population growth and modern living standards have increased energy demand, driving widespread environmental degradation as we still rely on fossil fuel to meet the vast majority of energy needs. These environmental issues are a global problem that every country is responsible for addressing.
From pollution and deforestation to global warming and habitat loss, our environment’s health is looking increasingly grim as the years go by—but all is not yet lost. We can still turn things around if we make a serious commitment to changing our habits and investing in sustainability.
Focusing our efforts on wildlife conservation is more pressing than ever. Due to an unfortunate confluence of factors – like habitat loss, invasive predatory species, and disease – wildlife populations have declined at a rate 1000 to 10,000 times faster than what would be expected without human impact. Indeed, 99% of the current wildlife are at-risk species are directly threatened by human activity.
Wildlife conservation is vital to our ecosystems to preserve our planet’s biodiversity, the variety of life found in a given ecosystem. Every species native to a specific ecosystem has a specific job to do, no matter how small. Biodiversity ensures survival across species, from animal, to plant, and even insects, consider bees. Population collapse of bee colonies around the world imperils not only insect biodiversity, but as pollinators, bees also ensure the survival of thousands of flowering plants and the animals that consume them—including humans.
In the last years, the planet has gone through dramatic and detrimental environmental changes due to industrialization and urbanization. Population growth and modern living standards have increased energy demand, driving widespread environmental degradation as we still rely on fossil fuel to meet the vast majority of energy needs.
Emissions from vehicles, industry, and power plants are what come to mind when most people think of air pollution, but methane and other gases from landfills and animal agriculture are significant contributors as well. The release of heat-trapping air pollution perpetuates a positive feedback loop that further increases the concentration of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Beyond climate change, these air pollutants endanger our health, but children and the economically disadvantaged often face the most serious health consequences.
But it’s not just large companies that release these harmful gases into the atmosphere – your taste in consumer products also contributes. Even small things like cleaning products, cigarettes, and air fresheners release toxic gases called volatile organic compounds, that have been linked to cancer in humans and hormone disruption in wildlife. . Natural disasters like dust storms from new desertification, wildfires, and volcanoes all compromise the air quality even thousands of miles away.
Unsustainable Waste Generation
We are encouraged to create a lot of waste with little insight into how it affects the world at large. We produce and consume at an incredible rate, stripping natural resources from the environment. Hyperconsumption leaves trash nonbiodegradable trash in the form of plastic packaging, toxic e-waste, and harmful chemicals that leach into our waterways. When making new purchases, think about the life cycle of the product—from its manufacture to the end of its useful life. Many of the things in our homes will one day end up in a landfill takes dozens of years if not centuries to degrade.
Minimalism and zero waste are becoming more mainstream since modern technology allows us to have significantly fewer things today. With our lives lived increasingly in digital environments, belongings like books, music collections, art, and even what need to work and study can all fit neatly in the cloud. Consider your purchases carefully before making them and buy things that serve multiple purposes and last for years.
Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, and CFCs are released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels that power our cars and houses, fertilizers, deforestation, and decomposing waste. An increase in these gases leads to a warming planet that promises to drown the large coastal cities where much of the world’s human population lives.
Climate change causes extreme weather such as heat waves, storms, and forest fires. These effects endanger our safety and our economic welfare. In the long-term, it will have adverse effects on public health, ecosystems, and water and food resources.
Deforestation is occurring at an alarming rate all around the globe. Forests are also being replaced to grow palm oil, a common ingredient in mass-produced processed food, soaps, and cleaning products, that’s destroyed what was once the habitat of orangutans.
Natural disasters include hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and drought. The economic costs of these disasters are staggering. These disasters also affect the survival of entire ecosystems and the plants and animals that rely on them. As the world continues to warm, scientists expect the effects and costs to worsen if global warming continues unabated.
Ignoring That There Is A Problem
We all know that our planet is in danger, but many people, especially those in power, prefer to put their heads in the sand rather than alienate or frighten their supporters. Climate change over the past years has been easy to write off since these changes are difficult to see year over year—especially in areas that have yet to experience the devastation wrought by climate change—but the hard evidence, like extreme weather and severe droughts, is increasingly difficult to refute.
Responsible organizations and companies can drive the way to greater sustainability with responsible resource management and transparent manufacturing practices. Customers like you can likewise refuse to buy products and services that are produced irresponsibly, while supporting companies whose ethos align with yours. We only have one planet and it’s up to all of us to take better care of it for the generations to come.
What can you do about the issues facing Earth today? Here are some of the practices that will help you reduce your overall impact.
- Consume less overall: commit to buying fewer things and trying to make your belongings last.
- Declutter: find new homes for the items you don’t use.
- Invest in renewable resources: buy recycled products or offset your energy usage with a green energy plan.
- Turn off the AC: open the windows when it’s nice out and reduce your energy consumption.
- Spend more time walking, biking or using public transportation when you can.
- Avoid single-use items: skip the take-out and dine in.
- Buy mindfully: support sustainable and environmentally-conscious businesses or buy used items.
- Get informed and vote: support green initiatives, especially those concerning waste disposal and renewable energy