Pollution is a very broad term and may lead you to ask the question – What is pollution?
Pollution comes in many forms and the most evident one is air pollution simply through the way we live. Too much carbon is being pumped into the air we breath and this can be from something as generic as cars to big international flights. And lets not get started on oil extraction.
Pollution also encompasses contamination of water and soil through industry pollutants. The big factor in both of these is waste miss-management and spillages of the oil kind. The takeaway coffee cup in your hand will probably end up in a land fill or to be burned by the Chinese.
Another broad term because there are many factors that add up to global warming and again, the big one is air pollution. There is nothing wrong with carbon in the air, but too much can pose a problem as mother Earth cannot use it up quick enough.
Every environmental problem is most likely a result from global warming, so lets look at the impacts.
We have the melting of the polar ice caps leading to species extinction and the rise in sea levels. What does the rise in sea levels cause? Flash floods and many global catastrophes. It also causes uninhabitable regions of the globe due to the shear rise in temperature.
The population of the planet is reaching unsustainable levels. By the year 2050 there will be approximately 10 billion inhabitants, which will pose many challenges such as shelter, food, water and other vital resources. We are currently using 1.5 Earths to sustain 7 billion people, 10 billion will probably take us up to 3 Earths.
Like present times, overpopulation leaves us susceptible to disease, famine and homelessness. Something no one should experience.
Natural Resource Depletion
This is another massive environmental problem, fossil fuel consumption results in the mass emission of GHG which is responsible for global warming and climate change.
Luckily, people are aware of the damages of fossil fuels and are switching to a sustainable means of energy like solar, wind, bio-gas and geo-thermal energy. The good news is that the manufacturing and installation of these energy sources has plummeted in recent years.
Getting back to the poor management of waste disposal, this is another key factor that is destructing our seas, land and even cities.
It is amazing how we are still creating plastic knowing it takes over a century to degrade. These plastics fill our oceans and break down into micro-plastics which the fish eat and of course, we eat. Plastic has been found in women’s breast-milk which goes to show how we’ve become a race so entwined with our addiction to the material.
Developed countries are notorious for producing an excessive amount of waste and/or garbage and dumping their waste into the oceans and developing countries.
The next item you buy, think.
Loss of Biodiversity
Due to the harmful factors of human existence without a moral compass, species are becoming extinct that are vital of their own eco-system.
Eco-systems that have taken thousands of years to form are at risk when a big chunk of their system is depleting, this leads to imbalances in the food-chain and more. For example, the damage to natural processes such as pollination is vital to the eco-system and even human existence so the depletion of bees has a huge chain effect.
The destruction of coral reefs poses a threat to marine life as it is used as a place where species thrive for food and shelter and where predators can come to catch fish themselves. Everything has a part to play in an eco-system.
Think of it like dominoes, when one falls, they all fall.
Can you think of any more detrimental factors?
Credit: William Wand – The Figure Head