From intense storms to increasingly frequent heat waves to biodiversity loss and sea-level rise, our society is indeed experiencing the worst impacts of many environmental issues. Most of these issues are caused by human activities that are already affecting wildlife and their habitats. Humans also suffering the consequences. Scientists projected that there will be 50 million environmental refugees in the next decades, with over 24 million displaced.
All of us will be greatly affected by food scarcity, drought, hurricanes, flooding, and social conflicts caused by environmental issues. Thus, as early as now, we must identify the issues our planet is facing to address them immediately. Here are some examples:
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1 - Climate Change
All of the environmental issues we are experiencing now are caused or linked to climate change. It was reported that since 1880, global temperatures have increased by 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The phenomenon is also linked to a reduction in Arctic ice of 13.3 percent per decade. According to an article by Schooled By Science, a one-stop website to easily understand topics related to science, STEM, space, chemistry, tech, health, and many more, scientists agree that greenhouse gasses are the main cause of climate change.
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2 - Loss of Biodiversity
The extinction of species and habitats is due to several destructive human activities. Ecosystems, which took millions of years to develop, are in grave danger because of us. It is projected that by 2050, one out of every 10 plants and animals will go extinct. Loss of biodiversity means that wildlife will lose their habitats and the future generations will have to deal with fewer resources.
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3 - Deforestation
Centuries ago, tropical forests cover about 15 percent of the planet's land area. Now, they are only 6 to 7 percent. This showed how deforestation is slowly getting rid of our trees for cattle ranching, urbanization, oil plantations, and other agricultural monocultures. Our forests provide oxygen which helps in regulating temperature and rainfall. Without them, climate change will continue and ecosystems will die.
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4 - Pollution
Pollution comes in different forms. Land, air, and water can be polluted, and that's exactly what's happening now. For instance, contaminated soil can destroy irrigation and habitats; polluted air can cause health problems and weaken the ozone layer, and contaminated waters are undrinkable. Every year, pollution causes more than one million deaths across the world. It was reported that people who live in areas with high levels of air pollution are 20 percent more likely to die of lung cancer.
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5 - Overpopulation
Our world's population is reaching unsustainable levels as it faces a shortage of several resources. DW, Germany's public international broadcaster, reported that there are 1.6 billion people at the start of the 20th century. It had increased to about 7.5 billion now. It is projected that by 2050, our population will reach 10 billion. With overpopulation, the number of resources available for survival decreases.
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6 - Ocean Acidification
Ocean acidification refers to the direct impact of excessive production of carbon dioxide in our oceans. According to an article by Renewable Resources Coalition, an online publication of recent news, research and information on renewable energy and green living, the term used to describe the continued lowering of the pH levels of the Earth’s oceans caused by carbon emissions. This can greatly damage the marine ecosystem and kill aquatic life.
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7 - Waste Disposal
Every day, an individual can generate an average of 4.6 pounds of trash. Most of the time, this ends up in landfills or environmental habitats and the ocean. Thus, posing a threat not only to the environment but also to humans. Overconsumption of resources and using plastics create a global crisis of waste disposal.