(Gloucestercitynews.net)(January 15, 2020)--Most people are aware that the environment is changing; after all, it’s almost impossible to avoid all the new stories about climate change and how the ice caps are melting, and huge hurricanes are on the way. But how many people really understand what is happening to the natural world around them and the impact it will have on their future, not to mention their children’s future? Probably not that many.
That being said, the environmental issues that our world faces today are not going to suddenly disappear overnight. So, steps must be taken to try to tackle these problems head-on; unless people want the world that they know and love to be irrevocably changed forever. We can start by taking a look at the top six environmental issues that should be on everyone’s radar going into 2020.
The Expansion of Urban Areas
The world’s population is expanding at unfounded rates; people are living longer due to impressive developments in medical science, and the number of babies being born is not decreasing any time soon. This means that more housing is needed, which has led to contractors building more and more new developments, mainly by expanding urban areas.
What effect does this have on the environment? By covering the natural landscapes to concrete and bricks, contractors are interrupting the ground’s natural water cycle by stopping water from being absorbed into the ground, leading to flooding. Not to mention the fact that an increase in the number of homes being built leads to an increase in gas emissions, resulting in more air pollution.
An Increase in Waste
There are currently 2,000 active landfills in the U.S., with the average person throwing out 4.4 pounds of trash a day. However, America is in danger of running out of space in their landfills in the next 15-20 years, and then where will the trash go?
Reducing the amount of waste that households throw away is vital, with every person needing to actively try to recycle or compost their waste whenever possible. With more people throwing out nearly twice as much waste compared to a few years ago – most of which is recyclable – the excessive landfills are posing a big risk to our climate.
Did you know that one out of every 10 plant and animal species will be extinct by 2050? As our ecosystems continue to diminish, the list of endangered species will only continue to get longer; because where are these animals going to live if their habitats become lost? Who can forget the shocking and haunting image of a polar bear balancing on a small piece of ice in the middle of the ocean? We must work to avoid situations like this by supporting conservation efforts.
When we look at success stories of conservation efforts, such as the work being done by Eric Mogensen, CEO of Gulf Breeze Zoo, it becomes apparent that we need to do more to protect endangered species. Anyone can donate or volunteer for a conservation group to support this cause.
Whether you want to admit it or not, climate change is real, and it is happening right now, with a majority of experts stating that both natural and man-made greenhouse gasses are to blame. Greenhouse gasses impact so many elements of our planet, from wildlife habitats to the ocean to natural disasters such as hurricanes and tsunamis. So, how can climate change be reduced?
There are, in fact, several actions that can be taken to reduce the threat of climate change. These include:
· Building more sustainably
· Using renewable energy sources
· Reducing waste
· Reducing pollution
Around 15% of greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation, which might not seem like a huge amount but is still significant. And, as more rainforests are cut down for wood, this number is only set to increase.
Furthermore, what about all the animals and plants that live and thrive in the forests? What will happen to them when their homes are chopped down? It’s a vicious cycle where ecosystems are destroyed, species become endangered, and climate change continues to worsen.
Trees are needed to produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, so what will happen when all the forests have been cut down? Rather than waiting to see the negative effects this will have on our planet, we can stop cutting down trees, or at the very least, ensure that every time a tree is cut down, another one is planted in its place.
A Lack of Water
Running water is so simple in today’s developed world that you probably never thought about what would happen if there wasn’t any. However, there is currently a big problem with water scarcity across the globe, with an estimated 780 million people not having access to clean water, and it is most definitely not just a problem for underdeveloped countries.
Water can often become contaminated with diseases, toxins, or chemicals, making it unsafe to drink. Luckily, everyone can help with the issue of water shortage by simply being more mindful of the water that they use on a daily basis; for example, have a quick shower instead of a bath and don’t continuously run the tap when doing the washing up.
Saving the environment is not the job of some big corporation, nor is it down to just one man; everyone needs to do their part and start taking active steps in order to make a difference. Starting now.