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Thursday
Jun022016

Deterioration: Examples Of Changes In Our Environment

So often the rallying calls are made for us to take action and prevent terrible things happening to us as a result of environment change. We all hear plenty of ‘Oh dear, our world has deteriorated so much in recent years’. Well, has it? What exactly has happened? Well, here are a few examples.

In addition to the examples of what’s gone wrong, there are some ideas of what’s being done to turn the tide. It’s not all doom and gloom.

Pollution –

Pollution is the disposal of waste products that don’t have a natural place in the environment we drop them into. For instance, plastic pollution of the oceans and land, oil pollution in rivers, streams and lakes, air pollution with the exhaled chemicals of factories into the air we breathe. Pretty much everywhere we’ve been is polluted in some way or another.

As with many problems however, technology is being harnessed to slow it down. The Ocean Cleanup is now a well known organisation, so needs no explaining here, but it isn’t the only attempt to combat pollution. Air purifiers are widely used domestically in Asia particularly, while oil companies are continuingly developing water vacuum technology that separates oil from water. Although there doesn’t seem to be a lot of progress in getting rid of it, most progress is aimed at not producing any more, hence our reliance on renewable energy.

flickr | dominique cappronnierDeforestation –

This is one of the poster boys for man’s effect on the environment. Mankind has used wood as a resource for the entirety of our history, but now it is in such demand that vast areas of forest and jungle are chopped down to provide it. More than 20% of the Amazon rainforest has been lost in total, putting huge stress on the people, animals and weather systems that depends on it.

In an effort to combat our need for wood, plastic has gradually grown into a material that is used just as much. It presents its own problems of course (see above), but it is a far more sustainable material to use. In addition, we now have such tech as 3d printing that can print whole buildings and recycling methods that (theoretically) means we shouldn’t need to produce any more.

flickr | crustmaniaFood –

For the food that we as a species consumes, it takes the equivalent land mass the size of South America to farm it. Be it meat or vegetables, it takes that much space. If the population was to go up to 10 billion, which is estimated to happen by about 2050, we need more space. That space just isn’t there to be had, as we need another area the size of Brazil for that. Also, the production of food is right near the top of the list of biggest causes of CO2 output.

Some ingenious ideas have found solutions though. These ideas still have plenty of room to grow too. The big one is the concept of a vertical farm. Instead of taking up valuable land mass to grow it, we grow it stacked up on top of each other in a building. It’s done organically with minimal energy use and recycled waste and water. Essentially, think of a multi-story greenhouse.

flickr | Syuzo TsushimaOf course, we're missing out such examples as rising sea levels, growing population, rapid extinction or endangerment of animals, over fishing, expanding urban areas and so on and so on. To donate a paragraph to all would take time, but each is worth lending a thought to. They are too, all interlinked with each other.

These are big ones, three of the biggest issues we’re facing and what’s caused them. There are counter weights though, pushing back against the onslaught on changing environment. One common theme comes back with all solutions to all our problems related to environment however. All of them seem to be able to adapt to change, not trying to undo and prevent it. Is that the trick? To evolve?

By Guy Bezant - Online Journalism Intern

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