File Name: causes and effects of environmental degradation .zip
One of the most compelling reasons for studying environmental science and management is the fact that, in the view of many leading authorities, we are now experiencing an environmental crisis; indeed, many authors have claimed that the present environmental crisis is unprecedented in its magnitude, pace and severity Park Awareness of this environmental crisis has grown since the s, partly as a result of the prominence given to major so-called 'environmental' disasters such as the Sahelian droughts of the s and s and the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in Consequently, a wide range of environmental problems has emerged; those problems include anthropogenic climate change 'global warming' , the depletion of stratospheric ozone the 'ozone hole' , the acidification of surface waters 'acid rain' , the destruction of tropical forests, the depletion and extinction of species, and the precipitous decline of biodiversity.
Yet, while all of these problems have physical environmental manifestations, their causes - and their potential solutions - are invariably bound up with human attitudes, beliefs, values, needs, desires, expectations, and behaviours.
Thus the symptoms of the environmental crisis cannot be regarded purely as physical problems requiring solutions by environmental 'specialists'; instead, they are intrinsically human problems and they are intimately related to the question of what it means to be human.
At this point, a very brief overview of the environmental crisis may be helpful. It is important to emphasise that a wide range of views about the nature and severity of the current environmental crisis exists, and some of the issues are highly controversial.
Nevertheless, there is broad agreement that the environmental crisis encompasses the following main issues. Some issues associated with the environmental crisis are not strictly 'environmental', but are closely related to environmental issues. They encompass a range of economic, social, political and technological issues. Whilst not necessarily part of the environmental crisis, human populations are also faced with ongoing threats due to the occurrence of natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, tsunamis and wildfires.
Yet whilst these hazards may be natural in origin, it is important to acknowledge that human vulnerability to natural disasters is generally increasing, not least because human populations and settlements are growing in many marginal and dangerous areas, such as floodplains. Hence unsustainable practices - such as the construction of settlements on floodplains, or the intensive cultivation of marginal hill slope lands - may greatly increase the impacts of natural disasters on human societies and economies.
The causes of the environmental crisis have been the subject of considerable debate. However, in general, its main causes are now acknowledged to be:. For these reasons, amongst others, the environmental crisis presents an immense challenge to policy-makers and to many other organisations and individuals who must find creative responses to these issues - ideally, within an overall policy framework that promotes a sufficiently strong version of sustainable development.
Unit 1 The Earth System and its Components. Main features of the environmental crisis At this point, a very brief overview of the environmental crisis may be helpful. Climate change : anthropogenic climate change due to pollution of the atmosphere by greenhouse gases and other contaminants is now regarded as one of the major global environmental issues. It occurs largely as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels, emissions from agriculture and pastoralism, and land-use changes that accompany the destruction, clearance and burning of forests.
Climate change already has observable ecological and social effects, and its projected impacts could potentially result in profound changes in global mean surface temperature, sea level, ocean circulation, precipitation patterns, climatic zones, species distributions and ecosystem function. Stratospheric ozone depletion : the depletion of stratospheric ozone due to the pollution of the atmosphere by halocarbons such as chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs is another serious environmental issue.
It is a significant concern because the lack of protective ozone at high altitudes results in increased levels of harmful solar ultraviolet UV-B radiation reaching the earth's surface, causing a range of health-related and ecological impacts. Degraded air quality : other forms of air pollution are also significant, particularly at regional and local scales, as they may seriously degrade air quality; worldwide, approximately one billion people inhabit areas - mainly industrial cities - where unhealthy levels of air pollution occur.
Many air pollutants are responsible for the degradation of air quality, but some key pollutants include particulate matter such as soot , tropospheric ozone, oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulphur, lead and various aromatic compounds such as benzene.
Many air pollutants may cause or aggravate respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses; some are known carcinogens; and some can cause damage to vegetation and, in turn, produce a range of ecological effects. Degraded water quality : similarly, water quality can be seriously degraded by contamination with pollutants, giving rise to a range of health-related and ecological effects such as the degradation of coral reefs.
A major source of water pollution is the terrestrial run-off to inshore waters that occurs in many coastal locations; such run-off may contain significantly elevated levels of nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural land and from human settlements.
Many other human activities lead to water pollution, including mining and industrial processes, which may create toxic effluent. Oil spills, accumulation of plastics and the bioaccumulation of persistent organic chemicals are some of the other causes of serious degradation of the marine environment.
Scarcity of fresh water : besides the pollution of freshwater sources, there are a variety of other reasons for the scarcity of fresh water for drinking in many parts of the world - many of which are related to poor water resource management practices. For instance, the over-abstraction of water from rivers results in water shortages and problems of salinisation downstream. Irrigation practices may also be responsible for the depletion of local water sources and the salinisation of irrigated land.
Vast differences in water security exist at the global scale, reflecting both demand for fresh water and the scale of public and private investment in water supplies, treatment and distribution. Land contamination : land contamination occurs as a result of chemical or radioactive pollution, especially by long-lived persistent chemical species that enter the soil. Land contamination may cause profound ecological effects and it presents severe constraints to development, since contaminated land must typically be rehabilitated before it is safe to use for agriculture, construction or recreation.
Deforestation : it has been estimated that around half of the world's mature forests have been cleared by humans. Deforestation occurs for a variety of reasons, but the majority of deforestation now occurs when tropical forests are cleared for agriculture and pastoralism; other reasons include the destruction of trees for charcoal production and the selective logging of forests for timber. Soil erosion and degradation : concerns about soil erosion, soil degradation and the problem of desertification have become acute.
In part, these concerns are based on the historical experiences of dramatic soil erosion and transport in New World countries including the USA during the 'Dust Bowl' of the s and Australia. Whilst analyses of the problems of soil erosion and degradation have become more sophisticated, recently, it is clear that these problems continue to have important consequences for agricultural and pastoral productivity as well as for the functioning of natural ecosystems.
Land use change and habitat loss : these issues overlap with others, such as deforestation, but they are broader and include the clearance of forest for agriculture and pastoralism, the transformation of land during urban growth, the development of new infrastructure such as roads , the drainage of wetlands, and the destruction and removal of coastal mangrove forests.
The impact of land use change on forest and grassland environments is depicted in 1. Biodiversity loss : many plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, due to the spread of disease, the destruction and degradation of their habitats, and direct exploitation. In , UNEP estimated that one-quarter of the world's mammal species and around one-tenth of the world's bird species faced a significant risk of total extinction.
Threats to biodiversity are not confined to terrestrial ecosystems; serious concerns have been raised about the future of marine and coastal wildlife species as a result of the pollution, over-exploitation and acidification of ocean and seas.
List the main issues that comprise the environmental crisis. As far as possible, categorise those issues according to a spatial scale; b time scale; and c the prospects for finding effective technological or policy solutions.
One of the most compelling reasons for studying environmental science and management is the fact that, in the view of many leading authorities, we are now experiencing an environmental crisis; indeed, many authors have claimed that the present environmental crisis is unprecedented in its magnitude, pace and severity Park Awareness of this environmental crisis has grown since the s, partly as a result of the prominence given to major so-called 'environmental' disasters such as the Sahelian droughts of the s and s and the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in Consequently, a wide range of environmental problems has emerged; those problems include anthropogenic climate change 'global warming' , the depletion of stratospheric ozone the 'ozone hole' , the acidification of surface waters 'acid rain' , the destruction of tropical forests, the depletion and extinction of species, and the precipitous decline of biodiversity. Yet, while all of these problems have physical environmental manifestations, their causes - and their potential solutions - are invariably bound up with human attitudes, beliefs, values, needs, desires, expectations, and behaviours. Thus the symptoms of the environmental crisis cannot be regarded purely as physical problems requiring solutions by environmental 'specialists'; instead, they are intrinsically human problems and they are intimately related to the question of what it means to be human. At this point, a very brief overview of the environmental crisis may be helpful. It is important to emphasise that a wide range of views about the nature and severity of the current environmental crisis exists, and some of the issues are highly controversial.
Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. All the human causes of global environmental change happen through a subset of proximate causes, which directly alter aspects of the environment in ways that have global effects. We begin this chapter by outlining and illustrating an approach to accounting for the major proximate causes of global change, and then proceed to the more difficult issue of explaining them. Three case studies illustrate the various ways human actions can contribute to global change and provide concrete background for the more theoretical discussion that follows.
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Environmental degradation comes about due to erosion and decline of the quality of the natural environment. It is caused directly or indirectly by anthropogenic activities that extract various environmental resources at a faster rate than they are replaced, and thus depleting them. On this regard, degradation means damage or reduction in quality of environmental features, primarily influenced by human activities. Some natural events such as landslides and earthquakes may also degrade the nature of our environments.
Environmental degradation is the disintegration of the earth or deterioration of the environment through the consumption of assets, for example, air, water and soil; the destruction of environments and the eradication of wildlife. Ecological effect or degradation is created by the consolidation of an effectively substantial and expanding human populace, constantly expanding monetary development or per capita fortune and the application of asset exhausting and polluting technology. Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all. According to Wikipedia ,. It is defined as any change or disturbance to the environment perceived to be deleterious or undesirable.
Environmental pollution is reaching worrying proportions worldwide. Urbanization and industrialization along with economic development have led to increase in energy consumption and waste discharges. The global environmental pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions and acid deposition, as well as water pollution and waste management is considered as international public health problems, which should be investigated from multiple perspectives including social, economic, legislation, and environmental engineering systems, as well as lifestyle habits helping health promotion and strengthening environmental systems to resist contamination [ 1 — 3 ]. Environmental pollutants have various adverse health effects from early life some of the most important harmful effects are perinatal disorders, infant mortality, respiratory disorders, allergy, malignancies, cardiovascular disorders, increase in stress oxidative, endothelial dysfunction, mental disorders, and various other harmful effects [ 4 , 5 ]. Though, short-term effects of environmental pollutants are usually highlighted, wide range of hazards of air pollution from early life and their possible implication on chronic non-communicable diseases of adulthood should be underscored. Numerous studies have exposed that environmental particulate exposure has been linked to increased risk of morbidity and mortality from many diseases, organ disturbances, cancers, and other chronic diseases [ 6 , 7 ].
The degradation of ecosystems is an environmental problem that diminishes the capacity of species to survive.Reply
The primary cause of environmental degradation is human disturbance. Environmental changes are based on factors like urbanization, population and economic growth, increase in energy consumption and agricultural intensification. The degradation has adverse impacts on humans, plants, animals and micro-organisms.Reply
The major factor of environmental degradation is human (modern urbanization, industrialization, overpopulation growth, deforestation, etc.) and natural (flood, typhoons, droughts, rising temperatures, fires, etc.) cause. Different causes of environmental degradation.Reply
The planet keeps nudging us with increasingly extreme droughts, reminding us that water is life.Reply
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