The subject of this week is Environment and Nature. Check below important terms and their meanings! =D
When humans remove or clear large areas of forest lands and related ecosystems for non-forest use. In these cases, trees are never re-planted. The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species, but it also drives climate changes, since the trees are responsible to block the sun’s rays during the day, and hold in heat at night. This disruption leads to more extreme temperature swings that can be harmful to plants and animals, leading to our next item:
Greenhouse Effect (Global Warming)
The greenhouse effect is caused by gases we release in our atmosphere that are trapping and redirecting heat back to Earth, increasing temperatures and contributing to global warming. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are dying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace. This climate imbalance is a problem because temperatures are faster than some living things may be able to adapt.
The Ozone Layer
The Ozone Layer protects the Earth from the dangerous UV Rays. Ozone is a highly reactive molecule that is constantly being formed and broken down in the high atmosphere. If human keeps depleting the ozone layer (for example, with the use of sprays with CFC) quicker than it can form itself, the effects on the planet could be catastrophic, causing skin cancer and cataracts in humans, harming animals, and the most concerning, inhibiting the reproductive cycle of phytoplankton, single-celled organisms such as algae that make up the bottom rung of the food chain.
An endangered species is a species which has been categorized as very likely to become extinct. Many nations have laws that protect conservation-reliant species: forbidding hunting, restricting land development or creating preserves. The conservation status of a species indicates the likelihood that it will become extinct. Many factors are considered when assessing the conservation status of a species; e.g., such statistics as the number remaining, the overall increase or decrease in the population over time, breeding success rates, or known threats. We estimate that over 40% of the world’s species are at risk of extinction.
The extinction of the dodo within less than a century of its discovery called attention to the previously unrecognised problem of human involvement in the disappearance of entire species.
While those are already extinct, there are species that face an extremely high risk of extinction in the immediate future.
Pollution occurs when pollutants –waste material of different forms- contaminate the natural surroundings; which brings about changes that affect our normal lifestyles adversely. Pollution occurs in different forms; air, water, soil, radioactive, noise, heat/ thermal and light.
The air pollution is the most prominent and dangerous form. It occurs due to many reasons. Excessive burning of fuel which is a necessity of our daily lives, releases a huge amount of chemical substances in the air everyday, making it toxic.
Water Pollution has taken toll of all the surviving species of the earth. Almost 60% of the species live in water bodies. It occurs due to several factors; the industrial wastes dumped into the rivers and other water bodies cause an imbalance in the water leading to its severe contamination and death of aquatic species.
The soil pollution occurs due to incorporation of unwanted chemicals in the soil due to human activities. Use of insecticides and pesticides and release of industrial waste, make the soil inhospitable for plants to grow properly and leads to soil erosion.
The noise and light pollution affects our ears and vision and leads to psychological problems like stress, hypertension, hearing/visual impairment, etc. The light also affects the astronomical observations and activities by making the stars almost invisible.
Radioactive pollution can occur due to nuclear plant malfunctions, improper nuclear waste disposal or accidents. It causes cancer, infertility, blindness, defects at the time of birth; can sterilise soil and affect air and water.
Thermal/heat pollution creates unwanted changes over long time periods; due to huge number of industrial plants, deforestation and air pollution. It increases the Earth’s temperature, causing drastic climatic changes and extinction of wildlife.
It is the harmful release of oil into the environment, usually through water, which is very difficult to clean up and often kills birds, fish and other wildlife, penetrating into the structure of the plumage of birds and the fur of mammals, reducing their insulating ability, and making them more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations and much less buoyant in the water. Animals who rely on scent to find their babies or mothers cannot due to the strong scent of the oil. Oil can also blind an animal, leaving it defenseless. The ingestion of oil causes dehydration and impairs the digestive process. Animals may die from poisoning and oil entering the lungs or liver. An oil spill represents an immediate fire hazard and respiratory distress to human beings, due to oil fires that produce air pollution.
There is no clear relationship between the amount of oil in the aquatic environment and the likely impact on biodiversity. A smaller spill at the wrong time/wrong season and in a sensitive environment may prove much more harmful than a larger spill at another time of the year in another or even the same environment.
Recycle and Upcycle
To recycle is to break waste items that are non-biodegrabable down into their raw materials, which are then used to re-make the original item or make new items. The Upcycling concept is the reuse of the discarded material in a way to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original. Take a look at these amazing ideas!
A resource that does not come from fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, gas) and we can use again and again without reducing its supply because it is constantly topped up. For example wind, sun rays or biomass -A source of fuel made from living and dead plant materials such as wood, leaves and the biodegradable part of industrial and municipal waste.
Trending topic of the latest years, it refers to the need to develop the sustainable models necessary for both the human race and planet Earth to survive. A sustainable development uses land or energy sources in a way that meets the needs of people today without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To achieve these lofty goals, humans will have to re-examine their policies on: Environmental protection, Social responsibility and Economic practice. Find out more at sustainabilitydegrees.com/
Waste management and prevention
There’s something we can do to really make a difference! \o/ The correct management of waste collection, handling, processing, storage and transport from where we produce to where we dispose it, as well as reducing the amount of waste we produce are everyday actions and each one of us can make a difference.
- Always prefer biodegradable products, avoiding plastic or Polystyrene material.
- Reduce or eliminate the use of disposable material (plates, cups, diapers, napkins).
- Purchase foods in bulk or those which use less packaging.
- Discard your trash properly.
- Reuse, recycle and upcycle your stuff.
- Take advantage of the many curbside and drop-off recycling opportunities.
- Compost yard waste which it also helps enrich the soil and reduces water run-off.
Hope you have enjoyed your reading, learned new terms and is eager to share and put some of the ideas in practice. 🙂
The Earth is not just our Environment. We are the Earth and the Earth is us.