Technology, advancement, growth, development; these words may not necessarily always be synonymous to safe, secure, risk-free and harmless. Albeit, it is of utmost significance that anything that can be of benefit to the world, in whatever way, be encouraged, it is equally important for there to be a balance in the overall ecological system of the world; something that hasn’t been acknowledged for the longest time.
As might be expected, the environment is in a state of turbulence, which is a result of our careless approaches.
Listed below are the seven most threatening environmental risks that we are facing at the moment.
Ever since the 1400s, the human population has been increasing at a constant rate. However, it has increased at an, even more, rapid rate over the last three centuries, posing a major threat to the entire planet. Overpopulation is not merely one issue; it is linked to many others which will eventually lead to starvation, malnourishment and a massive decline in living conditions. If human population continues to grow at this pace, there will come a time when the planet may not be able to support any more inhabitants. Imparting education to people regarding birth control and other ways of family planning can help regulate the human population.
Trees are being cut down and forests reduced endlessly for various purposes; grazing, sheltering human settlements, industrial purposes, mining, etc. What we fail to understand is that when we cut trees, they fall to the ground, destroying younger trees and hence, leading to land and soil degradation. Needless to mention, forests are of great importance in maintaining the natural biodiversity. When forests are reduced, a number of beautiful species of plants and animals are rendered without a habitat each day. Deforestation also causes huge disturbances in the water cycle and climatic conditions.
One of the worst, most devastating environmental issues that we are faced with today is pollution. Air, land, soil, water; there is no element in the environment today that is not polluted. There is absolutely no doubt that pollution affects us, both, physically and mentally, causing various diseases and ailments; they can be as mild is skin rashes and allergies or even as grave as cancer. Not only does pollution cause negative effects on the health and well-being of human beings, but also on all other living organisms.
A number of plant and animal species are categorized as ‘endangered’ today and are at a risk of extinction. This, in no way, could be a matter of pride for the world for we are the ones responsible for their loss of life and habitat. One of the most common reasons leading to the extinction of various animal species is frequent hunting for leather, fur, ivory and other luxuries. As a result of these ruthless approaches, there are certain species that are going extinct before they can even be discovered. Taking into account the shocking rate at which these species are disappearing every single day, it is a matter of great concern since not only are these species of great economic importance but are also responsible for maintaining and regulating the climate and ecosystem.
5) Exploitation of Natural Resources
It is well understood that the earth’s natural resources are of immense vitality for the development of civilization. But ever since the exploitation of these resources began in the 19th century, there has been no end to it. The earth only has limited resources to cater to our needs and it takes years for them to be renewed. While there are some resources that can be renewed (water, food, forests, etc.), there are some resources like mineral oil, coal and gas that are non-renewable because of their limited availability. However, by means of recycling, one can make sure that they are reserved for a longer period of time.
Continuous extraction and exploitation of natural resources will eventually make their demand and sustainability a major global issue.
6) Nuclear Power
Another issue that cannot afford to be ignored today is that of nuclear power. A number of strikes that this part of technology has against it is so many that its further development will cause more problems for the world than it can ever solve. Undoubtedly, nuclear power is mighty expensive, which will only prove to be a curse for the weaker economies. Alongside being extremely costly, nuclear power is also one of the most critical reasons for water pollution and marine life destruction. Another negative aspect of nuclear power is that it can neither be processed nor be stored safely, which increased the risk of fatal accidents by large magnitudes.
7) Ozone Depletion
In simple words, the ozone layer is a protective layer that filters out most of the sun’s harmful radiations that are responsible for many diseases we know of today. However, due to continuous, destructive human activities, the ozone layer is depleting, causing some acute, negative health effects. The continuous increase in the greenhouse effect is disrupting the earth’s natural balance and composition which is responsible for all climatic changes. Alongside all this, ozone layer depletion is directly proportional to global warming; another issue that requires immediate attention!