Environment issues are major concern of our day to day life activities especially when we see in some way or form that almost all creatures have recognized the importance of nature and its biological diversity. Societies have understood the need of maintaining environment as recurrent statistics show that the number of plant and animal species as well as microorganisms is reducing day in day out, and their ecosystems such as deserts, rainforests and coral reefs are getting misused increasingly.
With as much attention as the environment has been getting lately, one would think that we are all headed for a fight to preserve the species of the world, its resources and its attractive diversity of nature. However, things are not easy as one would think. In fact, many of the environmental issues that are attracting most of the public attention are worse that one could think as we witness increased destruction of rain forests and persistent melting of glaciers. This shows that there is yet a big journey to be covered.
Certainly, the question of what is the major concern of the environment today is not only a contradicting question, but also an overwhelming question because there are so many different aspects of the environments which are being impacted today. They range from problems associated with overpopulation, global warming, and deforestation, to many different types of things that eventually lead to destruction of natural environment and to the concerns that impact individuals who live in this planet earth.
In order to have a clear focus point, these environmental issues can be broadly categorized into four major classes, namely; water issues, air issues, waste and land pollution issues, and climatic change issues. Each of these four classes of environmental concern has other sub-categories and entities but when grouped in that manner, easy understanding of major issues is attained. The two main concerns which will be evaluated in this paper are waste and land pollution and climatic change concerns, although water and air concerns will initially be evaluated briefly because they contribute to other environmental concerns.
Concern on water issues is brought about by water pollution and increasing scarcity of clean drinking water in the world. More people should get involved in reducing water waste as much as possible through basic and technical methods that include reducing the daily water usage, collecting rain water, recycling and reusing water, and via extensive methods such as setting up landscapes that are natural which do not require a lot of water for plants. Government and non-governmental organizations should join hands to fight water pollution in the entire globe.
Air issue, although most people do not consider it to be a critical environmental concern issue since it does not seem to pose immediate pressing threats to many people, it usually brings about devastating health problems and also it threatens the natural environment. This means that this is an issue that should be tackled immediately and carefully right away. Some of the possible ways through which air pollution can be minimized is reducing car and other automotives usage, and instead walk or ride a bicycle. People can also cut on chemical usage that pollutes air, while industries can clean the gases they emit before releasing it to the atmosphere through oxidation and reducers.
Waste and land pollution
One of the biggest concerns that impact many different parts and almost the entire globe is the issue of waste. Toxic waste that result from agricultural, mining, garbage, industrial, and ashes as well as placement of electronics into landfills on a wide scale basis makes this a major issue that entirely everyone in the world is impacted by.
Land pollution is facilitated by waste and soil pollution activities. The level of garbage is increasing in an overwhelming rate because large percentage of solid waste in use today is non-biodegradable, meaning that they are discomposed by either organic or inorganic processes. Such wastes include plastic containers and bags, electronic equipment, and used cars among others.
These wastes end up causing other types or pollution especially air and water pollution, not forgetting that they take up a big portion of land space that is much needed. McKibben (2007) also notes that nuclear weapons can be considered as solid wastes which have resulted to significance rise in temperatures. To actively reduce contribution to waste, people should begin buying what they require. They should also learn how to recycle and re-use majority of these items instead of dumping them off. Efforts of making a change to this environmental concern can reduce impact on environment.
Climatic changes concern
According to Fast Fact (), this is another and probably the most area of concern that people have in this world. This is because climate change irrespective of how minor it is causes significant problems to large portions of the world if not the entire globe. Often, scientists talk of climate change which is resulting in global warming. Consequently, species and environmental habitats are decreasing while the chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally get diminished. In fact, climate change is one of the great threats that are facing the world. The bitter part of this issue is that it is induced by people.
Climate change has effects on environment that include melting of glaciers which leads to augment in sea level, and destruction of Ozone layer. This means that reproduction of both plants and animals will gradually decrease. Scientists also associate disasters such as hurricanes and floods to climate change. These may probably end the already in place civilization. According to Fast Fact the rate at which temperatures are rising as a result of gas emission will cause temperatures to rise by over 11 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, species will go extinct due to hurricanes, famine and drought.
Should geo-engineering be explored more and regulated to save nature as we know it?
Geo-engineering is a discipline that describes those activities that are designed specifically and deliberately to effect a change in global climate with the objective of reducing or reversing human induced climate (anthropogenic) change. It covers numerous methods and technologies although it is divided into two major categories. The first category deals with those techniques that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere like sequestering and locking this gas in geological formations. The second category entails those techniques that reflect solar radiations like injecting sulphate aerosols in the stratosphere to mimic the cooling effect that is brought about by large eruptions of volcanic (Wood).
Geo-engineering techniques and technologies vary so much to an extent that any regulatory framework for this discipline cannot be uniform. Instead, those methods especially for carbon removal which are closely related to familiar existing technologies could be regulated by formulating international regulation for the already present regimes in order to encompass geo-engineering.
As indicated by Wood some scientists view geo-engineering as the last-available option that will prevent people from destroying this planet. However, it comprises most innovative and hazardous ideas that are considered to stop climate change. Therefore, geo-engineering should be explored more and regulated in order to save the nature more than we know. This is because it is believed to have potential unforeseen catastrophic consequences. Its techniques may also allow only one nation to unilaterally affect the climate in future. Aslo, there are some small scale geo-engineering testing that are already underway and yet to be implemented. Moreover, people and scientists may need geo-engineering as an alternative if, in the event of reducing greenhouses gases the plans fails and the world face high disruptive climatic change. In addition, geo-engineering techniques that are currently available do not present viable alternatives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Lastly, scientists recognize that it is good to keep options of geo-engineering under review because some might eventually have a role to play when it comes to dealing with climate change if reduction of emissions will not be attained quickly enough.
In conclusion, geo-engineering techniques should be graded according to factors which include disposal of potentially hazardous materials in the environment and the direct effect on the ecosystem. Regulations for geo-engineering should also be tailored accordingly and those techniques that score low against the required criteria should be reviewed and additional regulations should be imposed to them. Those that score high should also be subjected to extra controls.
On the major environment concerns, it is evident that there are other types of environmental concerns that people are inclined to focus on when we observe what is going on within the environment around us. However, if an individual takes a closer look at any of the specific concern, he/she will realize that it falls into other types of concerns as a sub-type within them. This means that environmental concerns are interrelated and intertwined as they facilitate or cause similar problems in the environment.
Fast Facts. All Wilderness.
McKibben, B. From The End of Nature. 2007.
Wood, G. Moving Heaven and Earth. (no year).