- Introduction 2
- Air pollution 4
- Deforestation 5
- Acid rain 8
- The “Green House Effect” 9
- Water pollution 11
- Toxic waste pollution 14
- Environmental movements 16
- Conclusion 21
- Appendix 23
- #1. Rates of deforestation 23
- #2. Carbon Dioxide Emissions per Units of Economic Output 23
- # 3 Increase of global surface temperature 24
- References 25
Pollution is probably the most important problem in the world today. One of the reasons it is so important to human beings is that we know that we brought about pollution. Unlike most of the other problems in the world, such as AIDS, pollution is a human creation. Since the beginning of time, whenever human beings changed their environment, they were greatly affected. Areas where pollution is extremely high encounter death rates and disease rates that are sometimes 15 or 20 times more than areas without pollution. Greedy corporations are pushing these problems to areas not ready to encounter this high level of pollution, and if something isn't done soon to curtail these problems, we will all surely feel the longstanding effects they bring.
During the 1960's, which I call the “Throwaway” era, Plastics and Styrofoam Styrofoam - пенопласт were thrown away without a care, and now we are finally seeing what that kind of stupidity can cause. At first, children began to understand the drastic changes that the entire world was facing. The planet was changing, and adults were doing nothing to save it. Yet, the polluted planet was being handed to the younger generations, who, while more educated on the topic, were not sufficiently knowledgeable to control earth's problems. Nowadays, children are leading the environmental revolution. More educated and smarter on the issues that the world is facing, children are changing the planet. Still, all the education in the world cannot counter the pressure that Big Business is putting on the globe. Chemicals, human wastes, toxic wastes, and other kinds of pollution are beyond repair in some cases. Corporations do not care about the planet; they are willing to trade off small environmental risks for jobs and success in individual communities. Of course, most people in those communities don't realize that them taking a job with these companies is detrimental to their survival.
Whenever I think of pollution's effect on the world, I think of its effect on innocent human beings. When someone becomes sick or dies of some kind of sickness brought about by pollution, their human rights come into question. I think human rights, although usually reserved for genocide or other acts of evil, can encompass pollution as well. Our human right is simply the right we have to live our lives as we please, to live our lives without being hurt or affected unless we want to, and the basic needs we as human beings have. Pollution brought about by other people on us is not our choice. Therefore, whenever an area where humans live is polluted, it is a violation of that person's human rights.
Nowadays, in an age where people are starting to fight back against corruption, the average Joe is winning the battle with Big Business. Pollution is being taken on with a vengeance, and people are beginning to notice how nice it is to rid the place they live in of pollution. Laws are being passed day in and day out in order to help the average person in their battle with pollution.
In order to talk about the problems we face today, we must go back hundreds of years to take a look at the effects pollution had on human beings in the past. The Industrial Revolution in both America and Europe let factories pollute the air without regulation. Because of that, the air pollution in certain areas of the world is causing death to this day. Certain cities in the Northeast United States have air that sometimes has 5 or 10 times more soot in it than the International Standard. The English “Black Country” is aptly named that because of the color of the air. For years, people there have lived in an area with the lowest quality of life in Western Europe. “The average live expectancy in “Black Country”, England, is 10 years less than the rest of the country.” Advances in Environmental Research www.elsevier.com The reason not much has been done to change that is because it has been that way for more than 100 years. One of the problems with pollution is that if it becomes common, then people stop caring.
Another problem stemming from years ago is waste disposal. For many years, human waste was just let out into rivers and streams, spreading disease and sickness. A prime example of that is London, England. “By the 1850's, the Thames River was so polluted that it was portrayed in cartoons with Death rowing along it.” Advances in Environmental Research www.elsevier.com A public outcry then prompted the city to develop a proper sewage system, but years of damage had been done, and the river is still not clean to this day. Another problem dealing with waste disposal is the fact that human waste is still dumped into rivers, lakes, and oceans without the proper treatment. Although the oceans aren't greatly affected by a small amount of waste, over time it could definitely begin to hurt human interests in them, such as the fishing industry. In rivers and lakes though, there is usually no way for the waste to find its way out of the water. Because of the water systems we use on earth, this could be highly dangerous. “Using dirty water can make everyday activities like washing clothes and bathing dangerous, due to the infection that lies within the bacteria that live on human waste.” (Johnstone, 9) If people continue to use dirty water, that disease will spread to unimaginable levels.
At the present rate of tropical deforestation, the world's remaining tropical rainforests will vanish in just 30 years А.Д. Яншин “Научные проблемы охраны природы и экологии” Экология и жизнь, № 3, 1999 г..Deforestation in the tropical areas of the world is following a course similar to the earlier clearing of the forests in Europe and North America, only advancing more rapidly.Since just 1950, the world's population has more than doubled to more than 6 billion people, with the fastest population growth being in the tropics. Today, more than 3 billion people live in the tropics alone, more than lived in the entire world in 1950. To provide food, wood, fuel and resources for the world's rapidly growing population, and to make room for the exploding tropical population, the world's tropical rainforests are literally disappearing.Even with tropical deforestation at an all-time high, tropical hardwood prices continue to climb as world demand for tropical hardwoods continues to grow. A single teak log for example can now bring as much as $20,000. Annual world consumption of tropical hardwoods is now more than 250 million cubic meters, or over 100 billion board feet, per year.Southeast Asia until recently has been the largest source of supply for tropical hardwoods, but that area will largely be depleted within the next five years. All of the primary forests in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh are gone. Ivory Coast's forests are essentially non-existent. Nigeria's forests have been decimated as well. As Asia's and Africa's tropical forests are depleted, consuming countries are turning increasing attention to Latin America and the Amazon, whose own rapidly growing population is also a source of pressure on the rainforests. Also, trillions of dollars worth of oil, gas, uranium, gold, iron, bauxite and other minerals, and millions of acres of potential farm land, lie under the Amazon, the largest area of rainforest remaining on Earth.Amazon rainforests are being cleared on a vast scale for settlements, logging, gold mining, petroleum, cattle ranching, sugar cane (for gasohol), large hydro dams, and charcoal for smelting ore. Peasant farmers also clear the rainforest to have land for planting, by cutting the forest, and then in the dry season burning what they have cut.During one month in 1995 for example, NASA satellite surveys of Brazil recorded 39,889 individual fires, up 370 percent from the same month of the prior year. In neighboring Bolivia the smoke is sometimes so thick that schools have to close and flights have to be delayed or canceled.Scientists estimate that until as recently as 10,000 years ago, the world had 6 billion acres of tropical rainforests. By 1950, we had a little less than 2.8 billion acres of rainforest. It was then being cut down at the rate of about 10 to 15 million acres per year. Today we have less than 1.5 billion acres left, and we are clearing this remaining rainforest at the rate of 30 to 50 million acres per year, two to three times as rapidly as just a few decades ago.If the present rate of tropical deforestation continues, there will be nearly no tropical rainforests left in just 30 years. Instead of holding steady however, the rate of deforestation is actually predicted to increase even further.Scientists project that the rate of tropical deforestation will continue to increase for the next 10 to 15 years until there simply will not be enough forest left to sustain the rate of cutting.The chart (see appendix #1) dramatically illustrates the fate of the world's rainforests.
As the world's population increases, and therefore the competition for land, food and resources also increase, it appears that the world's rainforests will continue to fall at an increasingly accelerating rate. The newest data dramatically confirms that:· tropical deforestation is a very serious and growing problem. Scientists may disagree on the details, but they all agree that the implications for mankind are huge - in terms of possible global warming, increasing desertification (the world's deserts are now growing 27,000 square miles per year), and loss of biodiversity, to name a few · we must do everything reasonable we can to protect the world's remaining rainforests · one important way to help is to plant tropical hardwood trees for harvests, to produce tropical hardwoods that aren't taken from the natural rainforest · as individuals, we may at times feel insignificant, but by working together, we can indeed make a difference · and by being an example for others, we can multiply the result
The latest statistics also dramatically underscore the benefits of planting tropical hardwood plantations:
· as the world's population continues to increase in numbers and prosperity, the demand for beautiful tropical hardwoods will continue to grow rapidly
· as country after country in the tropics depletes its own supply of tropical forest and passes from being an exporter of tropical hardwoods to having to import wood to fulfill its domestic needs, international demand for tropical hardwoods will continue to grow dramatically
· as the world loses more and more rainforest, there will be a rising imperative to protect the small amount of rainforest remaining
· as international demand for tropical hardwoods increases and the availability of the natural rainforests as a source of supply of these hardwoods decreases, both because of continued harvesting and because the dwindling remaining forests will be increasingly protected, the prices of all tropical hardwoods will likely soar
· there is substantial opportunity in planting nearly any species of tropical hardwoods - and even more opportunity in planting tropical hardwoods that are sought after for their beauty or unique properties.Acid rainA further result of air pollution is acid rain. Acid rain basically appears when factories release high levels of sulfur into the air. The sulfur then combines with rainwater to form a weak sulfuric acid. Acid rain itself cannot harm humans, but it can harm our environment and our quality of life. Over time, the acid rain will kill plants, weaken structures and homes used by humans, and can even kill life in entire lakes and rivers. And since studies have yet to be completely conclusive, nobody knows how it affects us physically in the long run. One of the reasons it is such a threat is because it travels in the air and may fall on areas that did not produce it. Since acid rain can be prevented by government regulation, stopping the release of sulfur into the air is a definite first step to curbing acid rain.
In early 1974, scientists warned governments across the globe that the release of certain industrial chemicals, such as CFCs and Halons, could result in a thinning of our ozone layer. The ozone layer is a part of our atmosphere that prevents most Ultraviolet rays from entering the earth's surface layer. It allows only enough high-energy radiation to enter so that Vitamin D in humans can become active. Too much radiation, and certain human mutations begin to occur. In 1985, a hole in the ozone layer was discovered over Antarctica. Over the past 10 years, more and more holes were discovered over different parts of the world. Since then, skin cancer rates have skyrocketed, as well as levels of radiation among human beings. “Almost 4% of the world population will encounter some type of skin cancer within the next five years.” Валерий Павлович Алексеев “ПРИРОДА И ОБЩЕСТВО: ЭТАПЫ ВЗАИМОДЕЙСТВИЯ” Экология и жизнь,№ 2, 2002г.Contrary to popular belief, skin cancer can be deadly if not treated properly. All of these problems stem from air pollution created by factories and plants. If we can reduce air pollution, the air may be clean within the next 100 or 150 years. The “Green House Effect”The greenhouse effect is a benign feature of the ecosystem . Certain gases in the atmosphere, such as CO2, CH4 , N2O, O3, CFC, allow the sunlight reach the earth but prevent the heat from escaping and thus the temperature of the earth remains stable. These five different gases have different influence on the "greenhouse." If CO2 can have twice as much effect, then CH4 can have ten times as much, N2O a hundred times and CFC ten thousand times. Besides, the steam of water can also lead to the greenhouse effect. The sensitivity of the climatic system to greenhouse gases is such that the equivalent of a doubling of CO2 could ultimately increase the average global temperature by somewhere between 1°C and 5°C. But nowadays the greenhouse gases absorb sunlight and infrared radiation which produces heat and it increases continuously. In principle, the temperature of the earth also increases. And this is so-called "Green House Effect". At present, the concentration of carbon dioxide doubles that before the Industrial Revolution . And the global temperature has increased about 1.5~3.5ўJ. Human beings have altered the composition of the atmosphere. Coal-burning factories and motorcycles release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than oceans and forests can absorb. Consequently, the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere could double the present level within the next fifty years.People may ask: "Is it a serious problem? " My answer is: "Yes!" The global warming can effect us in many aspects, first of all, the level of the oceans has risen. A rise of sea level may accompany global warming, possibly in the range of 0 to 60 cm. The part of some land will be covered. Strictly speaking, some islands may disappear quietly and without leaving a trace. In addition, the global warming causes crisis to the ecosystem and agriculture. Some animals and plants suffer a lot of difficulties due to the global warming. To sum up, the greenhouse effect not only affects human lives but also causes pecuniary loss. The global warming affects our human daily lives. And we must find the strategies to decrease the effect, which are caused by global warming. Indeed, human being have caused a lot of harm to nature, but the final victims who will be badly hurt will also be humans themselves.The centrally "planned" economies produce the most greenhouse gases per unit of economic output. The United States-with the largest transportation needs of any nation-produces approximately one-third, or 1.0 metric ton/$1,000 GNP, of the centrally planned output of CO2. All of the nations that produce less than the United States are smaller geographically. Japan, often cited for its efficiency, is second from the bottom of the table, but almost all its citizens live near each other, and the country is highly nuclear. France, the cleanest of all, is also the most nuclear and emits .34 metric ton of CO2/$1,000 GNP National Academy of Sciences, Policy Implications of Global Warming (Washington, D.C.: 1991).
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