Global warming’s an expensive little hoax, for the last time this is not a joke, our factories are working – toxins emitted. The ozone is crumbling and we won’t stop putting chemicals in what we’re trying to breathe. Sea levels are rising and icebergs are melting, the coral reefs are dying, and no one is helping. Do people realize that the endangered species list is now 41,415 (Kasnoff, 2020). Most people do not worry about the environment but they should. Over the years our environment has experienced many changes and humans have done the damage.
How do the human race undo the problems they have created and why do humans need to fix them? Why should people be more aware of the environment?
The human race has gone beyond the point of no return regarding the Earth’s climate (‘Amazon rainforest reaches point of no return’, 2020). Scientists have been measuring the global surface temperature of the Earth at ground and ocean based sites since 1880.
While keeping track of the Earth’s surface temperature they can see that it has gone up by 1 degree fahrenheit over the last few years (“Climate Change Over the Past 100 Years”, 2020). Scientists have concluded that the human-driven fingerprint across the world goes all the way back to the 1900’s. With the temperature rising will affect the water supplies that feed crops, cities and ecosystems. North and central america along with Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean have shown drying of the soils there. While the Indian subcontinent and other areas there have become wetter.
The drought in the southwestern United States has been almost a 20 year drought, which was caused by human induced warming (Earth institute, Colorado University, 2019).
Could the changes caused by humans be the cause of the Amazon buring? Antonio Donato Nobre has studied the Amazon Rainforest and its climate for the past 40 years. While the deforestation in the Amazon has been going on for many years it has recently increased by two hundred percent between 2017 to 2018. Nobre says “Half of the Amazon rainforest to the east is gone – it’s losing the battle, going in the direction of a savanna.” (‘Amazon rainforest reaches point of no return’, 2020). The Amazon hosts about 25 percent of the global biodiversity, while being a big contributor to the natural cycles of the Earth. When talking about Global warming the Amazon holds approximately 400 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Along with absorbing 2 billion ton of carbon dioxide a year which is equal to 5 percent of all carbon dioxide or CO2 emissions (Rice, 2019).
Over the hundreds of years the human race have been destroying our world.Humans have done this by emitting more carbon dioxide over the years, being careless with what our products are made of and being wasteful. Burning fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil, along with solid waste, trees and other biological materials is how carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere (EPA, 2020). On average one vehicle emits about 4.6 metric ton of carbon dioxide a year (EPA, 2018). Transportation causes 28.9 percent of greenhouse emissions, electricity production at 27.5 percent and Industry putting out 22.2 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions (EPA, 2019). There are many ways to help prevent the amount of pollution people put out into the air. In most areas public transportation is available, by taking public transit humans could cut down on the amount of pollution put into the atmosphere. In more rural areas where there is no public transportation, carpooling with neighbors is a great way to become closer friends with the neighbors, save the environment and money.
While factories have regulations put in place to avoid releasing as many toxins into the atmosphere, could they be improved to help even more? One major law is the Clean Air Act; this is a comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions from sources that are stationary and mobile. In 1990 the Clean Air Act was revised in Section 112 to improve the technology-based standards for major sources. Even though major sources are considered a stationary source or groups of stationary sources that have the potential or emit ten tons or more per year of air pollutants that can be considered hazardous. This act was put in place to hopefully achieve NAAQS in every state by 1975 so that it may protect the public health and welfare posed by widespread air pollutants (EPA, 2019). If this act is put in place to protect the people why would the Environmental Protection Agency allow ten tons of toxic air pollutants to be emitted each year.
These effects to our climate are mainly from big corporations and factories, fifty percent of all pollution comes from industrial pollution(“ Air Pollution Caused by Industries”, 2010). There are many other ways for us to produce our products without radiating so much pollution into our atmosphere. Solar, Water and Wind energy are just a few ways to help stop the pollution that we as humans have finally realized we are emitting. Solar power is converting the sun’s energy into electricity. On average people use 15 terawatts of energy per year on Earth, while the amount of solar energy hitting the surface of Earth is approximately 173,000 terawatts (Newland, 2020). Which would be more than enough energy to power humans for years. While factories could create a solar panel farm, which is where a bunch of solar panels are lined up in rows to harvest the sun’s energy, to gain energy to produce our goods. Most places where people live do not have the room to have solar panel farms for every building. So the owner of the particular small business, house or apartment could put solar panels on the roof or on the East or West side of the building to catch the sunlight.
Other forms of toxic pollutants coming mainly from farms are Mercury, pesticides and DDT may not come from pollutants released by factories but they are still considered pollutants. These air toxins contain harmful contaminants, this is because they are able to build up in the tissues of organisms and have very harmful or toxic effects. Most people who eat fish or amphibian animals are more likely to have toxic effects from these substances. Once the pollutants are in the water the food chain takes care of the rest. The fish absorb the contaminated water and then humans consume these fish that are now contaminated with these pollutants such as; mercury, DDT and pesticides. Over time the toxic mercury will impair a child’s neurological development, growth rate, behavioral abnormalities and a reduced immune response system among many others (National Park Service, 2018).
Even though factories do have regulations in place we can see how over time peoples health has deteriorated. The age is getting younger for people to have heart attacks, could this be because of the pollution factories are putting into our atmosphere. Air pollution is unable to be seen, it slips past you unnoticed and will cause damage to the lungs, heart and brain. These toxic particles go through your lungs and into your bloodstream and form there they can cause resticing blood vessels and arteries (World Health Organization, 2018). Lung diseases, like COPD, have increased by thirty percent in the United States from 1980 to 2014 (Large increase in recent decades in rate of death from chronic respiratory diseases in US, 2017). This huge increase in lung problems could be linked to the increase in the amount of pollution that humans have been releasing into the air for the past decades. The fifth leading cause of death is chronic respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or (COPD) and asthma (“Large increase in recent decades in rate of death from chronic respiratory diseases in US”, 2017). With all of the effects that emitting these toxins have on humans and how people will eventually kill themselves with the toxins and pollutants that they emit, how will this affect the animals?
The main animals our pollution affects is the ocean life and animals. Trash that is washed from city streets into rivers and floats out to sea, where the trash may slowly degrade for years. If it is not able to degrade fast enough then there is a good chance that some type of marine life wil mistake the trash for food and eat it. Yes, nutrients are important for marine life to survive, however it could cause algal blooms if there is too much nitrogen and phosphorus in the body of water. If the excessive amounts of algae sink it consumes the oxygen, so that it may decompose, but it will lessen the supply of oxygen to healthy marine life. This then causes either the mobile animals to leave or any animals such as coral to die since they are stuck in place (NOAA, 2018). More than pollution is causing harm to our environment, bottom trawling and long-lining often clear all ocean life and coral reefs from the ocean floors (“Meat and the Environment”, 2010).
Many other animals are harmed by humans because we leave trash and debris laying around or use farms and slaughterhouses to kill them. Most people do not realize that farms in the United States produce roughly 500 million tons of manure each year. It is often kept so that it can be sprayed over fields. Unfortunately these farms spray the liquid manure into the air creating a mist from it that is then carried by the wind, and nearby people are exposed to this and breathe it in (“Meat and the Environment”, 2010). Beef puts off 900 kg of carbon dioxide a year. This is a big number one way to help stop the release of greenhouse gases is to switch to a plant based diet which releases 33 kg of carbon dioxide a year. This is ninety-six percent less greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions a year (‘Animals Agriculture’s Impact on Climate Change’, 2019).
Poaching is another way that humans are harming the environment. When animals are poached it causes devastation to wildlife populations, local communities, and the environment. This crime is fueled by money, it is part of the black market. Most of the time they animals are killed for a specific part of their body such as; the tusks of elephants, horns on rhinoceros, antlers of deer-like animals and bear gall bladders are worth top dollar. While most of the antlers, horns and tusks are able to be removed and keep the animal alive it would be too dangerous to remove them. Over 30,000 elephants were killed one year, this could cause them to go extinct within the decade if the deaths are continued at this rate. Most animals that are poached are from Asia and Africa. This is hard for the communities there to continue to make profits when they rely on the wildlife and ecosystem to attract the tourists. The effect on the ecosystem these animals live in is much more affected. When the North American Gray Wolf was almost extinct the elk populations in the Yellowstone National Park rose exponentially. The elk no longer had a natural predator to keep the population down. Elk feed on the Aspen tree for nutrients, so with the elk’s number rising they caused the Aspen tree to almost become extinct itself (Estrada, 2019). Poaching does not just affect one animal’s life, the food chain is set and there is no changing it.
Making sure that a person is more eco and environmentally friendly is extremely important because with our environment we would not be able to live at all. The destruction and ignorance has to stop, people must be aware of what they are doing to hurt and help the environment. Humans say they are the most intelligent lifeform on the Earth, but does the lion eat every antelope in the savanna? No, the lion will only take one antelope when he is hungry and only when he is in dire need of food. Humans are the only species of life that destroy and cause destruction to the ecosystem. So are humans really the most intelligent species on Earth?