Global Environmental Degradation – Problems and Solutions

1 January 2017

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA data, ‘the Earth’s average surface temperature has increased by about 1. 2 to 1. 4? F in the last 100 years. ’2 The earth is experiencing rapid and severe climate change and environmental problems that people of the world can no longer overlook the crisis and not do anything. This research papers aim at first giving an overview of the problems the world is facing now, then explore solutions attempted by international efforts, or are possible in effect, that are targeted at environmental issues.

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Pollution designates the ‘undesirable state of the natural environment being contaminated with harmful substances as a consequence of human activities. ’3 There are numerous kinds of pollution taking place everywhere in the world as of today. For example, exhaust gases of vehicles, combustion of coal and acid rain, which make up the term ‘air pollution’, are very much detrimental to the natural environment. They are also the main contributors to global warming. Keywords: Environmental degradation, global warming etc. Global Environmental Degradation – Problems and Solutions

Miss. Parit Sunanda Ram[2] sunanda. [email protected] com Mobile: 9960058012 I) Introduction: Environmental degradation is one of the ‘10 Threats’ identified by the High Level Threat Panel1 of the United Nations. Degradation of the environment refers to deterioration of the environmental condition by the depletion of natural resources such as water, air and soil, as well as the destruction of habitats and loss of biodiversity. Such degradation, such as pollution, leads to global warming – the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s surface.

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA data, ‘the Earth’s average surface temperature has increased by about 1. 2 to 1. 4? F in the last 100 years. ’2 The earth is experiencing rapid and severe climate change and environmental problems that people of the world can no longer overlook the crisis and not do anything. This research papers aim at first giving an overview of the problems the world is facing now, then explore solutions attempted by international efforts, or are possible in effect, that are targeted at environmental issues.

Pollution designates the ‘undesirable state of the natural environment being contaminated with harmful substances as a consequence of human activities. ’3 There are numerous kinds of pollution taking place everywhere in the world as of today. For example, exhaust gases of vehicles, combustion of coal and acid rain, which make up the term ‘air pollution’, are very much detrimental to the natural environment. They are also the main contributors to global warming. II) Nature of Environmental Degradation: 1. Green House Gases:The major cause of global warming is the emission of green house gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide etc. nto the atmosphere. The major source of carbon dioxide is the power plants. These power plants emit large amounts of carbon dioxide produced from burning of fossil fuels for the purpose of electricity generation. The contribution of India to the cumulative global CO2 emissions from 1980 to 2003 is only 3. 11%. Thus historically and at present India’s share in the carbon stock in the atmosphere is relatively very small when compared to the population. India’s carbon emissions per person are twentieth of those of the US and a tenth of most Western Europe and Japan. 2.

Pollution: About twenty percent of carbon dioxide emitted in the atmosphere comes from burning of gasoline in the engines of the vehicles. This is true for most of the developed countries. Buildings, both commercial and residential represent a larger source of global warming pollution than cars and trucks. Other prolonged pollutions, such as water pollution (industrial disposal, mining and agricultural wastes and sewage disposal and domestic wastes) and soil pollution (through misuse of the soil by poor agricultural practices and industrial waste disposals and such) are also detrimental to the environment.

The natural environment is continuously being exposed to hazardous waste, thus degradation continues to take place. 3. Deforestation: Pollution, there is also deforestation, which stands as a severe problem throughout the world as tropical rainforests keep on being destroyed by the logging industry. The loss of such important natural environments such as forests, which are important agent in renewing air within our atmosphere, is a serious damage to our nature and such degradation is a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of all living things on earth.

The effects environmental degradation have on the earth includes decline of agricultural productivity, infiltration of poisonous substance into soil, water and air, and loss of wildlife habitats which can lead to the extinction of species. All these pose problems to the future of the earth as they affect fundamentally the ecosystems that have been part of planet earth. 4. Global Warming: Similarly, the constant increase of the earth’s surface temperature – global warming – is continuously threatening the safety and lives of all living beings on earth. Most rominently, global warming, which is the result of the continuous emission of greenhouse gases is done by humans through rapid industrialization and development over the past century. III) Psychological Consequences of Environmental Problems: The very real and well-documented environmental problems we face, both locally and globally, also have psychological consequences. This is one of the foundations of ecopsychology and recognizing the depth and closeness of human-nature relationships. This section outlines some of these consequences, drawing on environmental psychology research.

We can identity three categories of environmental problems: Natural disasters, technological catastrophes, and long-term environmental degradation. It is important to point out how these categories are increasingly overlapping. Many natural disasters, if not caused outright by human intervention, are worsened by human factors. Global warming seems to be causing an increase in hurricanes and their severity. Deforestation promotes floods and landslides because the natural buffers of the forests no longer absorb the rainfall they used to.

Even the spread of human habitation increases the likelihood of the loss of property and life in natural disasters. So, the boundary between natural disasters and technological catastrophes is more blurred than before. A. Natural disasters (e. g. , floods, hurricanes, storms caused by natural processes) 1. Usually unpredictable (though there may be some short-term warnings), uncontrollable, destructive, acute, BUT they are expectable. While we cannot predict the next tsunami, forest fire, or tornado, we can expect they will occur.

Furthermore, they tend to have a recognizable low point. With natural disasters, we generally know when the worst is over. 2. Factors in psychological effects of natural disasters include the event’s duration, intensity, and low point. Equally important are a variety of personal and social coping skills, including personality style, adaptive skills, resilience, and social support. 3. Psychological effects: Short-term stress is common. Generally, chronic stress is rare. Often, increases in cooperation and social bonding are seen. 4. Natural disasters are part of the natural order.

While they can be disastrous and while I do not wish to minimize this, I also wonder whether natural disasters are easier to integrate because they are part of the natural order. Is it possible that they even reinforce a kind of existential security? B. Technological catastrophes, sudden, major toxic exposure (e. g. , chemical and radioactive leaks, industrial accidents, e. g. , Chernobyl, Three-Mile Island, Bhopal) 1. Duration is variable. There may be long-term effects, there is often no clear low point, and victims have little control.

There may be a lack of visible destruction and no closure since the long-terms effects are unknown and unknowable. Most people have low familiarity with these, and there is low predictability. Basically, such catastrophes are NEVER supposed to happen, so when they do, people are not psychologically prepared for them. 2. Toxic exposure leads to both neuropsychological effects and stress effects. The belief in exposure leads to stress. In some cases, their low salience may lead to a denial. 3. Psychological effects: Compared to natural disasters, these effects are more severe, complex, longer-lasting, and likely to be chronic.

They often increase interpersonal conflict. 4. Since they are not part of the natural order, I hypothesize that they increase existential insecurity. C. Chronic, pervasive, long-term environmental degradation (e. g. , air, water, noise, and light pollution; global warming). While there is some available theory, there is little research on these effects. Some parallels can be drawn from research on the psychological effects of the threat of nuclear war. It is easy to hypothesize the following effects. 1. Psychic numbing, denial. CF, (Lifton’s research on Hiroshima & Nagasaki).

This is by far the most common and visible effect. 2. Anxiety 3. Helplessness, depression 4. Alienation, the sense of not-belonging 5. Child development. E. g. , the need for a positive future to enable an Ego-Ideal will have negative effects of child development. 6. Kahn has written about “generational amnesia,” the process of adjusting our expectations of environmental quality based on childhood experience. Each generation takes what it knew as “natural,” “clean,” or “pure” to be the acceptable standard, even though it is less natural, clean, and pure than conditions in previous generations.

This amnesia allows a slow degradation of environmental quality. 7. There may also be a positive effect of recognizing and dealing with environmental destruction. It may be a call to awareness and service, existential authenticity, responsibility & empowerment. IV) Measures against Environmental Degradation: Climate change is without doubt the most pressing problem the world is facing now because it is affecting everyone living on this planet right now as well as generations to come.

Regarding this crisis that everyone is facing, there are solutions possible to bring about some changes. For example, in the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 that is carried out in Copenhagen, some progresses have been made about the solutions. Those include cutting of the emission of greenhouse gases by nations, the transfer of green technology – like solar and wind power – to developing countries, as well as the promotion of the use of forests to assimilate emissions. Cutting greenhouse gases is the most direct way to ease the problem of global warming.

It is because the world’s consumption of fossil fuel and chemical products over the years has directly led to the raise in temperature of the earth’s surface that the natural environment has been negatively affected. Reducing emissions is supported by most nations today as well as a lot of large corporations around the world. It is hoped that reducing harmful substances being released to the air would slow down the worsening of the global warming problem, and in the long run our atmosphere can be preserved and maintained. Another solution apart from cutting greenhouse gas emission is the development of sustainable development.

Sustainable development is defined in the Brundtland Report in 1987 by the United Nations as ‘the development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. ’ The preservation of the environment is the prime objective of sustainable development. And also, the concept of sustainable development believes that the advancing technologies that humans have developed, which have had caused harm to the environment, can be and should be used to act as damage control and preserve our environment. How human technology can combat environmental degradation relies ignificantly on the use of green power. Solar power, for example, is a renewable source of energy that does not produce harmful gases into the air. Likewise, wind power and nuclear power also post minimal threat to the environment in the process of energy production, what’s more, they are also considered as effective source of energy that meet the demand of sustainable development. These green powers are recognized by many as solutions to the problems of environmental degradation and global warming. However, improvement on energy production alone is not enough to tackle global warming.

It is because damage to the environment is also done on a personal and daily level. Vehicle pollution is yet another significant contributor to greenhouse effect. It is therefore important that people work collectively to lessen the impact the huge number of vehicles and the amount of CO2 emitted has on the environment. Possible solutions include maximizing the use of public transport as well as the development and promotion of using ‘green cars’ – low carbon emission vehicles. It is of course impossible that problem of environmental degradation and global warming can be tackled and solved immediately.

The harm to the environment has been longstanding and countries have always been on the agenda to compete for development. Nevertheless, human development is always associated with economic interests, and it is therefore why international cooperation to tackle climate change problems has been taking so long and being so ineffective. Though by the end of the day it is up to our country leaders to decide plans which our environment can be saved, as individuals living in cities, we can always contribute by acts of saving energy.

And as all of our efforts add together, the world and its natural environment is still bright and hopeful for our future generations. V) CONCLUSION: Top environmental issue expected in the 21st century is beach pollution. It is seen as beach pollution because there is an increase in the number of oil explorations around the world. When the drilling of oil starts in any of these areas, the problem of waste disposal from processing stages becomes a paramount issue.

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