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Environment: The Past, Present, & Future


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Title: Environment: The Past, Present, & Future

  • The Past, Present, and Future

History of Environmentalism
When early hunter-gatherers realized how fire and
hunting tools influenced their surroundings, they
likely became aware of our precarious
relationship with our habitat. Anthropologists
have discovered evidence of human-caused animal
and plant extinctions dating back to 50,000 BCE,
when there were only approximately 200,000 Homo
sapiens roaming the Earth. We can only speculate
on how these early humans reacted, but it appears
that migration to new habitats was a common
response. Environmental consciousness first
occurs in the human record at least 5,000 years
ago. In their hymns, Vedic sages celebrated the
natural forests, Taoists advocated that human
life follow the rhythms of nature, and the Buddha
taught compassion for all sentient beings. The
Indus civilization at Mohenjo Darro (an ancient
city in modern-day Pakistan) recognized the
consequences of pollution on human health five
thousand years ago and practiced waste management
and sanitation. Plato bemoaned in Greece when
deforestation caused soil erosion, " All the
richer and softer parts have fallen away, and the
mere skeleton of the land remains. Communities
in China, India, and Peru recognized the dangers
of soil erosion and worked to prevent it through
the use of terraces, crop rotation, and nutrient
recycling. Hippocrates and Galen, Greek
physicians, began to notice environmental health
issues such as acid poisoning in copper miners.
The earliest extant European treatise on human
ecology is Hippocrates' book, De aere, aquis et
locis (Air, Waters, and Places). Agriculture
advancement increased human populations but also
caused soil erosion and insect infestations,
resulting in devastating famines between 200 and
1200 CE. Due of pollution, King Edward I of
England limited coal burning in London in 1306.
Naturalist and gardener John Evelyn claimed in
the 17th century that London resembled "the
districts of Hell." These events sparked Europe's
first "renewable" energy boom, with governments
beginning to subsidize water and wind power.
History of Environmental Rights
The Bishnoi Hindus of Khejarli were maybe the
first true environmental activists, killed by the
Maharaja of Jodhpur in 1720 for attempting to
defend the forest he cut to build himself a
palace. The 18th century saw the emergence of
modern environmental rights. Following a yellow
fever outbreak in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin
petitioned for waste management and the removal
of tanneries for clean air as a public "right"
(ironically, on land stolen from Indigenous
nations). Later, American artist George Catlin
recommended that Indigenous land be maintained as
a "natural right. At the same time, in the
United Kingdom, Jeremy Benthu published An
Introduction to Moral Principles and Legislation,
which advocated for the rights of animals. Thomas
Malthus produced his renowned essay warning that
human overpopulation will destroy the
environment. Global warming was first recognized
200 years ago, when Jean Baptiste Fourier
calculated that the Earth's atmosphere stored
heat like a greenhouse. A few decades later,
George Perkins Marsh wrote Man and Nature, which
criticizes humanity's indiscriminate "warfare" on
nature, warning of climate change, and
emphasizing that "the world cannot afford to
wait" - a cry that we still hear today.
History of the Modern Sustainability Movement
To understand the modern sustainability movement,
we must first understand what sustainability
even means. By definition (according to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency), sustainability
is Everything that we need for our survival and
well-being depends, either directly or
indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue
sustainability is to create and maintain the
conditions under which humans and nature can
exist in productive harmony to support present
and future generations. The sustainability
movement can be traced back to the 19th century,
a time when the Industrial Revolution brought us
great advancements in technology like modern
cities, railroads, and factories that relied on
oil and coal for energy. Unfortunately, all of
these advancements came with the price of
overpopulation, pollution, and disease. A notable
figure in the early beginnings of the
sustainability movement is Theodore Roosevelt.
Becoming president of the United States in 1901,
Roosevelt was well-known for his devotion to
nature and conservation. During the course of his
presidency, Roosevelt managed to create the
United States Forest Service and founded 150
national forests, 81 national monuments, 51
federal bird reserves, 5 national parks, and 4
national game reserves. After World War II, the
very first conservation conference was held by
the United Nations in 1949. Hundreds of
environmental from around the globe came together
to discuss how to conserve natural resources like
land, water, wildlife, and energy. In 1955, the
U.S. Congress enacted the Air Pollution Act,
which focused on researching the effects of air
pollution.  By 1970, the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA) was established, requiring all
executive federal agencies to perform
environmental assessments and release
environmental impact statements. This same year,
we celebrated our very first Earth Day on April
22nd. Along with NEPA, the United States started
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and
passed the Clean Air Act. In 1972, the Clean
Water Act created by the EPA was also passed.
1972 also marked the second conference held by
the U.N. that was created to discuss global
issues concerning the environment, conservation,
and sustainability. This conference spurred the
creation of the U.N. Environment Program
(UNEP). By the 1990s, green brands started to
gain popularity and traction. Businesses started
using eco-friendly as a selling point. By mid
2000s, the U.N. General Assembly published their
Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by
the year 2030. Many of the goals, like Goal 6
Clean Water and Sanitation and Goal 7
Affordable and Clean Energy, are focused on
environmental sustainability issues.
History of Green Brands
In the early 1980s, many of the hippies of the
1960s who had fallen out in the 1970s were coming
of age as entrepreneurs and business owners. Some
of today's most well-known green firms may trace
their roots back to this time period, including
Whole Foods, Burt's Bees, Seventh Generation,
Tom's of Maine, and The Body Shop. All of these
notable green firms were start-ups or blossoming
enterprises in the early 1980s, originating from
the 1970s back-to-nature movement. Tom's of Maine
and Burt's Bees originated in rural regions,
providing natural products to clients who shared
their values. Whole Foods is the result of the
combination of two natural food stores. Despite
producing different products, both Burt's Bees
and Whole Foods had visionary leaders who founded
their companies because it was the right thing to
do, rather than simply because there was consumer
or market demand. Although all of these
businesses began as niche brands, it didn't take
long for them to establish a market for their
environmentally friendly products. By the latter
half of the 1980s, individuals who were more
earth-conscious started to become a large enough
group that their influence was being noticed in
markets and manufacturing. In 1988, The Green
Consumer Guide was published and sold over 1
million copies. It was the first book of its kind
to focus on eco-friendly consumer choices. The
end of the 1980s saw an explosion of new green
products from companies both large and small, as
they were all trying to capitalize on the new
green niche in the market. In just one year, from
1989 to 1990, the number of new green products on
the market more than doubled. At the same time,
many popular brands were starting to come under
fire for not being sustainable. For example,
people boycotted McDonalds nonrecyclable
packaging, causing them to move to more
sustainable paper-based packaging.
History of Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Green cleaning may appear to be a new trend, but
it is actually not at all. While it has
definitely grown in popularity in recent years,
its origins can be traced back to the 1960s.
Prior to the 1960s, humans were very uninformed
on the impact of cleaning chemicals, as well as
other pollutants, may have on the environment-
including the impact on the animals and humans
who cohabitate this planet. Many people link the
modern environmental movement to biologist Rachel
Carson's 1962 book, Silent Spring, which focused
on the dangers of pesticides. The Santa Barbara
oil spill occurred in 1969, which engendered the
passing of the National Environmental Policy Act.
By the 1970s, green products were really starting
to gain traction. Toms (now called Toms of
Maine) introduced a phosphate-free laundry
detergent, making them one of the first cleaning
product brands to focus on environmental
responsibility. In 1988, the Green Consumer Guide
was published, which as stated previously, sold
more than 1 million copies. In this same year,
the company Seventh Generation was founded, which
is still one of the biggest names in green
cleaning brands of the modern day. In the
following 2 years, the interest in green products
continued to flourish with more than 10 of
products introduced in those 2 years being
considered green. In the 1990s, climate change
became a popular topic. By the early 2000s,
sustainability had become more than a
counterculture niche and had become mainstream.
Green brands that already existed became more
popular during this time, new green brands gained
traction, and leading mainstream brands started
introducing eco-friendly product lines. While
most people use chemical cleaners to rid their
houses of bacteria and germs, natural
alternatives can accomplish the job just as well.
Cleaning may take a little longer and require a
little more elbow grease, but eco-friendly
cleaning tools help you fight bacteria without
introducing harmful chemicals into your home or
company. Indoor air quality is very important to
your health, so reducing the amount of chemicals
you inhale should be an integral part of your
daily life.  Green cleaning may require a bit
more effort on your part, but the advantages far
exceed the drawbacks. With so many goods and
recipes accessible, the obstacles of obtaining
green cleaning products reduce. Finally, you
should feel good about your home and your health
- green cleaning could be the solution.
History of Eco-Fashion
Eco fashion may be popular now, but there was
only one type of fashion a few decades ago (hint
it wasnt eco-friendly). Unethical and
unsustainable methods of garment production have
been harming the environment and the companies
that practice this also treat laborers unfairly.
Some prominent fast fashion companies were
exposed in many nations, causing people to become
aware of the garment industry's negative effects.
Some of the same firms began to create clothes in
a more sustainable manner, and there were groups
that propagated the concept of sustainable
fashion all over the world. Sustainability is
described as development that meets current
societal needs without jeopardizing future
generations' ability to meet their own.
Eco-fashion, also known as sustainable fashion,
is fashion that has a lower environmental impact
throughout the entirety of the design,
production, and consumption of items. It entails
prolonging the life of clothing, recycling, and
reusing recycled materials. Ethical fashion is
concerned with the environment, as well as the
social impact of the fashion industry. Ethical
fashion is concerned with the use of child labor,
living wages, health and safety, working
conditions, and the industry's use of forced
labor. It is also not only labor rules that are
taken into account- ethical fashion goes above
and beyond to raise public awareness about the
fair treatment of employees, animals, and the
other benefits of cruelty-free fashion. Human
lives and the environment are valued more than
economic profits in ethical designs, and
organizations strive for dignified and honorable
working conditions. On the other hand, fast
fashion refers to clothing that is manufactured
quickly and cheaply to fit with the constantly
changing trends. Fast fashion is something we
should avoid because it has been linked to
massive amounts of waste, highly polluted
manufacturing processes, and awful working
conditions. Some of the worst offenders are HM,
TopShop, Zara, Zaful, Shein, Fashion Nova,
Missguided, and BooHoo. Due to demand from
environmentally conscious clients, firms such as
HM have become slightly more inclined to ethical
fashion and sustainability.
History of Eco-Fashion Continued
The precursor for all modern eco-fashion
movements is the Pre-Raphaelite movement. The
Pre-Raphaelites foresaw the negative impact of
new fashion and the methods for making it that
industrialization brought. These people had a
large impact on later fashion, as they rejected
the restrictive corsets and crinoline supports
women of that time wore. They chose to dye their
garments with natural vegetable dyes instead of
chemical dyes, even though the chemicals created
a brighter hue. The 1960s saw young people
revolting against the establishment through their
clothing, lifestyle, and music choices. These
adolescent 'hippies' were also anti-fashion. They
welcomed natural materials and advocated for a
return to a simpler way of life, in contrast to
the dominant highly consumerist society of the
day. They were the pioneers of environmentally
friendly fashion. In the late 1980s, there was a
movement against fur, which marked the beginning
of the ethical fashion movement. This movement
was extremely effective, since it resulted in the
abolition of actual fur from fashion. However,
the rise of offshore manufacturing and worldwide
communication saw the emergence of fast fashion-
apparel that was inexpensive, instantly
accessible, and disposable. People stopped
looking for quality and the tendency of buying
new garments every season took hold. Increased
demand resulted in increased output. During this
period of fast fashion, the eco-fashion movement
began to seep into clothing. The Ecollection was
launched by Esprit, and Katharine Hamnett and
Patagonia began to educate the public about the
horrible environmental impact of the fast fashion
business. But, tragically, the plight of this
industry's workers, who live in the far east and
work day and night under appalling working
conditions, was revealed only after Bangladesh's
Rana Plaza fell in 2013. This was the most tragic
catastrophe in fashion history, with over 1000
people killed. The history of eco-fashion
witnessed increasing attention as individuals
throughout the world realized how their decisions
affected the lives of those who made their items.
Today, a rising number of people on the earth
make their clothing choices with ethical wear in
mind, rather than simply buying clothes. Every
decision is significant and can make a difference!
Evolution of Sustainable Development
There has been agreement throughout the evolution
of "sustainable development" that it does not
focus simply on environmental challenges.
Economic development, social development, and
environmental protection are the three
interrelated and mutually reinforcing pillars.
Indigenous peoples have maintained that cultural
diversity is also a fourth pillar of sustainable
development. The concept of sustainability dates
back to the early twentieth century, during the
industrial revolution, when two conflicting
factions within the environmental movement
emerged environmentalists and preservationists.
Conservationists were concerned with the right
use of nature, whereas preservationists were
concerned with the protection of nature from use.
To put it another way, conservation tried to
restrict human use, whereas preservation sought
to eradicate all human impact. Several reactions
occurred as the first signs of an environmental
disaster emerged. Following an international
summit in Fontainebleau, France, the
International Union for Conservation of Nature
(IUCN) was created in October 1948. Its
proponents aimed to ensure that any use of
natural resources is equitable and
environmentally sustainable. The Club of Rome, a
think tank comprised of a small international
group of people from academia, civil society,
diplomacy, and industry, drew significant public
attention in 1972 with its report The Limits to
Growth, which predicted that economic growth
could not be sustained indefinitely due to the
limited availability of natural resources
(particularly oil). The United Nations Conference
on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972
made sustainable development a central focus. The
term was coined to imply that economic growth and
industrialization could be achieved without
causing environmental damage. Throughout the
following decades, mainstream sustainable
development thinking was gradually developed
through the World Conservation Strategy (1980),
the Brundtland Report (1987), and the United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development
in Rio (1992), as well as in national government
planning and wider engagement from business
leaders and non-governmental organizations of all
kinds. The definition of sustainable development
has evolved over the decades. The Brundtland
Report defined sustainable as development that
satisfies the demands of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to
meet their own needs. This description was
ambiguous, but it successfully addressed two
essential issues the challenge of environmental
deterioration that frequently accompanies
economic expansion, and the need for such
progress to alleviate poverty.
Rise of the Eco-Friendly Consumer
In recent times, changes in climate have
significantly impacted countries across the
globe. Customers and businesses alike are looking
for ways to implement and promote sustainable
business practices in response to the changing
climate. It is crucial to consider how to meet
climate targets in a real and significant way
that is in line with customer requirements and
beliefs. Customers may have run out of toilet
paper during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic,
or they may have unsuccessfully sought online for
an inflatable backyard pool. For those confined
at home, however, there was one resource that was
never-ending time. Given greater time to reflect
on routine activities and decisions, many people
began paying attention to how their shopping
choices affected the environment. Consumers have
started to place a higher priority on
sustainability before the pandemic. However, half
of all worldwide consumers surveyed in PwC's June
2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey claim
to have become even more environmentally
conscious. Only 35 of respondents to PwCs 2019
Global Consumer Insights Survey said they looked
for ecologically friendly packaging, 37 said
they looked for sustainable items, and 41 said
they avoided using plastic wherever possible.
According to PwC's survey findings, responses to
questions with comparable wording were ten to
twenty points higher in percentage. A study
conducted by market research company YouGov and
creative research platform Visual GPS shows a
change during the pandemic. The results of that
survey show that 69 of respondents claimed they
were doing everything possible to limit their
carbon footprint (up from 63 just a year
earlier), and 81 of those asked expected
businesses to be environmentally responsible in
their advertising and marketing. Millennials
displayed the most shift in green consumerism.
According to a PwC survey of 58 of "core"
millennials (those between the ages of 27 and
32), they have become more environmentally
conscious. The majority of core and "young"
millennials (those between the ages of 23 and 26)
also concur that they intentionally think about
sustainability when they shop. Generation Z is
less committed to eco-consumerism than
millennials, which may be related to the idea
that shopping sustainably is more expensive or
Evolution of Renewable Energy
Countries all over the world desired alternate
power production technologies to serve their
rapidly expanding electrical sector because
fossil fuels like coal and gas are a restricted
resource only found in a few geographic
locations. Over the past 20 years, the price of
coal has fluctuated wildly, from 50 to more than
130 USD per metric ton. Countries had to
diversify their energy generation mix by
localizing resources that were independent of any
supply chain restrictions in order to ensure a
stable electrical sector, which is a basic gauge
of growth. Scientists from all over the world
concur that human activity is currently causing
global warming, which must be reduced. People all
throughout the world looked up to their
governments and sought effective climate change
answers. Governments from nearly 200 nations paid
heed and reached an agreement in the historic
Paris Climate Agreement to reduce carbon
emissions in order to lessen the effects of
global warming. The majority of countries saw
renewable energy sources as the best way to
combat climate change. Germany came up with a
bold plan to generate 50 of its electricity from
renewable sources by 2030. The National Solar
Mission was established by India with the
objective of deploying 100 Gigawatts of solar
energy by 2022. Globally, similar objectives have
been set, and various government subsidies as
well as feed-in tariffs and renewable portfolio
standards have been used to encourage the use of
renewable energy for power generation. Today, for
at least two-thirds of the world's population,
onshore wind and solar power are the most
affordable sources of electricity. By 2030, it
will be less expensive to construct renewable
energy power plants than to operate coal power
plants all over the world. Over 26 of the
world's electricity generation as of the end of
2018 came from renewable energy sources like
solar, wind, and hydropower.
The Benefits of Recycling
Did you know that recycling helps reduce
emissions of greenhouse gasses like carbon
dioxide and others that cause climate change? The
20 million tons of home recyclables that are
currently tossed in the trash could be totally
recycled, which would result in a 96 million
metric ton reduction in the nation's greenhouse
gas emissions. With just recycling, we could
accomplish the same result as removing more than
20 million cars from American highways! To take
it a step further, we can and should recycle our
junk cars, as it conserves natural resources,
reduces pollution, avoids excessive use of
energy, and much more. Recycling is good for the
economy as well as the environment. If all of the
37.4 million tons of recyclables produced by
American households were collected curbside and
returned to productive use, 370,000 additional
full-time equivalent employment would be created.
These "green occupations" may involve curbside
recycling collection, processing of recycled
materials, delivery of goods to businesses,
transportation of materials, equipment
maintenance, and other tasks. When you recycle
junk cars, you are helping to create jobs at
salvaging companies, which it turns helps to
stimulate the economy. Recycling helps us to
reuse our waste materials in new goods, promoting
a "circular economy" that reduces waste and
permits ongoing resource utilization. Why is that
crucial? Because there are only a finite number
of natural resources on the planet. Without
recycling, we are forced to rely on obtaining raw
materials through extraction and logging to meet
our manufacturing demands. This may lead to the
destruction of habitats for wildlife, costly and
dangerous mining operations to collect metal
ores, and the depletion of minerals that cannot
be replenished. However, recycling allows us to
more effectively protect and prolong these
natural resources.
Evolution of Eco-Friendly Transportation
With transportation accounting for nearly 64 of
worldwide oil consumption, 27 of total energy
use, and 23 of global carbon dioxide emissions,
it is clear that transportation is at the heart
of many economic and social development concerns.
Rethinking and redesigning transit in the
post-COVID age by enacting structural changes
would significantly reinforce some of the
favorable effects achieved by pandemic-control
measures on emission levels and air
quality. Systems of transportation that are
environmentally, socially, and economically
sustainable benefit the communities they serve.
People readily take advantage of the
opportunities presented by greater mobility, with
low-income households benefiting considerably
from low-carbon transportation options. Transport
infrastructures exist to facilitate social and
economic linkages. The benefits of greater
mobility must be evaluated against the costs that
transportation systems place on the environment,
society, and the economy. Long-term objectives
include moving transportation away from fossil
fuel-based energy and toward other options
including the use of renewable energy and other
renewable resources. Short-term action frequently
supports incremental progress in fuel efficiency
and vehicle emissions controls. Measurement and
optimization of sustainability are applied across
the whole life cycle of transportation
systems.  According to the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP), it would be
possible to save 2.4 million premature deaths per
year due to outdoor air pollution. Black carbon
emissions, a part of particulate matter that is
known to induce respiratory and cancerous
diseases and to significantly contribute to
global climate change, are particularly harmful
to human health. Low-carbon, eco-friendly
transportation is becoming an increasingly
sustainable investment at the local level due to
the connections between greenhouse gas emissions
and particulate matter. This is true both in
terms of reducing emissions and thereby
preventing climate change, as well as enhancing
public health through improved air quality.
How Humans Impact the Environment
Numerous human activities such as overpopulation,
pollution, the burning of fossil fuels, and
deforestation have an adverse effect on the
physical environment. Climate change, soil
erosion, poor air quality, and undrinkable water
have all been brought on by changes like these.
These unfavorable effects may influence human
behavior and lead to large-scale migrations or
conflicts over access to clean water. There is no
denying that human activity has a negative impact
on the environment. Earth is impacted by how we
live our lives, what we produce and consume, and
how we move around. The effects of people on our
environment are extensive, affecting both
terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and range
from ozone depletion to acid rain, human-induced
soil degradation through deforestation,
pollution, and loss of species. We must be
conscious of these effects and seek to minimize
them if we want to save the earth. Even if it's
not always simple, doing so is essential if we
want to preserve the planet for future
More than 7.8 billion people currently live on
Earth. According to the UN, population is
projected to reach 10.8 billion by 2100, assuming
stable fertility reductions across many nations.
Fascinatingly, 7.3 billion people could live on
the planet in 2100 if additional advancements in
women's reproductive autonomy and fertility
decline more than the UN estimates is likely.
Currently, the world's population is still
growing by a significant amount each year (about
80 million people), and we are running out of
essential nonrenewable resources. These
unsustainable trends are a result of a variety of
reasons, such as declining death rates, underuse
of contraception, and a lack of education for
girls. Population growth will unavoidably put
strain on the environment, causing more
deforestation, less biodiversity, and increases
in pollution and emissions, all of which will
worsen climate change. In the end, many experts
think that the added stress on the planet will
cause ecological disruption and collapse that is
so severe it threatens the viability of life on
Earth as we know it if we don't take action to
help minimize further population growth going
into the rest of this century. The health of the
world is significantly impacted by every increase
in global population. According to estimates from
a study by Wynes and Nicholas (2017), in
industrialized countries, a family with one fewer
child might reduce emissions by 58.6 tonnes
CO2-equivalent year.
When dangerous gasses and particulates are
present in our air, this is referred to as air
pollution. Nine out of ten people worldwide
breathe dirty air, but many people are not aware
of the possible negative effects of poor air
quality on their health and the environment. When
dangerous gasses and chemicals are discharged
into the atmosphere, air pollution results. These
pollutants include sulfur dioxide, nitrogen
oxide, and particulate matter (extremely minute
particles that enter our respiratory system). The
majority of these pollutants are released by
human activity, including burning fossil fuels,
driving, and emissions from industry and
agriculture. Our health is significantly impacted
by air pollution, which also shortens lives and
lowers quality of life. In actuality, it poses
the greatest single environmental health concern
in the globe. It makes breathing problems worse
and raises the possibility of asthma episodes,
which results in more hospital admissions.
Serious medical disorders like cancer, heart
attacks, and strokes can be brought on by
prolonged exposure.  In actuality, air pollution
contributes to one in three global fatalities
from heart attacks, lung cancer, and chronic
respiratory diseases. We are all impacted, but
those in our society who are most at
dangerparticularly children and the elderlyare
at greater risk. Children who are exposed to air
pollution may experience respiratory problems and
lung development delays. A growing corpus of
studies has also revealed linkages between air
pollution and other diseases like diabetes,
children's developmental issues, and dementia.
Global Warming
The total annual global temperature rise during
the Industrial Revolution has been little over 1
degree Celsius, or over 2 degrees Fahrenheit. It
increased on average by 0.07 degrees Celsius
(0.13 degrees Fahrenheit) every 10 years between
1880the year that accurate recordkeeping
startedand 1980. The rate of growth, however,
has more than doubled since 1981 Over the past
40 years, the yearly global temperature has
increased by 0.18 degrees Celsius, or 0.32
degrees Fahrenheit, every decade. The outcome? a
world with unprecedented heat. Since 2005, nine
of the ten warmest years on record since 1880
have happened, and the last five warmest years
have all happened since 2015. Deniers of climate
change have claimed that the rate of increase in
global temperatures has "paused" or "slowed,"
however several studies, including a 2018
research published in the journal Environmental
Research Letters, have refuted this assertion.
People all across the world are already suffering
from the effects of global warming. Now, climate
scientists have concluded that if we want to
prevent a future in which daily life throughout
the world is marked by its worst, most
devastating effects the extreme droughts,
wildfires, floods, tropical storms, and other
disasters that we refer to collectively as
climate change, we must limit global warming to
1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040. All people
experience these consequences in one way or
another, but the poor, the economically
disadvantaged, and people of color experience
them the most keenly because these groups are
frequently those most affected by poverty,
eviction, hunger, and social unrest.
Climate Change
Long-term changes in temperature and weather
patterns are referred to as climate change. These
changes could be caused by natural processes,
such oscillations in the solar cycle. But since
the 1800s, human activitiesprimarily the
combustion of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and
gashave been the primary cause of climate
change. Fossil fuel combustion produces
greenhouse gas emissions that serve as a blanket
around the planet, trapping heat from the sun and
increasing temperatures.  Carbon dioxide and
methane are two examples of greenhouse gas
emissions that are contributing to climate
change. These are produced, for instance, while
burning coal or gasoline to heat a building.
Carbon dioxide can also be released during forest
and land clearing. Methane emissions are
primarily produced by waste landfills. Among the
major emitters are energy, industry,
transportation, buildings, agriculture, and land
use. Unfortunately, emissions levels continue to
rise. The finding is that the Earth has warmed by
around 1.1C since the late 1800s. The most
recent ten years (20112020) were the warmest
ever. Many believe that rising temperatures are
the main effect of climate change. But the story
doesn't start with the temperature increase.
Changes in one place might have an impact on
changes in all other areas since the Earth is a
system in which everything is interconnected.
Intense droughts, water scarcity, destructive
fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar
ice, catastrophic storms, and a decline in
biodiversity are currently some of the effects of
climate change.
Genetic Modification
Fewer carbon dioxide emissions. Better soil.
Increased food production with reduced acreage.
minimal food waste All of this can be achieved
without compromising the nutritional quality, the
health and safety of people, or the
environmentin some cases, it can even be
improved. GMOs are the topic at hand, yes.  Do
you picture enormous strawberries or seedless
watermelons when you consider the advantages of
GMOs? In general, yes. The surprising thing is
that neither of those things has anything to do
with GMOs. Each GMO crop exists to answer various
concerns farmers have in feeding and supplying an
expanding world with fuel, including addressing
environmental issues. Environmental
sustainability is vital to all kinds of
agricultural production, whether traditional,
organic, or genetically modified. GMO crops and
the features they express have had an exceptional
positive impact on the environment during the
past 25 years.  GMO seeds are one of the tools
farmers use to grow crops that will feed the
world while leaving enough land for people to
live on. Farmers can achieve better harvests
while using less land because GMO crops directly
combat critical challenges such as pests,
weather, disease, and food waste. Growing the
same amount of crops without the use of GM seeds
would have required 23.4 million more
hectares/57.8 million more acres of land in 2020
alone. That is larger than the entire state of
Idaho! GMO crops have helped to reduce
pesticides' overall environmental impact by
17.3. Herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops enable
farmers to lessen the number of treatments and
treat fields with pesticides, frequently
glyphosate, rather than tilling. Glyphosate is a
preferred pesticide among farmers since it is
safe for the environment and effectively
eliminates a variety of weed species. This means
that rather than using several herbicides
repeatedly throughout the season, farmers can use
a smaller number of herbicides less frequently,
similar to using one broad-spectrum sunscreen
rather than UVA and UVB protection.
Ocean Acidification
Climate change isn't the only effect of carbon
pollution caused by fossil fuels. As if driving
global temperature rise wasn't bad enough,
increased carbon in our atmosphere is also to
blame for the rapid acidification of our planet's
oceans. Our oceans are an incredible carbon sink,
absorbing approximately 25 of the carbon dioxide
produced by humans each year. However, this is
drastically altering sea surface chemistry when
carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean, it
dissolves to form carbonic acid. As a result, the
ocean becomes more acidic, upsetting the delicate
pH balance on which millions upon millions of
organisms rely. Our seas have become about 30
more acidic since the Industrial Revolution, a
rate not seen in 300 million years. This has
far-reaching implications for marine ecosystems
as well as the billions of people who rely on the
ocean for food and survival. It's no coincidence
that the oceans became more acidic after the
Industrial Revolution. As humans continue to burn
more fossil fuels, the concentration of carbon
dioxide in our atmosphere rises, driving climate
change and raising both air and sea
temperatures.  But climate change isn't the only
effect of carbon pollution ocean acidification
is as well. As the amount of carbon dioxide in
the atmosphere increases, oceans absorb more and
more of it, becoming - you guessed it - more
acidic. This is happening at an unprecedented
rate, and it will continue indefinitely unless we
stop using dirty fossil fuels. Ocean
acidification endangers more than just marine
ecosystems. It also puts strain on human food
systems and has an impact on the livelihoods of
people who rely on the ocean for a living in a
variety of ways, from fishing to tourism.
Water Pollution
Water pollution occurs when harmful substances,
most often chemicals or microorganisms,
contaminate a stream, river, lake, ocean,
aquifer, or other body of water, lowering water
quality and making it toxic to humans or the
environment. Water is particularly susceptible to
pollution. Water, also known as a "universal
solvent," can dissolve more substances than any
other liquid on the planet. It's what gives us
Kool-Aid and brilliant blue waterfalls. It is
also the reason why water is so easily polluted.
Toxic substances from farms, towns, and factories
easily dissolve and mix with it, polluting the
water. Simply put, water pollution kills.
According to a study published in The Lancet, it
was responsible for 1.8 million deaths in 2015.
Water contamination can also make you sick. Every
year, approximately 1 billion people become ill
as a result of contaminated water. In addition,
low-income communities are disproportionately
vulnerable because their homes are frequently
located closest to the most polluting
industries.  Waterborne pathogens, such as
disease-causing bacteria and viruses derived from
human and animal waste, are a major cause of
illness caused by contaminated drinking water.
Cholera, giardia, and typhoid are among the
diseases spread by contaminated water. Even in
wealthy countries, accidental or illegal sewage
treatment facility releases, as well as farm and
urban runoff, contribute harmful pathogens to
waterways. Every year, Legionnaires' disease (a
severe form of pneumonia contracted from water
sources such as cooling towers and piped water)
sickens thousands of people across the United
States, with cases ranging from California's
Disneyland to Manhattan's Upper East Side.
Overfishing occurs when too many fish are caught
at once, causing the breeding population to
become too depleted to recover. Overfishing is
frequently associated with wasteful commercial
fishing methods that bring in massive amounts of
unwanted fish or other animals, which are then
discarded. As a result of widespread and
prolonged overfishing, nearly one-third of the
world's assessed fisheries are now in serious
trouble and that figure is likely to be
underestimated because many fisheries remain
unstudied. Overfishing threatens ocean ecosystems
and the billions of people who rely on seafood
for protein. Without sustainable management, our
fisheries will collapse, resulting in a food
crisis. As fishermen caught fewer and fewer fish
over time, mankind began to realize that the
seas, formerly thought to be infinitely large and
bountiful, are in reality extremely susceptible.
A analysis of catch statistics published in the
journal Science in 2006 tragically predicted that
if such unsustainable fishing rates continue, all
of the world's fisheries will be depleted by
2048. Many scientists believe that with vigorous
fisheries management and stronger enforcement of
catch rules, such as the implementation of catch
limits, most fish stocks may be restored.
Increased usage of aquaculture, or fish farming,
would also be beneficial. And there is reason to
be optimistic in many areas. The United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which
establishes international standards for fisheries
management, noted in its 2020 report that there
has been a slight increase in the percentage of
stocks that are producing the most food possible
in the most sustainable way possible, which is
the goal of fisheries management.
Deforestation is the planned, natural, or
accidental clearing, destruction, or removal of
trees. It can exist in any region highly
inhabited by trees and other plant life, although
it is most common in the Amazon jungle right now.
Climate change, desertification, soil erosion,
less crops, flooding, higher greenhouse gases in
the environment, and a slew of other issues for
Indigenous people can all result from the loss of
trees and other plants. Deforestation happens for
a variety of reasons. Agriculture is the most
common cause of deforestation, accounting for 80
of all deforestation, along with logging for
materials and development. It has been going on
for thousands of years, maybe since people began
transitioning from hunter-gatherer to agrarian
societies, which required larger, unobstructed
tracts of land to support cattle, crops, and
dwellings. However, it became an epidemic
following the advent of the modern age. One of
the most severe and disturbing consequences of
deforestation is the extinction of animal and
plant species as a result of habitat loss.
Forests are home to 70 of all land animals and
plant species. Deforestation endangers not only
known species, but also unknown ones. In in
addition to diminishing habitat, a lack of trees
permits more greenhouse gases to be emitted into
the atmosphere. Healthy forests collect CO2 from
the atmosphere and serve as excellent carbon
sinks. Deforested areas lose this ability,
causing more carbon to be released.
Acid Rain
Acid rain is characterized as precipitation that
is excessively acidic due to the presence of
dissolved contaminants, making it capable of
causing significant environmental impact. Acid
rain has a pH of around 4.0 due to the presence
of dissolved sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides,
both of which are acidic pollutants, whereas
typical rain has a pH of around 5.5. In general,
the environment can adapt to a certain quantity
of acid rain. Soil is frequently slightly basic
(due to naturally occurring limestone, which has
a pH of greater than 7). Because bases neutralize
acids, these soils tend to offset part of the
acidity of acid rain. However, acid rain can
impact the ecology in locations where limestone
does not naturally reside in the soil, such as
the Rocky Mountains and sections of the northwest
and southeastern United States. Frogs, for
example, have a difficult difficulty adapting to
and reproducing in an acidic environment. Acid
rain and acid fog harm many plants, including
evergreen trees. I've witnessed some of the acid
rain damage to evergreen trees in Germany's Black
Forest. Because so many of the green pine needles
had been killed, leaving just the black trunks
and branches, most of the Black Forest was indeed
black! You may also note how acid rain has eroded
the stone in some city buildings and stone
artwork. Acid rain and the pollutant particles of
sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide from which it
is created have been related to asthma, heart
illness, and eye irritation. Nitrogen oxides are
also known to be involved in a mechanism that
produces tropospheric ozone, which is known to
cause respiratory difficulties in people.
Ozone Depletion
Human activities have significantly reduced the
ozone layer's size during the last few decades.
This issue has been greatly exacerbated by the
manufacture of chemicals like halons,
hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and chlorofluorocarbons
(CFCs). These substances, which are used in spray
cans, air conditioners, refrigerators, and many
other devices, destroy ozone molecules when they
are released into the atmosphere. To safeguard
the ozone layer, the Montréal Protocol, an
international agreement agreed in 1987, aims to
gradually phase down the production of CFCs,
HCFCs, and halons. There has been some progress,
and the extent of the ozone hole is gradually
starting to stabilize. This global loss in
stratospheric ozone is closely tied to increased
levels of chlorine and bromine in the
stratosphere caused by the production and release
of CFCs and other halocarbons. Industry produces
halocarbons for a number of applications,
including refrigerants (in refrigerators, air
conditioners, and big chillers), aerosol
propellants, blowing agents for producing plastic
foams, firefighting agents, and solvents for dry
cleaning and degreasing. Theoretical studies have
been well verified by atmospheric observations,
which demonstrate that chlorine and bromine
emitted from halocarbons in the stratosphere
react with and destroy ozone. Because ozone is a
greenhouse gas, the ozone layer's breakdown and
predicted regeneration has an impact on the
Earth's temperature. Scientific analyses
demonstrate that the drop in stratospheric ozone
observed since the 1970s has generated a cooling
effector, more precisely, that it has offset a
tiny portion of the warming caused by growing
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas
concentrations during this time period. This
cooling effect is likely to fade as the ozone
layer steadily recovers over the next few decades.
The Future of the Environment
The latest UN study on the state of the climate
warns that humanity's future may be plagued with
horrific natural calamities. However, that future
is not fixed in stone. The world by the end of
the twenty-first century could look very
different depending on global economic trends,
technological advances, geopolitical
developments, and, most importantly, how
aggressively we work to reduce carbon emissions.
Or not. The estimates of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Sixth Assessment
Report, whose first chapter on the physical
science of climate change was issued last week,
are based on a spectrum of possible futures. The
new research includes five climate narratives
that differ in terms of expected warming and
society's ability to adapt to future changes.
Each tale marries a distinct socioeconomic
development scenario with a different carbon
emissions trajectory, resulting in a range of
endings to the story of 21st-century climate
change in the style of a Choose Your Own
Adventure game. In some of those endings, mankind
rises to the climatic problem while also working
to decrease poverty and improve the quality of
life for everybody. The world is hotter and the
weather is more dangerous, yet the worst effects
of climate change have been avoided, and cultures
are adapting. In others, nationalism, rising
poverty, skyrocketing emissions, and unimaginably
hot weather are fracturing global
collaboration. The differing emission levels of
the various scenarios cause different levels of
warming in climate models, resulting in a
spectrum of physical repercussions on the globe,
according to the IPCC report issued last week.
The implications of the various socioeconomic
storylines will be more prominent in the second
and third chapters of the new IPCC report, which
will be released in 2022, because these chapters
will focus on climate adaptation and mitigation,
according to Jessica Tierney, a climate scientist
at the University of Arizona and an IPCC
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