Climate change: What other environmental problems has mankind created during the last century?

Despite the fact of having a full knowledge on what´s happening to our planet, the civilized humanity remains extremely ignorant and unconscious.

All of us, in one way or another, have some notion about the great damage we have caused to our own planet Earth. However, I can assure you that just a few people actually do something about it, while the rest of us just stand idly by and doing absolutely nothing. It´s like we don´t really care about any other life form,or about our planet, but mostly about our own future as human race. All of this occurs even when we have a full knowledge about it, and that knowledge is not just in front of us, but everywhere!

To prove my point of view I will just give you some data of which everyone have all heard from. I will go over the mankind´s unsustainable use of natural resources, the excessive water pollution that industries and factories produce, and the human activities that have triggered the extinction of many animal species.

Most people may think that an ecological crisis is far less serious than the current financial crisis. But well, if you think so too, I must tell you: you cannot be more wrong. As you know, mankind is removing the planet’s biodiverse resources at an alarming rate. We are using 30% more resources than the Earth can replenish each year, and that´s leading not only to environmental and health problems, but also to huge shifts in the values of these resources. One natural resource that is increasingly scarce and likely to trigger tensions worldwide is fresh water. Less than 3% of the world’s water is fresh. According to the World Resources Institute, growing demand for water is expected to exceed supply well before 2025. A Living Planet report predicts that by 2030, if nothing changes, mankind would need two planets to sustain its lifestyle. This problem is getting worse and worse as populations and mass-consumption keep on growing. So, what is worse? A financial crisis or the fact that soon we won´t even have enough water to live with?

Well, scarcity of natural resources and specially scarcity of water is one thing, but water pollution is also a major global problem that urgently needs of our concern. This issue has become the most common problem due to the rapid increase in industrialization. It has been suggested that it is the leading worldwide cause of deaths and diseases, and that it accounts for the deaths of more than 14,000 people daily. An estimated 700 million Indians have no access to a proper toilet, and 1,000 Indian children die of diarrheal sickness every day. Consequences of water pollution have disastrous effects in both the ecosystem and human beings, and the major sources of this pollution are the pollutants that industries across the globe produce. Even though industries are aware of all this damage, they are still producing all kinds of pollutants in huge amounts, such as Asbestos, Lead, Mercury, Nitrates, Phosphates, Sulphur, Oils and Petrochemicals.

Accelerated rates of animal extinction and endangerment are also a big problem nowadays. It has been estimated that the current extinction rates are around 1,000 times higher than the “background” extinction rates. And guess what, who could be the main responsible for this? … You´re right; we, the most “evolved” race of the world, are without any doubt the main fundamental cause of animal extinction. The extinction of animals is also due to industrial progress and rapid growth in human populations. The deforestation, pollution, global warming and hunting have caused that thousands of species had become extinct from the planet in the last 100 years alone. And human activities does not just affect animals, but the world biodiversity in general too. Based on figures from 2005, the index indicates global biodiversity has declined by nearly a third since 1970. Breakdowns of the overall figure show the tropical species index fell by half and the temperate index remained stable but at historically low levels. Divided up another way, indices for terrestrial, freshwater and marine species, and for tropical forests, drylands and grasslands all showed significant declines.

So, to conclude, what can we do to minimize all the damage caused? Would you do something after reading this essay? In fact, more than an ecological crisis, we´re facing a crisis of understanding, don´t you think? The exploitation of natural resources is closely linked to economic progress of the countries where this process occurs. We should strive to find the right balance between human welfare and nature &animal welfare – that is the only way forward towards harmony of man and nature. And also, is the only way of keep on living in this planet.

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