We are all more than aware of the evergrowing environmental issues that the earth faces in the 21st century. From the loss of biodiversity to the endangerment of some of the world’s most unique animals, there are a plethora of problems that we should all be making a conscious effort to minimise. It has been proven that we, as humans, are responsible for contributing to the deterioration of habitats and the life surrounding them. So, with this in mind, it has become more important than ever to confront the issues we face and strive to play a role in improving the world for the sake of future generations.
However, before altering your lifestyle to take a more ‘green’ approach, it is imperative to understand the environmental issues of today. All are linked to one another in some way or form, so by working towards improving one, you will make a direct impact on another. Here we run through not only the five most significant issues but also why they should matter to every member of the population.
The 5 Biggest Environmental Issues Of Today?
Here at Ampower, we share a passion for improving the world for future generations and believe that remaining well-informed with environmental updates is crucial. All of our home energy plans and business gas supply packages are generated from renewable resources, which is just one step towards helping to improve the condition of the environment.
Natural disasters, global warming and cooling periods have all become more frequent in recent years, meaning that there is no denying that each should be an area of concern. While we may have all been bathing in last years glorious sunshine, this alone proves the issues that we face. According to The Global Risks Report 2019, extreme weather events are the most likely event to occur in upcoming years; however, the impact is the most severe. This is closely followed by the failure to mitigate climate change, along with natural disasters. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the most prominent environmental dangers that we face, along with their causes.
We are all no stranger to the term ‘climate change’ but what does it actually mean for us, along with the animals and habitats that we live amongst? Climate change, also known as global warming, refers to the process of the planet warming up. In the last century, since the Industrial Revolution, the earth has experienced an increase of 1°C in temperature. While this may not seem to be a huge jump, it has had a detrimental impact on the planet, wildlife and those living across the globe. Increased rainfall, adverse seasons, shrinking sea ice and rising sea levels are all directly caused by the effects of global warming.
Unfortunately, reducing the impact of climate change cannot be resolved overnight and is a lengthy process that we all need to play our role in helping. First and foremost, we must lower our reliance on fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels is by far the most significant cause of global warming, which means that it is vital to begin making the most out of renewable alternatives. Every time that fossil fuels are burnt, they release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. Renewable sources of energy, on the other hand, are generated from only natural resources and replenish organically. You can find more information on the advantages of renewable energy in our previous article.
Along with using renewable power sources, it is also vital to stop destroying forest land and instead, replant millions of trees across the globe. As mentioned in an article by The Guardian, planting trees is one of the biggest and cheapest ways to begin removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. While it may be hard to do this independently, you can support charities such as One Tree Planted, who is a non-profit organisation on a mission to plant millions of trees across the globe. Your donation alone will help towards tackling deforestation across North America, Latin America, Asia and Africa.
For more top tips on how you can help towards stopping climate change, take a look at Friends Of The Earth.
As the planet continues to rise in temperature, hundreds of species around the world are now becoming endangered. Their natural habits are changing quicker than ever, which means that they are forced to adapt their lifestyle to their new environment. Animals who live in a naturally icy habitat, such as polar bears, are now struggling to find food as their surroundings are melting. According to the National Geographic Kids website, the Arctic sea ice is melting at a shocking 9% every decade. Those in warmer habitats, on the other hand, such as orangutans in the rainforest, are also in danger as bushfires increase and trees are cut down for commercial use. Earth Day Network has put together an insightful article onto ten animals that you may not realise are, in fact, threatened by the impact of climate change.
If you would like to keep updated with any news on endangered species or support those who are helping to save the lives of animals across the globe, then head over to WWF.
Similar to climate change, pollution is another word that we hear time after time again, yet many are unaware of the dangers that come alongside the growing issue. Air, water and soil are all now polluted, and each requires millions of years to get back to a neutral, unpolluted state. Pollution not only causes a problem now, but if left unsolved, can pose a huge threat to future generations. Water will become contaminated and therefore, undrinkable; the polluted air will cause health problems and habits will be destroyed by toxic soil.
Air pollution is the most significant issue that we are facing and is caused, again, by the combustion of fossil fuels. Based on research by the World Health Organization (WHO), 80% of people who live in an urban location are exposed to air quality levels that are classed as ‘unfit’ by WHO.
One of the most effective ways that you can help towards reducing air pollution is to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions through utilising solar panels. Solar panels are powered by natural UV rays from the sun, meaning that you will no longer need to burn fossil fuels in return for electricity. As partners of Moixa, a nationwide provider of smart energy products, Ampower now provides home solar panels for all clients. All solar panels can be paired with a smart battery, which enables clients to store any unused solar energy and use it when they next need power. This means that every client can make the most out of their renewable energy and reduce their reliance on the grid, which burn fossil fuels to provide power. You can find more information on the benefits of solar panels in our previous article.
Disposal Of Waste
You would be surprised how much the disposal of waste can impact the environment and its not just through plastic bottles. Every time that we throw away rubbish, and it is sent to a landfill site, it begins to rot, which fills the surrounding air with methane gas. Methane gas is not only highly explosive but it also contributes towards the greenhouse effect. Similarly to climate change, the greenhouse effect is the process in which the surface of the earth rises in temperature. It is caused when gases are emitted into the air and begin to trap energy from the sun.
Not only is excessive waste an issue due to evergrowing landfill sites, but it has also started to fill our oceans with rubbish. This caused a direct impact on sea life as millions of animals are becoming caught in an array of materials, causing severe injuries and in many cases, death. So, how does waste end up in the ocean? Well, every time that you throw plastic in the bin instead of recycling, litter when you’re out in public or flush items down the drain, 80% will end up in the ocean.
Unlike the other environmental issues mentioned in our article, cutting down waste is something that you can start now and will be guaranteed to make an impact. Small Footprint Family has put together a fantastic guide to reducing waste in your home, including 37 super easy ways to begin changing your lifestyle and make a difference.
All of the environmental issues above are problems that we’re more than aware of; however, did you know that we have now reached a level where overpopulation is possible? Based on information published by the United Nations, the population is estimated to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Although this may not sound like a pressing issue, the world can only support around 10 billion people, which means that if the population continues to grow at the rate that it is, we could quickly begin to run out of resources. Every year, the population is thought to instead by around 1.13%, which totals to 80 million people. This means that we could run out of fresh water, food and natural resources.
Another issue that comes alongside overpopulation is the impact on global warming. The more people that are on the planet, the more power that is required, which means that harmful gases will continue to be released into the air.
Making The Planet ‘Greener’
Having delved deeper into the most significant environmental issues that the planet is facing, we hope that you now feel eager to begin adapting your lifestyle to take a ‘greener’ approach. If you are interested in finding out more about other growing problems, then Renewable Resources Coalition has put together an article including 17 issues to consider, along with those mentioned above. Alternatively, you can keep updated with the latest news on environmental issues on Science Daily.