Environmental issues are no news. Climate change, pollution and so on, are on the top of the concerns when it comes to protecting the environment and creating a better future.
The questions are ‘what are the pressing environmental issues we are facing today’ and ‘what can be done?’. Let’s start with the answer to the latter: take action now. Specialists believe that most environmental issues are reversible if we take the right measures. The focus is on major companies and governments which are the ones who create the most damage and have the capacity to overturn the consequences.
What are the pressing environmental issues?
Plastics, fossils, water, air, soil… there are many environmental issues to address. Let’s review the most pressing concerns.
Perhaps the top keyword when it comes to earth threats. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the average temperature has been constantly increasing, reaching about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since pre-industrial times.
This is having a huge impact on the planet with ice melting, sea levels rising and extreme weather events happening more often. In the medium/long term this will result in more irregular weather conditions, less food and water, and the increasing displacement of the population. According to the UN, by 2050 we could have 150 million climate refugees.
However, there is a ‘simple’ answer to this problem: reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Not so simple because some damage could take several generations to be undone.
Lack of water
Water shortage is already affecting many populations. Droughts are becoming more common, meaning that less water is available for consumption and usage, such as cooking and hygiene. In extreme cases this could lead to dehydration, health issues and even death.
Thinking about developing nations, the access to water is already difficult, when it’s necessary to face long distances to collect water. This may have social and cultural impacts, as children and young people are responsible for this task. More time spent looking for water means less time at school and less focus on other tasks.
Also, no water means no food. No water means more wildfires. No water means more displacement of people.
By 2025, almost ⅔ of the population is estimated to be living in water-stressed regions.UN
According to WHO, 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality is not safe. 92%. Air pollution results in health problems, mostly respiratory diseases, heart problems and even cancer.
Also WHO estimates that air pollution is responsible for 7 million premature deaths each year. Once again the answer is: reduce pollutant emissions.
This is another ‘trendy’ environmental issue. Waste in general is a huge problem. Let’s not forget the ‘garbage island’ floating around the pacific with a size of 3 Frances. And it is almost plastic.
Millions of tons of plastic waste dumped every year in the ocean harm marine life and pollute the water – that is already a shortage. Once again, plastic pollution affects the food chain – less edible fish – and results in health problems in humans. Also, plastic pollution contributes to greenhouse gas emissions which leads to climate change. Everything is connected.
All environmental issues stated above result directly or not to the endangerment of animal – and human – habitat.
The major concern is that deforestation can lead to animal and plant extinction. We all heard about endangered species: pandas, tigers, whales are just some of them. Forests are also critical to regulate the climate, so less forest means more risk of flooding, fires and extreme weather conditions.
In conclusion, we are facing major environmental issues that will have a huge impact on the not so far away future. The positive note is that these problems may be reversible. If we all work towards the same goal.
An area of forest the size of 30 football fields is lost every minute.World Wildlife Fund
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