Environmental Degradation and Land Conservation
By Cristiano Attaccalite
Land conservation is the protection of land with important resources. These resources range from things such as drinking water, flora, and fauna, to unique outdoor spaces and remaining green space. These things are being protected against environmental degradation. According to Wikipedia, environmental degradation is “the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife,” and it is so serious that it is on the list of ten threats that are officially warned against by the United Nations panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change. Environmental degradation is a problem because now more than ever, with the growing population, we can not afford to be depleting the environments resources when it is unnecessary.
One cause of environmental degradation is invasive species. For example, if a type of plant is introduced, and flourishes, it can take all of the space in an ecosystem, squeezing out other forms of life. Also, pollution types such as air, water, and noise can all disturb the environment. Another cause is new resource depleting and polluting technology. Lastly, is overpopulation, which can lead to more landfills and deforestation, which directly destroys the environment. Deforestation is a product of economic growth, as the population grows, more resources are needed, leading to more trees and forests being harvested.
The reason the prevention of these things is important covers a wide range. One such reason is the negative effect that environmental degradation can have on human life. Things such as air pollution can negatively impact a person’s health, causing them to develop things such as pneumonia and asthma, as well as causing them to come to an earlier demise.
Another negative impact of pollution is the depletion of the ozone layer.The ozone layer is what protects Earth from harmful radiation. As the ozone layer depletes, more of this radiation is allowed to slip through and affect the Earth.
The loss of biodiversity is also a large problem to consider. If an organism’s ecosystem is destroyed, and it is unable to survive anymore, it can have a catastrophic effect on the food chain. An example of this is the threat of polar ice caps melting, releasing large amounts of fresh water into the ocean, which has the potential to kill life which is precisely tuned to the salinity of the water that it lives in. This in turn creates a shortage of food for the organisms above them on the food chain, causing them to potentially starve.
The issue of environmental degradation is not an isolated problem. In fact, it connects to many other issues that are prevalent in today’s society. One such issue is the preservation of endangered species. As species ecosystems are being crippled, the danger of species becoming extinct becomes very real in some cases. Another huge modern day issue is the problem of global warming. The problem of pollution also connects to global warming, and the increase in greenhouse gases that will trap heat on the planet’s surface. To take it a step further, because of greenhouse gases causing increased temperature, there is the possibility of new regulations being imposed that would constrain producers within a set of rules designed to reduce greenhouse gases, thereby affecting the economy.
Environmental degradation is a huge threat that our communities face today, more than at any other time in history. As such, people need to be aware of what they can do to prevent environmental degradation at every turn. If the planet continues to degrade, then our whole way of life could potentially be challenged.
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