Introduction

Some may say that we, the people that inhabit the Earth, are currently enduring an environmental crisis. New technology has allowed scientists to observe, record, and store data about many natural aspects of the planet. There are many benefits to being so technologically advanced; however, scientists have made some unfortunate discoveries about the state of our planet. Of course, we are aware the environment is always changing but recently it hasn’t been for the better.

There are a variety of environmental issues that have been brought to attention during this crisis. Terms such as Pollution, Global Warming, Overpopulation, Natural Resource Depletion, Improper Waste Disposal, Deforestation, Climate Change, Loss of Biodiversity, Ocean Acidification, Ozone Layer Depletion are just a few of the environmental concerns currently effecting the planet. Here are some general definitions gathered from Google and the Webster Dictionary that will help highlight the differences in these environmental issues. On this blog, there will be many posts regarding these topics.

  • Pollution: the presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance or thing that has harmful or poisonous effects. If these substances naturally occur in the environment, they are considered “pollutants” when they exceed its natural levels.

Image result for smog

Smog is an effect of pollution.

  • Global Warming: a gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and other pollutants. Global warming has a variety of negative effects on the planet such as ozone layer depletion and climate change.
  • Overpopulation: the condition of having a population so dense as to cause environmental deterioration, an impaired quality of life, or a population crash.
  • Natural Resource Depletion: consumption of a resource faster than it can be replenished.
  • Improper Waste Disposal: hazardous household waste, or HHW, can result in contaminated wastewater treatment facilities or septic systems, physical injuries to sanitation workers, and unexpected releases of toxins and environmental pollution.
  • Deforestation: action or process of clearing large amounts of trees from a forest area.
  • Climate Change: a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.
  • Loss of Biodiversity: imbalance or depletion of certain species of plants or animals in an area or on the whole planet attributed to climate change, deforestation, and mankind.
  • Ocean Acidification: refers to a reduction in the pH of the ocean over an extended period of time, caused primarily by uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.
  • Ozone Layer Depletion: reduction of the amount of ozone in the stratosphere.

 

With this, there have been several companies and agencies that are working to asses these issues. Based out of the United States of America, The Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, and Friends of Earth work for a variety of causes. In addition, the U.S Government has many agencies under the Environmental Protection Department that set regulations to protect the Earth and the citizens. The most common agency known is the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States (EPA). The EPA was founded by Richard Nixon in late 1970. Also, the Council of Environmental Quality, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration handle different aspects of environmental protection and energy conservation. In addition, most states have their own agencies and councils that are responsible for regulating wildlife, water, energy, and agriculture.

Image result for bp oil spill

Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill

Environmental crisis:

What: Deepwater Horizon oil spill

When: April, 20th, 2010

Where:  Gulf of Mexico

Who: Transocean and British Petroleum

Also, known as the biggest oil spill in history, in April of 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil rig suffered an explosion which caused thousands of barrels of oil to contaminate the Gulf of Mexico. Here is a detailed article with more information on the catastrophic event.

Consequently, the Earth is suffering from many environmental issues due to mankind. There are so many things we can do to help decrease the negative effects. Simple actions like recycling, turning off electrical appliances when not in use, and conserving water are just a few things we all are able to do daily. Its critical to take these problems seriously. Ignoring these problems lead to severe consequences for the future of our generation and generations to come. It is up to us to lead the change and do as much as we can on an individual and global level to help correct or reduce these problems. In addition, there are a select group of nations that are contributing more so than other countries to certain environmental issues. For example, in the United States most people own cars and drive alone in those cars. While the luxury of owning their own car can be convenient, it is significantly contributing to the high levels of carbon dioxide occupying the air.  These harmful issues will affect people around the globe; therefore, it is imperative for the nations to come together and work to assess these problems.

 

3 thoughts on “Introduction

  1. My mom and I are obsessed with recycling, so I have always felt strongly about conserving the planet. Recently, a few of my friends told me that they do not recycle because they don’t believe that Global Warming is occurring. This outraged me and I immediately took all of the plastic bottles out of the trash and recycled them as I proceeded to lecture them on the importance of recycling.

    I also still remember the 2010 oil spill vividly. Even though I was young, I knew how horrible the situation was. I felt especially bad for all of the wildlife living in the water, as their environment had just been destroyed and many of them would face serious health issues, if not death.

  2. I think this is one of the issues where it is really easy for people to think that they aren’t the ones that are causing the harm or that they aren’t able to do anything. Pollution is such a big one. As you mentioned, people that drive cars are contributing to the increase in air pollution. But there are very easy ways to decrease your harmful impact on the world around. I think this issue has been getting more attention in recent years, especially here at Penn State, recycling is so big here, and it’s a really great thing. I am glad that there are so many agencies that are devoted to helping the environment because as you said, this is our world and our children’s world and if we don’t take care of it now, things are only going to be worse in the future.

  3. I really respect the idea of this blog page. I feel like it is very important to highlight the key things that are wrong with the functioning of this world, especially if it is due to human error. We have not been the greatest helpers in preserving the beauty of this world, and it is slightly terrifying. People should be 100 times more responsive on how to approach these problems than they are now.
    This blogs seems very interesting and I look forward to reading more in depth about the different problems in our environment!
    As a side note, I think it would be really interesting to also read some of your ideas on how to preserve this planet as well!

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