Created on October 30, 2020
THE ENVIRONMENT: The biggest global environmental problems we are facing
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The biggest global environmental problems
According to the World Health Organization, as much as 90% of humans breathe polluted air. Therefore, it is very important to reduce air pollution in order to have less respiratory illnesses, which kill seven million people a year. Another important issue is contaminated water, which can cause major health problems and is responsible for five million deaths a year. The United Nations proposes measures such as treating more wastewater, reducing the use of chemicals, and not dumping harmful chemicals or materials in water.
According to the United Nations carbon dioxide emissions have increased by almost 50% since 1990. The global warming which occurs due to carbon dioxide emissions is speeding up climate change, and poses a huge threat to the survival of humans, plants, and animals because it causes extreme meteorological events such as fires, floods, and droughts to occur more and more frequently. In order to protect ourselves and our planet, we need to take steps to reduce the effects of climate change and adapt to the consequences of it because even if we control global warming, the effects of climate change will continue for years.
Global warming is responsible for the frequent and increasingly severe hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, fires, floods, and more that we experience. In order to reduce the number of these devastating meteorological events, we need to keep temperatures stable, and learn how to respond to climate emergencies more effectively.
Biodiversity is crucial to our planet. Every living thing plays an important role in our world and in keeping it balanced. However, due to destruction of habitats, poaching, and invasive species, 8% of known animal species have gone extinct and 22% more are at risk of extinction. The United Nations says we need to end these threats to biodiversity, particularly by protecting our threatened forests. These forests are usually threatened by human activity, such as cutting down forests to make more room for livestock. This is just one reason why having a plant-based diet can help the environment.
The way we produce and consume food is very harmful to the environment. Intensive, large-scale food production harms the environment by damaging the soil and hurting marine ecosystems. The overexploitation of our natural resource threatens our access to food and clean drinking water. The chemicals used in farming can make their way into rivers, lakes, and oceans and damage the ecosystems. According to the United Nations, we need to change our food habits and the way we produce food. It would be beneficial if we had more plant-based diets, as raising livestock takes an enormous amount of land and water. In fact, 1 pounds of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water to produce. Furthermore, it would be helpful if we ate more local foods, as transporting food in trucks around the country causes more carbon dioxide emissions.
The ocean has been seriously affected by human activity and global warming. The oceans suffer from environmental issues such as damaged ecosystems due to global warming, and the dumping of wastewater, pollutants, and oil spills. The oceans have also become, unfortunately, waste dumps for plastic. The United Nation advocates for managing protected areas better, stopping overfishing, reducing pollution, and trying to reduce the acidification of the ocean which is caused by global warming.
60% of global greenhouse gas emissions are from energy. However, according to the United Nations, 13% of the population lacks access to electricity and 3 billion people depend on fossil fuels for cooking. To remedy this situation, we need an energy transition to a renewable energy source that will be cleaner, more accessible, and more sustainable.
More than 40% of the population is affected by water scarcity. According to the World Economic Forum, agriculture is responsible for more than 70% of the water used in the world’s driest countries. This is another reason why we need to reevaluate our food production and consumption habits. For example, it takes 1,900 gallons of water to grow a pound of almonds. It takes 660 gallons of water to produce a burger. We need to use our water resources responsibly in order to slow climate change and protect our water ecosystems.
Iberdrola Corporativa. “The Big Global Environmental Issues We Need to Resolve by 2030.” Iberdrola, Iberdrola,