Friday, January 31, 2020

Ecological Evaluation of Environmental Problems Essay Example for Free

Ecological Evaluation of Environmental Problems Essay Biodiversity refers to the abundance of life forms (bio means life, diversity means variety or assortment). This includes different animals, plants and micro-organisms. The ecosystem where these living organisms belong, as well as their genetic make-up, is also part of biodiversity. Wide biodiversity is advantageous to species development as there will be various interactions going on among the different species. Among the most bio-diverse ecosystems are rainforests and aquatic ecosystems. Both land and water species can be found in these habitats. The existence, however, of these ecosystems are becoming endangered as a lot of human activities negatively impact these ecosystems. Forest destruction has been an existing issue for the longest time. Pollution – air and water – is also one of the most common problems different ecosystems and the environment itself are facing. Human activities also cause global warming which is not healthy for all living creatures. These things that people do to our environment can definitely be prevented and avoided. We can start by stopping the use of substances with chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which were identified as harmful to the ozone layer. This simple deed can help decrease the effects of global warming to the environment. Local governments should also enforce strict laws against forest destruction. Environmentalists can also start a campaign on reforestation to help rebuild destroyed forests and natural habitats. Maintaining biodiversity is important in human sustainability. Each life form is beneficial to one another. Plants are the producers in the food chain. Some primary and secondary consumers are also taken by humans as food, which is our main source of energy. Continuous destruction of the ecosystems leads to the decrease in these food sources. Thus, preserving the ecosystems and maintaining biodiversity should be seriously considered by everyone. Acid deposition starts with the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Burning of these fuels produces nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide which are considered air pollutants. Volcanic eruptions can also emit these pollutants. When the nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides get released to the atmosphere, chemical transformation happens and sulfuric and nitric acid compounds are produced. These compounds make the air acidic. Eventually, these acidic compounds fall to the surface of the Earth – the process called â€Å"acid deposition†. Deposition can happen in wet or dry form. Wet deposition occurs when the nitric acid and sulfuric acid compounds are transported with rain, fog, or snow. When these compounds are carried as fine particles by the wind, it is called dry deposition. Acid deposition cause severe damages to the ecosystem. Fish species found in lakes affected by acid deposition tend to disappear. Other aquatic resources in lakes and rivers tend to either disappear or die which creates an imbalance to aquatic ecosystems. Acidification also changes phytoplankton composition. Likewise, acid deposition also affects forests by killing a lot of trees due to the acidic compounds settling onto these life forms. This is evident in most forests where there are copper and nickel refineries nearby. This environmental problem can also trigger asthma and some bronchial infections to humans. The effect may not be seen immediately and may take years before it can be realized. In order for us to minimize the cases of acid deposition is to have a global initiative of reducing emission of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides which cause air pollution. Educating the entire world population of this phenomenon can be a good start. Factories and industrial plants burning fossil fuels should try to research and find other earth-friendly alternatives to those harmful chemicals. Cultural eutrophication is the accelerated aging of aquatic ecosystems, especially lakes, through man-made activities. Eutrophication is the natural process of aging of lakes which is characterized by an increase in the growth of algae and aquatic weeds. Eutrophication rate is determined by how fast the lake gets sediments and nutrients from the watershed, and this naturally occurs over a long period of time. However, if the lake is located in an urbanized area or developed region, eutrophication speeds as there is definitely higher number of sediments and nutrients getting into the lake. This is when natural eutrophication becomes cultural eutrophication. The increased sediments and nutrients, which are mainly phosphorous, usually come from road sand, oil, lawn fertilizers, gas, salt and organic matter being transported to the lake through stormwater or groundwater. Inefficient septic systems can also cause cultural eutrophication. This environmental phenomenon can be prevented through continuous monitoring of the local government. Environmental officials should identify the cause of the cultural eutrophication and determine where the increased sediments are coming from. Once this is identified, measures to prevent these nutrients and sediments from getting into the lake could be placed and enforced. Global warming, from the term itself, is the continuous increase in the temperature of our planet. Global warming is mainly caused by increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, ozone and methane forms a gaseous blanket around the Earth. This blanket traps the heat which is responsible for making the Earth warm; else our planet’s temperature would be well over 60 degrees colder. Global warming becomes an environmental issue because the gaseous blanket is getting thicker and thicker over the years which make the Earth’s temperature extra hot. The increase in greenhouse gases which causes global warming is due to burning of fossil fuels, agricultural byproducts, industrial processes, waste disposal and treatment among others. By the year 2100, Earth’s temperature will rise by 3 °C to 5 °C and sea levels will rise by 25 meters, at least, because of global warming. This would mean an increase in the occurrence of heat waves, floods, tornadoes and drought. Agricultural yields will be low due to these extreme weather conditions. Diseases will also spread easily. Global warming is already a known issue. The only thing that we have to do is to make significant changes in the way we do things like the use of fuels contributing to the increase of greenhouse gases. Little things can help curtail the effects of global warming such as changing filament light bulbs to fluorescent bulbs, making sure the refrigerator and freezer doors are always shut properly, and other measures of conserving electricity. This will not only help save the Earth from global warming, it will also help you save money due to less electricity consumption. Electricity is the most common form of energy people use daily. Currently, electricity is being generated mainly by burning fossil fuels. We all know from the above discussions that fossil fuel combustion creates air pollutants that contribute to acid deposition and global warming – in short, environmental destruction. If this way of using energy continuous, we would be in danger of losing a healthy planet to live in a hundred years. Another danger of this is not having enough fossil fuels to use in the future as this is not a renewable source of energy. Fossil fuels such as coal and oil can be depleted because there can only be as much of them in our planet. In order for us to prevent global environmental destruction, we should all try to use sustainable energy in order for us to have reserves in the future. Examples of sustainable energy are renewable sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and wave power among others. Power plants and electric companies should slowly convert their electricity generating processes to one of these in order to lessen the waste pollutants of fuel combustion. Big companies may also want to initiate a study if its facilities and offices would run on self-built solar power. Other than the big savings, it will definitely help in reducing the number of fossil fuel electricity consumers.

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