Whether or not you believe in global warming, we can all agree that there are things that harm the environment that are most definitely not fake news. Some of these are things we learned about when we were very little, and some are things we’ve grown more conscious of as adults. See below for 5 environmental problems that affect us all, and small steps you can take to make a difference.
5 Environmental Problems That Aren’t Fake News
The World Health Organization's (WHO) latest report cites air pollution as a major environmental problem that's affecting the lives of people globally. According to WHO, more than 91% of the world's population doesn't have access to air quality that falls within the recommended guidelines. Pollution contributes to more than 4.2 million deaths annually. Main sources of air pollution include greenhouse gas emissions from modern forms of transportation, industrial facilities and factories, and large cities. You can help combat air pollution by switching to renewable energy sources.
Water pollution affects not only the lives of humans but also animals and local flora. It contributes to environmental effects such as red tides and the overgrowth of algae, preventing plants that rely on local water sources from fully developing, and can endanger the lives of humans. The World Health Organization cites that over 2 billion people worldwide don't have access, or easy access, to clean drinking water. This can lead to the spread of disease, and even poisoning, among those who drink unclean water. To do your part in your community, participate in local cleanups and avoid throwing trash into bodies of water.
Remember those signs on the side of the highway that read "Fine for Littering"? It's because human littering is a leading source of waste that causes huge environmental problems. People throw plastic cups on the ground, dump chemicals at sites that aren't approved, or improperly dispose of old electronics. These items never make their way to recycling stations, or even to landfills, but instead run off into waterways contaminating drinking sources, or get stuck in the ground avoiding the decomposition process for years. Always keep your trash with you until you reach a garbage receptacle, and look up your local ordinances regarding chemical and electronic disposal.
The Depletion of Natural Resources
Just because they're natural doesn't mean they're unlimited. Humans are consuming natural resources such as fossil fuels and products of deforestation at higher rates than ever before. Soon, we may be left without enough fuel to meet our current needs or without enough trees to offset our CO2 output. To do your part, switch to renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power, and help plant some shrubs or trees. Even just a little bit can help make a difference.
The world depends on a complex and diverse Ecosystem to maintain proper balance. Every being, from the largest animal on earth down to the tiniest micro-organism plays a vital role in supporting each other so the world can go round. Once one species goes extinct, it creates a domino effect, and others are put in even more danger. This includes plants and animals alike. Example: Flowers and plants rely on bees for pollination, and the plants then serve as a source of food for other animals. Without the bees, the flowers can't survive, and without the flower, the animals that eat them can't either. It creates a chain reaction. To do your part, heed local and national labels of endangered species. Don't hunt or hurt these animals.