In the year 1800 the human population on earth reached 1 billion. In 200 years, the population soared to 6 billion (Berg & Hager, Chapter 1, 2009). With industrialization and technologies developed in those 200 years, humans have been depleting the earth’s natural resources at an alarming rate. Environmental science is the branch of science concerned with the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the environment and their effect on organisms (“Dictionary. com”, 2013).
Knowing and understanding the environment and what can be done to sustain it will help humans survive on this planet without destroying it more. Science and technology can go hand in hand when it comes to affecting the environment. Science enables humans to understand how things work, what the affect may be, and how it can be fixed. Technology can be used to improve the way things are done in order to protect the environment. Sometimes technology does not take into account scientific facts and actually cause a problem.
The same can be said of science. Science may not apply the latest technology to an issue and will not reap the best rewards. Environmental sustainability is only using what is needed on an individual, regional, national, and global level so that the environment will function indefinitely without going into a decline from the stresses that human society imposes on natural systems (Berg & Hager, Chapter 1, 2009). This concept is very important because sustaining the earth and all it has to offer is the key to human life.
Food, shelter, air, and water are essential to human life. Without figuring out how to stabilize the environment in order to sustain these needs, all life will fail. Once man figured out how to mine coal, oil, and natural gas, these resources have been drastically depleted to keep up with demand. Many forests all over the world have been leveled for wood to build houses, space for housing, and farming. The population of the earth is ever increasing and the resources of the earth are decreasing rapidly.
Throughout history, some humans have realized that preserving land and its animal inhabitants is important, so many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have been established. With modern technology, humans have figured out better, more ecofriendly ways of obtaining their essential needs. Modern technology also implores people to be on top and only have the best. Social media depicts the latest and greatest gadgets and gismos and entices people to buy them. People in developed countries consume much more than people in underdeveloped countries.
Excess is best and with high populations, this leads to overconsumption. The more people consume, the more pollution is generated, which the earth one day will not be able to handle. Air pollution is one of the biggest environmental hazards humans face. Emissions from cars, factories, and other forms of transportation cause the most pollution. Air quality in bigger cities has diminished, which has cause asthma, bronchitis, and other ailments. Air pollution has also caused greenhouse gasses to increase, which has had a negative effect on the ozone layer.
The ozone layer is slowly being depleted which allows the sun’s harmful rays to penetrate the atmosphere more. The global temperature has increased because of this and has caused sea levels to rise, seasons to be off kilter, and strange weather patterns to emerge. Every year, things seem to get worse. Deforestation is another environmental hazard that has a huge impact on humans. Deforestation occurs when all the trees in a large area are cut down. The trees are used for human consumption such as housing and wooden wears. The space created is used for some human activity such as housing or farming.
By cutting down mass quantities of tress, humans are lessening their available oxygen supply. Air quality goes down when the oxygen supply decreases. Also, by cutting down many trees in one area, whole ecosystems are being whipped out. Many animals, insects, and other creatures are losing their homes and cannot survive in other areas. These creatures could benefit the human race by being a key to unlocking cures for diseases but these discoveries will never be made because the homes of these creatures are being destroyed. By clear-cutting whole ecosystems, humans are destroying some of the diversity on earth.
In 200 years the world population jumped from 1 billion to 6 billion. It is now 2013 and the population has reached another billion in just 13 years. At this rate of population growth, the earth will not be able to sustain life indefinitely without human research and technology. Consumption needs to level off and so does the population. Some of the burden to provide for humans needs to be taken off the earth. Environmental science and modern technology can be used to go above and beyond what we need to, as a race, if only we try.
Berg, L.R., & Hager, M.C. (2009). Visualizing Environmental Science (2nd ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.
Dictionary.com. (2013). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/environmental+science?s=t