For decades, we have faced many abuses and environmental problems around the world. These abuses include mining, illegal logging and deforestation, improper disposal of waste from factories and other infrastructure, and other challenging environmental problems. On top of that, we also had previous huge wildfires on the continents, like Australia and California this year, which burned acres of forests and endangered the lives of wild animals.
According to DW Zimmermann, 2016, five of the world’s biggest environmental problems are: (1) Air pollution and climate change; (2) Deforestation; (3) extinction of species; (4) Soil degradation; and (5) overpopulation.
Air pollution and climate change
There is air pollution when the atmosphere or the air we breathe is filled with a higher level of CO2 or carbon dioxide than oxygen or any other gas. This CO2 came mainly from the burning of factories, the burning of coal and fossil fuels, and other industrial activities that contribute to the increasing number of parts per million (ppm) that went from 280, 200 years ago to around 400 ppm today. . The result: climate disruption.
In 2012, the World Health Organization estimated that one in nine deaths in 2012 was attributable to diseases caused by carcinogens and other poisons in polluted air.
Solution: Replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. Change industrial processes.
Today, about 30 percent of the planet’s land is covered by forests, which is about half what it was before agriculture began 11,000 years ago. Approximately 7.3 million hectares of forest are destroyed each year, mainly in the tropics. Now only 6 to 7 percent of tropical forests cover the planet’s land surface, which used to be 15 percent.
Solution: Deforest and restore what remains of natural forest.
Both on land and in water, species were hunted legally and illegally. On land, wild animals are being hunted near extinction for bushmeat, ivory, or for medicinal purposes. At sea, huge fishing boats wiped out vast fishing populations. Habitat loss and destruction is also a contributing factor to mass extinction.
Solution: Restore habitats and call for government action to prevent further extinction of endangered species.
Overgrazing, monoculture planting, erosion, overexposure to pollutants, land use conversion and a long list of ways that cause damage to the soil. Almost 12 million hectares of agricultural land a year are severely degraded, according to UN estimates.
The human population continues to grow rapidly throughout the world. Out of 1.6 billion people who entered the 20th century, we are now about 7.5 billion. Estimates put us at nearly 10 billion by 2050. World population growth, combined with rising wealth, is putting increasing pressure on essential natural resources, both on land and in water. Most of the growth is occurring on the African continent and in South and East Asia.
Solution: Family planning and 2-3 children can be applied for each family. Accessibility of education, especially for girls in tropical regions.
Among those five major environmental problems in the world, there are still many minor problems that we face today such as: water pollution, improper waste disposal, poor drainage system, mining, and a long list of environmental abuses.
In the Philippines, its rich biodiversity is threatened primarily by human activities, including deforestation and forest degradation, illegal fishing, and illegal wildlife trade.
Despite the abuses of our environment, we are fortunate to have many social groups and environmental activists who fight for the protection and conservation of our environment.
We had the famous Greta Thunberg, a 17-year-old Swedish environmental activist who has earned international recognition for promoting the view that humanity is facing an existential crisis stemming from climate change. He also published several books that promote the protection and conservation of the environment and among others such as: “No one is too small to make a difference”, “Scenes from the heart, Greta Thunberg (I know this is true): On the truth, the courage and saving our planet (Brittanica Whang, 2020).
She urges everyone, especially young people, to speak out for climate change and other environmental issues. Today, he has already gained a huge following around the world, marching to save our planet.
In the Philippines, environmental activist Gina López had accomplished many environmental-related works, such as cleaning up at least 17 tributaries in the heavily polluted Pasig River and nearby streams, when she chaired the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission and led Save Palawan. Island movement.
López ordered the closure of 23 mines and many others to deny or suspend their operations. It also canceled 75 mine contracts that it said posed a threat to nearby water supplies.
However, in August 2019, Gina died, aged 65, of multiple organ failure after losing the battle with brain cancer. Many mourned her, at best the ABS-CBN Foundation, a social development organization of which she was president for many years (Nytimes Gutierrez, 2019).
Today, the Philippines is considered the second deadliest country for environmental activists according to last year’s report with 34 murders. Columbia with 64 first classified murders (Bernanews Espina, 2020).
On the other hand, you don’t have to join any environmental group to be recognized for your efforts as an “environmentalist.” You can still make a big difference on your own just by knowing and doing what is right for our environment. Simply put, segregate your garbage from biodegradable to non-biodegradable, clean gutters and drainage system, plant trees, save water and electricity, and other environmental activities. Consider this thought, your efforts today are the future of our next generation. And together with our little ways we can make a difference. Protect our mother nature, today and in the future.
Do something good, no one will be able to see or recognize it, but future generations will.