Top 10 Major Environmental Issues.

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Top 10 Major Environmental Issues.

* Not necessarily in precise order of importance:

No.1 Global Warming & Climate Change.

Global warming threatens to melt polar ice caps, displace people from coastal cities and tropical islands, and may be reaching a critical tipping point that could affect the ultimate survival of the human race.

 

 

 

No.2 Creating Clean Renewable Energy.

The challenge for the human race in the 21st century is to clean up or replace the burning of “dirty” fossil fuels that fired up the Industrial Revolution which began in the late 18th century.

Unless “clean” renewable energy alternatives are found and introduced quickly our planet risks being turned into an inhospitable, possibly uninhabitable environment.

 

 

No.3 Preventing Ocean Systems Collapse.

Oceans are an essential part Earth’s life support systems providing a huge sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Over 1 billion people around the globe rely them as a source of food.

Some oceans have been over exploited leading to a complete collapse of fishing industries.

In African Somalia this may have been a factor in the regional stability which has led to a food shortages, a break down in law and order, terrorism, and piracy.

Acid rain from industrial pollution is acidifying the seas and killing coral reefs threatening tourism in some areas. Oil spills, ocean dumping and urban chemical runoff are degrading our oceans.

 

 

 

In 1998 a spike up in ocean temperatures killed 70-90% of the Indian Ocean’s and one quarter of the world’s coral.

In his book “Ocean of Life: How Our Seas are Changing” Callum Roberts writes… The world is living on borrowed time. We can’t cheat nature by taking more than is produced indefinitely… at some point, fish stocks will collapse… and there will be no fish to be had at any price.”

No.4 Electronic & Nuclear Waste.

Electronic or “e-waste” is causing massive pollution and health problems as millions of computers, laptops, mobile phones, and TV sets are discarded each year in developed societies and dumped in Third World countries.

The crude recovery processes in these countries are releasing hazardous mercury, lead, heavy metals, and other toxic substances that are killing the workers exposed to them and polluting the environment.

 

 

The disposal of nuclear waste from the world’s 435 nuclear reactors www.euronuclear.org (62 more are currently under construction) will continue to pose a daunting risk well into the future.

Nuclear waste like plutonium-239 remains hazardous for hundreds or thousands of years. Some isotopes remain hazardous for millions of years. The amount of High-Level Waste worldwide is currently increasing at the rate of 12,000 metric tons per year (ref: Wikipedia).

31 countries currently have nuclear reactors. The USA leads with 104, then come France with 58, Japan with 50, Russia with 33, India with 20, South Korea with 23, China/Taiwan with 16/6, and Canada with 18.

 

 

No.5 Inland Water Degradation.

In some developing countries water quality is under threat from rapidly increasing population growth.

Untreated sewage, dumped industrial and chemical waste, residues from medicines, as well as chemical runoff of herbicides and fertilizers are ruining inland waterways.

 

No.6 Resulting Forced Migration.

The United Nations estimated that over 20 million people were displaced in 2008 due to “climate induced sudden-onset natural disasters”… and that there may be up to 200 million forced “environmental migrants” by 2050.

Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Oct 8, 2009.
“While diplomats bicker over global warming, the people of Sudan are bracing themselves for more severe droughts. When they come, agriculture collapses, forcing mass migrations, and conflict over dwindling food and water supplies. Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall travelled to a village in Northern Darfur to take a closer look at the problem”.

 

 

Uploaded by AlJazeera

English on Jul 12, 2011.
“Somali refugees have become the victims of the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in nearly sixty years. Faced with starvation and caught in conflict, thousands of Somalis are fleeing their country and heading for Kenya. They have traveled through harsh conditions with little food or water, and no humanitarian assistance. Many head across the border to northern Kenya into Dadaab refugee camp expecting help. But drought has hit almost every country in the Horn of Africa. Somalis have been fleeing from war for years now, but this is a different kind of exodus. The refugees are forced to leave their land because they risk dying of starvation at home. Nazanine Moshiri reports from Dobley, Somalia”.

 

No.7 The New Land Rush.

The United Nations estimates the world population will reach 9 billion by 2050.

With an estimated 861 million “food-insecure” people in 2011 (ref: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) a new land rush is occurring as nations scramble to secure food supplies and land to grow bio-energy crops for cheaper fuel.

“Slash and burn” practices are devastating forests in some areas at frightening speeds leading to a loss of biodiversity, land degradation and loss of ecosystems.

All that on top of the up to 5 million hectares of productive land lost annually through land degradation and soil erosion (ref: UNEP 2011).

 

 

No.8 Risks from New Technologies.

Uploaded by UFOTV

studios on Oct 26, 2010.

“In the last thirty years global demand for food has doubled. In a race to feed the planet, scientists have discovered how to manipulate DNA, the blueprint of life, and produce what they claim are stronger, more disease-resistant crops.

However, fears that Genetically Modified Food may not be safe for humans or the environment has sparked violent protest. Are we participating in a dangerous global nutritional experiment?

This informative film helps the viewer decide if the production of genetically modified food is a panacea for world hunger or a global poison”.

 

Published on Jul 23, 2012 by TheBigPictureRT…
“Jeffrey Smith, Executive Director-Institute for Responsible Technology, leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), author of the books “Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating” and “Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods”.

No.9 Conservation of Bio-Diversity.

“Biodiversity also plays an important role in a whole range of other ecosystem services, such as the production of food, the control of disease, flood regulation, coastal protection, crop pollination, and recreational benefits”…. United Nations Environment Progamme 2011.

Currently protected areas (with varying degrees of protection) only cover around 14% of Earth’s land area, and only about 6% of the seas and oceans.

 

 

No.10 Connecting Science & Policy.

Policy makers need to have a high level of confidence in the science presented to them before acting on decisions that may be costly and unpopular with some sections of the community.

Politicians, government officials, and many of the general public are more likely to act out of self interest rather than worry about major environmental issues affecting their planet. Much easier to let future generations worry about the problem… something they most certainly won’t thank us for.

Politicians are more focused on getting re-elected at the end of their term rather than difficult long term ecological or environmental issues.

And unfortunately, too many people aren’t ready to face such unpalatable issues unless they themselves are affected. Too many prefer to go about their daily business with the attitude that the plain speaking Australians describe as… “bugger you Jack, I’m alright!”

 

 

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