ENVIRONMENTALLY CHANGING WORLD: WHAT SHOULD WE CHANGE?
World environment changes is no longer a preconceived notion by an author; it is what has become visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that, the increasing human population and unsustainable use of natural resources are causing large-scale, rapid changes to our environment. Transformation of materials and energy into products and services to meet human needs and desire has resulted to drastic changes in the environment. Some of the global environmental changes include; climate change, the extinction of species associated with ecological change, degradation of groundwater resources, health impacts of disease pathological changes, forest cover changes.
Natural and anthropogenic changes are often linked and can cause unexpected effects on physical, chemical and biological processes. Even without human influence, nature continues to evolve. Some of these changes occurred over thousands of timescales, for example, the last Ice Age lasted nearly 10,000 years. The Geological period, the average time when we can see the formation of mountains or the movement of continents, takes millions of years. Highlighted by these are the environmental changes caused by human activities, such as global warming, deforestation and agricultural consolidation.
Natural and anthropogenic events can cause climate change. According to Beck (2010), climate change can be considered part of a new set of modern environmental hazards generated by the scientific and technological development process, which is statistically different from the general risks to pre-industrial and industrial societies.
. There has been a steady increase in global temperatures over the past 130 years, which has had a profound effect on a wide variety of climates. It is clear that carbon dioxide (CO2) and Methane are being released into the atmosphere at an alarming rate due to the advent of industrial revolution. There is a spill of oil and burning gas all over the environment. There are oil spillage and gas flaring all over the environment. Fossil fuels burning and deforestation which produce greenhouse gases are on the increase. This phenomenon is termed the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse gases act as a blanket around the earth, threatening the atmosphere. This is the cause of global warming. As a result, global warming has increased by 1.40f over the past 100 years, and another 2 to 11.50f is expected to increase over the next 100 years. (www.epa.gov/climatechange/basics).
While the scientific community recognizes that global warming is characterized by a complex cycle of long-term rotation, the argument is that it may be possible to assess human contribution to the so-called ” greenhouse effect ” and, as such, to realize that the pace of this phenomenon has accelerated since the Industrial Revolution and its inclusion in the Western way of life.
Similarly, global warming could result in melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and other environmental challenges. The formation of greenhouse gases can change the world’s climate and lead to harmful effects on human health, safety, welfare and ecosystems. There are distortions and pollution of the water supply, agriculture, climate, seasons, energy, transport system, and so on. However, it is important to state that, some changes in the climate are inevitable; carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for nearly a century. Therefore, the earth will continue to warm and the warmer the earth, the greater the risk of catastrophic changes in the climate and system of the Earth.
Consequently, the rate of planetary change caused by human activity is also reflected in the changing landscape. Since the eighteenth century, the planet has lost 6million km2 of forest area larger than Europe (Clark, 1989). In addition, the earth’s environment is degraded to the point that its ecological function is damaged. According to a recent study by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) the level of land degradation of vegetation has reached 1964.4 million hectares (17 percent of the world’s land) over the past 45 years, due to overgrazing, deforestation, overuse, and improper agricultural practices and industrial (UNEP, 2019). In Europe, part of the degraded grassland has reached about 23 percent of the total over the same period which has led to the loss of biodiversity and the extinction of other species.
However, the environment would continue to obey Newton law of motion which state that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This implies that the environment will continue to give back equal amount of pollutant released into it in opposite form because energy cannot be created nor destroy but change from one form to another except change evolve.
Thus, in responses to in environmentally changing world: what should we change? It is required that there is a change in human attitude/action towards the environment and to stop seeing environment as their steward if sustainable environment will be attained. Although government intervention plays a major role in environmental management, voluntary behavioral change is also important (Semenza, et al, 2008). Voluntary reductions in energy use depend on awareness and acceptance of global environmental changes such as climate change and global warming. Without understanding and acceptance, public willingness to act and participate in voluntary behavior change will be reduced (Semenza, et al., 2008).). Afforestation, waste minimization and environmental stewardship are positive attitude toward achieving better environment. Change begins with me!
In addition, it has been argued that governments are key actors who play a critical role in defining standards, institutions and appropriate governance practices to address risks at different levels and scales (Ferreira et al. 2016). which is able to balance a variety of local interests with a common future. Beck (2009), in this context, raises the natural need for the current environmental crisis to be reconsidered as the negative effects of industrial production are seen as a result of the deep state of the industrial community. Beck (2009), in this context, raises the natural need for the current environmental crisis to be reconsidered as the negative effects of industrial production are seen as a result of the actions of the industrial community
Finally, it is important to employ decarbonisation technologies and techniques that reduce CO2 emissions, such as renewable energy, fuel conversion, efficiency gains, nuclear power, and the storage and use of carbon. Most of these technologies are well-established and carry an acceptable level of risk management (Ricke et al. 2017). I am strongly convinced that if all this measures are adopted, there is a greater possibility to curtail the rapid global environment changes and in that wise sustainable environment will be obtainable
Beck, U. 2010. Climate for change, or how to create a green modernity? Theory, Culture and Society 27(2–3):254–266. doi:10.1177/0263276409358729
Semenza, J., et al. 2008 a. Public Perception of Climate Change: Voluntary Mitigation and Barriers to Behavior Change. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 35(5):479-487
Ferreira, L.C., F. Barbi, and M. Giesbrecht. 2016. Global environmental changes: environmental policies in China and Brazil. Tempo do Mundo 2(1): 99.
Ricke KL et al (2017) Constraints on global temperature target overshoot. Sci Rep 7:14743. https ://doi.org/10.1038/s4159 8-017-14503 -9
UNEP (2019) Emissions gap report. UN Environment Program, Nairobi.https ://wedoc s.unep.org/bitst ream/handle/20.500.11822/30797 /EGR20 19.pdf?sequence=1&isAll owed=y. Accessed 22 Dec 2019