It is trite that the most constant thing is change. Indeed, the world caught in the web of this trite philosophy, remains ever dynamic, susceptible to changes commonly caused by two major influencers; man, and nature, with the environment being either a victim or a beneficiary of these constant changes. We live in an environmentally changing world. The Earth’s environment consists mainly of the atmosphere, biosphere, stratosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere, and there is no doubt that each is affected by the continuous wave of change engulfing the environment, seeing that they are components of the environment.
The pertinent question or observation to determine is whether or not these changes are having a positive or adverse effect on our environment and ecosystem, or are doing more harm, than good in the environment.
This essay therefore begins by attempting to define the meaning of environmental change. It also ponders on what is changing in the environment. It then goes ahead to examine the drivers or the causes of such change, and concludes by proffering recommendations on what to change, in an environmentally changing world, as the analysis would come to the conclusion that the changes earlier stated, are mostly geared towards the negative path.
THE MEANING OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE
Environment in simple terms means the surroundings in which living organisms live. Wikipedia defines an environmental change as a variation in the environment, whose cause is either by humans, or natural ecological processes.
WHAT IS CHANGING IN THE ENVIRONMENT?
The Earth’s environment has undergone changes over the years, which has affected the lithosphere, atmosphere, biosphere and the hydrosphere, which make up the natural environment.
Although, most of these changes facilitated development, development itself comes at a price, as it becomes an issue of great concern, when such changes is plunging the environment into a state of adverse consequences.
World Health Organisation (WHO) had in 2005 given a millennium ecosystem assessment that some noticeable changes in the environment are, the climate change, the depletion in the ozone layer, changes in ecosystems due to loss of biodiversity, land degradation and so on.
In regards to the atmosphere for example, wikipedia describes the atmosphere as the set of gases, surrounding a planet. Due to global warming, the atmosphere has been affected, in that it has resulted in the increase of the temperature of the atmosphere. The pollutants which trap the heat leading to the rise of temperature in the atmosphere are known as greenhouse gases,
Melissa Denchak (2019) stated that when there is an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, it leads to an increase in Earth’s natural greenhouse effect, paving way to the risk of global warming.
On its own, without the interruption of the influence of drivers of environmental change, the greenhouse effect is beneficial to Earth, as it helps to keep the planet warm enough with an average of 59 degrees Fahrenheit.
THE DRIVERS OR CAUSES OF THE CHANGE IN THE ENVIRONMENT
The rapid change in the environment is influenced by two major factors; natural factors and the anthropogenic factors.
The natural factors cause changes which affect the environment, which most often than not, man have no control over, as such changes are induced by nature. Natural hazards like drought, floods, storms, earthquakes, hurricanes and so on, can adversely affect the environment’s makeup, and ecosystem.
Amy Harris (2018) explained in an article retrieved from https://sciencing.com/natural-changes-can-affect-ecosystem-6777.html that droughts extended over a period of time, can lead to potential risk of fire outbreak, which can reduce a forest ecosystem.
As retrieved from https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/environmental-chganges (Encyclopedia.com) the natural factors can cause changes in climate. Illustratively speaking, the information was provided that the significant variation of nature in regards to the geographical distribution of energy from the sun, and the accumulation of greenhouse gases have affected the climate, in undergoing a transition from cold ages to a more warmer climate.
There is also the anthropogenic factors, which are man-made factors. In other words, humans are regarded as the anthropogenic influencers or causes of change in the environment, due to the resultant effect of their activities.
Greenhouse emissions, gas flaring, deforestation, rapid killing of wildlife. These anthropogenic activities have a direct influence on the environment. In fact, human activities are deemed to be the major cause of change in the environment, as some of these activities affect even nature itself.
In regards to deforestation for example, which if done continuously, will lead to desertification, it is quite obvious that man’s constant felling of trees is endangering the environment, thereby causing disability in nature, because, turning felling of trees to a habitual activity, affects the fertility of the soil.
Deforestation can also increase the possibility of the occurrence of natural hazards like droughts and floods. Because plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, when there are only few trees left due to deforestation, the carbon dioxide not used up will accumulate in the atmosphere, which will lead to global warming.
Another example of an anthropogenic activity is gas flaring, which is one of the causes of global warming, as it releases methane, which affects the atmosphere. Gas flaring is an air pollutant.
WHAT SHOULD WE CHANGE?
Change in the environment is like an evolution, developing for the better, and also for the worse. With this understanding and in pursuance to what have been stated above, what should we change? we should change what is likely, or has been causing adverse effect to the environment, and our ecosystem.
If two major causes of change is the anthropogenic and natural factors, and over the years, these factors have more often than not, affected the environment in the negative light, what we need to change is very simple. We need a reverse method, where the two major influencers of these change can be directed to give a positive change this time around. Nature can manipulated, navigating towards the desired change for development.
However, the major work rests on the anthropogenic factor. It rests on Man.
As the anthropogenic influencers of change in the environment, we should change the anthropogenic actions and inactions that cause severe impacts in our environment.
For example, the human activity of deforestation, needs to be limited, and if it is inevitable to totally stop the felling of trees, the habit of planting new trees as a replacement is crucial.
There is also the need to address the issue of gas flaring, as it endangers the environment in general. How do we address this issue? we consider alternative solutions to it.
Azeez Aregbe (2017) in his Article on ‘Natural Gas Flaring- Alternative Solutions’ suggested that one of the alternative solutions to prevent gas flaring, is by liquefying the gas, and storing them in containers as liquid natural gas.
Conclusively, if active steps are taken to implement some of the above recommendations, we would be making changes that would save the environment from destruction.
Azeez, G. (2017). Natural gas flaring-alternative solutions. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/30796738
Amy Harris (2018) Natural changes that can affect an ecosystem. Retrieved from: https://sciencing.com/natural-changes-can-affect-ecosystem-6777.html