The theme for 2015 is how the well-being of humanity, the environment and economies ultimately depends on the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources.
Many of the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points of irreversible change, pushed by our high population growth and economic development (industrial advancement etc.). According to an article published by UNEP, we will need three planets to sustain our way of living and consumption by the year 2050, if we continue the way we are and if the world population does indeed reach an estimated 9.6 million.
Deforestation is one of the most major environmental issues. Deforestation is the removal of a forest or the cutting down of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use. Something that is happening in areas of the Amazon.
Nontheless, there are other causes of deforestation such as, forest fires where fires burn down hectares of forests worldwide. This is believed to happen because of elevated temperatures in the summer but can also be human related. Illegal and unsustainable logging as well as mining are just two other causes of deforestation.
The effects of deforestation may not seem so serious because it’s not really going on near home but the impact of deforestation on our planet is devastating. It has reduced biodiversity, which has in turn disrupted human life that live off what forests offer them. Did you know that up to one fifth of greenhouse gases are caused by deforestation alone? More carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere, which is adding to the ozone layer and consequently causing global warming – something far more worrying.
“Global Warming” is the single biggest environmental and humanitarian crisis of our time and therefore, something that governments are trying to combat internationally. The enormous build-up of gases forming the ozone layer is trapping heat inside the Earth’s atmosphere, which is leading to drastic climate disruptions with disastrous consequences. Some of which we have been witnesses of.
Scientists have warned that the choices that we make now and in the next few decades will determine how drastic the temperature changes are. There is no certainty as to how fast or how much the Earth’s average temperature will rise.
If we continue to add greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at the current rate, the average temperature around the world could increase by about 4 to 12 degrees by the year 2100.
If we make big changes, like using more renewable resources instead of fossil fuels, the increase will be around 2 to 5° Celsius less.
“To prevent and/ or help decrease the effect of global warming”, we must:
- Limit global warming pollution: Governments from around the world have been working together to create new laws to cut carbon emissions and other laws that require polluters to pay for the greenhouse gases they are produce. An example of this is the London Congestion Charge approved in 2003, which is currently a daily fee (apart from at weekends) of £11.50 for those who wish to drive a vehicle in central London.
- Choose renewable energy: Picking a Green-e-certified energy supplier that generates at least half of its power from wind, solar energy and other clean sources;
- Choose an efficient vehicle: High-mileage cars such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids use less gas and save money. For instance, London now has a fleet of 8 hydrogen fuel buses and the use of electric cars is becoming more and more popular in European countries.
- Drive less: Choose alternatives to driving such as public transit, biking or walking. Not only would you be looking after your health but you would also be looking after the Earth’s health.
To conclude, I believe the environment is very important. We live on an Earth in which if we don’t take care of it, it will die and us with it. We must protect our planet and its environment in order for it survive another billion years yet and for it to home many other generations. But it’s true that personally, I don’t do anything special to help the environment and this is really not good and something that I have to change.