Major Environmental Issues in today's world need urgently to be addressed and resolved if we want our children to inherit an ecologically friendly and stable planet.
The problem going forward is to bridge the divide between proven science and politics. Governments too often act out of political expedience or self interest, rather than doing what is right or necessary.
And human nature being what it is, many people on this planet who are presently comfortable and unaffected by any of these major environmental issues will choose to ignore them until some Social Tipping Point occurs in the form of a global catastrophe to make them wise up.
* 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.
A comprehensive explanation of Climate Change and Global warming can be found at www.globalissues.org.Uploaded July 10, 2012 by ABC News.
Major Environmental Issues ... 1. Global Warming.
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.
Published Sept 15 2010 by NRDCflix.
Major Environmental Issues ... 2. Clean Renewable Energy.
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.
Uploaded by ICC Foundation May 21 2012.
Published June 22 2006 by oceanaorg... Ted Danson narrator.
Major Environmental Issues ... 3. Ocean Systems Collapse.
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.
Published January 18 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish.
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.
Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish April 4 2012... in Chilyabinsk, Russian Siberia.
Major Environmental Issues ... 4. "e" & Nuclear waste.
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.Published May 19 2009 by ReutersVideo... Dhaka's life-line is dying. The Buriganga river around Bangladesh's capital is now one of the most badly polluted on Earth.
Major Environmental Issues ... 5. Inland Water Degradation.
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.Published October 8 2009 by AlJazeeraEnglish.
Major Environmental Issues ... 6. Forced Migration.
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).Published October 19 2011 by GreenpeaceVideo.
Major Environmental Issues ... 7. New Land Rush.
No.8 Risks from New Technologies.Published October 26 2010 by UFOTVstudios.
Global demand for food has doubled in the past 30 years. In a desperate race to feed the planet, scientists manipulate plant DNA, the blue-print of life, in an effort to produce disease resistant, stronger crops.
However, some scientists fear that Genetically Modified Food may prove harmful to humans and the environment, sparking fears this may be a dangerous global experiment.
Major Environmental Issues ... 8. Risks from New Technologies.
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.
Published February 8 2009 by mamoralesm
Shows how Conservation International (CI) identifies and prioritises where to concentrate their conservation strategies around the globe.
Major Environmental Issues ... 9. Conservation of Bio-Diversity.
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!"Uploaded by KPBSSanDiego June 13 2012... Peter Frumhoff (Director of Science & Policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists) shares his concerns.
Major Environmental Issues ... 10. Connecting Policy & Science.
"The Arctic ice cap is in a death spiral... On average it is now about 0.8m thick, compared with 5m when I first went in 1976. One or two warm summers could melt it away... within five years or so we could be seeing an ice-free Arctic for up to four months in the summer, and much thinner ice for the rest of the year too."
... Professor Peter Wadhams,
(ocean physics Cambridge University),
The SUNDAY TIMES Sept 22, 2014.
"The collapse of this sector of West Antarctica appears unstoppable. The fact that the retreat is happening simultaneously over a large sector suggests it was triggered by a common cause, such as an increase in the amount of ocean heat beneath the floating sections of the glaciers."
... Prof. Eric Rignot (University California, Irvine ),
NASA Study... The Australian May 14, 2014.
* Two new NASA reports say the point of no return has been reached in the long-term collapse of some glaciers.
"Between 1979 and 2012, we have a decline of 13 per cent per decade in the sea ice, accelerating from 6 per cent between 1979 and 2000. If this trend continues, we will have no sea ice by the end of this decade."
... Wieslaw Maslowski, oceanographer
U.S. Naval Postgraduate School
AFP September 2012.
"We are in a planetary emergency... (regarding) the gap between what is understood by the scientific community and what is known by the public."
... James Hansen, NASA climate expert
AFP September 2012.
Major Environmental Issues ... 10. Connecting Policy & Science.
The Internet Revolution, Globalization, and the Global Financial Crisis created the perfect storm... Old Business models are being destroyed and jobs are disappearing offshore at an astonishing rate. Analysts warn that "China and India are poised to out-think us and out-compete us by their sheer numbers" and that "there is no job security now".
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Who Ate My Lunch?