Miscellaneous / Environmental Issues In North America And The World

Environmental Issues In North America And The World

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Autor:  anton  08 May 2011
Tags:  Environmental,  Issues,  America
Words: 1864   |   Pages: 8
Views: 465

Introduction

North America has been struggling immensely since the last century with air and water pollution, deforestation, and overpopulation. These struggles are due to poor prevention planning and industrial manifestation. Pollution is changing the atmosphere much sooner than expected and global warming is predicted to overwhelm the atmosphere within the next half of a century. In order to sustain the environment and atmosphere humans must take immediate action right now. The longer we wait to start immediate prevention, the sooner our air and water supplies will diminish.

Unfortunately, it is not only North America that needs to change it is many other countries and regions of the world. Prevention and preservation is up to every citizen, business, and government organization by changing the way they all reduce, reuse, and recycle products to change the bad habits humans have been illogically doing in the past century. Taking care of our most precious resources and preserving them for our future generations to come should be one of the top priorities of our time. Preserving water and air, and using smart growth plans are the key to sustaining the needs of the human race. The high economic growth of the United States depends on fast-paced industrializing and manufacturing. This contradicts with scientists who imply that the whole world's actions and plans need to change in order to save most of the species living on the earth today.

Overpopulation and Deforestation

Overpopulation is an issue that not only affects the United States, but the whole world. The more people there are, the more space and resources are used and taken up. This obviously causes shortages in food and water supplies. It also, leaves less room for agricultural production and growth. In the past, the United States and many other countries went overboard on cutting down forests and developing urban communities over wildlife habitats and open land. Due to high economic growth in the United States, the average citizen lives recklessly and carelessly when it comes to pollution prevention. In most areas of the United States there is one person per car driving to work and other leisure activities. This contributes to releasing high amounts of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. There have also, been breakthroughs in technology and planning that would help regulate and keep track of the development plans in large cities where, because of overpopulation, pollution is a significant problem. According to Nahle (2003-2006):

Due to the opening out of human settings, 16 million hectares of forest are chopped down each year. The accelerated growth of the human populations has propitiated the destruction of natural habitats of many species. People are invading the habitats of those species, replacing them to inhospitable places and condemning the native species to the extinction. The speed of extinction of plants and animals attributable to human activities is 10,000 times faster than the natural quotient. About 5 million people die every year from illnesses associated to organic wastes. Too dense human communities produce tons of solid wastes (organic and inorganic waste) daily, consume large quantities of energy and emit more pollutants to the environment. Water necessities will increase to 20% by 2025. Approximately, one half of wetlands around the world have been lost since 1900. In USA, consumption of materials (wood, metals, synthetics, etc.) has grown 18-fold since 1900 (Current Effects of Overpopulation, В¶ 1-7).

These facts show strong evidence that the United States of America is not only using too many resources because of overpopulation, but also overproducing and taking over far too much land causing deforestation. Deforestation comes from urban and business development which gives development and construction companies high profits in the short-term, but has far worse effects and may actually cost more to fix or clean up in the long-term; exactly like mining companies who are not always environmentally cautious by practicing good pollution prevention techniques. Deforestation effects biodiversity which is essential for stabilizing the Earth's environment and atmosphere.

There are a couple solutions to these environmental issues of deforestation and overpopulation. Smart growth is a new technological plan that is incorporated and regulated by both local and state government to manage using land more efficiently. The smart growth plan is consisted of processes such as land acquisition, comprehensive planning, annexation, development caps, and rate allocation. Highly developed architecture can accommodate more people in a smaller amount of space. If the human race continues to over exceed its average population growth each decade we need to utilize smart growth in every area of highly developed countries. Smart growth can help the economy and protect the environment.

The other solution that sounds cruel, but is most likely necessary in the near future is regulation of birth control. There should be a limit to the amount of children per household in developed countries. This can be regulated and could be very beneficial in the future. China has already implemented its own plans to prevent overpopulation. Chinas struggle with overpopulation made them set up plans which have in turn helped to significantly slow the rate of population compared to before and soon will not be the most overpopulated country. Many people of the western mainstream culture may feel that this is cruel. However, if we do not make these changes, the drastically changed atmosphere will have its own revenge on all biodiversity through natural disasters and extreme climate changes.

Air Pollution and Global Warming

The biggest cause of air pollution in North America comes from carbon dioxide emissions. Fossil fuel, electricity, and vehicle technology has been an enormous contribution to the emission of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are gases that attract radiation from the sun into the earth's exterior and its environment. Producing an overabundance of greenhouse gases at a time may dramatically change the atmosphere as we know it today. The ozone layer that protects human beings and many other species of plants and animals from the sun's excruciating rays may deplete or be damaged due to too much pollution.

The United States heavy demand of fossil fuels for transportation is causing extreme confliction and competitiveness with many other countries. Japan became so concerned with these issues that they devised a plan that could bring countries together to compromise this extremely difficult issue. The Kyoto Protocol is a negotiation put together by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The treaty was compromised in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. Countries that formally approve this protocol devote to decrease the amount of released greenhouse gases, or trade the number of emissions allowed from sustaining or raising the emissions of greenhouse gases. The United States of America was not among these countries that signed the agreement. According to President Bush (2001):

This is a challenge that requires a 100% effort; ours, and the rest of the worlds. The world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases is the People's Republic of China. Yet, China was entirely exempted from the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. India and Germany are among the top emitters. Yet, India was also exempt from Kyoto В… America's unwillingness to embrace a flawed treaty should not be read by our friends and allies as any abdication of responsibility. To the contrary, my administration is committed

to a leadership role on the issue of climate change В… Our approach must be consistent with the long-term goal of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This is an administration that will make commitments we can keep, and keep the commitments that we make (President Bush discusses global climate change, В¶ 14-33).

The United States of America is the highest polluting country in the world; next China, Russia, Japan, India, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, and South Korea. One hundred of the largest US electrical plants contribute a huge amount of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury (New York: Business and Environment, 2006). Also, according to New York: Business and Environment (2006, В¶ 2), "These pollutants are blamed for acid deposition, smog formation, visibility impairment, global warming, and various health and environmental effects, such as lung irritation and neurological damage." The US electricity emissions report found that "CO2 emissions rose 27% between 1990 and 2004 and predicts an even bigger increase in the years ahead" (New York: Business and Environment, 2006, В¶ 3-4). This information points out the need for the world, especially North America to accelerate the research, testing, and production of a fuel alternative for vehicles and other forms of transportation. The government and its administration have the ability and are capable of coming up with the necessary plans to take action on these sensitive environmental issues.

Every citizen can make efforts towards reducing their own personal uses of electricity and gas. There are many ways that American citizens can save energy. Drive with a vehicle that has been well maintained and wastes little gas. Contact the utility provider and ask about renewable energy solutions. Buy new compact fluorescent light bulbs after all the old light bulbs in the house burn out. Compact fluorescent bulbs use only one fourth of the energy that a regular light bulb uses and lasts much longer. Wear warmer clothing and reduce the heat in the home. Use water wisely by taking baths instead of showers. Turn the temperature of the water heater down to 120ВєF. Switch to more economical appliances all over the house. Plant more trees and recycle. Avoid buying plastic products as much as possible; wash and reuse plastic water bottles.

Conclusion

In conclusion of all these very complicated environmental issues of North America and the whole world, the survival of many species of plants and animals throughout the earth is challenged to the point of little hope. No matter how much human beings want to escape the reality of these factors and many other factors it will eventually catch up to every species on planet earth. Prevention is easier and far less expensive than fixing and saving what can not be fully undone. If the United States of America and the other large developed countries of the world could strengthen social, environmental, and economical ties the process of prevention could be planned and implemented more efficiently. It is up to every individual to start or join organizations trying to make these plans happen throughout the world.

References

Nahle, N. (2003-2006). Overpopulation. Current Effects of Overpopulation, В¶ 1-7. Retrieved on

June 7, 2007, from http://biocab.org/Overpopulation.html#anchor_1006

New York: Business and Environment (2006, October). US electricity emissions report offers

mixed news, 17(10), 8. Retrieved June 4, 2007, from ProQuest database.

Office of the Press Secretary. (2001, June 11). President Bush discusses global climate change,

В¶ 14-33. Retrieved June 2, 2007, from

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010611-2.html

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (1997). Kyoto Protocol. Retrieved

June 2, 2007, from http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.html



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