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How Humans Affect The Environment Essay

871 words - 3 pages

The human population is expected to double in the next 50 years, and the ever-growing global population needs vast amounts of food, energy and raw materials. We cannot continue to get our food, energy and raw materials in the way we do now without damaging the earth's environment beyond repair. Pollution, deforestation, over-fishing, the impact of intensive farming and above all global warming will see to that. We need to find ways of improving food productivity, and getting our energy and raw materials in more sustainable ways.Sustainable development means development which meets the needs of today's population without harming the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In other words, growing enough food and sourcing our energy and raw material needs without doing irreversible damage to the environment. The table gives some examples of what this might mean in practice:Forestry:A sustainable approach would mean cutting down fewer trees, and replanting new trees to replace those that are felled.Fishing:A sustainable approach means enforcing strict quotas on how many of each species can be caught by each country in each year, so that fish stocks stay at viable levels - something the European Union is now trying to do.Energy:Sustainability in energy means replacing non-renewable energy sources (fossil fuels) with renewable sources such as solar, water and wind generation.Economic development:A sustainable approach must be able to improve people's standards of living - particularly in the developing world - while actually reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.Agriculture:Sustainability in farming means producing a good quality, high yielding crop - while using fewer chemicals and fertilisers, and conserving local plant and animal communities. It might also involve greater reliance on local produce to avoid unnecessary transport pollution.The growing population and increasing standard of living is putting greater demands on the world's resources. A bigger global population needs more resources. At the very least people need food and water supplies. Increasing standards of living uses more good and services causing resources to be used up faster.Conservation and recycling provide for the future. Reducing demand for fossil fuels means they'll last longer, and reduce the harmful effects of using them. E.g. Smaller cars with more efficient engines use less fuel; insulating lofts of houses reduces the use of heating fuel. Conserving the soil by preventing erosion will provide food for future generations. Recycling metals and paper means using less raw material and cuts energy use too. E.g. metals and glass can be reclaimed from scrap cars; papers can be reprocessed into paper bags and toilet paper.Sustainable use of resources...

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