While the climate crisis has many factors that influence the exacerbation of the environment, there are some that deserve more attention than others. These are some of the biggest environmental problems of our lives, from deforestation and biodiversity loss to food waste and fast fashion. At the time of publication, CO2 per million (parts per million) was 418 and the increase in global temperature was 1.1 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. The last time carbon dioxide levels on our planet were as high as they are today was more than 4 million years ago.
The increase in greenhouse gas emissions has caused a rapid and steady increase in global temperatures, which, in turn, is causing catastrophic events around the world: Australia and the United States have suffered some of the most devastating wildfire seasons in history, locusts swarm parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, have decimated crops and a heat wave in Antarctica caused Raise temperatures above 20 degrees for the first time. Scientists are constantly warning that the planet has gone through a series of tipping points that could have catastrophic consequences, such as the advance of the melting of permafrost in the Arctic regions, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet at an unprecedented rate, the acceleration of the sixth mass extinction and the increase in deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, just to name a few. A third of food intended for human consumption (around 1.3 billion tons) is wasted or lost. This is enough to feed 3 billion people.
Food waste and loss account for a third of greenhouse gas emissions per year; if it were a country, food waste would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the United States. UU. Food waste and loss occur at different stages in developing and developed countries; in developing countries, 40% of food waste occurs after harvest and processing, while in developed countries, 40% of food waste occurs after harvest and processing, while in developed countries, 40% of food waste is produced at retail and consumer levels. At the retail level, an alarming amount of food is wasted for aesthetic reasons; in fact, in the United States, more than 50% of all products that are discarded in the United States are wasted because they are considered “too ugly to sell to consumers”, which is equivalent to about 60 million tons of fruits and vegetables.
This leads to food insecurity, another of the biggest environmental problems on the list. Over the past 50 years, there has been a rapid growth in human consumption, population, world trade and urbanization, making humanity use more of the Earth's resources than it can naturally replenish. More broadly speaking, a recent analysis has found that the sixth mass extinction of wildlife on Earth is accelerating. More than 500 species of terrestrial animals are on the verge of extinction and are likely to be lost in 20 years; the same number was lost throughout the past century.
Scientists claim that without the human destruction of nature, this rate of loss would have lasted for thousands of years. Surprisingly, National Geographic discovered that 91% of all plastic ever made is not recycled, representing not only one of the biggest environmental problems of our lives, but also another enormous failure in the market. Considering that plastic takes 400 years to decay, it will take many generations before it ceases to exist. It is not known what the long-term irreversible effects of plastic pollution will be on the environment.
Every hour, forests the size of 300 soccer fields are cut down. By 2030, the planet may have only 10% of its forests; if deforestation is not stopped, they could all disappear in less than 100 years. Agriculture is the main cause of deforestation, another of the biggest environmental problems that appear on this list. The land is cleared to raise livestock or to plant other crops that are sold, such as sugar cane and palm oil.
In addition to retaining carbon, forests help prevent soil erosion, since tree roots bind it together and prevent them from creeping, which also prevents landslides. The three countries experiencing the highest levels of deforestation are Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia. However, Indonesia is tackling deforestation, now registering the lowest rates since the beginning of the century. After the COVID-19 pandemic, attention has been paid to the role that polluting gases in the air play in transporting virus molecules.
Preliminary studies have identified a positive correlation between deaths related to COVID-19 and air pollution, and there is also a plausible association between airborne particles that help the virus spread. This could have contributed to the high death toll in China, where air quality is notoriously poor, although more definitive studies must be carried out before such a conclusion can be reached. The climate crisis is warming the Arctic more than twice as fast as anywhere else on the planet. Today, sea levels are rising more than twice as fast as during most of the 20th century as a result of rising temperatures on Earth.
The seas now rise by an average of 3.2 mm per year worldwide and will continue to grow to about 0.7 meters by the end of this century. In the Arctic, the Greenland ice sheet represents the greatest risk to sea level because the melting of land ice is the main cause of sea level rise. Meanwhile, the Antarctic continent contributes approximately 1 millimeter per year to sea level rise, representing a third of the annual global increase. In addition, Canada's last completely intact ice shelf, in the Arctic, recently collapsed, after losing about 80 square kilometers (or 40%) of its area over a two-day period in late July, according to the Canadian Ice Service.
The increase in global temperature has not only affected the surface, but is the main cause of ocean acidification. Our oceans absorb about 30% of the carbon dioxide released into the Earth's atmosphere. As higher concentrations of carbon emissions are released thanks to human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, as well as the effects of global climate change, such as increased rates of wildfires, so does the amount of carbon dioxide that is absorbed back into the sea. Some studies have also found that ocean acidification may be related to one of the effects of plastic pollution in the ocean.
The accumulation of bacteria and microorganisms derived from plastic waste thrown into the ocean damages marine ecosystems and contributes to the discoloration of corals. Studies have shown that the global food system is responsible for up to one-third of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, of which 30% come from livestock and fishing. Agricultural production releases greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide through the use of fertilizers. In terms of water security, only 3% of the world's water is fresh water and two-thirds of that amount is hidden in frozen glaciers or are not available for our use.
As a result, some 1.1 billion people around the world lack access to water and a total of 2.7 billion find that water is scarce for at least one month a year. By 2025, two-thirds of the world's population could suffer from water scarcity. Global demand for fashion and clothing has increased at an unprecedented rate and the fashion industry now accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions, making it one of the biggest environmental problems of our time. Fashion alone produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the aviation and transportation sectors combined, and nearly 20% of the world's wastewater, or about 93 billion cubic meters, comes from textile dyeing, according to the United Nations Environment Program.
This rapidly growing problem is only exacerbated by the ever-expanding fast fashion business model, in which companies rely on the fast and cheap production of low-quality clothing to meet the latest and most recent trends. While the United Nations Charter for Climate Action for the Fashion Industry requires signatory fashion and textile companies to commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, most companies around the world have not yet addressed their role in climate change. More than three billion people around the world rely on fish as their primary source of protein. About 12% of the world depends on fishing in one way or another, and 90% of them are small-scale fishermen; think of a small crew on a boat, not a boat, using small nets or even rods, reels and lures not unlike those you're likely to use.
Of the 18.9 million fishermen in the world, 90% of them belong to the latter category. Most people consume about twice as much food as they did 50 years ago, and there are four times more people on Earth than there were in the late 1960s. This is one of the factors that explains why 30% of commercial fishing waters are classified as “overexploited”. This means that available fishing water reserves run out faster than they can be replaced.
Overfishing has harmful effects on the environment, such as the increase of algae in the water, the destruction of fishing communities, the accumulation of garbage in the oceans and extremely high rates of biodiversity loss. Support service refers to the indispensable service required for the production of all other ecological environmental services. The environmental movement (sometimes referred to as the ecological movement), which also includes ecological and conservation policies, is a diverse philosophical, social, and political movement to address environmental problems. Globally, the fresh water that can be used by humanity represents only 0.325% of the Earth's total volume of water.
The regulatory service refers to the benefits of regulating the effect of the ecological environment, such as maintaining air quality, regulating climate and humidity, controlling erosion, purifying water and eliminating waste, regulating and controlling human diseases, biological control, pollination and protection against storm attacks. Note 11 They have financial, technical and management advantages in global environmental governance, but are not willing to assume historical responsibilities; instead, they seek to maintain control of global interests and future resources through a dominant position in the establishment of an international system and in environmental negotiation, in order to increase the limit of the environmental capacity of developing countries. On the other hand, due to the lack of awareness of the protection of the ecological environment and the search for the maximization of economic interests, low-cost and harmful production methods were adopted, without taking into account pollution-free technologies or the scientific management of environmental resources. environmental concerns can be defined as the negative effects of any human activity on the environment.
Most scholars think that the project, with a maximum world population of between 9 and 10 billion people, could live sustainably within terrestrial ecosystems if human society worked to live sustainably within planetary boundaries. With regard to issues related to rights and responsibilities in the field of environmental protection, there are many differences between developed and developing countries taking into account their respective benefits. In this context of crisis, people became aware of the seriousness of environmental problems and strived to achieve the harmonious development of both humanity and nature, paying special attention to population and resources and to the sustainable development of the environment; in this way, human society could enter the era of ecological civilization and environmental problems could be controlled and improved to a certain extent. Government organizations address environmental issues at the regional, national or international levels.
Global climate change may offer great prospects for enhanced cooperation and mutual benefits for the entire international community, even if it also causes a possible crisis. . .