Anthropogenic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions will continue to accelerate shifting climate patterns if they are not reduced. The health of our globe and our well-being as humans are dependent on the diversity of life on our planet.
Nature, on the other hand, is under greater stress than it has ever been. Our demands for food, water, and land, as well as our wants for energy and ever-increasing amounts of stuff, are destroying habitats, contaminating our air and water, and driving animal and plant species to extinction.
Over the last few decades, environmental deterioration has become a “shared concern” for humanity. The current environmental challenges are distinct in that they are primarily caused by anthropogenic rather than natural causes. Consumption without thought and economic expansion have begun to have negative consequences for Mother Nature. Despite this, the rate of economic development and the desire for it have never slowed. Environmental policy has been dictated by economics. The role of science and technology as a catalyst for combining ecological and economics has been highlighted. Sustainable development became a buzzword as a result of this process.
As the population grows, so does the need for greater space. Destructive human activity continues to encroach on natural areas, resulting in the extinction of numerous species’ habitats. Cities, infrastructure, and cropland (see ‘Agricultural Intensification’ below) are spreading and merging into one another as our population grows, fragmenting remaining habitat and creating isolated “islands” of natural populations of plants and animals that are too small to sustain. Only a quarter of land areas and a third of oceans, according to IPBES, are relatively unaffected by human activities.
The quality of the environment has deteriorated since humanity began to exploit natural resources. Environmental quality is deteriorating as evidenced by rising levels of air pollution, water pollution, land and soil pollution, solid and hazardous waste pollution, deforestation, soil erosion, silting, and flooding. The environment’s slowly but continuously degrading quality poses a threat to human security. Increased exposure to infectious diseases, water scarcity, food scarcity, natural disasters, and population displacement are among the threats. They may represent the greatest public health challenge humanity has ever faced when taken collectively. There always appear to be middlemen between environmental change and human health. Climate change, soil degradation, and aquifer depletion, for example, have a significant impact on agricultural production. Policies relating to environmental health.
Reduced environmental degradation and ecosystem decline at the local level necessitates an understanding of the linkages between unsustainable development and poverty. Communities are frequently compelled to ruin their natural environment as a short-term solution to pressing issues, such as surviving a bad harvest by selling wood.
Efforts to minimise catastrophe risk and improve resilience should therefore be supported by strategies for decreasing poverty by investing in environmentally sensitive development.
Several environmental management systems and tools, such as environmental impact assessments, now explicitly account for disaster risk, and increasing investments in ecosystem approaches to disaster risk management are being undertaken at all levels. Innovative schemes including ‘green infrastructure’ projects that maximise ecosystem services, including the reduction of flood risks, have been implemented.
Energy efficiency and long-term planning can help to mitigate the negative consequences of industrialization and pollution. We live in a society where environmentally friendly measures must be properly followed, as failure to do so could make life on this planet perilous.