Human Impact on the Environment
Problem Identification: Global Warming
The gradual increase of the mean temperature of the atmospheric state of the Earth is known as global warming. Global warming is believed to bring about the permanent change in the Earth’s climate (Colwell, Brehm, Cardelus, Gilman & Longino, 2008). The facts analyzed by climate scientists clearly show that the earth is warming. There is a view across the planet that the effects of global warming are substantial and rapidly occurring. There is an agreement by scientists that the climatic changes associated with global warming shows that the average rise in the Earth’s degree of heat has augmented from 0.4 to 0.8 degrees Celsius in the past one hundred years (Colwell et al., 2008). Humans credit global warming to the escalated volumes of carbon (IV) oxide together with greenhouse emission emanating from combustion of fossil fuels, farming, clearing of the land, and other destructive activities. The average global temperatures have been forecasted to rise considerably by the year 2100 by the scientists. Global warming has adverse effects such as increasing sea levels, storm’s severity increase, and other adverse weather occurrences.
Global warming has a negative influence on the climate of the Earth together with its physical environment. The problem has resulted to desertification of the Earth. The escalating temperature across the planet is resulting into arid and semi-arid regions becoming even drier than before. Present research is also indicating that there is a great change in the pattern of rainfall pattern causing areas that were already dry to become even drier. This is resulting into shortages of water and a great distress to a large population of people in dry locations, which are becoming deserts.
Global warming causes habitat disruptions in wildlife. It tampers with the ecosystems in which millions of years have been spent by animals in adapting to them. The environmental problem causes the ecosystems to change rapidly which in turn hinders the ability of the ecosystem to cater for the needs of the animals (Colwell et al., 2008). The disruptions of the habitat are usually because of the alterations in low temperatures, availability of water and high temperatures, and in some occasions the combination of all three. As a result, growing conditions change and the community of the vegetation shifts. Wildlife populations affected in some occasions migrate into foreign locations and advance to thrive (Colwell et al., 2008). The concurrent growth of the population of humans implies that immense land locations that may have conducive conditions for the animals are already fragmented and congested with industrial and residential development. The cities and roads can be a hindrance to plants and animals relocating to the alternative regions. Global warming also results to a change in timing of some normal cyclical occasions in the existence of animals (Colwell et al., 2008). Many bird species have changed the long-held migratory and reproductive patterns timing in order to adapt to the warming climate. Hibernating animals are also ending their sleep earlier every year, probably because of the warmer temperatures in spring.
Global warming already has a significant impact on the distribution of plants. Plants respond differently to atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature (Colwell et al., 2008). It causes rising growth seasons and results to flowering of plants earlier resulting to shifting pole wards of many natural ranges of a lot of species of the plants. There is evidence indicating that a lot of plant species are encroaching previously colder climates as the temperature of the world continues to rise. This is shown by the substitution of macro-lichens by invasive vascular vegetables in the mildly climatic regions of the Arctic. Plants socialize with other micro-organisms such as pathogens, pollinators, herbivores, and mycorrhizae (Colwell et al., 2008). Global warming also affects the organisms which in turn affects the plants. As a result, it is virtually impossible to make a prediction on how certain species will thrive when faced with the challenge of global warming.
The extinction risks in environments that are warming rely on the position of the trophic (Colwell et al., 2008). Warmed regions lose predators and herbivores at a high rate and increasingly become autotrophs and bacteriovores dominated. An alteration in the organisms’ dispersion among tropically defined working groups leads to a variance in ecosystem performance beyond those anticipated from temperature-subjected physiological rates. Great biodiversity cushion against the influence of environmental change due to species which are increasingly tolerant have a greater likelihood to be found (Colwell et al., 2008). It can clearly be seen that the dispersion and profusion of species can be affected by warming but the complicated responses propagated in complete food webs largely complicate predictions.
As the temperature of the earth continues to rise, there is huge impact on fresh water supplies with the possibility of devastating effects on the water resources. When the temperatures escalate, there is an increase in evaporation which may result to droughts. The United States is even experiencing the most adverse droughts in decades. The rising of temperatures also causes glacial ice to melt at a high rate (Colwell et al., 2008). Glaciers are an essential source of fresh water globally, and others, like the ones at Glacier National Park, face the danger of vanishing. Glaciers cannot be re-established once they have disappeared. Areas that are dependent on glaciers as a source freshwater will thus be forced to look for alternative sources. In warmer regions, precipitation occur more in the form of rain rather than snow, which could eventually result into water shortages (Colwell et al., 2008).
When ice collects on mountaintops, during the spring and the summer, water is released into reservoirs when it melts. Reservoirs fill fast when rain falls in winter and cannot be stored and leads to water runoff. Rain water flows faster than melting ice thus the likelihood of higher levels of soil moisture and ground water recharging is less (Colwell et al., 2008). The melting of the glaciers, severe droughts, and early snowmelt will bring about extreme dramatic shortage of water. Global warming may also bring about a variance in the seasonal change in river-flow. Increasing temperatures will cause an upward push in snow limits in mountainous regions which causes greater winter run-off.
Global warming is expected to deteriorate the air quality in many regions of the world. Stagnation of air is a result of three meteorological conditions which include days with less precipitation to wash off precipitation, light winds and an atmosphere which is low and stable. In a scenario where the greenhouse emission is high, it was calculated that more than half of the world population, by 2009 will face greater air stagnation (Colwell et al., 2008). The future climate is predicted to be more stagnant because of the weaker global circulation and mid-latitude cyclones decreasing frequency. The studied correlation between the ozone layer and polluted regions temperature indicates at an adverse effect of global warming (Colwell et al., 2008). There is need for more rigid emission controls in order to attain the required standards of quality of the air.
The physical and chemical variations of human activities are already felt in natural ecosystems in cities, land, firms and suburbs. There is a difference in the degrees in which the regions are affected by warming and precipitation. Some regions get cooler hence affecting the livelihood of human beings (Colwell et al., 2008). Food shortages which come as a result of global warming also results in human beings moving to different regions in an effort to seek survival. Global warming also affects the dressing mode of human beings. People living in hotter regions have a tendency of wearing clothes that cover the body less while those who live in colder regions tend to wear warmer clothes (Colwell et al., 2008). Global warming contributes to weather change of regions thereby affecting the dressing code of people living in these regions. Warming of the earth also affects the quality of water human beings drink which in turn affects their lives. The poor together with the low-income communities are the ones who are mostly affected by adverse climate change brought about by global warming (Colwell et al., 2008). They are the ones who are more vulnerable to the environmental health determinants and have little resources to cope up with the effects of environmental change.
Solutions Currently Implemented
There are strict standards regulating emissions and efficiency. Newly formulated and strict standards are becoming a worldwide phenomenon. There is a drive to assuring that the cars cause less pollution to the environment (Jacobson, 2009). There is a drive to achieve this through the establishment of internal combustion engines which are more efficient Power plant are also faced with tight requirements regulating air pollution (Jacobson, 2009). There are also new standards for efficiency for appliances which have assisted in curbing the rising electricity requirements. Improvements to basic technology have also assisted in fighting global warming.
In the fight against global warming, establishment of clean power plants has also played a major role (Jacobson, 2009). Nations have developed large power plants that make use of sunlight and wind to generate electricity which include power panels which people put on their roofs. Natural gas has also replaced coal as the biggest source of electricity generation. Nuclear power has also been utilized, for instance in China, which is another alternative to reducing the burning of coal which has adverse effects on the environment (Jacobson, 2009).
There are recommendations that can be implemented to deal with global warming. Human beings and the governments need to push for the implementation of ideas to global warming (Parmesan & Camile, 2007). According to.. to reduce global warming, there is need to make a contribution towards the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. For this to be achieved, gasoline should be reduced, electricity and other activities that contribute to global warming. In order to reduce gasoline, people have to choose hybrid vehicles that reduce the use of gasoline. If an individual drives to work on a daily basis, they require pumping petrol after about 3 days and causes carbon dioxide (Parmesan & Camile, 2007). Another method of reducing gasoline can be through utilization of public transport, which plays a major role in the reduction of carbon dioxide and save cost.
Recycling is another way global warming can be reduced. Through recycling, garbage is reduced by reusing paper, glass and plastic bags. For instance people can use their own containers instead of using plastic bags when buying commodities (Parmesan & Camile, 2007). If people recycle materials, human beings can play a major role in reducing deforestation and help rescue the environment. Electricity should also be turned off when not in use, this assists in saving too much carbon dioxide and people should also buy energy saving commodities because they help save the environment (Parmesan & Camile, 2007).
Human beings should also restrain from open burning which involves burning of materials in the open environment. Open burning causes the release of carbon dioxide and also dangerous gases are released in the environment (Parmesan & Camile, 2007). The government should also play a major role to reduce deforestation due to the rising earth temperatures. Trees will play a vital role in enhancing the earth temperatures
Colwell, R. K., Brehm, G., Cardelús, C. L., Gilman, A. C., & Longino, J. T. (2008). Global warming, elevational range shifts, and lowland biotic attrition in the wet tropics. Science, 322(5899), 258-261.
Jacobson, M. Z. (2009). Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security. Energy & Environmental Science, 2(2), 148-173.
Parmesan and Camille (2007). “Influences of species, latitudes and methodologies on estimates of phenological response to global warming.” Global Change Biology 13.9: 1860-1872.