Most people acknowledge that the Earth is in a crisis state. Global climate change and ozone depletion have raised concerns from scientists that societies will face possible destruction from severe natural disasters, such as hurricanes, droughts, and tornadoes. Still, many industries—including oil, gas, industrial, farming, mining, and logging—continue to feed into these issues. Therefore, it’s important to read this list of the top environmental issues today to learn how you can reduce your carbon footprint and be more aware about these industries.
Deforestation is the process of clearcutting trees or part of a forest to convert the land for non-forest use, such as for farms, ranches, or urban use. This mainly affects tropical rainforests, but it applies to any forest where man-made destruction occurs. Agriculture is the primary cause for deforestation today. The trees are used for charcoal or timber, while the cleared land is converted into pasture. Without proper reforestation efforts, deforestation leads to habitat damage, biodiversity loss, aridity, extinction, population displacement, climate changes, and desertification.
Oceanic Garbage Patches
You might have seen this circulating in the news headlines, but oceanic garbage patches are real phenomena. Two notable examples include the Great Pacific garbage patch and the North Atlantic garbage patch. Both are man-made floating patches of marine debris that stretch for hundreds of kilometers, with as much as 200,000 garbage pieces per kilometer. These garbage patches pose risks to marine life through plastic consumption and entanglement. As wildlife consume the plastics, they can also end up in human food sources and cause health risks.
Electronic waste is another one of the top environmental issues today. Informal disposal practices can lead to an array of environmental effects, such as air pollution, water pollution, and ground pollution. This is because many electrical components house harmful materials such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, or flame retardants. Once leaked, these materials pose significant risk to ecosystems and the surrounding communities. Fortunately, professional e-waste recycling companies know how to break down these devices without causing any environmental problems. Some environmental benefits of recycling electronics include reducing the exposure of toxic materials; cleaning the air, soil, and water; and decreasing the amount of e-waste in developing countries.
Intensive farming, also known as industrial agriculture, relies on high capital and labor inputs, chemicals, fertilizers, and low fallow ratio to produce high crop yields per cubic unit of agricultural land area. Farms that utilize this method might use cultivars, plant growth regulators, pesticides, mechanized agriculture, analysis of growing conditions, agricultural machinery, genetic technology, logistics, data collection, and so on to produce the best-quality yields in the highest amounts. For example, the meat, dairy, egg, fruit, and vegetable industries all rely on these intensive practices. Such farms and concentrated animal feeding operations have raised concern among environmental and animal rights groups for their inhumane practices and high fuel consumption.