Humanity faces numerous problems along with the rapid development. Moreover, the rapid growth of population and massive industrialization are the key reasons for the ongoing problems. Widespread poverty, especially in African, Asian, and Latin America regions, depletion of natural resources and environmental pollution are the major problems challenging modern population. In fact, the problems are interdependent. For example, the growing population causes the problems with poverty, which in its turn causes the extreme exploitation of the natural resources and contributes to environmental pollution. The entire row of logical connections may be formulated in one word – the environmental crisis. The environmental crisis is not the negative prognosis for the next few years. It is the most current and ongoing problem at the global level. So what are the major concerns associated with the global environmental crisis, and what are the most evident consequences for humanity on Earth?

One of the key concerns in environmental crisis is the climate change. The climate change occurs as a result of anthropogenic factors, mainly greenhouse gasses pollution. Modern technological processes rely heavily on burning fossil fuels at factories, agricultural facilities, and pastorals. Human factor also contributes to the destruction of green forests, which results in flooding, poor quality of the air and disruption of the natural ecological systems. The observable results of the climate change are the changes in global mean surface temperature, ocean circulation, sea level, species distribution, and precipitation patterns.

Another concern associated with the climate change is the degraded air quality. The key air pollutants are the particulate matter (soot), Nitrogen and Sulphur oxides, tropospheric ozone and aromatic compounds (benzene). The degraded air quality affects people and contributes to many diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory diseases. Approximately 1 billion of people live in industrial areas with poor air quality. The most affected territories are India, China, and Western-Pacific region. In these regions, approximately 6 million deaths are attributed to the air pollution annually. Besides, the changes caused by air pollution result in low productivity of the land.

One more aspect of the environmental crisis is deforestation. Forests make people’s living possible. Even if the forests are lost in some location, the result is significant for the entire system. The problem of deforestation does not have borders and limits. Forests are the “lungs of the Earth” that absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen which is the necessary element for human breathing. Another important aspect of forests is the control of climate. Forests make sure that the amount carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is just right for the activity of the ecosystem. When forests are cut, there is not the control of the amount of the carbon dioxide and the extra is not absorbed. Forests are also the big water factory. So, deforestation has the tremendous negative effect on our ecosystem. Deforestation occurs due to a number of reasons. The primary reason is that forests are cut to release the territories for agricultural and pastoral purposes. For instance, it is a case of tropical forests. However, people have to know that tropical forests cover around 6% of the Earth territory being the home for 90% of the world’s animal species. Other reasons include the charcoal production and destruction for timber production.

Scientists observe the terrifying picture with animals’ population. The study of the World Wildlife Fund suggests that people killed half of the world’s wildlife since 1970. In less than a century, humans have managed to wipe out a staggering number of wild animals, including mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and fish. The calculations suggest that the world’s vertebrate animals’ population has decreased by 52% since 1970. The land populations are declining each year, and their decrease is 30% since 1970. The marine population declined by 38%. But the fresh water species are vanishing at horrifying rates. The populations of freshwater fish, frogs and shorebirds declined by 76% since 1970. The picture is scaring, and it is obvious that the reason for this picture is the rapid technological growth in recent years.

Other major concerns associated with the global environmental crisis are the degraded water quality, scarcity of fresh water, stratospheric ozone depletion, land contamination, soil erosion and degradation, habitat and biodiversity losses. Many species are already extinct. Large territories of Earth are contaminated with chemical and radioactive pollution. Water pollution results in human health problems, degradation of soil, extinction of fresh water animals, low productivity of agricultural crops and the insufficient amounts of drink water. Those are just a few sentences about the severity of ecological crisis issues whereas the true effect of the ongoing problems may be felt later by our offsprings.

What is the major consequence of the global environmental crisis for humanity?

The NASA-funded study suggests that the possible effect of the environmental crisis will be the irreversible collapse of the civilization. The study is based on modeling the current societal structure and environmental structure. The model is theoretical, but the results are credible. The good news here is that there is a chance to avoid the collapse. The study suggests that the collapse of civilization could be prevented if the humanity manages to reduce economic inequality and if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is minimized to a sustainable level.

The environmental crisis is one of the major challenges for civilization. It is a problem that has no borders and immunity. The main concerns associated with the environmental crisis are the climate change, degraded air quality, deforestation, the decrease of animal population, land pollution, soil erosion, scarcity of fresh water and biodiversity losses. All these issues affect civilization in negative ways, including the health problems, low agricultural productivity and unequal distribution of economic resources (poverty problems). The studies of the NASA suggest that the only possible option to avoid civilization collapse is the reduction of economic inequality across nations and per capita depletion of nature to the minimum sustainable level. The governments of all countries should join their efforts in order to overcome the common challenge, the challenge of survival the human civilization on Earth.  

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