Human beings cause a lot of damage to the environment. However, as countries become more prosperous, they typically take better care of the environment because they can afford to care about quality of life issues. The most controversial topic today about the environment is global warming which many scientists say is caused by increased economic activity through carbon dioxide emissions. Fortunately, the threat of global warming has produced a great deal of environmental awareness and concern which may lead to policies that try to reduce carbon emissions.
In the US, average citizens are very aware of the impact that their lifestyle choices have on the environment. Simple steps like recycling and driving more fuel efficient cars are popular with the public in terms of reducing pollution in the air and lowering the amount of pollution we put in the air. Our role locally is to recycle and take simple steps in order to reduce pollution that occurs. Our role globally is to reduce pollution, but also to be aware of global warming and how it affects the world.
The city of Marietta has a good recycling program which encourages local residents to reuse recyclable material which will reduce the problem of solid waste disposal. The state of Georgia and the federal government is allowing Georgia Power to build two new nuclear power plants, which can run electrically without giving off carbon emissions. The state of Georgia also encourages commuters to carpool to reduce the amount of pollutions produced by cars. The global community has not been able to reach an agreement on the steps necessary to combat global warming.
Drilling for and excavating fossil fuels has a big impact on the global environment. Oil and natural gas drilling can produce local pollution at the well or while the fuel is being transported. The gigantic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf is a good example of the risks of oil drilling. “Burning coal and other fossil fuels is driving climate change…coal-burning electric power plants have fouled the air with enough heavy metals and other noxious pollutants to cause 15,000 premature deaths annually in the US alone…” Man affects the environment in both positive and negative ways.
Man affects the environment in positive ways by developing alternative energy sources like wind and solar power which can be used to generate electricity with low carbon emissions. The US has great opportunities in wind power throughout the plains states, likewise, the southwestern US is a natural place to develop commercial solar power. Man affects the environment in negative ways by polluting, burning coal, and fossil fuels. In conclusion, the biggest environmental issue today is global warming because there are so many different arguments to make for or against it and it is a controversial topic.
Almost all human activity impacts the environment in a negative and/or positive way; fossil fuels produce local environmental impacts at the site that they drilled or mined, and fossil fuels produce global impacts through carbon emissions which appear to play a significant role in global warming.
Gerdes, L. (2009). The Environment. Detroit: Greenhaven Press. Mufson, S. (2012, February 09). NRC approves construction of new nuclear power reactors in Georgia. Retrieved from http://www. washingtonpost. com/business/economy/nrc-approves-construction-of-new-nuclear-power-reactors-in-georgia/2012/02/09/gIQA36wv1Q_story. html