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The Truth of Environment

essay on ecology

Natural environment is the most spectacular sight that any human being would want to experience. Snowcapped summits, meandering rivers, blue skies, and migrating birds among many other features are breathtaking. However, the reality that human beings are continually destroying this natural setting for their own selfish gains is getting more evident. Disappearance of millions of years old systems, as well as loss of some of the most established features that are reminiscent with nature is a reality that the environment is quickly changing to the worse. Over the last few decades, countries have been competing furiously to control the global economic power through industrialization and technology. These activities have led to negligence of natural conservation and most of them actually destroy its existence (Solanki, Usoskin, Kromer, Schüssler & Beer, 2004). However, the destruction of the natural settings and systems does not erode the belief that the natural beauty, which over the years has been self-regulating, can be restored. Different people have presented works to show the degradation. Such works include “The Inconvenient Truth” by Gore, and “The End of Nature” by Bill McKibben This paper will attempt to determine the different ways that man has destroyed nature in, and the different things he can do in order to restore the lost glory.

The process of global warming is quickly becoming a scary issue, with evidence showing its effects that are far reaching. For example, Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa has recently been reported to have lost its glaciers that were over 11000 years old due to the increased melting snow caps. This is only an indication of the increased global temperatures, which can be attributed to the global warming. Scientists explain global warming as the process, where environmental temperatures increase due to an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases that trap solar heat in the Earth atmosphere. Among the leading greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide and methane. The modern man has adopted sophisticated systems that increase the emission of carbon dioxide, mainly through the increased use of fossil fuels, which combust to release the gas. The realization of this source of global warming forms the most fundamental ways that humanity can reduce global warming. Afforestation is one of the most effective ways that people can use to restore nature (Solanki, Usoskin, Kromer, Schüssler & Beer, 2004). Trees absorb carbon dioxide and are often referred to as carbon sinks. Planting more trees is highly practical and can be actualized by all levels of humanity, starting from individuals and groups to the whole world community. Though some people argue that the population increase reduces land that can be allocated for the tree planting, it is also true that trees have aesthetical values and can be planted almost everywhere, ranging from house compounds to roadsides. With enough carbon sinks, the natural systems will start to regulate themselves again and the world could get back to its natural best (Solanki, Usoskin, Kromer, Schüssler & Beer, 2004).

Naturally, carbon dioxide is needed in the Earth’s atmosphere, but its excessive release suffocates the systems. Of all carbon dioxide that is released by the activities of a man, 87% comes from the combustion of fossil fuels. McKibben details the many changes that the world is experiencing today, and how fast they are happening. He compares this to how slowly man is reacting to these changes (McKibben, 1989). Apart from an explanation of the role of carbon dioxide to the global warming, he also includes other greenhouse gases, such as methane that is produced by animals. Carbon dioxide from combusting fossil fuel can be reduced through the use of renewable energy, as opposed to its current use in almost all machines. The use of renewable energy ranging from solar to wind energy can be a big step into reducing carbon dioxide emissions (Solanki, Usoskin, Kromer, Schüssler & Beer, 2004). This, again is a strategy that can be used by people of all walks of life, and can be applied by the individuals, groups, and even collective global institutions. For example, people can use bicycles to ride to school instead of using buses and personal vehicles. It can also be passed as a regulation that long distance travels should be carried by trains, which consume less fuel and transport more passengers, instead of the normal use of vehicles.

Methane is another significant greenhouse gas that is emitted from the livestock waste (Solanki, Usoskin, Kromer, Schüssler & Beer, 2004). The gas is the second most responsible gas to the global warming. More emphasis on vegetable consumption and less meat could be a big step to curb global warming in the multiple ways, because it increases vegetation and reduces livestock rearing. McKibben argues that humble living could be among the most appropriate ways to reduce carbon emissions. This is true and accurate. However, McKibben is absolute and sees the world environment as a collapsed system beyond reconstruction. This is not the case, because he cannot examine the general abilities of the natural system (McKibben, 1989). With his extremely resigned ideas of recapturing the global glory, he fails to realize that the Earth’s atmosphere has overcome worse conditions, such as the ice age, through volcanic eruptions; hence, leaving a possibility that even if man completely destroyed it, it might have other forces that are yet to be discovered.

Conservation of natural resources leads to the reduced effects on the natural systems (Solanki, Usoskin, Kromer, Schüssler & Beer, 2004). This can be achieved through voluntary artificial means to restore destroyed systems, such as forests and swamps. It further uses other methods, such as the renowned reduce-reuse-recycle, where one reduces the use of environmentally degrading material, such as plastic, reuse them and any other that can be reused, then recycle them to reduce the need to produce more. While many people argue that modern technology increases environmental degradation, they fail to realize that it could equally provide an immeasurable solution to the problem. For example, use of computers and other electronics could reduce the use of paper by a very large extent, through restrain from using print material and preferring softcopies. It would also reduce mobility, as people could easily send messages and even engage in face to face conversations without necessarily moving from one place to another. This is a very key “reduce” effect. It would both reduce the cutting down of trees, as well as the use of fuel for mobility purposes. Furthermore, man could still cut down the use of vegetation, while retaining the aesthetics and carbon sinks. Selected trees that take short period to mature, such as bamboos, not only provide excellent furniture and save forests, but also have impeccably beautiful products.

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“The Inconvenient Truth” and “The End of Nature” are appreciable works that detail the effects of human activities on the global environment. They have done adequate research and despite there being several contemptuous issues, they are good to enlighten people on the effects of environmental degradation, and consequently encourage people to embrace better lifestyles and processes to enable them to retain the natural systems. Global warming is a threat to humanity, because it threatens our only home. It is not the responsibility of organizations alone to ensure that they reduce global warming, but the course requires combined efforts of all human beings to ensure that the home is kept for as long as possible. Everyone has a small way of making the environment better, and collectively the results will be magnified, and the process of restoring natural systems will be underway. It is necessary to not just look at the ways to reduce degradation, but also to ensure that the systems are restored.