It is the only planet in our galaxy that has enough water to support life. Unfortunately our planet is suffering due to many problems which should be solved before it is too late. The major problems that are facing our world today are population, pollution and animal extinction. One of the problems facing our world is population. It began about ten thousand years ago when the humans settled and began farming. The farming provides more food for the people thus making the population grow.
Now we are about 6 billion in population and in a few years we will be around 10 to 11 billion. Therefore, our population will almost double in size. This means that we will need more food to support us. A study in 1986 by Peter Vitonesk, a Stanford biologist, showed that the humans are already consuming about 38.8 of what is possible for us to eat. Thus, if the population keeps increasing, the percentage will increase also, making us closer and closer to the biophysical limits.
By studying the earth’s capacity, Dr. Cornell, another biologist, believes that we are already crowded for this would. He believes that our world can only support two million people. Not only this, but population can cause complicated problems to the countries with very high population. These countries will need more schools to educate its people, they will need more hospitals and public health to take care of their people, and they will need more water and more soil for farming to feed all the people. In order to solve the population growth problem, the people should be educated.
Once the people are educated they will be aware of the problems they cause when they have more than two children. Therefore the next generation should be educated and aware of what is going around them. Pollution is another major factor that is threatening our world today. One example of pollution is nitrogen. Humans are adding about 130 to 150 million tons over the 90 to 150 tons that are produced by the nitrogen cycle. This excess in nitrogen causes coastal waters and estuaries to grow toxic algae, killing the fish and trapping the solar heat in the air.
Another example of pollution is methane. Methane is produced by gases released by cows, termite mounds or by the bottom of rice paddy. If found in the air methane is very poisonous. By raising more cattle, cutting more tropical forests, thus increasing the amount of termites, and by growing more rice, the methane concentration in the air is almost twice as higher as it was 160,000 years ago. Smoke is another pollution factor.
Smoke that is produced by cars contains carbon dioxide (CO2). This carbon dioxide in the air causes global warming, which results in the green house effect and climate changes. Satellite studies show that perhaps we will increase the temperature by 3.6 degrees by the year 2001. The warmer the weather the more water it can hold, the higher the precipitation will be. The higher the precipitation the more clouds, the more rain, and the more snow there will be. This will result in more storms and floods.
Studies by Thomas Karl of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that the total winter precipitation in the US has increased to about 10% since 1900. All these pollution factors result in raising the water level and melting of the icebergs. This means that the low land islands will be flooded with water. This is a very big problem because the water level will never go down and the icebergs will never grow back.
Education of the people, their guidance, and effective law are major tools to compact pollution. The third major problem facing our world today is animal extinction. Animal species are dying off at a fast rate. There are two main reasons for animal extinction. The first reason for animal extinction is caused by humans.
The humans have become every animals’ most dangerous rival. Humans’ carelessness, ignorance and greed caused many animals to disappear from our planet. Over hunting is one of the threats that leads to animal extinction. In the third world countries, some of the animals are hunted for their skins or tusks thus endangering the existence of those animals. Also because of the increasing population, the humans are destroying the animal habitats in order to increase the living area. Pollution produced by the humans and dumped into an animal’s environment also tends to endanger our species.
Animal extinction are primarily caused by human activities, but there are also other natural factors which contribute to the reduction of animal life. Examples of these factors are natural disasters, climate changes, and unsuccessful competition for resources with other species. Of course, there is no solution that helps save the animals from the natural factors, but there is a solution to stop the humans from leading to the extinction of the animals. Very strict laws should be applied to control and stop excessive hunting and prohibit killing rare animals.
If these three major problems continue to increase, then our mother earth will no longer be the wonderful planet that we once lived on. But we should not forget that science and scientists have great challenges to limit the magnitude of the three mentioned problems. Increasing the unit of production in agriculture, industry as well as in services will lessen the degree of those problems. The world achievements are great in the present century and for sure will be greater in the century we are approaching.
More rational use of resources, more effective remedy of pollution and more scientific family planning will surely change the pessimism to optimism in out beautiful world. To conclude, all nations, rich or poor, have great responsibility to challenge the problems that confront our world. Indeed it is a healthy sign that nations meet and discuss policies and strategies, but the most important element in the whole process is the implementation of what has been agreed upon. In order for earth to support us, we have to support it first.