When we talk about adverse environmental impacts, we always refer to the man-made negative impact on the environment. An adverse environmental impact can be defined as negative changes that affected the environment due to people’s actions. What is important to note about adverse environmental effects is that while they pose a threat to the natural environment’s components, these effects can be anticipated. The impact we have on the environment as a species can be altered as our practices can be. If we do not change to protect the environment, the environment will learn to protect itself from us.
Environmental effects can be either adverse or beneficial. Still, society’s dependence on energy, together with other activities that harm our environment, far outweigh the beneficial effects that we have on the environment. Further on, we’ll shed some light on the major adverse environmental effect and what catalyzes them.
Considering the world’s dependency on energy and the way through which we create energy, we cause several adverse environmental impacts. The burning of coal and oil increase carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants that harm the environment. However, we can’t only look at the burning of fossil fuels as causes that have adverse effects on the environment. Improper waste disposal of polluted bodies of water and soil, accidental spills from chemical plants, growing demand for resources like oil, food, and others as population increases all have an adverse environmental impact on our planet. The Environmental Protection Agency is dealing with many of these issues while trying to either diminish the effect we have on the environment or imposing limitations for polluting industries.
The following are the main negative impact we are responsible for:
This is the most disastrous impact and the one we are all responsible for. Recently, countries worldwide are trying to reverse this adverse environmental impact we have on the planet, but the struggle is real as we are pressured by time.
Acid rain, smog, and other types of pollution
Larger cities experience smog, and London was famous for it a few decades ago. Recently, however, the implementation of green areas and green busses is reversing that effect. Los Angeles, Mexico City, Beijing are cities that experience it daily. Acid rain affects bodies of water, vegetation, animals, buildings and human health. Fish reproduction decreases when the water has a low pH concentration, which means higher acidity. Coal-fired power plants have had a significant impact across Western Europe and North America even if there are countries that are battling pollution and winning. Across the US, the effects have been noticeable in the rain acidity levels on the East Coast.
With increasing levels of CO2 released into the atmosphere that increase the levels of CO2 absorbed by the planet’s ocean, the seawater’s chemistry is changing to carbonic acid. The cause of this is the levels of CO2 emitted from car emissions, coal-fired power plants, and others. Many species that depend on bodies of water are affected by this, especially species that have a high concentration of calcium for their skeletons, shells, and overall bodies. Some of these species are clams, sea urchins, oysters, shallow water corals, deep-sea corals, and calcareous plankton. The levels of acidification also decrease the reef-building corals’ ability to grow their skeletons. Scientists estimate that by the century’s end, corals will die faster than they can grow.
Displacement and extinction of wildlife
We are all aware of the many species of animals that are endangered. Tiger numbers have dropped significantly over the last few decades, and white rhinos are already extinct. The cause of this mass extinction of wildlife is the human need for land, whether to populate, plant crops, grow food, grow livestock, or extract whatever we want from the planet’s core. Our life has a significant negative impact on other species’ chance to live on this planet, and the more we are, the less they are.
Our need for land decreases forests’ expanse because we need land to live, plant crops, and raise livestock. Our need for higher quantities of food creates a dependency on the expense of the planet’s resources. Our need for drinking water uses water resources available on our planet while we dump pollutants into bodies of water, further affecting the planet’s natural resources.
Besides taking action to reverse our carbon footprint, there are other things we can do. Mindful waste management, species management, resource management, and so on are some of the options. However, one direct action that we can influence is switching from fossil fuels to investing in renewable and sustainable energy options or gravitating towards passive homes that don’t leave a carbon imprint. The life cycle assessment also deals with understanding the impact a product has on the environment while lowering its carbon emission or promoting alternatives like green lumber. Other ways to determine the adverse impact we have on the planet are emission inventories that calculate the quantity of pollutant emissions and risk assessments that analyze the effect of the pollutant on the health of those in that environment.