The environment is not isolated from man. The two have co-existed through ages and it is only a mutual understanding of each other that facilitates longevity of both man and his environment. Human beings have for long tried to unravel the mysteries of nature. While it may not be possible to understand nature completely, here are a few environmental concepts that will offer a partial insight.
D’code…. The natural environment or the ecosystem includes all living and non-living things that occur naturally.
Top up…. The environment is not just natural. There is also a built environment around us. This includes urban settings and conversion of agricultural land. The plants, animals and micro-organisms are together referred to as biotic while all the non-living factors which function along with them are called abiotic.
XL Info…. It is interesting to note that in some cultures such as in some native cultures of the United States, the term environment is meaningless because people do not see themselves as distinct from what they view as the natural world.
D’code…. The introduction of harmful or poisonous substances into the air is called air pollution.
Top up…. The leading pollutant that is presently warming the earth is carbon dioxide. This is a greenhouse gas* which when associated with cars, power plants, planes, gasoline and natural gas turns out to be a major pollutant. Another greenhouse gas is methane which comes from swamps and gas emitted by livestock. CFCs or Chlorofluorocarbons used in refrigerants is a greenhouse gas that effects the Earth’s ozone layer. Volcanoes have for long been the source of atmospheric sulphur dioxide! This pollutant is associated with climate change and when released causes cooling that lasts for years.
XL Info…. Industrialised countries have tried to reduce levels of sulphur dioxide, smog and smoke for better human health. However, it is a double edged sword because reduced sulphur dioxide levels can cause global warming.
At the same time other measures such as driving less, recycling and conservation can reduce carbon footprint*. On a larger scale pacts have been signed to combat climate change. This includes The Paris Agreement * among 118 nations in 2016. Taxes on carbon emission and higher taxes on gasoline can help to conserve energy and pollute less.