Society’s influence on the environment is what brought us to the point of climate change where we are today. Different economic groups have different impacts on the environment due to fewer resources available or fewer means to acquire those resources. However, even low- and middle-income societies have an influence.
There are several different ways in which humans as a society affect the environment and contribute to negative effects and climate change. These effects are becoming more concentrated and worse because of over-population. Natural resources cannot keep up with the rate at which the population is growing.
Water – We use much more water than natural resources can sustain. In the last few years, many different countries experienced serious droughts and even water shortages. You will find many places where water restrictions are in effect to try and cope with the demand of society.
Pollution – Humans create different forms of pollution and all most of these affect the environment in a negative way. Water pollution reduces the water that we can safely consume and use. Air pollution affects the air we breathe and causes many diseases and illnesses in humans and animals. This in effect affects the economy as well as ecology and natural habitats for animals and plants to grow. This means that our food sources are being polluted.
Forests – We all know about deforestation – the removal of healthy trees to make way for construction of malls and more housing or by urban communities for firewood. There is some evidence to indicate that deforestation has slowed down due to the use of other energy sources, but not due to fewer constructions projects.
Fossil fuels – We use fossil fuels to make energy. The burning of these fossil fuels pollutes our air and surrounding environments immensely. The sources of these fuels are also running out because society’s needs are surpassing the number of natural fossil fuel sources that are available. This is why the search for alternative fuels is such a big deal. The use of some of these alternatives have started to show a difference, but nowhere near what we need to turn the climate situation around.
As a society, we all tend to think of the environment as some separate entity that we have no power over. We may not have power over it, but we are dependent on it and should try to reduce our impact on it. Our current behaviors as humans are causing a lot of damage and the culture of wanting too much and using whatever is available and easiest is making the environment sick.
For more information on how we are affecting the environment and what you can do to help, read our frequently asked questions post.