Conservation of natural resources and physical environment
Conservation of natural resources and physical environment
It is a fact that population growth or its decline is a resultant effect of both births and deaths or in some countries; immigration and emigration are indeed significant factors of this phenomenon. The carrying capacity as defined by specialists is that maximum number of persons that can be comfortably supported in a particular environment without posing any possible threats of depletion of the available resources in the near future.
It thus not only considers space availability but also emphasizes on the importance of relating the numbers to the available resources as well as the potential of the earth system as a whole to support them (S. P. Hays, 1986). It is therefore important to realize that human beings are part and parcel of the world’s ecosystem and its only valuable for them to preserve its best. The ecosystems has constantly undergone modifications by humans not only as a consequence of population expansion but also due to enhanced technological know how and human consumption.
It is the human race that has in the past destroyed habitats, polluted his own environment that has adversely changed the atmosphere hence threatening global stability. Experts have further warned that these observable negative impacts could see the ecosystem undergo irreversible damages if not quickly addressed. Conservation of natural resources involves good management, wise and proper utility of the abundant earth resources by man (D. W. Ehrenfeld, 1972).
This is not only for economic reasons but also for the survival of the new generation to come. Wood and wood products for instance, form the fundamental economic gain from forests but it is also worth noting that most forest zones are the major water catchment points and since water is life, then, it is only fair to preserve forests so as to support life. The human race has therefore developed interest in the study of his environment with the intention of understanding it better.
These studies have not been fruitless sine certain scientific fields like ecology which deeply analyses living organisms in relation to each other and their physical environment have significantly improved man’s understanding of the ecosystem by bringing out clearly the vital roles of specific organisms in the universe. Through this information, man has comprehended that his survival depends on the other part of the system as well. The principle “Energy is neither created nor destroyed” suggests the capacity of the earth’s self renewal but also raises a particular concern over nonrenewable energy resources that are fast getting depleted!
It is for this noble purpose that various nations have set up their own policies on environmental conservation with the major aim of achieving better and healthy lives for their citizens now and in the future. However some countries like Iraq and others in record have no restrictions to various areas considered ‘special’ environmentally especially considering the fact that some wildlife in those parts are at a risk of getting extinct. This therefore brings the big debate on whether its really necessary to conserve our environment?
Since the mid-nineteenth century, the globe has recorded increasing mean atmospheric temperatures, a phenomenon attributed to the emission at extremely high levels, of greenhouse gases. This warming trend has been traced to originate from human activities. As much as we are fast to point blame on industries and other businesses, research has it that everyone creates pollution through various activities that we undertake daily and therefore contribute to the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
This is because every manufactured product finds its way to us and by all means leaves behind some carbon footprint however small (John Darabaris, 2007). Thus man being aware of the deadly impacts of this phenomenon on his environment is constantly struggling to reduce carbon footprint to he smallest possible amounts. Modern science has sophisticated instrumentation that can precisely predict harsh weather events that may result from global warming.
Industrialization that has seen man adopt modern farming techniques, improved infrastructure amongst many other human practices is here to stay and even advance further, yet it must be controlled and channeled appropriately into activities that will not deplete the scarce resources. History has it that man, through industrialization, has enhanced erosion activities at the coast and affected the duration of planting seasons in many agriculturally dependant zones, thanks to the constantly warming globe.
Human race is very much aware that if these trends persist, more destructive and violent storms are yet to be observed, dreadful and deadly diseases are also likely to attack depending on the new temperatures of the earth which may favor the existence of new pathogens. This not only poses human race at great risk but also predicts real danger to the vast resources that we have on earth. Permafrost for instance, is a major factor that controls several environmental processes and thus changes in nutrients, water content and even temperature will for sure have some effect on the soil composition (Bolter, M.
1999). It is also expected that a warmer globe will initiate more energy to be pumped into tropical storms hence developing stronger and more destructive and vicious storms. The warm condition also, according to scientific predictions, could make earth observe long periods of drought and this will definitely cause global food shortages. Such persistent drought conditions also put the globe at the risk of experiencing more wild fires that will destroy property and other natural resources.
Wildlife is one of the most treasured natural resource not only because of its economic importance but also because of its aesthetic value and ecological significance. However, the current trajectory path traced by global warming effects could result into the extinction of rare planet species that would otherwise fail to adapt to the new environment due to the shift in ecosystem. The physical topography is not spared either since man now understands that the warming trend has significantly speeded the melting of polar ice bringing along with it severe and unbearable weather conditions.
Science and engineering technology has significantly contributed to the advancement of humanity thereby increasing the understanding of our world, ambitions and inspirations, and our ability to satisfy our diverse needs in our lifetime (Clift, 1998). Our survival on the planet earth will indeed to a great extent depend on how we effectively relate to all the other living organisms and even to the physical environment. As much as man has been innovative, new technologies do come with diverse environmental challenges.
The increasing world population for instance, has seen a significant rise in energy demand. A clean and reliable yet sustainable energy source is thus essential to meet this demand, the selection of which must be carefully made. Innovative solutions are therefore called upon from the concern industrial sectors, governments and even communities. Europe, America, China, India and other industrialized nations depend almost entirely on fossil fuels; the developing nations are reportedly increasing their consumption of the same!
Arguably, the methods used to produce and consume these fuels are not the best and have significantly contributed to the destruction of the ecosystem. It is for this reason that man has used the available technology to develop alternative means of producing energy with minimal or no impact at all on the environment. Using this knowledge man has resorted to energy sources that are found naturally in the environment (Carroll, 1993). For instance, using solar panels has made it possible to harness solar energy safely into viable use.
This is a significant step made in protecting and saving the environment since it does not cause pollution and is also considered an infinite source of energy. However, this invention came with its own challenges such as unpredictable climatic patterns especially in the twentieth century , a phenomenon associated to global warming thereby forcing man to diversify into other energy sources such as the nuclear energy, wind power, sea power amongst many others. Nuclear power alone has attracted many developed countries with most of them claiming it is the answer to the global energy crisis.
The only controversy that arises on nuclear energy production is the after effects it has on the environment. Storing and effectively damping radioactive material for as long as a thousand years is still a threat to the environment and the planet at large. Most people are now aware of various threats resulting from environmental problems. Many people are reported to panic in some cases, though it makes them have a clear understanding of the necessity to conserve and protect the little we have or else face permanent destruction from the cruel nature we have created.
Since we can’t afford to despair, this extraordinary times calls for extraordinary solutions that promises a better tomorrow. Experts have issued warnings about the changing climate for example, and our understanding is that we have the solution with us. Therefore, by taking individual responsibility, there is hope, these damages can either be slowed down or completely reversed (Engel, 1990). The current generation understands so well that the generation tomorrow will enjoy the natural resources we have today only if we live in a sustainable way and this is irrespective of whatever modernity dictates.
Indeed, with this kind of rapid loss of biodiversity, the global community full of researchers and practioneers must move with speed before the situation gats out of hand (Jacobson 1995). By conserving the resources and managing them sustainably, the future is secure of having clean water, clean energy, clean air and even fertile soils for productive agriculture. Modern man has also realized that diversity in culture and biological diversity are greatly linked (Mc Neely, 1995).
Different societies within this very globe possess very unique cultural practices, beliefs and knowledge about the environment that is very valuable especially in solving certain environmental problems. Redesigning industrial systems to obtain safe technology reduces waste and encourages recycling of refuse in biological lines. This is a concept full of hope that will see the world maximize the use of raw materials, reduce the consumption of energy and with minimal or no negative impacts on the environment (D. Worsher, 1977).
Different cultures for example, find different uses of different plans which essentially constitute the ecosystem. By preserving the diverse or sometimes complex cultural practices and lifeways, biological systems will then be protected in the process. It is imperative to note that human beings have constantly adjusted and adapted to their environment almost simultaneously as it changes. This justifies the argument by scholars that ‘nature and culture are indivisible’ and thus the necessity to narrow down human ecology to the analyses of socio-natural systems (Bennett, 1996).
Due to fundamental shifts in the interrelationship between industrialization and the other part of the ecosystem, experts have identified possible radical changes that may accompany these historical moments and therefore suggested thorough rebuilding of all industrial systems. Mediterranean region for example, has been greatly eroded due to poor farming methods like overgrazing and deforestation. Siltation and salanization are also some observable effects from irrigation activity at the region (Hillel, 1991).
Different regions thus have dispatched relevant authorities to help sensitize and educate the communities living around such valuable resources on the importance of conservation measures and proper management. Conservation of the environment is therefore not debatable if the treasured human race needs to protect its self against possible harm in the future. The rapid race at which global climate has changed, the ever expanding global population amongst many other critical environmental declines are some of the critical issues that need addressing as a mater of urgency.
Intensive research work carried out by various scientific groups indicates for instance, that the world losses 22 million acres forest area yearly (Elizabeth, 2006). Similarly, very toxic chemicals find their way into the atmosphere yearly some of which last over decades in the environment. It is therefore very serious to realize that we are obviously threatened when our natural resources are threatened since we greatly depend as major sources of medicine, food, shelter, fuel, just to mention a few.
Nature is known to be unforgiving and respects no boundaries; environmental problems threaten global economy, health and even security. The tropical forests which are rapidly disappearing hold the source of close to twenty-five percent of prescription drugs (George P, 1973). A world without energy, food, safe clean water or inhabitable environment exposes its people to political unrest as well as economic instability. This could see the world spend an enormous sum of money inform of peacekeeping, humanitarian aid or even in attempt to revive global markets.
With this kind of understanding, man has realized the significance of working together with a lot of commitment by all countries to provide lasting solutions to fundamental problems and also offer sustainable management of the scarce natural resources. This indeed is an assurance of hope that promises better future to all the human society. References D. W. Ehrenfeld, (1972), Conserving Life on Earth; D. Worsher, (1977), Nature’s Economy; Roderick Nash, (2001). Wilderness and the American Mind, NY: Yale University Press,). R. Nash, (1982), Wilderness and the American Mind; NY. S. P. Hays, (1986), Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency.
Bolter, M. (1999). Consequences of Global Warming on Soil Processes in Arctic Regions, Polarforschung, 66, 1/2, 1-10. Jacobson SK (ed). (1995). Conserving wildlife: international education and communication approaches. New York NY: Columbia University Press. Noss RF. (1997). The failure of universities to produce conservation biologists. Cons Biol 11(6) Hillel, Daniel. 1991. Out of the Earth: Civilization and the Life of the Soil. Free Press. NY. Bennett and Flatley, G. W. , J. W. (1996) ‘Using Contingent Valuation to Determine Australian Tourists’ Values for Forest Conservation in Vanuatu’.
Economic Analysis and Policy 26 (2) Donald Worster, (1994) Nature’s Economy, NY: Cambridge University Press. William Cronon. (1991) Nature’s Metropolis. NY: Norton. Elizabeth Kolbert (2006). Field Notes on a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. NY, Bloomsbury. Carroll, W. J. (1993). ‘World Engineering Partnership for Sustainable Development. ’ Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, 119 Clift, R. (1998). Engineering for the environment: The new model engineer and her role. Process Safety and Environmental Protection. 76(B2)
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 28 September 2016
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