Wednesday, October 23, 2019

What types of problems and effects are been forced upon the planet?

What types of problems and effects are been forced upon the planet with modern technology and the increasing population and what can be done to make the planet healthier? The growing population, deforestation and use of fossil fuels are causing the biggest environmental problem that has been discovered over the past 50 years, Global Warming. In the past 10 years dramatic actions have been taken to curb the dangerous affects that could lead to drought, floods, sweltering heat and rising seas. I believe that to curb the effects more people should be aware of what the future would be like for future generations. How their lives would be affected by global warming. Simple things like walking to work and school or using a bike to commute would make a huge difference, if more people knew that bicycling is 117% more efficient than walking, and then I believe more people would do it. However the majority will have to take this into account if they want to make a difference. By simply wearing an extra shirt around the house and not turning on the heating will contribute to saving the environment. Paper which is made from trees should not be wasted and recycled when finished with. In order to prevent unnecessary usage of the planets resources' recycling helps to curb the effects of deforestation. Whenever a person uses a car or forgets to switch their television off at the mains, leaving the little red light to waste energy, a thought should be spared for the millions of men women and children that survive every day in third world countries who have quite possibly never seen a television. If every commuter car in the U.S. transported an extra person, it would save eight billion gallons of fuel a year. Facts like these assist in convincing people that small gestures matter. However many people do not think that just one person can make the difference. Scientists have discovered the main causes of global warming and because of this curbing the effects causing global warming is a great deal easier. Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human activities including industrial processes, fossil fuel combustion, and changes in land use, such as deforestation all contribute to the increasing temperature of the planet. Heat from the sun passes through the atmosphere of the earth and heats up the earth's surface. The heat is reflected back out to space by the earth's surface but certain gases in the atmosphere trap some of the deflected heat. These gases then act as a blanket, keeping heat locked in the atmosphere warming the planet. This process is similar to that which takes place in a greenhouse environment hence the name â€Å"greenhouse effect† and â€Å"greenhouse gases†. Greenhouse gas (es) is the name given to the gases which trap the heat in the earth's atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide is the greatest contributor to the build up of gases in the atmosphere. Cars, Factories, even using paper all contribute to the hostile planet we are all creating for future generations. Fossil fuels release the majority of harmful gases into the atmosphere, so in order to reduce the amount of dangerous gas entering the atmosphere; other sources of energy are being used. Renewable energy sources such as Solar Power, Wind turbines/farms, Tidal, Hydro-electric, Geothermal and using Biomass and alternative power sources such as nuclear power all contribute to the decrease in use of fossil fuels. Trees provide oxygen for the planet by removing the carbon from carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen back in to the atmosphere. This done by a process called photosynthesis. Transpiration is a process whereby the plants carry water up the stems of the plants into the leaves and it evaporates through the leaves. These processes determine the weather and cause clouds, which block the suns heat from passing through the ozone layer. Deforestation regularly occurs because of farmers attempting to settle farmland; the poor become ‘shifted cultivators' and resort to using ‘Slash and Burn' methods to make an open space. The name implies exactly what happens; trees are cut down and the remains are burned. The ash is used as a fertilizer and the land is used for vegetation farming or a cattle farming, however, the soil that is cleared in slash and burn is left infertile; the nutrients in the soil are quickly absorbed by surrounding organisms. The trees can no longer be replanted in the same area once a shifted cultivator is finished in that area. Another reason for major deforestation is because of many labourers resorting to illegally cutting down trees to survive. The UN has however developed a plan to provide the poorer countries with enough money to stop the deforestation. Acts like these will all help to minimise the dangerous effects inflicted on the planet. Tidal barriers attract a lot of controversy. The proposal to build the Severn Barrier has been severely opposed by many environmentalists, because of impacts upon wildlife and the marine environment. The construction of tidal lagoons has been proposed as a more ecologically sound method of generating electricity from tides. However due to global warming, it is inevitable that the sea levels will rise. Coastal cities must be protected against sea level rise, so tidal barriers must be constructed for this purpose. If CO2 emissions are not dramatically reduced within twenty years we will face much greater sea level rise, and we will then have to look at tidal barriers to protect other UK cities, on the River Severn. Although Biomass is a renewable energy source it does release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere reducing the use of fossil fuels but not necessarily reducing the emissions of harmful gases into the atmosphere. Nuclear power is not renewable but it does not emit any harmful greenhouse gases and therefore it does not contributing to the greenhouse effect. At present, there are 442 nuclear power stations in operation in the world, with a generation capacity of 368 million kilowatts, which accounts for 16% of world's total power generation for 18 consecutive years. Nuclear power has many advantages; it is cheap and produces large amounts of energy from small amount of fuel, it is also very reliable and produces very little waste. Although there is little waste produced, it is dangerous and has to be buried underground to contain the radioactivity; it takes hundreds of years before the radioactivity is gone. On April 25th -26th, 1986 the planet suffered worst nuclear power accident occurred at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union (now Ukraine). The Chernobyl nuclear power plant had 4 reactors and whilst testing reactor number 4 numerous safety procedures were disregarded. A chain reaction in the reactor became out of control creating explosions and a fireball which blew off the reactor's heavy steel and concrete lid. The Chernobyl accident killed more than 30 people immediately, and as a result of the high radiation levels in the surrounding 20-mile radius, 135,000 people had to be evacuated. It will take four hundred years before the affected area will become liveable again. In conclusion, I have discussed the effects of pollution and the controversy caused, I have also discussed what can be done to curb the effects. The use of renewable energy can assist in the prevention of further damage, and that walking or bicycling instead of driving can also reduce the damaging effects facing the environment. I have discussed the disaster and consequences of nuclear power and its advantages to the environment. I would like to conclude by saying that unless drastic measures are taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of future generations, the planet will die and we, as a species, will too.

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