Our planet is in trouble! Almost every day we seem to hear of yet another problem affecting the environment – and what a list of problems! – pollution, acid rain, climate change, the destruction of rainforests and other wild habitats, the decline and extinction of thousands of species of animals and plants….and so on.
Nowadays, most of us know that these threats exist and that humans have caused them. Many of us are very worried about the future of our planet and unless we can find a way of solving the problems we have made then the environment will suffer even more.
It all sounds so depressing – but we certainly mustn’t despair! Every one of us, whatever age we are can do something to help slow down and reverse some of the damage. We cannot leave the problem-solving entirely to the experts – we all have a responsibility for our environment. We must learn to live in a sustainable way i.e. learn to use our natural resources which include air, freshwater, forests, wildlife, farmland and seas without damaging them. As populations expand and lifestyles change, we must keep the world in a good condition so that future generations will have the same natural resources that we have.
The air, water and soil of habitats all over the world have been, and are still being polluted in many different ways. This pollution affects the health of living things. Air is damaged by car and lorry fumes, and power stations create acid rain which destroys entire forests and lakes. When fossil fuels i.e. oil, gas and coal are burned to provide energy for lighting, cooking etc. they form polluting gases.
Oils spills pollute sea water and kill marine life; chemical waste from factories and sewage works, and artificial fertilizers from farmland, pollute river water, killing wildlife and spreading disease.
The careless or deliberate dumping of litter in the environment is not only unsightly but dangerous for wildlife too.
Don’t drop litter.
* Use less energy by switching off lights when rooms are not in use, not wasting hot water, not overheating rooms and not boiling more water than necessary when making a cup of tea!
* Use a bicycle or walk instead of using a car for short trips.
* If you spot pollution, such as oil on the beach, report it to the local council. If you suspect a stream is polluted, report it to the local Environmental Health Officer.
* If you use chlorine-based bleach or detergents containing phosphates you are contributing to water pollution.
Try to buy ‘environmentally-friendly’ products which don’t contain these.
* Organic foods are produced without the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides, preventing these
pollutants from contaminating habitats and entering the food chain.