As the world’s population continues to grow, it’s important to think about how humanity impacts the environment. While the planet is a big place and has many systems to sustain itself, actions that people take can be detrimental to the Earth over time. While you might think that only large industrial facilities are to blame for environmental damage, the truth is that everyday actions by people going about their day can also have a big impact on the planet. If you’re wondering what can be done to slow, stop and reverse the effects of harmful environmental actions, below is a list of three things that have an impact on the planet:
1. Chemical Waste
Chemicals are in everything, but some chemicals are more harmful to the environment than others. Whether you represent a chemical processing facility or you’re simply unsure of what to do with your household chemicals that are no longer needed, it’s important to recognize that chemical waste can harm the environment. The good news is that options are available to reduce chemical waste by disposing of unused or spent chemicals at approved facilities. Many towns and cities have designated chemical waste processing sites where both commercial and residential chemical products can be recycled or disposed of in a safe manner.
This is good news because chemicals that get poured down drains or flushed down toilets have the potential to affect nearby water supplies, and chemical waste that is dumped on the ground can leech into groundwater supplies and harm communities. By resolving to find safer disposal or recycling methods, everyday people and companies in the industrial sector can protect communities and water supplies.
2. Carbon Emissions
Carbon is a natural element, and carbon dioxide is a gas that is emitted as a byproduct of processed oxygen. People and animals exhale carbon dioxide, but it can also be emitted from automobiles and factories. The problem with carbon dioxide is that too much of it can lead to changes in the climate through the absorption of infrared heat from the sun. Over time and with a lot of carbon in the air, scientists believe that this has the potential to warm the planet to unsafe temperatures. Furthermore, carbon emissions may lead to changes in jet streams that can further cause chaotic weather patterns and shifting temperatures.
To combat carbon emissions and the potentially harmful effect they have on the planet, many people are switching to electric vehicles. Traditional internal combustion engines found in most vehicles manufactured over the past 100 years emit carbon when burning fuel, but electric vehicles and hybrid-electric vehicles emit less carbon or none at all. Additionally, research and development into carbon-neutral technologies has led to innovations in industrial processing, allowing manufacturers and others in heavy industry to achieve the same amount of work while producing less carbon.
Deforestation is the process of cutting down timber without replacing it. Because trees take a long time to grow, cutting down too many in an area can lead to harmful environmental effects. Trees and forests provide habitats for animals and insects as well as other plants. When forests are cut down and not replaced or are unable to be replenished quickly, entire ecosystems can suffer. When plants can’t grow because they no longer have the protective shade of trees, insects can’t eat. Because insects can’t eat, animals can’t eat. When animals die off, humans no longer have access to meat. All of these things are connected in different ways, and it all leads back to having healthy, full forest areas available.
Efforts to combat deforestation have involved planting new trees and plants when forest areas are cleared, but research into new building materials has also become a major focus in the construction industry. Composite materials that use little or no wood may be able to curb the need for so much timber, and sustainable materials may also lead to less building material waste.