Vlad Belov
Sep 4 · Last update 5 mo. ago.
What is the biggest environmental problem currently?
Out of all the current environmental problems such as deforestation, global warming, waste, etc which one is the most serious? Does one of them have a priority over the others, if yes why?
Stats of Viewpoints
Marine pollution should be given priority
1 agrees
0 disagrees
Desertification should receive immediate attention
0 agrees
0 disagrees
Pollution should be prioritised
1 agrees
0 disagrees
Deforestation and its effect on fuelling climate change
0 agrees
0 disagrees
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Marine pollution should be given priority

The wide scale of marine pollution from nutrient pollutants and plastics in the oceans has too many consequences, from falling marine biodiversity to the impact of pollutants entering the food chain. Currently over-fishing, direct discharge of human waste, pollutant land runoff, direct pollution from shipping and mining industries, and millions of tonnes of non-biodegradable human waste are having a massively detrimental effect on marine life around the world. Biodiversity experts have calculated that we are currently losing 200-2000 species a year, many of these from the world’s oceans.

Likewise many land dwelling species, including many people, rely on fish for survival and should be thought of as under threat also, both from falling numbers of marine life and the potential health risk from the rising toxin levels present in both farmed and wild fish. So further extinction of marine species will not simply affect the fishing industry, but will influence every food chain that contains marine life, having knock on effects to other marine and terrestrial food chains. Scientists are theorising many ways to reverse climate change, forests can be replanted, oil spills can be cleaned up, but species cannot be “de-extinct”. wwf.panda.org/our_work/biodiversity/biodiversity

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Daniel Halliday
Dec 11
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DH edited this paragraph
Likewise many land dwelling species, including many people, rely on fish for survival and should be thought of as under threat also, both from falling numbers of marine life and the potential health risk from the rising toxin levels present in both farmed and wild fish. So further extinction of marine species will not simply affect the fishing industry, but will influence every food chain that contains marine life, having knock on effects to other marine and terrestrial food chains. Scientists are theorising many ways to reverse climate change, forests can be replanted, oil spills can be cleaned up, but species cannot be “de-extinct”. http://wwf.panda.org/our_work/biodiversity/biodiversity/
Desertification should receive immediate attention

Far more of the Earth is covered by semi arid seasonal grasslands than forests, and about two thirds of the worlds grasslands are beginning to show signs of desertification. Saving this land from total desertification should be the first point of call in tackling climate change, as preserving the fertility of these lands will help to reverse the greenhouse effect. This is due to the large scale of additional photosynthesis this change could create, the plants of these regions effectively pulling large amounts of additional greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.

However, this could have many massive social and economic benefits also, protecting agriculture in semi arid regions, a problem causing poverty and sometimes starvation in historically fertile regions. Some of these regions having a very high population also, making changes to be able to provide better yields in order to supply local food to hungry people could minimise cost and ease both hungry and poverty. The most important change we could make to address climate change then would be to stopping the "slash and burn" techniques used worldwide and encourage the grazing of livestock to re-fertilise soils in such regions.

ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change?language=en

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Daniel Halliday
Dec 11
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DH edited this paragraph
However, this could have many massive social and economic benefits also, protecting agriculture in semi arid regions, a problem causing poverty and sometimes starvation in historically fertile regions. Some of these regions having a very high population also, making changes to be able to provide better yields in order to supply local food to hungry people could minimise cost and ease both hungry and poverty. The most important change we could make to address climate change then would be to stopping the "slash and burn" techniques used worldwide and encourage the grazing of livestock to re-fertilise soils in such regions.
Pollution should be prioritised

Pollution is the biggest issue, because it causes global warming and kills animals.

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Daniel Halliday
Dec 12
DH edited this paragraph
This all contributes to making the emission of greenhouse gases by far the biggest environmental problem that causes greatest risk to the global population. The reason for this is twofold, human endeavour has already affected the delicate system of the Earth’s natural carbon cycle causing destabilising global climate change. Secondly, the level of human generated air pollution has surpassed the threshold at which termination of this activity will halt the progressive deterioration of polar ice sheet melting, causing further emissions of greenhouse gases trapped in ice caps. Furthermore, the discovery of massive pockets of methane gas (a greenhouse gas far shorter lived but far more powerful that carbon dioxide) is a massive cause for concern. The release of this gas into the atmosphere caused by melting tundra and polar ice sheets will likely increase the process of global warming 30 fold. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/oct/13/methane-release-from-melting-permafrost-could-trigger-dangerous-global-warming
Deforestation and its effect on fuelling climate change

Deforestation is by far the most damaging contribution to climate change, which is arguably the biggest problem facing mankind today. Deforestation is a multi-level problem, not only is this industry burning fossil fuels to cut down forests of different types internationally, but this land is often used for livestock agriculture, which in itself releases even more greenhouses gases mostly in the form of methane. Furthermore, deforestation is the active destruction of one of the main tools in the carbon cycle for pulling carbon out of the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the rate of the greenhouse effect to increase evermore sharply.

Forests are also massive pools of biodiversity; forest ecosystems often have thousands of species of plants, insects, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fungi and a range of microorganisms. Deforestation directly removes not just trees then, but this whole abundant ecosystem with it. Humans currently utilise at least 40,000 species of plants and animals for everything from food to clothing, from shelter to medicine and that is just from the species we know. Scientists have estimated that we have currently catalogued less than 15% of the 8.7 million species thought to exist worldwide; removing pools of biodiversity in this way will only go to further remove possible useful species from existence.

cifor.org/Publications/Corporate/FactSheet/forests_biodiversity.htm news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/08/110824-earths-species-8-7-million-biology-planet-animals-science

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Daniel Halliday
Dec 11
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DH edited this paragraph
Forests are also massive pools of biodiversity; forest ecosystems often have thousands of species of plants, insects, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fungi and a range of microorganisms. Deforestation directly removes not just trees then, but this whole abundant ecosystem with it. Humans currently utilise at least 40,000 species of plants and animals for everything from food to clothing, from shelter to medicine and that is just from the species we know. Scientists have estimated that we have currently catalogued less than 15% of the 8.7 million species thought to exist worldwide; removing pools of biodiversity in this way will only go to further remove possible useful species from existence.
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