This is a very complex question with many different answers, but a broad, general overview brings us to waste generation and habitat destruction. Human beings generate waste in the form of non compostable litter, toxic chemicals, and gaseous emissions, which can toxify groundwaters and soils, as well as break down the ozone later and cause a global climate imbalance, global warming.
This is linked to habitat destruction, as these processes threaten to make the world unlivable. We also practice more straightforward habitat destructions like deforestation and poor management of natural resources – like fossil fuels and fresh water.
The damage done to the environment caused by humans is an extensive, complex list, but below is a link to a very brief summary of the consequences our damaging actions, including species loss and projections of loss for the future.
Here are some historical examples of major environmental problems caused by humans:
– Back in it’s days as a major player in the steel industry, Pittsburgh was known to have black clouds of pollution in it’s air.
– The Chernobyl incident in the former Soviet Union was the worst nuclear disaster in world history, blanketing much of Europe with radioactive contamination and causing a large amount of sicknesses and deaths.
– There have been countless oil spills into various waterways all over the planet. The recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the worst in US history and second worst in world history. 205.8 million gallons of oil were leaked before it was finally stopped. The Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989 was known to be the worst in US history prior to that, but the recent spill was nearly 20 times worse. Sadly, the worst in world history was in Kuwait in 1991, when Iraqi forces intentionally caused a 520 million gallon spill to slow down the invasion. There was a 4 inch thick coat of oil over 4,000 square miles of ocean.
This list could go on for days, but those are just a few examples.
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