I think currently it would be issue of global warming. Although there are many environmental issues that could make the list, global warming is by far the largest and most important because it effects all ouf us. If we don’t take the necessary action to help combat it now, the whole global ecosystem could be destroyed.
Global warming is sort of like THE environmental problem (or you could call it more accurately “Climate Change”) but as far as an environmental issue goes — I think we have to narrow it down to one of the causes of climate change — let’s talk about the source of the problem, so then it can be addressed and we can search for solutions:
Energy Production / Demand (is way too high! — we are making more power than we could every need, and squandering it away in efficient processes) We need to make our homes more efficient so we don’t waste so much… and how bout what we consume?
Production / Manufacturing (what goods are we making? what types of materials are they made of? how can we make things that will be functional and last, but not be harmful to the eco-system?)
Transportation — fossil fuels are being used WAAYYYY more than they need to be! We need to fix the system so it is more efficient and less costly (both from an economic and environmental standpoint)…
Pollution / Littering — why are people so willing to throw things away? how can some people pollute like it’s nothing… don’t they know that the world is round!?
These are the four biggest issues I can think of.
I think human nature and the economy. Humans only seem to care about themselves and the economy. These are the only things that are preventing human from saving lots of animals and preventing many world disasters. Nevertheless, nearly all humans are anthropocentric including myself. However, I am, at least trying, to slowly move away from the outlook and way of life.
There are many issues I could point out as especially prevelant right now. Water is tempting to mention, because it’s so fundamental to our life, and yet I feel it isn’t talked about as much as it should be (especially on the East coast where it rains frequently).
The real issue, in my opinion, encompasses all of these problems- and that’s ths issues of our education system. Students in Elementary and Secondary schools aren’t learning about these things and how to make a change. I feel there needs to be a revolution in our education system so that solutions to things such as climate change and water shortages can be addressed.
I agree that the biggest obstacle is human nature – specifically the tendancy of leaders who have the authority to make real changes to choose politics over the common good of their constituents. On the other hand, if many of them do not choose politics, their authority will be gone in a heartbeat. But, on a positive note, people have always made a heroic effort and done the right thing when other crises (World War II, Cold War) reached the tipping point. The question: will it be too late? this time around?
Outside of global warming, I say the biggest problem we are facing is what to do with waste. Our population is increasing and creating more waster than ever and is being pushed out into the ocean. Putting it in landfills is not the best option. We need to learn to recycle everything.
I think our dependence in nuclear energy is the most urgent environmental issue we are facing. With Japan dealing with nuclear disaster, I have been considering the possibility of the same scenario happening again; I live in an area where earthquakes are common. The Fukushima Daiichi plant has been releasing contaminated, radioactive water into the ocean. This water is about 100 times the legal limit of radioactivity, but it must be done to make room in storage tanks for water that is 10,000 times the legal limit. This is very alarming to me. Some of these elements have a half life of 30 years, a fact that will most certainly affect the sea life in this area, and anyone who eats it. This level of radiation release will also affect humans that live in the surrounding area as well.
I think the current issue of global warming is the most urgent problem we are facing in the world. I recently read an article about how the Maldives are sinking because of the change in global warming. It’s scary that a whole nation could be effected so literally. In the years to come, the Maldives may not be around anymore.
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