The diversity on Earth aids the health and quality of human life. It provides the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the air we breathe. But what do we do to serve the Earth? Human impact makes the environment less able to sustain life due to “human-induced rapid environmental changes.” There is no way to escape the effect we have, but there are ways to lessen it in order to protect the beauty of Earth and the many species that inhabit it.
Biology professor Blaine Griffen shares solutions to the five main drivers of human-induced rapid environmental changes:
1. Overexploitation of resources
Let’s take it back to the basics and reduce, reuse, and recycle. Recycling is the most familiar of the three solutions, but we should turn our focus to the other two to achieve the greatest positive impact. Learn how to reuse everyday items. DIY culture has promoted the ability to repurpose almost anything. Utilize the internet to find out what you can do. Reducing is effective economically and environmentally. One way we can reduce is by being extra cautious about the overexploitation of water. Don’t keep your water running and cut down on lawn sprinkler systems.
2. Habitat destruction
We are part of the ecosystem that we live in, so we must support it. The humans vs. nature predicament has never been a productive one and leads to a destructive mindset. Changing this mindset can lead you to be more mindful and respectful of hiking trails, your camping footprint, and nature in general. We are meant to enjoy the beauty of nature, but we should not feel entitled to abuse it.
3. Invasive species
Invasive species prove their destructive nature by causing extinctions, competing with other species, and reducing diversity in the ecosystems they invade, but they also cost the US economy approximately 120 billion dollars per year. Three easy combative measures we can take against invasive species include, never releasing pets into the environment, cleaning boats after removing them from the water, and planting native species in your yard.
Whether it is trash, chemicals, or light, the whole Earth suffers from pollution, and, luckily, we can alleviate the problem through simple efforts.
Some solutions include:
- Avoiding excess use of pesticides and fertilizer. Following instructions helps to avoid infecting ground water and causing pollution.
- Picking up litter so it isn’t ingested by animals or infecting waterways.
- Minimizing the use of outside lights.
- Learning to enjoy nature quietly.
5. Climate change
Broad scale problems like climate change aren’t easily solved, but simple efforts make a difference. Consider your modes of transportation, electricity use, and the benefits of buying locally. Making choices that consider the climate change problem are healthy for the planet and you.
We need to abandon the feeling of hopelessness we may feel in regards to environmental problems. We must work together to have the power to make change, otherwise nothing will get better.