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Man's influence on the environment.

Extracts from this essay...


Man's influence on the environment Humans have slowly realized that the care of the environment is a problem which must be faced if the human race is to exist in its current state. We do not, however do enough to repair and care for the world and it is due to this, and our past neglect which is causing global warming acid rain and depletion of resources. Acid rain is the result of sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions. Acid rain occurs when these acids, produced by cars and factories (Fossil fuels like oil and coal also contain small amounts of sulphur. When these are burnt, sulphur dioxide is emitted into the air), are released into the atmosphere, they combine with rainwater to produce dilute solutions of acids such as sulphuric, sulphurous and nitric acids .These acids cause much damage to the environment, it kills vast areas of forest and when It falls into lakes fish and, in turn, due to increased concentration of toxins higher in the food chain, birds and other predators of these fish die. Acid rain doesn't just affect the country whose industry is producing the emissions; the gasses are blown over national borders into other countries, for example, acid rain from Germany which was carried to Scandinavian countries.


It is due to our inextinguishable need for power which has caused us to be wasteful, cutting down valuable forests and mining for un-renewable coal, using more than we actually need. Needing and using more energy means that more and more fossil fuels are being burnt. Fossil fuels are those such as coal and oil which as their name suggests have developed over millions of years and so therefore are fossils, coal, for example is fossilized wood. Because the energy from these is relatively easily accessible and they are quite cheap and easy to extract fossil fuels are used to a great extent for our energy needs. There are many problems caused by this over use of fossil fuels however, the first being that since they develop over millions of years these fuel are very quickly running out, in other words they are non-renewable. Another problem with fossil fuels is that when they are burnt Carbon dioxide gas is produced; this carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere and traps long wave radiation, thus increasing the temperature of the atmosphere. This is called the 'greenhouse effect'.


Fertilisers have problems too, they contain nitrates which are necessary for the growth of plants, these however are not good for the environment as a whole and if they seep into water supplies such as rivers they kill and poison the wildlife living there and those higher in the food chain. An alternative to using chemical fertilisers is to use natural manure based fertilisers or to do more mixed farming so that animal waste may be reused on the fields. In conclusion, man has influenced the environment in three main ways, these are, * Population explosion * Industrialisation and changes in agricultural practices * Increased demand for energy I have briefly investigated how these factors effect the environment and how we might be able to counteract or reduce the effects of these in the future. If we, as members of the human race do not do something now to put right the wrong which we have done on this planet then the consequences will be sever for members of our race in the very near future. The main challenge which we must face is striking up a balance with nature, with a greater understanding of our effects upon the world around us we should be able to do this... we have to. Helen crutcher

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