Environmental Science in Today’s World sample essay
Humans so dominate today’s world that there is no ecosystem on earth that has not been influenced to a greater or lesser degree of human activities. And, as long as humans remain on earth, such influence will not end. Sustainability will depend on learning to channel our efforts so that we play a positive supporting role as opposed to a destructive role toward ecosystems (Nebel & Wright, 1993). Environmental risk is a reality of today’s world.
The seemingly endless supply of synthetic chemicals, consumer goods, energy, and waste create new risks through chemical contamination, pollution, and environmental degradation. Environmental disasters such as chemical spills or explosions threaten millions of people living in the vicinity of manufacturing or storage facilities. The uncertain risks of global warming and ozone depletion loom ahead. A central factor of environmental risk is that it is usually involuntary.
People do not choose to ingest chemical pollutants such as pesticides or industrial solvents in their food and water, to undergo workplace exposures to dangerous chemicals, to breathe polluted air, or to experience radiation exposure from nuclear fallout or faulty nuclear power plants. These environmental risks pose a unique problem to regulators charged with protecting the public health. Limited information may be available on the health effects of these risks. Consequently, in an effort to protect the public’s health, various government agencies study these potential hazards to determine the level of risk they pose.
This effort to understand these risks, and to quantify their impact on human health, is the field of risk analysis (Moore, 2002). The scale of human occupation and transformation of the environment is now truly global. The adverse health effects of this ignorance may have been limited, as the environmental damage was on a local scale. However, in today’s world our activities are having an impact at a global scale, and global environmental change will become a major theme in public health research, social policy and development, and political advocacy in the 21st century.
The conceptualization of the environment as a global public good for health should go some way not only in increasing an appreciation for this heritage and dependency, but should also enhance the interface between research and policy. This increased awareness and interface between key stakeholders might lead to effective action to ensure a sustainable future for current and future generations (Hester & Harrison, 2002).
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