Ecosystems Threat – A Major World Issue
Leave a comment below
Ecosystems consist of plants, animals, and the overall environmental conditions of an area, and include wetlands, mangroves, rainforests, the oceans and their coral reefs, rivers, habitats, and so on. The ecosystems threat is a result of pollution, climate change, land clearing and resource exploitation, and many species have been impacted on heavily, with the loss of species reaching alarming proportions since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, giving scientists cause to stop and think about what needs to be done to solve a disturbing problem. It is now a major world issue.
One quarter of coral reefs has disappeared, and if the rate of destruction continues, it is estimated that all coral reefs will be gone in the next 30 years. 4.6 million hectares of forest has been burned or cut down. Habitat loss is endangering species, such as the polar bear, lion, tiger, elephant, rhinoceros, and even the gorilla. There are now more than 7 billion humans on the planet, and human lifestyle creates pollution as well as the overuse of natural resources, now in the order of 1.5 Earth’s, which is simply unsustainable if it continues, or worse still, reaches an even higher level. In one year alone, 23 billion tons of resources is extracted from the Earth.
The impacts of ecosystem destruction are:
- increased flooding due to soil erosion, and the felling of rainforests
- rising temperatures
- water shortages
- rising sea levels
- disruption to the food chain
- food shortages
- loss of biodiversity
- unmanageable pollution
It follows that if global temperatures continue to rise, the ice caps and glaciers will continue to melt causing a continued rise in sea levels, leading to the inundation of coastal cities and the flooding of farms, leading to food shortages while placing enormous strains on the economies of countries, or islands where the rise in sea level has destroyed homes, shops, businesses and the likes, making life almost impossible in the form it was once known.
In 2008, a report was presented to world leaders in Bonn, in which the report stated that there will be severe consequences for all economies if rainforests continue to be felled, the seas overfished, and more and more land turned to intensive farming. Not only do humans need to be fed, but so do the animals consumed by them, meaning more and more land is needed for crops to feed the animals, as well as humans. In the last 300 years, 40% of the world’s forests have been destroyed, and in the last 50 years, half of the wetlands have gone with one-third of mangroves disappearing in just 20 years. There is increasing soil loss, soil erosion, a growing scarcity of fresh water, and the destruction to the world’s ecosystems is costing hundreds of billions a year. Studies have suggested that the cost to manage and maintain ecosystems could reach trillions per year by 2050 if we continue along the same path we have been on.
The following documentary is a talk by deep sea biologist, Edith Widder, about the world’s oceans, and is most informative: