Environmental education is more important now than ever. With more than 7 billion people on the planet, we're consuming more resources at a faster rate than ever before. The effects we as a race are having on the environment are manifold and, in many cases, severe.
Our use of our natural resources is responsible for mass deforestation, the deaths of many species of plants and animals and the marring of much natural beauty. It has even taken a toll on our health, leading to increasing instances of asthma, lung diseases and diseases appearing in warm areas, such as malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever. Obtaining a forestry degree, biology degree from http://www.bio.purdue.edu or environmental sciences degree will help prepare you with more knowledge to help combat the spread of these negative effects, but even if you don't pursue a career related to the environment there's still much you can do to understand the environment, the effects the human race is having on it and what you can do to help change everything for the better. Understanding the ways that our species has impacted the world will help give you a clear picture of the nature of the problem and ensure the methods you use to aid the planet will align with your goals.
Scientists have concluded that climate changes on a recurring basis, going through cycles of hot and cold over periods of hundreds of years. Since the Industrial Revolution, however, this normal cycle has been sped up and increased in intensity, leading to the hottest decade in 400 years. This recent climate change has had many changes on various parts of our world, changing the atmosphere, temperature, weather and oceans. The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is warming the land and oceans, affecting vegetation growth, killing marine species and contributing to the melting of the polar ice caps.
What We Have Done
The prevalence of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere is a result of the activities of mankind. Though some level of greenhouse gases is necessary to maintain the proper temperatures for life to exist on the planet, many man-made gases are now present in the atmosphere and the level of greenhouse gases has risen beyond natural levels. This is due to activities such as burning fossil fuels, producing and transporting fossil fuels, agricultural and industrial activities, and industrial processes, which variously release carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases. Forests have been cut down to supply the timber industry and make room for agricultural activities, resulting in a loss of forests and forest animals. Disasters, such as the recent BP oil spill, have further polluted the environment and killed plants and animals.
What We Can Do To Fix It
Researchers have discovered that electronics sitting in standby mode—not powered on yet still drawing power in order to respond quickly—account for around 10% of total residential electrical energy consumption in the U.S. This number is staggering not only because it equates to over $6 billion a year, but also because it's power that's wasted so that electronic devices can be power up a few seconds sooner. By unplugging or switching devices off at the outlet, we can save money on power and reduce the power required across the nation, eliminating a great deal of the need for more fossil fuel burning in power plants. By learning to reduce, then reuse and, finally recycle, we can eliminate waste while saving money that would have otherwise been spent purchasing items we don't truly need. Writing your state and federal representatives, asking them to support proposed laws that would reduce waste and pollution can help bring change at a state or national level. Whatever you do, make sure you're aware of your options and make the most of your actions.