What is environment?

Environment literally means surrounding. Environment is the aggregate of all those things and set of conditions which directly or indirectly influence life of organisms including human beings as well as communities at a particular place. 

In other words, Environment is the sum total of biotic and abiotic components. Abiotic components are those which cannot move and has no growth, such as soil, water, air, moon, sun, light, sound, hills and mountains, river, sea and all kinds of engineering structures. 

Biotic components are those, which have life and growth such as plants and animals. Environment may also be defined as surroundings in which people, plants and animals live and which influence their growth. Broadly, Environment can also be defined as the complex of social or cultural conditions that affect an individual or community.

The environment is the set of conditions that we have adapted or adopted to live in and behave by. It represents the weather as it changes through the seasons, the way of life, housing, family, friends, law, entertainment etc., and the natural aspects of our surroundings; cities, traffic, woodlands, seas, animals etc.

We each have a particular environment that we are used to and know how to behave in. We change our environment as we move from one location to the next. The home environment is felt different to the work environment or a holiday environment. When we move to certain environments our behaviour changes. At a football match the reaction to a certain passage of play may result in an emotion that is totally acceptable in the arena environment but that would normally be controlled in a home or work situation.

Environment is a highly complex set of parameters that determines behaviour in every way and for every living thing. Some living things grow when weather conditions are right, or die if they are not right. They can’t cope with extreme changes in their environment.

Humans can cope with many extremes. We are more versatile and adaptive to a changing environment. But when the environment changes beyond our expectation we can stress and feel great discomfort.

Classification of environment:

Environment is broadly classified as natural and artificial environment. Natural environment consists of plants, animals, soils, air and water that preceded us billions of years and of which we are a part. 

Artificial environment created by humans using science, technology and political organization. Depending on main components of the environment and the organisms live in them, environment can be aquatic or terrestrial. 

Aquatic environment includes rivers, lakes and oceans etc. in which water is the main component that fulfils requirements of animals living there. 

Terrestrial environment includes land areas in which air is the main constitute and many creatures including humans are directly dependent on it.

Environmental pollution:

Environmental pollution is the discharge of material, in any physical state, that is dangerous to the environment or human health. Most industrialized and developing countries, and many intergovernmental organizations, have developed maximum exposure values for pollutants. Many regulate atmospheric emissions to keep their levels compatible with environmental equilibrium and human health.

This is especially true of atmospheric and marine pollution, since neither is contained within national borders. With regard to climate change, environmental pollution is the defining issue: limiting anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions is acknowledged by scientists as fundamental to mitigating the effects of global climate change. 

Air pollution - Presence of excessive pollutants in the air, such as carbon monoxide from vehicles, sulfur dioxide from factories. These pollutants are harmful, may trigger asthma, cause nausea, and even respiratory illnesses.

Soil pollution - Presence of toxic chemicals in soil, such as pesticides and inorganic fertilizers. Soil pollution affects the ecosystem of plants, and humans and animals that consume plants grown from these soil. Ecosystem is affected when these plants absorb the toxic chemicals and later decompose. Humans and animals are affected as these toxic chemicals can affect the central nervous system.

Water pollution - Presence of pollutants in bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, seas and such. Plants and organisms living in the water are affected. The pollutants are usually waste water from factories, oil from ships, etc.

Effects of environmental pollution on human health:

Environmental pollution has a cumulative effect on the health of not just humans, but every living being. Pollution mainly is categorised as air, water, noise and land pollution.

Air pollution due to various emissions can cause breathing in of toxic pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, particulate matter, etc. These pollutants have varied impacts. Breathing ailments are common, nausea, headache, dizziness or skin irritations are also observed.

Water is polluted by chemicals used in industries, pharmacies and also domestically. Sewage from residential/commercial places and effluents from industries are a major cause of water pollution. Also emissions from industry cause acid rain. Ingesting polluted water can cause gastrointestinal ailments, nausea, diarrhoea. Continuously consuming polluted water with lead, arsenic can make individuals prone to cancer. Recently increasing pollution has also caused mass killing of a number of fishes.

Noise pollution by automobiles, industries, machines, etc. can reduce hearing capability. In extreme cases, it may cause permanent hearing loss. Land pollution may impact human health mainly by consumption of food grown in polluted area.

Environmental pollution is one the greatest challenges that the world is  facing today. It began since industrial revolution, increasing day by  day and causing irreparable damage to Mother Earth. Environmental pollution has its own causes, effects and solutions. Looking into these will help you identify the causes and what steps you can take to mitigate those effects. Broadly, environmental pollution consists of six  basic types of pollution, i.e. air, water, land, soil, noise, and light.

By far the worst outcome is a mass extinction similar to the first big Four extinctions (the Fifth was mostly from an Impact event). From what we have been able to determine the first Four major mass extinctions where all due to abrupt shifts in climate caused by a rapid releases of greenhouse gasses (Carbon Dioxide and Methane)(There have also been dozens of smaller extinction events and they are also mostly tied to changes in climate).

The largest extinction events have been tied to Volcanic eruptions called Trap eruptions. These eruptions are not like volcanic eruptions that come from a single source i.e a Volcano. Trap eruptions are more like fissures that split open the earths crust. These eruptions can last for millions of years and pour out vast quantities of co2, sulfur dioxide and other noxious gasses.

The largest of these Extinction events happened 250 million years ago at the end of the Permian era. This event was so widespread and so damaging it is known as the Great Dying. 95% of all species in the sea and 70%-75% of all species on land went extinct. The reason this extinction event was the largest came down to three factors.

1. The trap eruption was one of the largest known of this type of eruption (thus a huge amount of Co2 released)

2. The trap eruption occurred through an enormous layer of coal which burned thus releasing even more co2.

3. The warming from the first two factors was high enough that it triggered the sublimation of Methane hydrates that turbocharged the warming spell.

What should we do if environmental degradation can happen?

Desperately urgent action is needed. We have been in the 6th extinction event of Earth for years now, and it’s accelerating. In 2013, the estimate was extinction rate being 100 times normal. Now, the official estimate is over 1000 times. A much publicised recent report states that 60% of (non-domesticated) animal numbers have been lost within the past 40 years. Humanity is a cancer that is killing its host. When we unravel the web of life, we also fall through the hole.

Individually, live simply, so you may simply live. Reduce your environmental footprint in every way compatible with your circumstances. This is not hardship but liberation, because it’s addiction to stuff that makes us unhappy. I explain this, with a long list of practical actions, at and Saving the Future

Join with others who also want to save a future. There is power in numbers. Those who run the world won’t change their ways. All change comes from the periphery, which is us, you and me.

Because we live in a visual dominance society, and because life as we know it depends on massive amounts of pollution, tons per person per year.

Most air and water pollution is transparent and therefore invisible, and most visible pollution is out of sight due to exportation of mining, manufacturing and food production pollution from rich consuming countries to poor producing countries, and from rich consuming cities to poor producing factory towns and farmlands

Politicians pontificate about the loss of jobs, and then make stupid attempts to bring dirty jobs like steel and Aluminum production back to the rust belt.

Complaining about the balance of trade measured in dollars is likewise stupid. Measured in pollution, the balance of trade is grossly unfair to countries like China who run a trade dollar surplus.

If you really care about pollution, you have to give up comfort, convenience and shiny objects because they all have heavy cost in pollution. In fact, there are no industries are profitable if they pay the environmental costs. We have to walk away from the entire mining and burning economy to control pollution.

Let’s start with transportation, which is 1/3 of the CO2. No more cars, trucks, planes or ships. The only motorized transport that is sustainable is solar powered electric trains and tubes like Hyper loop. Note: there re not enough ore reserves of Copper, Nickel and Cobalt to make electric cars for everyone - they are rich people’s toys. Besides, roads generate toxic pollution and kill bio-diversity.

Next, let’s give up heating, cooling and cooking with fossil fuels. This means much smaller residences and much more sweating and shivering - which are both really healthy. It also means cooking when the sun shines, or digging down until you reach hot rock.

Next let’s cut our consumption of meat and fish, which generate many times the pollution of plant food. While we are at it, let’s stop use of chemical fertilizer, which causes pollution at the mine and in the ocean. This is feeding half the world, so next we need to give up flush toilets and replace them with composting toilets. This is the only way to grow food sustainably, and it eliminates the human pollution of the ocean.

Causes of environmental pollution:

Environmental pollution refers to the introduction of harmful pollutants into the environment. The major types of environmental pollution are air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, thermal pollution, soil pollution and light pollution.

Deforestation and hazardous gaseous emissions also leads to environmental pollution. During the last 10 years, the world has witnessed severe rise in environmental pollution.

Sources and Causes:

The sources and causes of environmental pollution includes the following:
1. Industrial activities
2. Vehicles
3. Rapid urbanization and industrialization
4. Population overgrowth
5. Effect

Environmental pollution has negatively affected the life of both human-beings and animals. Almost all of our gains in the fields of industrial progress, science and technology had so far been realized at the cost of our health. Even our flora and fauna were found to be threatened with extinction.

The environmental pollution is not caused by the fall-out from nuclear tests or industries alone. The smoke left behind the automobiles and other vehicular traffic, the increasing use of synthetic detergents, nitrogen fertilizers and insecticides contaminate both air and water.
Environment Environment Reviewed by Afsar on November 27, 2018 Rating: 5
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