18 May How do environmental systems relate to human systems?
The relationship between human and environment is one of mutual dependence and interchange. Humans depend on the environment for food, shelter, and clothing. The environment depends on humans for resources, such as air, water, and land.
Humans need to interact with the environment to obtain our food, water, fuel, medicines, building materials and many other things. Advances in science and technology have helped us to exploit the environment for our benefit, but we have also introduced pollution and caused environmental damage.
The impact of environmental problems on humans is significant, affecting all human activities, including health and socio-economic development. In ESS n you will learn about the relationships between humans and the environment, and the ways in which we use environmental resources.
The interactions within the environment may be changed or damaged by human activity. Today, we are probably more conscious of the environment than ever before, but significant damage has already been done. Many of these activities continues today.
Industrial processes, burning of fossil fuels, agricultural production, and growing population pressures all increased levels of pollution. Incidents such the Fukashima Powerplant and Deep-Water Horizon, may grab big headlines, but just as important are the many small acts which added together increase the impact on a habitat.
Pollutants are produced through human activities and create long-term effects when released into ecosystems. Strategies for reducing these impacts can be directed at three different levels in the process:
- Change the human activity that generates the pollutant in the first place.
- This is the most proactive/preventative strategy because the pollutant is not created (or less of it is created) in the first place
- Tends to be difficult to achieve because it’s necessary to change the behavior of people, businesses, and/or governments.