How Humans Impact the Environment: The Bad and the Good

Nowadays, humans cannot live without basic elements like a home, means of transportation, or maybe even gadgets. Unfortunately for the environment, most of these elements are extremely dangerous for nature. The more humanity is developing, the more it destroys natural resources. Knowing how humans impact the environment might help us stop some of the bad practices but also highlight the good.

The Human Impact on the Environment

Our constant need for expansion and development has a dire effect on nature. People have always aimed higher and tried to become more prosperous. This often happened at the expense of the environment, which started deteriorating once humans took over the world.

We needed more buildings, so we had to make room for them by destroying thousands of habitats. As cities started developing, we also produced more pollutants that had an effect on the entire globe. However, if we want to improve the situation, we need to know how humans impact the environment. In some cases, they can even have a good influence on it, so it’s better to be informed.

Bad Effects on the Environment

Here are some of the most striking actions humans inflicted on the environment. They all have a damaging impact on both flora and fauna, but can also influence the global climate and thus the overall quality of life. Of course, all these actions come back against us, so we should pay more attention whenever we plan our actions.

1.      Pollution

The main cause of human activity on the environment is, of course, pollution. In fact, most anything we do can produce pollutants which have a terrible effect on nature. Pollution starts small, with a few pieces of waste we leave behind, but it gets more serious as we move on a bigger scale.

The main source of pollution is the industry, which affects both water, air, and land. Air suffers the most, which is a problem for all living creatures. For instance, only the US is producing 147 million metric tons of pollutants that end up in the air. We can already notice changes in our health, so this calls for immediate action.

2.      Overpopulation

For the past centuries, the human population kept growing until it almost reached the maximum capacity our planet can sustain. Over time, we saw a lot of progress both in terms of medicine and technology. This made our life better, reduced mortality rates, and helped us develop more urban areas.

Of course, you’ll think this is good news. However, our constant expansion has turned us into some sort of an invasive species that has taken over the habitat of other creatures. Our regular activities have destroyed natural ecosystems, while our constantly increasing populations might affect the balance of life on our planet.

3.      Deforestation

Humans perform a lot of activities that require wood. We need it for fuel and buildings, while we also need to make room for more places we can occupy. Either way, we end up cutting forests, which has a huge impact on the environment from several points of view.

Firstly, trees are the main oxygen producers on the planet. If we keep cutting them, we will contribute to the increase of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. They maintain our air clear and breathable, so trees are basically essential for our well-being.

Secondly, forests work as natural habitats for thousands of species. By destroying them, we leave many creatures without a home. This either forces them to suffer some serious changes to adapt or puts them on the endangered species list. A big number of animals went extinct after humans destroyed their habitats.

4.      Genetically Modified Organisms

These types of organisms, also known as MGOs, have contributed to our prosperity. These organisms are usually genetically enhanced to grow more rapidly, look better, or maybe require fewer resources. Those manmade organisms aren’t usually so bad, but it can happen that similar ones start evolving on their own. Of course, these can gradually turn invasive and prevent the growth of natural plants and animals.

5.      Ocean Acidification

This is also an effect of the high levels of carbon dioxide found in the air. Whenever the gas comes into contact with water, a chemical reaction occurs which produces carbonic acid. This acid basically affects the pH of water, which has a huge impact on all marine life. The phenomenon adds up to the recent increases in water temperature that damage all kinds of creatures.

If you read about how humans impact the environment, there’s no way you can leave out ocean acidification. The biggest victims of this phenomenon are corals, whose populations have significantly decreased precisely of this cause. This is a problem for other creatures as well since corals host about 25 percent of all marine life.

Good Effects on the Environment

Humans usually have a destructive effect on our surroundings, but not all of their actions are bad. In some cases, we managed to improve the quality of some ecosystems and to make it easier for certain creatures to overcome environmental difficulties. Here’s how humans impact the environment in a positive way.

Person shoveling soil over a newly planted tree, how humans impact the environment

1.      Afforestation

Humans might cut forests, but we do a lot of planting as well. In some cases, we manage to create a balance between deforestation and afforestation. This way, we can contribute to a better air quality and make efforts to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide.

2.      Conservation

There are many campaigns that seek the conservation of all kinds of resources. Their main purpose is to reduce the consumption of water and land, but also to protect all the living creatures on Earth. These same campaigns also promote the use of green sources of energy to avoid their consumption.

Summing Up

Knowing how humans impact the environment is essential if you want to make a difference. Most of our actions are actually damaging for nature, as they destroy the quality of air and of natural habitats and threaten the creatures that live there. However, we can also have a positive impact on the environment and create some sort of balance between the two. The first step is to be aware of the damage we inflict on nature, and then we can make small steps to change this.

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William E. Eubanks

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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