Natural Environment: Influence of People

Every single living being on this planet has an impact on the natural environment. Whether we like it or not, by simply existing all people leave their mark on the world that surrounds them. Unfortunately, most of the impact we, as humans, have on the natural system (ecosystems) is negative. With all knowledge and technology in our disposal, we still remain the most polluting species in the entire world. And although our planet is good at recycling the results of our being, it seems that people generate far more waste than Earth can deal with. This human impact on the external environment occurs at different levels and, ultimately, the whole thing results in natural environment changing our life styles. Because the human social system and the ecosystem have many connections, very often the influence of people on nature bounces back to pose new challenges for humans. In other words, we contribute to the changing nature of the ecosystem we live in; and those changes are rarely good ones. In this article we are going to look at the most common impacts (both good and bad) on the natural environment caused by people.

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How Do People Impact the Natural Environment?

As we have said before, humans generate far more waste than Earth can cope with. Pollution seems to be the main issue in the context of human impact on the natural environment. Below you will find the most common negative pollution impacts we, as humans, have on nature.

Water Pollution. No human will be able survive long without clean water. Considering the fact that most of freshwater is used for irrigation (about 70%) and a great deal of good freshwater supply is being constantly contaminated, we don’t have enough for everybody. About 1 billion people today don’t have access to safe water which makes the lives of those people extremely difficult. Despite some efforts to stop the water pollution tendency, it appears that humans don’t do enough to address the issue. Along with that, effluence from different industries along with multiple oil spills damage our fragile ecosystems. These issues pose great environmental challenges that have to be addressed by those who have caused them – humans.

Air Pollution. This type of pollution is no less inferior to the previous kind of human impact. Toxic gases mostly produced by plants and factories turn out to be the main factor of air pollution which ultimately threatens the health of people on Earth. Over 100 million people reside in areas where air pollution quality standards are not met. Nowadays, people start thinking about the consequences of their own actions and as a result of that they often prefer companies using greener technologies. This has contributed to the positive tendency of the air pollution decrease over the last years.

Soil Pollution. The results of operation of food processing industries along with nuclear waste deplete the soil of its nutrients, thus making it lifeless. But land pollution is not only about poor agricultural practices and industrial activities; personal consumption and urban sprawl have its significant contribution to the problem too. The good news about land pollution is that it can be averted by our actions alone. All we have to do is learn proper planning and proper usage of natural resources.

Is there Anything Good that Humans Do to Help Solve the Problem?

As people begin to realize the price they have to pay for the caused environmental challenges, they start to look for ways how they can help the situation. The thing is that Earth can withstand human impact on natural system; it will adjust to survive. However, the changed external environment may drive people (other species) to extinction. When all of us come to realize this simple fact, it will be much easier to change the tendency of negative impact on the natural environment. But even now, in the times when most people are short-sighted regarding the issue, humans still try to do something about the problem.

Wildfires Control. Preventionof wildfires in dry areas helps save large areas of forest and animals. To some extent people help contain the damage in that way.

Reforestation. In the context of restoring ecological balance, reforestation efforts are important steps that positively contribute to the ecosystems.

Waterways Cleaning. Thisis another step humans take to protect ecosystems and prevent flooding of the banks as waterways often get clogged up by natural debris and waste dumping.

Renewable Energy Sources. Solar energy generators, wind turbines and bio-fuels reduce our dependence on oil reserves. The good news that more and more people invest big money in the development and usage of renewable energy sources.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned efforts on behalf of humans are not enough to help the situation. There are still too many companies and people who prefer thinking about business and personal comfort rather than about the place our children will have to live in in future. Even the latest technological advances that are being used to remediate pollution will not solve the issue. It seems that it boils down to each one of us to take care of the environment we and our descendants will have to live in.


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