Identify And Discuss One Social Or Environmental Issue

Can you give four examples of enviromental issues in our world?

Can you give four examples of enviromental issues in our world?

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many environmental issues in the world today. Some have been around for many years, others have become a major concern throughout more recent years, and others are new or reoccurring.

The first environmental issue that comes to mind is environmental pollution: this includes pollution of the land (land fills, need for recycling, farming that damages the soil, etc.), and radon which comes from the ground beneath houses. Water pollution is another stemming from chemicals, run off from land treated with pesticides, asbestos poisoning from the use of asbestos in homes, schools and old buildings, and industrial pollution in the from of nuclear energy (including thermal pollution) and electrical towers.

Other pollution is seen in polluting disasters caused by man on a large scale. Most recently we saw the enormous oil spill caused by BP Oil, which may not be on the news as much now, but will affect the environment for year to come, along with those spills of the past. There is also shipping pollution based on materials released into the water by increased water trade.

Remember, too, air pollution—smog, global warming and smog (found especially in areas of concentrated chemically-related industry), and global warming.

There is great concern for the pollution that may travel from Japan due to failure of nuclear fallout after the recent tsunami. There is great debate raging about the ramifications of this tragedy on the rest of the world, including the United States.

Finally, another form of pollution is that of humans by other humans: specifically in the processing of foods: this includes adding hydrogenated oils to foods to preserve them, which causes serious health risks over time, and the addition of steroids and antibiotics in food, and the impact this has over time, especially with children.

Also included are products—generally "natural" products that have not been tested by the FDA, that are easily available on shelves at pharmacies and food stores. Many of these carry risks that have not be determined because no long-term studies have been run to check for side-effects and what is actually in these products. Just because you can buy it and it says "natural," does not mean it is safe, and these things can pollute one's body.

Hope this is of some help.

maadhav19 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It looks like this list has hit some of the major environmental issues, especially the issue of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which is linked to a number of problems. So let me bring up a few that haven't been mentioned (or maybe I missed them):

1. Pollutants in the drinking water supplies in many places. This is especially acute in communities in Colorado and the Northeast where hydrofracking is used to release natural gas from shale underground; the fluids used in the process are believed to render local wells poisonous.

2. I see #3 already mentioned coral reef destruction. Related to this are the continuing extinction of species due to climate change and human destruction of habitats.

3. Burying nuclear and toxic waste is an ongoing problem. This is mentioned above, but it's worth mentioning an example. I live near Niagara Falls, the site of "Love Canal," where a chemical company buried toxic waste deades ago. In the 1950s-1970s the area was developed as a residential community, but people started having serious health problems due to waste seeping up from underground and into people's basements. The site has been cleaned up as a Superfund site, and is currently uninhabited. Across the state, the Hudson River still needs cleanup of PCB's dumped decades ago.

4. Air quality is an issue in many places due to industry and traffic. This is a more serious issue in the developing world than the developed world. The 2008 Olympics brough awareness of the issue in China; I've traveled in India which has similar problems with air quality and related respiratory illnesses.  

trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are so many issues with environmental issues today--oil spills, nuclear plants spilling radiation into surrounding areas, the mystery of the dead fish and birds in several states, air pollution, run-off from fertilizers and other chemicals into the water tables.  The list is endless.  I hope this one helps a little...

Carbon dioxide in the environment causing climate change all over the Earth. Warmer temperatures are wreaking havoc in delicate ecosystems. What to do with pollutants? Earth is not a garbage dump and we are running out of options about where to put all of the garbage we create. Cutting down forests- this is causing more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, erosion of topsoil and flooding, and loss of habitat for birds and other forest animals. Loss of biodiversity- we are quickly losing valuable animals and plants that could potentially be used as cures for illnesses not to mention deserve to live on Earth also.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The four major environmental issues that I see present the biggest challenge to man are as follows:

1) Overpopulation combined with increased use of resources such as fossil fuels by nations such as India and China, whose rise to prosperity is characterised by an increased consumption of goods.

2) The water crisis. The melting of glaciers in areas such as S. America is leaving countries such as Bolivia and Peru will leave them facing a potential massive water shortage in a few years.

3) The extinction of species caused through global warming, deforestation and other man-made issues is reducing the biodiversity of our planet.

4) The pollution of the sea combined with over-fishing will have massive repurcussions on mankind.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The egocentricity of mankind is one of the biggest environmental issues. Man lives as if his choices are not a causative factor in the environment and its non-renewable resources. Commercialism results in disposable products rather than longer lasting. Landfills are overflowing with our disposable waste--much of which is not biodegradable. Until the majority of mankind decides to build, produce, and live as if the world is not indestructible the environment will continue to suffer.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In terms of water pollution, there is a huge "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico caused by chemical runoff from agricultural lands.  This all flows down from the Mississippi into the Gulf.

There is also the issue of warmer oceans.  Not many people know about the impact that this is having on coral reefs.  In Micronesia, where I grew up, coral reefs are extremely important for protecting island and as sources of food.  Higher ocean temperatures can kill coral reefs.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How about the overpopulation of the planet by humans, and their impact on the world's natural resources?  Our pursuit of oil, electricity, minerals and fresh water have physically damaged the Earth's ecosystems, driven hundreds of species to extinction through pollution and habitat destruction, and yet the population continues to grow.  Earth's "carrying capacity" may well have already been exceeded, and so far we seem incapable of reducing our appetites for resources.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are so many issues with environmental issues today--oil spills, nuclear plants spilling radiation into surrounding areas, the mystery of the dead fish and birds in several states, air pollution, run-off from fertilizers and other chemicals into the water tables.  The list is endless.  I hope this one helps a little...

bnty | Student

why don't you make it an easy answer means do it like

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stutin | Student

Four main environmental issues that are contributing to disasters today are:

1) Coral Reefs: Coral reefs are an issue neglected or perhaps not talked about, but the reality is Coral reefs are diminishing, and this is one of the threats as Coral reefs are very important to sustain human life and the environment in general.

2) Animan Conservation: It is important to preserve species and their habitats, but as the days pass by this is diminishing due to illegal hunting and many other pressures that is taking away the goal of preserving the species.

3) Energy Conservation: There is growing concern that, in the past, fossil fuel has led to cause wars between nations, today it is important to conserve energy and therefore advocacy or awareness of the same is needed to be spread amongst the nations. Conservation of Energy will control and add benefits in securing the environment.

4) Human Population: The population increases by billions day by day and this has caused not only the world to be over populated but it leads to the all assigned problems as discussed above. 

anacouto | Student

I can give more than four environmental issues in our world: climate change due to greenhouse effect and depletion of the ozone layer (carbon dioxide trapped in the earth's atmosphere) , smoke and other dangerous waste from factories, exhaust fumes, increasing consumption of traditional types of energy, nuclear power plants, acid rain, deforestation (cutting down trees over large areas), ecological disasters, species in danger of extinction, poaching,  GM food, natural catastrophes (tornadoes, droughts, floods, tidal waves, earthquakes), forest fires, waste of water,  smog in some polluted industrial cities. The list is endless. 

saffia | Student

The first example is Global warming. The C02 footprints by everyone are increasing and it is becoming an ever bigger issue.We all think that 'its ok, its only me who doing the bad thing like leaving the tap on while we brush our teeth'. But its not. The whole world is doing it.

Deforestation- cutting down trees is becoming more popular each year. It destoys hundereds of homes for animals.

wasted food- We waste billions of dollars of food each year. It is starting to become a problem to start storing the waste products.

Green house gas is effecting the ozone layer of the planet. It is going to burn up the planet one day

Overall, there are alot more enviromental issues but these are a dew main ones.

ciprian | Student

The question did not specify what type of environmental issues.

There are social issues which are also environmental issues such as Vagrancy or homelessness. They throw trash around the city and neighbourhood and contribute to the spread of diseases.

Another is the degradation of hillsides and agricultural land to make room for housing.

Overmining of sand for the construction industry are causing huge holes to develop underground and this causes displacement of earth.

Cutting down of mangroves to build tourism resorts. Can you imagine if a sunami were to pass at that small Caribbean island.


terry387 | Student

Recycling paper and steel

extinction of many animal and plant species and others on the verge of disappearance.

climate change. there are differences amongst scientists whether global warming is a myth or not.

The Australian Federal government is trying to introduce a carbon  emission tax regime to tackle clmate change. Opinion is divided but many ordinary Australians believe that this tax will result in massive rise in the cost of living.

geek10 | Student

There are so many destuctions happening in the world today that people and scientists have started saying that the end of the world is near!! The four major environmental issues that I see present the biggest challenge to man are as follows:

  • The Haiti earthqake on 12th Jan,2010 which was the worst during that time with a record of 7.0
  • The Pakistan floods on 26th July,2010 in which was again the worst after 1948.In this 1,600 people were killed and 14 million were affected badly!              
  • The Japan earthquake with a record of 8.9 on 11th March 2011 killing                 
  • The Japan tsunami which was 30-foot tall.
krcavnar | Student

The top four environmental issues that concern me are pollution, decline in fresh water, overpopulation and climate change. These concerns are interconnected and solutions are similarly intertwined and hinge on corrections of one or all of the above issues. 

First, pollution is a growing concern due to massive amounts of both regular and specialized garbage.  As a western culture we use lots of "stuff" and we throw a significant amount of this "stuff" away creating massive landfills.  Now while this "stuff" can eventually decompose we have created many materials that will not - plastics, styrefoam, etc.  The new "garbage" or toxic garbage is a new phenomenon of the last fifty years.  The components of batteries, light bulbs, computers, cell phones and the like create garbage that is not going to ever disentegrate and placing this material in the ground is not feasible.

We have declining water table and throughout the world the fresh water sources are declining due to overuse or drought. This particular issue will be the most challenging to resolve. We need to advance ways to sustain our water tables and reduce our water usage.  While many countries have no clean water we use fresh water as though we will always have plenty.

Overpopulation creates an issue on two levels the increased need for food sources and its impact on the land along with the increase in consumption and thus more "garbage". 

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