What are some of the long-term impacts of environmental problems, and how can some of these be solved?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many long-term effects of environmental degradation, many of which have serious global consequences.

The most worrisome long term issue at the moment is global climate change. A rise in average global temperature of over 2 degrees centigrade is considered by most experts a tipping point. The effects of global warming include melting of polar ice caps and an accompanying rise in sea levels which will put at risk many coastal cities such as New York and Miami and possibly submerge some island nations. Changing global climate will also cause massive species migrations and extinctions, and change the latitudes at which many food crops are viable, leading to problems in many agricultural areas. Increased temperatures are also correlated with more frequent extreme weather events. The main way to solve this is to reduce carbon footprints to slow global warming.

Another major issue is the degradation of water supplies and depletion of aquifers. Many countries and regions are polluting and depleting aquifers by intensive farming. Two possible solutions are organic farming which does not pollute water as much and fair market pricing of water.

Finally, deforestation is a major issue contributing to climate change and soil erosion. This can be countered by providing economic incentives to preserve forests.