Critical Threats to the Global Environment
The world has been experiencing numerous environmental issues resulting to advance effects in human life including climate changes, and an increase in the world temperature among other issues. Growing modern age environmental issues capture the attention of the world society. As a major factor in the optimal environmental balance disturbing process, man is regarded to be the most responsible for the occurrence of the environmental crisis that is manifested in all life spheres. Due to a progressive number of environmental issues that require immediate response, the global community must define the best way to mitigate the issue. This paper focuses on discussing globalization and the use of fossil fuel as the major causes of environmental threats in the world, with intention of determining their main contributing factor, human activities contribution, and establishing the best way to address or mitigate the problem.
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Factors that Make Globalization and Use of Fossil Fuel Such a Serious Risk to the Global Environment
Globalization refers to a complex process whose direction and pace are determined by various factors, which its environmental, social, and economic manifestations leave lasting and significant impacts. In the environmental context, globalization is perceived as a process of widespread environmental crises manifestation, initiated by global environmental pollution. Globalizing mankind to create a global society is faced with actual global issues. Among those problems a significant place belongs to the planet earth environmental balance disruption, which threaten human life survival on it, to the level that one can talk of a global environmental crisis. When globalization is regarded in modern environmental crises, environmental issues, and ecological issues context, four interrelated contexts are considered. The globalization process is perceived as a process of environmental crisis manifestation on a large scale, and the issues yielding from the global economic crisis are currently very far from the regional and national framework (Ilic, 2).
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Civilization development has caused the gradual emergence of climate change and global warming on earth. Globalization caused growth in international trade, higher cooperation among countries, accelerated financial flows, and innovations in technology and science. Nevertheless, it also adds to environmental degradation. The major causes of environmental issues based on sustainable development and environmental protection are industrial production, uncontrolled natural resources exploitation, traffic development, energy production growth, development of technology and technics, and agricultural chemical contamination. With society development and population increase which cause an increase in the demand for products essential for life, it has become important to shift to industrial production mode. Certainly, industrial production has positive sides based on increased production, though not without endangering the environment via harmful gases emission into the soil, water, and air (Perera, 7).
The graph demonstrates how the world temperatures have been increasing in the past fifty years and the temperature changes prediction in the future. According to Ilic (2), a very far-reaching and important globalization negative effect is manifested in climate change and global warming. Global warming is caused by the greenhouse effect initiated by developing nations growing industrialization and heavy dependence on fossil fuels. The carbon emitted into the atmosphere through the two means result in global warming which yields to glacier and ice melting and the eventual rise of the seal level. This consequently has an extensive effect on the weather system and biodiversity. This, based on OECD has caused a rise in the average global temperature by 0.6oC since the late 19th century as demonstrated in the graph above. The situation is anticipated to worsen in the future if no measures are taken to control the environmental effect of different human activities around the globe. It is predicted that the global temperature will rise by more than 1 in the next 10 years from what was recorded in the late 19th century (Ilic, 2).
The industrialization negative effect is also manifested via the plants’ devastation, animals’ destruction, and human health deterioration. Environment violation via raw materials depletion and excessive accumulation of all kinds of waster that cannot be decomposed by nature are the industrial production characteristics. As a planetary process, globalization has resulted in the development of traffic that causes environmental degradation through air pollution, increase in levels of noise, and uncontrolled release of hazardous and harmful substances. Although globalization has its benefits, its negative impacts on the environment surpass the positive ones. According to Ilic (2) the main negative effect is mirrored in the export-based environmental destruction. Excessive utilization of natural resources as a result of increased demand, and ecosystem removal due to population growth have a highly detrimental effect on the environment.
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The use of fossil fuels is another serious risk to the global environment. Fossil fuels energy has carbon and was generated over several million years ago vial a geological process. The chief components of fossil fuel are mainly the organic matter remains from animals and plants. Fossil fuel has been a major source of global energy supply and may continue as so for a long time if sufficient measures are not employed to promote renewable energy. Consequently, fossil fuel has contributed a great deal to the current global climate situation in the world. According to Oludaisi (6) fossil fuels use as the main energy source for most nations has caused various negative environmental effects that include air pollution and global warming. Air pollution causes numerous health issues, causing economic and social negative effects (Martins, 5).
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According to Ilic (2), the by-products of fossil-fuel combustion are the globe’s most insignificant threat to children’s future and health and major contributors to environmental injustice and global inequality. The emissions comprise a myriad of carbon dioxide and toxic air pollutants that is the most essential human-generated climate-changing greenhouse gas. According to Perera (7), synergies between climate change and air pollution can magnify the harm to kids. Effects include respiratory illness, impairment of behavioral and cognitive development, and other chronic illnesses. Besides this, fossil fuels are not evenly distributed, a situation that increases the concerns regarding energy security due to their chief role in energy production systems today.
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Human Role in Aggravating Globalization and Fossil Fuel Threat to the Earth’s environment
Today’s environmental issues mostly originate from human activities. Natural resources depletion and pollution, dwindling animal and plant biodiversity, ecosystems degradation, the loss of wilderness, and climatic change are all humans initiated environmental concerns. Humans have destroyed and transformed nature for centuries with the help of science and technology. One way human activities have aggravated fossil fuel use threat to the earth environment is through overexploitation and use of fossil fuel in most daily life activities and industries. According to Ilic (2), past technological advancement that includes fossil fuels mobilization has played a great role in advancing people’s living standards. Nevertheless, they have also created unwelcomed side effects on the environment. Mass consumption, industry, and the raised energy needs of an increasing world population are considerably responsible for fossil fuel resources depletion, species extinction, and pollution. An increase in industrialization resulted in to increase in fossil fuel demand in the industrial sector, resulting in to increase in demand, and hence an increase in fossil fuel production and use. This has generally increased fossil fuel-related greenhouse gases emission (Martins, 5).
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Globalization has happened alongside and in some cases encouraged various development. Since it is closely related to increasing international trade, globalization has promoted the rapid production, consumption, and trade of material goods in unpredicted quantities. This has increased the production and transportation demand, increasing the volumes of fossil fuel needed for the production and transportation of products to the targeted market. The performance of such activities in repetition and the huge number has highly contributed to increasing in fossil fuel emission in the air, causing pollution and greenhouse gases effects. This has weighted the human activities’ ecological footprint around the globe. The increased population as a result of immigration, and free global movement increased pollution associated with transportation. These adverse impacts are easily seen in cities with unplanned urbanization, pollution, historical environment destruction, and overpopulation.
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Globalization has promoted a lot of social, and economic activities across the globe (Tausch, 8). This has created the need to develop modern transportation infrastructure among other amenities that make it possible for a country to attract foreigners’ visitors or tourists, investors. This has also been seen to attract the hosting of major global events in a country. This has seen many countries doing deforestation to create room for modern infrastructure.
Globalization has played a great role in encouraging cities’ rapid expansion and multiplication globally over the last two centuries. According to Karatas (4), cities are sources of technology and creativity, and they are economic growth engines. Cities only make up 2% of the surface of the earth, though they are home to more than half of the global population. For instance, in Europe urban dwellers’ proportion is even higher, as about 80% of Europeans today live in urban areas and cities (Karatas, 4). The cities growth and the progressive strength of older urban regions such as Paris, London, New York is no accident.
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New technologies and globalization attract people to large cities, by increasing urban proximity returns. The pressures of urbanization on the environment result in major environmental issues. Globalization promotes speedy urban development human activity, threaten to aggravate urban natural resources degradation and environmental pollution. Urban environmental issues are threats to the future or present wellbeing of people, yielding to human invoked destruction to the physical environment borne into or in urban areas. Urban environmental problems are elevated by metropolitan development initiatives and are associated with environmental issues. Some of these urban environmental issues include inefficient and inadequate waste disposal management, elevated air pollution, water bodies’ pollution, and loss of green areas. Other effects include emission of greenhouse gases and chemicals, resources depletion, and ecological disruption (Karatas, 4).
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Initiatives that Global Community can Take to Mitigate the Worse Effects of this Environmental Threat
The global community can take various initiatives to mitigate the worst effects of globalization and fossil fuel use environmental threat. According to Oludaisi (6), most countries have already started implementing measures to control fossil fuel use environmental threat by promoting the use of alternative sources of energy, mostly renewable energy. The use of renewable energy plays a great role in minimizing fossil fuel use and hence reducing the rate of pollution caused by the same. Different countries and individuals are introducing the use of wind energy, solar energy, hydro energy, wave tides, and fuel cells as alternative sources of clean energy.
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Also, different industries are adopting green production to reduce the volume of carbon emitted in their production and product use. There have been many changes including the production of electric cars to reduce overdependence on fossil fuel in the transportation industry. The global community can mitigate fossil fuel environment threats further by putting limits on the volume of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by each country or targets of emission control by a certain period, and leave the mandate of fulfilling this to the country. Some countries such as the U.S. have put caps on the amount that should be emitted by each plant. This helps in forcing companies to adopt green production technologies (Perrera). The global community can also agree on leaving fossil fuels on the ground or using carbon capture and storage technologies. Though expensive, such measures can help in reducing the quantity of greenhouse gas effect in the atmosphere (Johnsson, 3 ). The global community can also agree on the rate of fossil fuel replacement with other renewable technologies with time. Such policies and targets will play a great role in mitigating the negative effects of fossil fuel use on the environment.
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To mitigate environmental threats caused by globalization, the global community should focus on training people on taking personal responsibility towards greenhouse gases emissions. As stated earlier, globalization is highly complex and hence it is hard to control the activities of people in a global environment. Although the government may manage to control an industrial contribution to environmental threat, it is hard to control individual actions likely to contribute to pollution and environmental degradation. Training people on individuals’ contribution to the situation, and measures they can take to reduce the effect would be highly effective in addressing the problem. According to Karatas (4), environmental awareness is closely related to the environmental crisis. It is therefore important to develop environmental awareness to control the emergence of environmental crises. Environmental awareness is an environmental culture spiritual dimension that includes habits and knowledge, adopted beliefs, attitudes and values, norms acceptance regarding what is in the social and natural high quality and healthy environment, what threatens it, how to important is to take care of it, the best ways to improve life quality and awareness in the existing condition. This will help in change people’s behaviors, ensuring that the majority consider their carbon footprint before engaging in an activity. It will also be important to create applied ecology on an agreed environmental policies basis (Figge, 1). Such measures can be taken at the national level by the government and at the international level by NGOs. Although their implementation may be local, their effect will be felt globally.
Globalization and the use of fossil fuels have played a great role in endangering global environmental health. Fossil fuels are found to contribute among the highest quantities of carbon emission in the world, through combustion where various by-products are released. Globalization has also been found to encourage various changes in the world including uncontrolled urban development, overpopulation in urban centers, growth of industries, and increase in traffic which results in various human activities contributing to environmental threats. The contribution of the two threats to environmental damage is immense and hence measures are needed to mitigate their effects. Although it is anticipated that fossil fuel use is likely to go down due to depletion, its use is still high and the impact is highly destructive and an alternative energy source can help a great deal in mitigating its effect. Other proposed measures include the development of control policies, and creating environmental awareness.