Reviewing Environmental Threats
Name of Student
Institution of Affiliation
The environment is largely under threat from multiple global risks that affect it negatively. The Unite Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) has identified the main global environmental risks to be globalization, climate change, lack of education opportunities, and energy sources. These factors, as outlined in the previous presentation report, influence negatively on the environment based on human activities relating to them either directly or indirectly. However, there are other four threats that are not considered to be very critical in comparison to the ones outlined in the presentation (Chowdhary et al., 2018).
As a result, this essay will make an evaluation of the four environmental threats that were left out and how they relate to environmental issues affecting the world in myriads of ways. These environmental threats and concerns include cultural taboos, civil war, poor health of entire populations, and inappropriate use of technology. Each of these factors affect the environment both negatively and positively leading to global concerns on the level of conservation that needs to be put in place to ensure that environmental protection is enhanced.
Reviewing Environmental Threats
When it comes to Civil War, the natural environment has always been an essential strategic element. Such civil war tactics as guerilla warfare, scorched earth approaches, and sowing salt to make land useless for farming, are all part of civil warfare tactics that leave land, forests, water bodies, and other environmental aspects in poor conditions. Destruction of forests, land, and water bodies among others lead to pollution war-based emissions that pollute the air as well.
Looking at cultural taboos, these have acted positively towards environmental conservation among local people. They are used to help curb abuse of the environment by instilling traditional checks and balances. Traditional shrines for the gods in various forests and mountains were preserved there, leading to preservation of environments as a way of respecting the gods and their shrines (Arts et al., 2015). The belief that destruction of such environments would lead to taboos and would be a violation of traditional cultures, formed a platform for locals to preserve forests and water bodies among other environments. Other cultural taboo practice contribute to destruction of the environment, per say the need to cut trees for traditional purposes, per say shrine building and other strong cultural venerations (Chowdhary et al., 2018).
Similarly, according to Dalby (2016) poor health of entire population contribute immensely to environmental degradation. The environment is used mostly as a source of cure for many diseases. As a result, most natural environmental resources are destroyed. Moreover, environmental pollution is the main contributor to poor health of people. Other aspects include such environmental insects such as mosquitoes lead to spread of malaria, while Zika is also spread by insects as well leading to a population that is mostly sick from the environmental interaction.
When it comes to poor use of technology, it is good to note that most technologies being adopted today tend to consume a lot of energy. For example, industries release waste materials that are non-renewable to the environment. The other thing is pollution to the environment, in terms of water, air, heat and noise from machines. Other aspects that technologically harm the environment is via disrupted ecology, for example when trees are cut for the sake of building a factory, their habitats are interfered with (Chowdhary et al., 2018).
Less Critical Threats
The two main less critical threats that were identified from the outlined list include poor use of technology, and Civil war. These are factors that have led to both positive and negative repercussions but their impact is not as severe on the environment as that of energy sources, globalization, lack of educational opportunities, and climate change. Technology is an important part of people’s lives and it has to some extent improved their lives, however, it has been wrongly utilized to facilitate environmental degradation. Similarly, civil war has only left destruction of the environment as air, water, and land pollution are on the rise (Bennett, 2016).
Impact of Inappropriate Use of Technology
Apparently, despite poor use of technology being less hazardous to the environment, it still has some level of negative impacts. One aspect of technology is industrialization and the motor vehicle industries. These have led to water, heat, and noise. The other way poor use has contributed to negative environmental impact is through consuming of resources (Gama & Mello, 2015). Excessive exploitation on non-renewable resources has seen land get degraded by excavators and in the process destroying trees and vegetation that form habitat for animals. When it comes to energy generation, technology has also played massive role in facilitation of environmental pollution, especially in geothermal production where harmful gases are released to the atmosphere (Alho et al., 2015).
However, technology has also played an important role in prevention or regulation of environmental degradation. For example, when it comes to waste disposal, it is being used to recycle non-biodegradable wastes and in the process keeping the environment clean (Arts et al., 2015). It is also being used constructively to predict climate and weather patterns so that climatic issues can be addressed appropriately. Therefore, technology has much better chances of improving the environmental status than destroying it. It is only as a result of its poor application that it is being used to over utilize the environment and carelessly release wastes and toxic to the same environment (Ide, 2016).
As a result, poor technology use is therefore an indirect contributor to environmental degradation, and it is influenced by such factors as energy, globalization, civil war, and lack of educational opportunities. This explain why “inappropriate use of technology” is a less critical threat to the environment than the previously mentioned factors. It all depends on the user of the technology. If the user is an environmental conservationist, then they would use the same technology to keep the environment safer. If they are driven by self-interest or are not educated on the importance of environmental conservations, they would use it inappropriately to destroy the environment (Gama & Mello, 2015).
The Role of Civil War
Civil war is a common phenomenon in most countries. It has also led to increased environmental destruction as people attach each other. Trees being blasted, landmines blasting the ground, fumes from guns and vehicles, and poor waste disposal during the war are some of the negative effects that are periodically experienced during civil war instances. Spillage of chemicals and herbicides have often been used to decimate millions of acres, a god example is the Vietnam civil war decades ago. Destruction of habitats for animals also takes place leading to imbalanced ecosystem and extinction of some species (Ide, 2016).
The aspect of civil war is less critical to environmental destruction as compared to climate change, lack of educational opportunities, globalization, and energy sources. The outlined factors are the main contributors to poor environmental managements and increased need to exploit the environment for personal gain with disregard of the ecosystem (MacDonald et al., 2015). However, civil war counts selectively and less critical to contributing to environmental degradation since it only takes place occasionally. In addition, such environments as forests are not destroyed largely as they are used as hiding places for the warring factions (Dalby, 2016).
The other reason that makes civil war less critical is that it tends to be expensive. The local people are not able to always find enough weapons that can destroy a significant portion of environment. However, the environment gets destroyed to some extent when such weapons as landmines, and even fires are used to attack other communities (Bennett, 2016). The other aspect that makes civil less critical is that the environment is not usually the main target as for the case of the other selected factors in the presentation. The environment only gets destroyed as a third party on which war took place. The rate of civil wars taking place is not frequent globally and tends to be concentrated only in selected parts of the world, per say the Middle East, Asian, and African countries (Dalby, 2016).
Environmental conservation is an important aspect that can only be addressed if the root cause of negative environmental impacts is established. Some factors such as climate change, lack of educational opportunities, globalization, and energy sources play a more direct role in facilitation of threats to the environment. Others such as cultural taboos, inappropriate use of technology, poor health if entire populations, and civil war have less critical effects. Both civil war and inappropriate use of technology have less adverse effects to the environment. Civil wars are short term and since they do not target destroying the environment, the negative effects may be felt, but they are mild. On the other hand, inappropriate use of technology depends on the user when it comes to environmental conservation. They can be utilized to improve the environment or to indirectly destroy it. The classification of these causative factors in terms of the threat they pose will help the United Nations be able to strategize and prioritize in how to handle environmental conservation.
Alho, C. J., Reis, R. E., & Aquino, P. P. (2015). Amazonian freshwater habitats experiencing environmental and socioeconomic threats affecting subsistence fisheries. Ambio, 44(5), 412-425.
Arts, K., van der Wal, R., & Adams, W. M. (2015). Digital technology and the conservation of nature. Ambio, 44(4), 661-673.
Bennett, N. J. (2016). Using perceptions as evidence to improve conservation and environmental management. Conservation Biology, 30(3), 582-592.
Chowdhary, P., Raj, A., & Bharagava, R. N. (2018). Environmental pollution and health hazards from distillery wastewater and treatment approaches to combat the environmental threats: a review. Chemosphere, 194, 229-246.
Dalby, S. (2016). Environmental (in) security. International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment and Technology: People, the Earth, Environment and Technology, 1-10.
Dalby, S. J. (2018). Climate change and environmental conflicts. In Routledge Handbook of Environmental Conflict and Peacebuilding (Vol. 42, No. 53, pp. 42-53). ROUTLEDGE in association with GSE Research.
Gama, A. A. F., & Mello, A. H. (2015). Environmental Education in Rural Settlements: A Social Technology for Environmental Conservation and Income generation. Revista Eletrônica em Gestão, Educação e Tecnologia Ambiental, 19(2), 1105-1109.
Ide, T. (2016). Toward a constructivist understanding of socio-environmental conflicts. Civil wars, 18(1), 69-90.
MacDonald, E., Milfont, T., & Gavin, M. (2015). Thinking Globally But Not Acting Locally?: Expert and Public Perceptions of Environmental Threats and Conservation Actions. Human dimensions of wildlife, 20(2), 123-132.