A Sustainable World
Our Dependence upon the Environment
A Sustainable World
Humans with our growing population have figured out how to have a sustainable environment. Biodiverse areas are protected and encouraged, our agriculture water usage has been significantly reduced along with our residential use. Solar, wind and hydro power supply most of our nations power with plans to be supplying 100% in the near future. Our recycling system has grown and become more efficient, along with manufactures significantly reducing the amount of non-reusable packaging for their products. Waste management systems in every city collect recyclables every week to encourage people to recycle. None of this would have been accomplished without significant changes, on both the commercial level and individual level. As a nation we had to change our main sources of power and fuel. Coal and oil usage are considerably reduced but has yet to be completely eliminated, for us to continue to thrive we much continue to make choice that benefit both us as humans and the environment.
The Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystems have now been protected and taken into consideration before an area has undergone significant changes by human design. Before developing an area, we now perform studies as part of the project design that considers our ecosystems. We design our projects to limit the adverse effects on ecosystems and their biodiversity. For our ecosystems, mandatory studies are done on the carrying capacity of each area to ensure the areas biodiversity is not altered by human interaction to the extent that permeant damage occurs. By doing these studies we will ensure that our ecosystems continue to support our local biodiversity and we do not accidently destroy this valuable resource.
Agriculture will be different in this sustainable environment as well. Focus will be placed on the best way to conserve water while still growing the amount of crops needed to sustain human food needs. Irrigation will completely change, subterranean watering, smart water meters, and other technologies will assist with using water in the most conservative way possible. Farmers’ Markets will be the regular shopping spot for local communities to severely cut back on packaging and transportation costs. A survey of food consumed in Iowa showed conventional produce traveled on average 1,500 miles, not including food imported from other countries. In contrast, locally grown produce traveled on average 56 miles-a huge difference in fuel investment” (Bensel-Turk 2014, pg. 3.5). All of these steps will help agriculture and our ecosystems be more compatible.
Our water resources now are largely unregulated in regards to the amount of water we pump out of underground aquifers. Our aquifers are an incredibly valuable resource that is not easy if at all possible to replace. Focus will be placed on keeping our fresh water clean, unpolluted, and used in an appropriate manner. People will be educated on water usage and ways to conserve water. Agriculture will have much better watering technology to use their water as efficiently as possible. We have to remember that “agriculture accounts for 70 percent of the fresh water used by humans” (Bensel-Turk 2014, pg. 5.4). By improving the way agriculture uses water we will see the biggest gains in water conservation.
We will meet our energy needs by means of renewable energy, our main sources of power will be solar, wind, and hydroelectric. New infrastructure will have been built to deliver power from large solar farms in the desert to less sunny areas. Wind farms will be built locally to provide power for local communities. Solar panels for homes and government buildings will be encouraged along with energy efficient upgrades to excising buildings and energy efficient designs for new buildings. Our hydroelectric dams will continue to produce power for the communities near them. With this new infrastructure our coal burning electric plants will be closed down so the amount of Co2 being released into the air will be significantly reduced. Soon to follow our nuclear plants will be closed as well. By using renewable energy for all of our power needs our atmosphere and climate will be preserved and will stabilize.
Waste management will focus not only on the safe disposal of waste products but the recycling of products that can be used again. Having set recycling procedures that are the same nationwide will help people understand the importance of it. Making sure that all recyclable plastics, metals, wood, and paper is disposed of properly will significantly reduce the amount of waste that we put into our landfills. By managing this properly we will also be reducing the amount of waste form the manufacturing of these products. With more material being recycled there will be a smaller demand for the production of more of the same material being produced.
Some of the major economic and political changes that will need to be made to make this future work are drastic. Large and powerfull companies like those in the gas and oil business will have to allow the change from oil being the primary source of energy to renewable sources. Companies that have made large amounts of money over the years with oil, gas, and other fossil fuels will have to shift their focus on renewable sources of energy. Until this happens no amount of planning, technology, or environmentally friendly courses of action will make us have a sustainable futre. People, companies, and governments will all have to not only admit there is a problem, but also work together to make the drastic changes that are required for us to have a stable environment before it is to late.
Bensel, T. and Turk, J. (2014). Contemporary Environmental Issues. (2nd Ed). Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu