These five megatrends present important worldwide dangers for planet Earth — issues that have to be solved when the planet is to stay a supportive habitat for both people and other species. DW looks at causes and potential solutions.
1. Air pollution and climate change.
Problem: Overloading of this air and sea waters with carbon dioxide. Atmospheric CO2 absorbs and re-emits infrared-wavelength radiation, resulting in warmer atmosphere, lands, and sea surface waters – that is great: The world would be suspended solid with this.
Regrettably, there is now an excessive amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Burning of fossil fuels, deforestation for agriculture, and industrial activities have now pushed up atmospheric CO2 concentrations from 280 parts per million (ppm) 200 decades back, to approximately 400 pm today. That is an unprecedented increase, in both speed and size. The effect: climate disturbance.
Carbon overloading is just 1 type of air pollution brought on by burning oil, coal, gas, and timber. The World Health Organization recently estimated that one in nine deaths in 2012 were attributable to diseases brought on by carcinogens and other toxins in a polluted atmosphere.
Solutions: Alter fossil fuels with renewable energy. Reforestation. Reduce emissions from farming. Change industrial procedures.
The fantastic thing is that clean energy is abundant – it only has to be chosen. A lot of say a 100 percentage renewable-energy future is attainable with present technology today.
However, the good thing is that although renewable energy infrastructure – solar panels, wind turbines, energy storage, and supply methods – are widespread, and becoming cheaper and more efficient all the time, experts say we are not employing them fast enough to prevent catastrophic climate disruption. Barriers in finance and policy remain to be overcome.
Problem: Species-rich wild forests have been destroyed, particularly in the tropics, frequently to make way for cattle ranching, soybean or palm oil plantations, or alternative agricultural monocultures.
Now, about 30% of the world’s land area is covered with forests – that is roughly half as much as earlier agriculture obtained started around 11,000 decades back. Approximately 7.3 million hectares (18 million acres) of forest are destroyed every year, largely from the tropics. Tropical woods used to cover approximately 15% of the world’s land area; they are down to 7 or 6 percent. A lot of the rest was degraded by logging or burning.
Not only do natural woods behave as biodiversity reserves, but they’re also carbon dioxide, maintaining carbon from the air and oceans.
Solutions: Save what is left of natural woods, and restore degraded areas by replanting with indigenous tree species. This necessitates strong government – but most tropical nations are still growing, together with increasing populations, irregular rule-of-law, and widespread cronyism and bribery in regards to allocating land usage.
3. Species extinction.
Problem: On property, wild animals have been hunted to extinction because of bushmeat, ivory, or”medicinal” goods. At sea, enormous industrial fishing boats equipped with bottom-trawling or purse-seine nets wash out whole fish populations. The destruction and loss of habitat can also be important elements contributing to a wave of extinction – unprecedented in it is due to one species: humans. The IUCN’s Red List of threatened and endangered species keeps growing.
Not only do species naturally deserve to exist, but they also give goods and”solutions” crucial to human survival. Believe bees and their pollinating prowess – necessary for developing food.
Solutions: Concerted efforts will need to be designed to prevent additional loss of biodiversity. Assessing and restoring habitats is 1 facet of – shielding against poaching and wildlife commerce is just another. This needs to be performed in partnership with natives so that wildlife conservation is within their own social and financial attraction.
4. Soil degradation.
Problem: Overgrazing, monoculture planting, erosion, soil compaction, overexposure to pollutants, land-use transformation – there’s a lengthy collection of ways that lands are being destroyed.Problem: Overgrazing, monoculture planting, erosion, soil compaction, overexposure to pollutants, land-use transformation – there’s a lengthy collection of ways that lands are being destroyed.
Approximately 12 million hectares of farmland annually get severely degraded, according to UN estimates.
Solutions: A broad array of soil conservation and recovery methods exist, out of no-till agriculture to harvest rotation to water-retention via terrace-building. Given that food security is dependent on retaining lands in good shape, we are probably master this challenge in the long term. Whether that will be completed in a manner honorable to all individuals around the world, remains an open question.
Problem: Human population keeps growing rapidly worldwide. Estimates set us at almost 10 billion by 2050. Growing global people, together with growing affluence, is placing greater pressure on crucial natural resources, such as water. The majority of the expansion is occurring on the African continent and in eastern and southern Asia.
Solutions: Experience has demonstrated that if women are empowered to control their own reproduction, and gain access to education and basic social services, the average number of births per woman falls precipitously.
Done right, networked aid systems can bring girls from poverty, even in nations where state-level governance remains abysmal.