5 Things That Affect the Environment in 2021

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Our planet is changing for the worse. We are witnessing a climate change that seems unstoppable unless we alter our behavior immediately. Earth’s average temperature is rising, the weather is going wild, glaciers are melting, and the sea levels are rising. 

According to climate change statistics, scientists are convinced that humans are solely responsible for global warming. These are some of the things that are slowly destroying our planet.

1. Fashion 

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We live in a time of fast fashion consumption. For example, Americans buy at least one garment a week. This behavior has led to the need for fast fashion, where apparel is produced to last for a short period of time, only to be replaced by another clothing item quickly. Unfortunately, fast fashion’s impact on the environment is enormous. 

Fashion production involves the use of various toxic chemicals like lead, mercury, or arsenic. In many countries, untreated toxic waste is poured into rivers. The fashion industry is also a major water consumer since it takes approximately 20,000 liters (5,283 gallons) of water to produce 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of cotton. 

Since clothing has become highly disposable, we see an increase in textile waste. This waste can hardly be recycled because of the fibers used in production, so it ends up in landfills or is incinerated. Those items in landfills are likely to take up to 200 years to decompose. 

2. Transportation 

Some say that owning a car is not a luxury anymore. Even though vehicles save us time, they’re also causing climate change. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The buildup of this and other gasses like methane and nitrous oxide warms up the Earth’s atmosphere. 

For transportation to happen, we also need roads. Building roads is, unfortunately, another way to destroy the environment. Roads change forest landscapes and increase pollution with deicing salts, tire debris, and oil leaks

Noise pollution is another issue we’re facing. It’s equally harmful to us as air pollution, yet not much research is done on the topic. Urban noise pollution causes psychological, cardiovascular, and other health problems. 

3. Deforestation 

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We’ve recently seen horrifying forest fires in the US, Amazon, Australia, and other places. Wildfires emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing increased global temperatures and more droughts. However, that’s just one problem we have to solve. 

Purposeful deforestation happens all the time, and it’s killing our planet. Agriculture is the main reason for deforestation, and it’s a rising threat to biodiversity. By destroying the forests to plant crops, humans are changing the ecosystem and creating natural imbalance. 

Deforestation causes soil erosion that can lead to food insecurity in the future. It also causes forests to emit more CO2 than they absorb. 

4. Mining Cryptocurrencies 

Bitcoin was officially released in 2009, and it inspired people to create many other cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies promise a decentralized world and cheap financial transactions, which led to many buying them as a gamble. Still, people just recently started talking about how mining coins affect the environment. 

Mining cryptocurrencies is done with a network of computers that operate 24/7, solve complex equations, and make a profit for each transaction. However, since these machines are constantly working, they’re consuming large amounts of energy. 

Besides energy consumption, cryptocurrency mining causes hardware waste. For example, Bitcoin mining is done with singular purpose hardware that becomes obsolete in about 1.5 years. Then, it needs to be thrown away and replaced, causing the amount of electronic waste to increase. 

5. Agriculture 

Agriculture plays a crucial role in today’s civilization. Plant cultivation and livestock farming are essential for food production. Unfortunately, agriculture is partially responsible for global climate change. It emits all three greenhouse gases into the atmosphere—methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide. 

Many toxic chemicals like pesticides are used in farming and end up in soil and water, hurting the environment. For example, 30% of global emissions that impact climate change are related to agricultural activities, including pesticide use. However, innovative farming practices, such as organic production, land restoration, water management, conservation tillage, etc., are all ways to address climate change. 

Summary 

Climate change is a problem we need to tend to as soon as possible. Humans are the only species responsible for keeping the planet safe for all, yet we still don’t try enough. Fast fashion and transportation are among the leading causes of climate change, but it seems hard to give those away. 

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