Environmental issues Environmental issues
Deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution from a gold mine in Peru. Several environmental issues can result from a single activity. By Jeremy Hance

Environmental issues are problems that impact the natural world, i.e. ecosystems, as well as the human beings who depend on them. Although environmental issues have been around since humans have (Plato complained of deforestation and resulting erosion in Greece), the modern movement concerned with environmental issues proceeded alongside, and often in response to, the rise of industrialization.

Current environmental issues include climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, pollution, invasive species, ecosystem destruction, ocean acidification, desertification, erosion, sprawl, fossil fuels, and overpopulation among many others.

Responses to environmental issues have included the creation of protected areas, such as national parks and wildlife reserves; laws to protect the habitat of endangered species; regulations on hunting and fishing; clean up of toxic pollution; international treaties to address global issues like depletion of the ozone layer; restoration of damaged ecosystems; reintroductions of wildlife; and others.

Since human beings are intimately connected to the environment, depending on it for clean water, food production, and breathable air, tackling environmental problems is about creating a better world for current and future generations. In recent decades, some environmental issues have moved beyond local and regional problems, to become global ones, such as climate change, mass extinction, and ocean acidification.

Deforestation


Deforestation in Borneo


Soil erosion


Soil erosion in Madagascar following deforestation.


Air pollution


Air pollution in China.


Biodiversity loss


Red ruffed lemurs are hunted by poachers


Littering / trash


Trash in Indonesia




Urban sprawl


Urban sprawl in Las Vegas


Fires


Forest fires in Indonesia produce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change


Global warming


Glaciers in places like Alaska are melting due to climate change


News on environmental issues