In my project I’d like to review the problem of environmental protection. The reason why I chose this subject for developing is quite evident – our planet is on the verge of global ecological catastrophe. Today I’ll be developing several main points.
First I’ll give you a general idea of the ecological situation on our planet. Second I’d like to highlight the most dangerous tendencies that can have deadly consequences for us. Lastly I’ll try to show what can be done to save our planet from disaster.
What does the word ecology mean? This word came from Greek “oikos” which means home. The idea of home includes our whole planet, its population, nature, animals, birds, fish and all other living beings and even the atmosphere around our planet. But look what we have done with our home? For thousands of years people exploited the nature thoughtlessly thinking that its resources had no end or limit. With the industrial revolution our negative influence on nature increased. What has become with the air we breathe the water we drink and the soil we grow crops on? It is all polluted. Statistics show that every year the atmosphere is polluted by about 1000 tons of industrial dust and other harmful substances. Thousands of kilometers of rainforests are being cut down for the need of industries. Ton of exhaust wastes are thrown into the World Ocean.
The consequences are disastrous. There is a hardly river left from which we can take a fresh water. A lot of species of animals, birds, fish and plants have either disappeared completely or on the verge of extinction. So you see that environmental pollution has increased to enormous proportions.
And now let me move on to another point of my research. How can we explain the global climate warming? Haven’t you noticed that in this country winters have become much warmer with hardly any snow? What are the reasons for this? The first and the main reason is the greenhouse effect. The green house effect is the result of heat absorption by certain gases in the atmosphere (called greenhouse gases because they trap heat) and reradiation downward of a part of that heat. Human activity has been increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (mostly carbon dioxide from combustion of coal, oil, and gas plus few other gases). If you look at this diagram you’ll see that the level of carbon dioxide before the start of industrial revolution was 280 ppmv. The current level is 370 ppmv. and the expected level for the year 2065 is 560 ppmv. The next table shows the increase of global surface temperature. However the warming hasn’t been globally uniform. Some areas (including southern u.s.) have cooled. The recent warmth has been noted between North America and Eurasia.
So what are the potential effects of rising temperatures? In general scientists believe that rising temperature will lead to increase evaporation and therefor to more precipitation. But while some regions will experience increased rainfall, others will become dryer. Another effect is the rise of the sea levels, which will result in flooding low-lying coastal areas. This may also lead to increasing the salinity of the rivers and to decrease of water supplies. And finally climate changes may cause extinction of many species of birds, animals and plants.
On the whole the environmental problems we have just touched upon are only a small part of abundance of subject matters for discussion. We are to stop pollution. So, we can grow plants and trees, to purify waste, to start urgent campaigns in order to preserve environment For example, in 1989 in Australia, Sydney. In a year the same kind of action was held all over Australia and it was called “Clean up Australia” the following years 110 countries hold the similar actions within the ecological program of the UNO.
Nowadays there are many different pressure and interests groups in many countries, which try to find solutions to the problems of pollution at the national and international level. So they are groups of people with a common interest in trying to draw the public attention to environment problems, to influence the government decisions.
Greenpeace is a very famous pressure group. It started functioning in 1971. Its headquarters are at Amsterdam, but it operates in 25 countries worldwide. The aim of Greenpeace is to protect wildlife of toxic wastes, nuclear tests.
“Friends of the Earth” (FoE) is one of the British pressure groups with an international reputation. Its general aim is to conserve the planet’s resources and reduce pollution. FoE was established in 1971 and now it operated in 44 countries worldwide. It campaigns among other things, for recycling and renewable energy, and the destruction of wildlife and habitat.
I’m sure there is no escape from this ecological crisis without organizing a single body dealing with the environmental problems, developing and carrying out a worldwide program of environmental protection and co-operating with international schemes.