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Why we should all care about protecting the environment

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The need for environment protection and slowing down climate change are topics that have been brought up over and over again for many years now. It is clear that the way we as a society live our lives is not sustainable and causes more and more damage to our planet. This is already affecting all of our lives in multiple ways. Yet still, many people see no reason to worry or take any interest in environmental issues.

If you are one of those people who are still not convinced that they should care about the state of our environment and climate change, here are just a few reasons that might make you reconsider.

Health

A poor state of the environment, especially the pollution of air and water can have many negative effects on our health. It is closely associated with various conditions like respiratory diseases, allergies and even cancer. Naturally, people are not the only ones affected by pollution – it is a danger to the health of animals and plants as well.

Many health risks can also come from rising temperatures. For example, due to more unusually hot days, more people will suffer heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Additionally, prolonged exposure to heat can worsen cardiovascular, respiratory and kidney diseases, diabetes, and increase the chance for strokes.

If that was not enough, climate change is creating perfect conditions for pathogens to thrive and for diseases to spread more easily. That means, we can predict more epidemics and pandemics in the future.

Food

The food quality also suffers in an overly exploited environment. Due to pollution, the plants we grow for food might contain toxins and because of the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, they actually grow with less valuable nutrients. What is more, food might become more and more scarce because of soil degradation, caused by actions like deforestation and mining, and because of the changes in the climate. The prices of various products will go significantly up and some might disappear from the market completely with time. Those factors will cause more health issues in the society and increase the problem of hunger.

Access to clean water

Water pollution with various toxic substances used in farming and industry, as well as pollution coming from accumulated waste, is a big problem. At the same time, many areas suffer from drought and experience complete water outages because of environment degradation and climate change. In some coastal areas, rising sea levels caused by the increase in temperature can make saltwater enter groundwater, contaminating drinking water supplies. Additionally, warm temperatures create favourable conditions for algal blooms and bacterial growth in water.

We got used to having access to clean water in our taps, whenever we need it – and we need a lot of it, in every aspect of our lives. In the end, there is no life without water. However, we shouldn’t take it for granted. The resources of clean freshwater are very limited and if we don’t protect them, we will have more and more difficulties accessing them.

Natural disasters and extreme weather

The most destructive effects of climate change and the average temperatures rising are the natural disasters and extreme weather conditions happening with increasing frequency. As a result of the increasing temperature of sea surfaces, hurricanes are becoming more likely and more dangerous. We observe more floods, intensified by sea level rise and heavy rains, that can destroy homes but also farms and natural ecosystems. At the same time, the frequency and intensity of droughts and wildfires is increasing as well. Heat waves are becoming more common, more severe, and more long-lasting. All of those events have terrible consequences, like loss of human and animal lives or serious damages in infrastructure and landscapes. They can also threaten water quality and food supplies or further diminish the quality of air.

Economy

Even if your biggest concern are the economic factors, protecting the environment simply makes sense, especially in the long run. There are many ways in which it pays off, for example a healthy and preserved environment can attract tourists, creating and implementing new green technologies can provide many jobs, and slowing down climate change can prevent natural disasters and huge losses that come with them.

In the end, we only have one Earth that is our home. No matter where on it you live, you are affected by the state of the environment and by climate change.You might be tired of the “save the Earth” talk but the fact is that it is crucial. We all have to be conscious of the environmental issues and do our part to protect the planet we live on.

Kornelia Makowska

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