The impact of Nigeria’s border closure on its own economy

The mandate of any nation’s customs and border control agencies is to allow licit and legal free trades, and halt illicit and illegal trades. Illicit and illegal trades involve the movement of various types of commodities and services that usually lead to the creation of numerous black markets which have been known to slowly but gradually cripple economies.

Many times in the past, Nigeria usually closed its borders because of one form of illicit trade or another. However, border closure has often led to inefficient operations within licit and legal supply chains, thus increasing costs and time delays, disrupting deliveries, and interrupting the smooth flow of goods and services.

Once again, and recently in August, 2019, Nigeria—which shares boundaries with the republics of Benin, Niger, and Cameroon—closed its land border to the movement of goods. The government declared that it did so in order to halt smuggling of food and weapons into the country, especially from Benin republic.

In many instances, regardless of the situation at hand, most countries don’t often close their borders to the free trade of goods and services. Rather, they close their borders whenever their security is in jeopardy. Examples of countries that have closed their borders in the past in order to enhance national security, include: Eritrea, Kenya, Sudan, and Rwanda—amongst others.

During other circumstances, some countries usually close their borders in order to control or stop the spread of diseases (such as Ebola) that have the potential to travel across borders. It is recommendable to close borders in order to put a halt to arm smuggling; on the other hand, when borders are closed, food becomes scarcer, and inflation ensues, thereby harming the economy and citizens.

As reported in many news outlets, the current president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, ordered the most recent border closure with one main aim: to curb smuggling of rice (a staple food in Nigeria) from Benin and Niger into Nigeria—Africa’s most populous nation.

According to the government, the most recent and worrying problems that lead to another border closure included the smuggling of rice, and the illicit exportation of cheap subsidized petrol from Nigeria to its neighboring countries. In fact, according to most oil marketers in Nigeria, between 10% and 20% of Nigerian fuel is usually smuggled abroad.

The current Nigeria government, which has been strengthening its economic policies, believes that if it continues allowing importation of cheaper goods, it would be difficult for the country to increase local production and become a self-sufficient nation. Authorities reason that border closure will promote local production; on the other hand, critics argue that when demand exceeds domestic production, the country would have no better option than to fully engage in cross-border trade with neighboring countries.

The truth is that the government cannot always control demand which usually increases due to the increasing number of births and mouths that have to be fed on a daily basis. Since Nigeria doesn’t always have the local capacity to produce enough rice to meet up with the populace’s demand, any attempt to close the border and halt importation could lead to more smuggling, and increase in the price of goods for local consumers.

Any person who can recall the cases of corruption which Nigeria has experienced, would tend to believe that the smuggling of fuel and goods should be blamed on the country’s personnel who have been in charge of securing Nigeria’s borders. The sad fact is that the country’s poor citizens—who are far much more in number than the rich—are the ones who usually suffer when government personnel at the borders receive bribes and allow smuggling to take place to such an extent that the government has no better option than to close its borders.

Although it is quite true that, like all other governments, the Nigeria government has the right to close its borders. On the other hand, whenever borders are closed, it leads to positive and negative impacts on the economy and citizens, with merits and demerits alike.

Positive impact: Merits of Nigeria border closure

  • Although nobody might have sufficient knowledge of the full impact of smuggled fuel, food, drugs and ammunition into Nigeria, border closure has actually helped to prevent excess ammunition and drugs from entering the country, causing economic mayhem, and destroying the futures or lives of children who can possibly become good leaders tomorrow.
  • Border closure boosts Nigeria government’s pockets or revenues because more duties are being received whenever any illegal goods are forced to enter the country legally through the land ports. According the current Nigeria Customs Service boss, Nigeria has made more money since it recently closed its land borders.

Negative impact: Demerits of Nigeria border closure

  • Although border closure can help control the trade of illicit drugs and weapons, the shutdown of the Benin border in particular, has already caused food inflation in Nigeria—and the inflation only continues to accelerate. For instance, since the most recent Nigeria border closure in August, 2019, the cost of buying a bag (50 kilograms) of rice has risen from N 9,000 (about $25) to N 22,000 (about $60).
  • Border closure makes the poor ones in Nigeria to pay higher prices for goods, while those responsible for smuggling live comfortably. It seems that the government is not aware that most poor people don’t have the means to acquire, store, and transport and smuggle large volumes of goods and services—these are the same people that border closure harms the most.
  • Whenever there is border closure, most businesses and markets that create income in border communities usually shut down, and the passage of taxis, motorcycles, trucks and passengers drastically reduces. The price of petrol usually shoots up and doubles, while motorcycle and taxi drivers triple their own prices. Small businesses that depend on cross-border trading, usually fold up. The helpless society ends up suffering because of a handful of powerful smugglers who either have ties with government officials, or ties with themselves and ordinary people who they have control over.
  • Border closure negatively impacts Nigerian businesses that focus on exporting goods and services. The impression most people would get from statements made by Nigeria government is that border closure works only one way—on importation; it seems the government hasn’t looked enough at the other side—on exportation. It has to be noted that Nigeria, which is actually a net exporter through borders, can also affect its exportation whenever it closes its borders. In fact, a recent report made by FSDH Merchant bank clearly stated that some textile firms in northern Kano city closed down because they could no longer export goods across the border with Niger republic.
  • Border closure has been giving Nigeria a negative impression in a committee of nations like ECOWAS. Why? Because it breaches the accepted protocol on the free movement of services, goods, and people. There is a protocol, or an understanding established by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to which Nigeria belongs. Nigeria’s position on border closure reveals how less concerned it is about making free trade as free as it has agreed that it should be. Border closure undermines and devalues agreements, and could destroy any trust, understanding and goodwill.
  • With intermittent or temporary border closure around the “giant of Africa”, it might be much more difficult for pessimistic critics to agree how free trade would increase intra-Africa trade to 60% by 2022, as has been earlier projected. Border closure has raised concerns about the type of free trade that is being practiced in West Africa, especially as it has been known to cause shortages in supply of materials that have been imported from Nigeria to neighboring countries.

Recommendations to Nigeria government

It can be complex and extremely demanding to manage and facilitate legitimate and legal free trade while concurrently preventing illicit trade—but it can be done! Experience has proven that border closure, on its own, will not be able to solve the problems that arise as a result of smuggling.

Also, a porous border could be indirectly reflecting the corruption of some unknown or hidden Nigeria government officials, and the failure of the Nigeria Customs Service to carry out its duties in an efficient manner.

Nigeria government officials argue that Nigeria’s porous borders allow people to smuggle goods and services and still not pay tariffs and excise duties. Instead of closing the borders intermittently and causing untold hardship for border communities, and businesses of neighboring Benin and Niger, the Nigeria government should take a critical look at its personnel—the ones who are in charge of securing its porous borders. A strong inquiry should be made in order to find out whether the personnel are actually doing the work they ought to do. Are they fulfilling their duties on behalf of the nation? A nation usually reflects the qualities and characteristics of the people who work for it.

The influence that unquestionable cabals and powerful interest groups have on political decisions, would make an ordinary citizen have no belief in any type of border closure, especially when it has been ineffective in the past. The following are recommendable:

  • the Nigerian government should take a critical look at its customs service personnel and remove the inefficient ones; if it doesn’t do so, each time it reopens its borders, the same old smuggling activities could still rise up and continue because of the presence of corrupt personnel. In many cases, Nigeria needs a competent customs service, not intermittent or temporary border closures.
  • the Nigeria government should modernize or improve the state of its customs service by using more information technology and applying more formal management procedures which can improve accountability and transparency which are the cornerstones of incorruptible societies. Whatever the case may be, the Nigeria government should honor its free trade agreement with ECOWAS, and still improve its existing port logistics; in addition, it should construct and properly link all known and yet-to-be-discovered railway lines and road infrastructures. Reliable evidence-gathering techniques should be considered and employed, such as undercover operations and electronic surveillance.
  • after leaving farming and relying heavily on fuel for decades, the Nigeria government should be patient and use as many years (as it left agriculture for fuel) to invest in farming; and it should do so to such an extent that it won’t make the poor masses suffer whenever there is border closure—or whenever border closure becomes to necessary, especially for security reasons. Although it is true that border closure could help to boost local food production, it should also be noted that food—especially rice, its staple food—takes time to grow; it also needs extra time to be harvested, processed and sold. Moreover, the country’s struggling farming industry cannot keep up with the huge increase in its citizens’ demand for a staple food like rice. Generally speaking, in the present-day, Nigeria is not yet sufficient enough to close its borders without making its citizens suffer for it.
  • whenever it becomes necessary to close borders, border closure should go hand-in-hand with strategies that can build economic growth and address a range of social needs, including health, education, social security, job opportunities and environmental stewardship.
  • the Nigeria government should promote shared responsibility: it should increase public-private dialogue on the issue of border closure and promote partnerships with organizations and governments that can help address the global nature of illicit trade which border closure hopes to prevent. Public and private organizations do have evidence-based work programs that can effectively address and halt illicit trades.
  • the Nigeria government should strengthen its legislation by actually penalizing people who conspire and participate in smuggling. Nigeria security agencies, which are widely known for taking bribes and allowing offenders to get off the legal hook, should be compelled to act better than they have been doing.

Civil Engineering Services (PDF Download Available)

1. Definition of Civil Engineering Services

Civil engineering services are professional duties or works carried out by civil engineers which includes: design, construction, and maintenance of the physically and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings, etc. A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering, i.e. the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.

Download free eBook (PDF): Civil Engineering Services. (Download Instructions: When you click the above link, also click the “Skip AD” button that will appear around the top right corner of your screen, and the file will appear for download. Alternatively, if the “Press allow” button appears, click it so that the file(s) will appear for download.)

Civil engineering services take place in the public sector from municipal through to national governments, and in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international companies. Because civil engineering is a vast profession, which includes several specialized sub-disciplines, its history is linked to the knowledge of structures, materials science, geography, geology, soils, hydrology, environment, mechanics, and other fields.

Services Offered By Professional Civil Engineers

The question asked at the assembly of the European Council of Civil Engineers (ECCE) was “What services may be offered by civil engineers in your country?” The aim of the question was to ascertain the degree of diversity in the civil engineering role, and also to discover if there are any exceptions for which special approvals or specialist education is required in the nations that make up the organization. Examples of various types of civil engineering services are listed under the following countries:

Croatia

The following services are provided by civil engineers:

  • design services for infrastructure projects (roads, railways, water supply, sewerage schemes, water treatment plants, hydroelectric power plants, dams, etc.)
  • design services (only for the civil engineering portion of design work for buildings, such as structural design, organization of work, material and work specifications, conceptual and detailed structural drawings, etc.)
  • supervision (inspection) services during realization of works
  • project control to check fulfillment of essential project requirements, in accordance with the Construction Product Directive (Directive 89/106/EEC)
  • construction services in building and engineering works
  • use and production of raw materials, and material testing services
  • maintenance of completed projects
  • scientific research in the field of civil engineering.

They may be self-employed, employed in design offices, or employed in other types of companies. Civil engineers are not allowed to offer architectural design services.

Cyprus

Civil engineers can offer various services for civil engineering works including, feasibility studies, civil engineering designs, structural designs, preparation of tender/contract documents, procurement, supervision of construction works etc. Civil engineers who have registered before 1993 can also carry out architectural designs and submit them for building permits. Civil engineers who registered after 1993 are not permitted to submit architectural designs. There is however a dispute as to what ‘architectural design work’ is.

Czech Republic

Civil engineers can undertake the design, development, supervision and execution of all forms of construction. Selected activities in construction, which are of decisive significance for the protection of public interest, in the preparation, design, or execution of construction work may be performed only by persons who have a proven professional qualification obtained by examination and have obtained a professional certificate.

Estonia

A wide range of services may be offered by civil engineers after graduation in the fields of construction, design and maintenance of buildings and structures.

France

Civil Engineers are involved in all steps of the construction process, so they offer their services in the following phases:

  • preliminary plans of works
  • materials production
  • design of works
  • construction processes on job sites
  • quality control of works carried out
  • operation of works after construction.

They also operate at any functional or operational levels in industry, and in positions of authority in the public sector.

Germany

There is a wide range of possibilities of services in Germany, for example: Services related to civil engineering works and transportation facilities, traffic planning services, services relating to buildings, open-air facilities, project control, experts reports and valuations, town planning services, services relating to planning load-bearing structures, services relating to thermal building physics, services relating to sound insulation and acoustics, services relating to soil mechanics, earthworks and foundation engineering.

Ireland

In Ireland, civil engineers may offer all services. Civil Engineers are allowed to submit “architectural” designs for building permits.

Portugal

The services offered by Civil Engineers are defined by law but only relating to design. A civil engineer may offer any service in the construction sector. For example, design of structures, urban planning, hydraulics, geotechnics, construction management, etc. Civil engineers are still allowed to submit “architectural” designs for building permits, but only for small buildings. There is a plan to change this in the near future.

Slovakia Republic

Civil engineers perform complex activities in design, territorial development planning and design, project management, research and development, as a site manager, as well as service activities. They are also involved in public and state administration, education, rural development in all kinds of services, surveying and many other areas. For selected activities they must have authorization, i.e. proof of qualification from the Slovak Chamber of Civil Engineers by an examining board including a certificate.

United Kingdom

Civil engineers can undertake the development, design, supervision and execution of all forms of construction both in public and private work. For some types of work, e.g. the construction of dams or to work as an independent building inspector, a special authorization is needed.

2. Water Supply Installation

Generally, pipes must be installed to meet requirements for durability, safety and thermal comfort/stability. Prior to installation of water supply facilities, design considerations will be carried out and also, choice of materials will be made. The following factors should be accounted for in the design:

(a) the water supplier’s requirements, including those of notification.

(b) the estimated daily consumption and the maximum and average flow rates required, together with the estimated time of peak flow.

(c) the location of the available supply.

(d) the quality, quantity and pressure required, and the available pressures at various times during a typical day.

(e) the cold water storage capacity required.

(f) the likelihood of ground subsidence due to mining activities or any other reason.

(g) the likelihood of contamination of the site.

(h) transient (short-lived) or surge pressures that might arise during the operation of the system.

Installation shall be designed to avoid waste, undue consumption, misuse, contamination and erroneous measurement. The installation shall be designed to avoid the trapping of air during filling and the formation of air locks during operation.

2.1 Handling of Materials

All materials and components used for the construction of a water system shall be handled with sufficient care and attention to prevent their deterioration, or the ingress (act of entering) of contaminants. Deterioration, which is due to improper laying of pipes, use of poor-quality material, improper tightening of capillary/mechanical joints, and improper compaction of underground/underlying soil, etc., can impair the serviceability, or affect the performance of pipework systems. Some pipes are manufactured from asbestos cement. When working on these pipes and all other types of asbestos containing materials, keep exposure to asbestos dust as low as is reasonably practicable. Great care should be exercised in cutting and grinding operations to keep dust generated to the minimum and prevent people breathing in the dust. This may be achieved by the use of hand rather than power tools.

Bending of Pipes

Damaged pipes shall be rejected. Care should be taken to avoid crimping and restricting the diameter of pipes when forming bends. Purpose-designed equipment should be used where appropriate.

2.2 Joining of Pipes

Care shall be taken to establish satisfactory jointing techniques for all water service pipework. When making joints by welding, brazing or soldering, precautions shall be taken to avoid the risk of fire, and care taken to avoid inhalation of fumes from the jointing process. Ends shall be cut square, all burrs (rough projection left on a work-piece after cutting) shall be removed from the ends of pipes and any jointing materials used shall be prevented from entering the system. All piping and fittings shall be cleaned internally and shall be free from debris. No metal pipe shall be connected to any other pipe or water fitting by means of an adhesive in any case where the metal pipe is:

(a) installed in the ground or passes through or under any wall footing or foundation;

(b) embedded in a wall or solid floor;

(c) enclosed in a chase or duct (enclosed passage for fluid);

(d) in a position where access is difficult.

Cutting tools that are in good condition should be used to limit tube distortion and the tube should be cut square (directly perpendicular) with the axis. Any tube ends that are distorted should be re-rounded using a suitable tool prior to the joint assembly.

Copper Pipes

When making capillary solder joints (or solder fittings – tubes having small internal diameters), the mating faces of the tube and fitting shall be abrasively cleaned with nylon cleaning pads or emery strip (not steel wool) and flux applied sparingly to the spigot (regulator for controlling the flow of a liquid from a reservoir).

Capillary fittings (pipe fittings which have socket-type ends so that when the fitting is soldered to a pipe end, the solder flows along the ring-like space between the pipe exterior and the socket): the joint should be heated until the solder (lead-free) is constrained within the fitting or is fed in with a solder stick or wire, flows by capillary attraction (surface tension and resulting in the elevation or depression of liquids in capillaries) to fill the joint space. The joint should remain untouched until the solder has cooled and solidified but then any surplus flux (solder discharge) on the assembly should be carefully removed. Use of excessive amounts of flux should be avoided.

If you would like to have the remaining 57 pages of detailed content on this broad subject of civil engineering services, which contains a lot of images for the purpose of illustration, then get my self-published 67-page eBook through the following link: Civil Engineering Services. The topics in the eBook include:

1. Definition of Civil Engineering Services

  • Services offered by civil engineers in some selected countries

2. Water Supply Installation

  • Handling of materials
  • Joining of pipes
  • Connections between different materials
  • Joining pipes to cisterns and tanks
  • Underground pipe laying
  • Pipework in buildings

3. Hot Water Systems

  • Choice of system
  • Gas-Fired Water Heaters in Rooms Containing a Bath or Shower
  • Water-jacketed Tube Heaters
  • Main types of hot water systems
  • Common Materials and Components

4. Sanitary Appliances

  • Preliminary Data for Selection of Appliances
  • Time Schedule
  • Materials
  • Design Considerations

5. Methods of Solid Waste (Refuse) Disposal

  • Non-hazardous Waste
  • Mixed Waste (Radioactive/Hazardous)

6. Equipment for Air Conditioning & Ventilation

  • Air Conditioning
  • Ventilation

7. Installations for Industrial Buildings

  • Gases (Natural Gases)
  • Liquids (Liquefied Natural Gases)

8. Refrigeration

  • Vapor-Compression Refrigeration, or Vapor-Compression Refrigeration System (VCRS)
  • Description of the Vapor-Compression Refrigeration System

9. Vacuum Cleaning

  • Major types of vacuum cleaners

10. Fire-fighting Systems

  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire hose/Fire hose reels
  • Fire hydrant (diesel/electric-driven) systems
  • Automatic Sprinkler Systems

(Featured Image Credit: Pixabay.com.)

The reality of global warming: scary facts, and possible future consequences

(Image credit: Pixabay.com.) Present environmental threats caused by heating the Earth beyond the extent that nature’s sun does—and possible future consequences.

It’s very likely that most people would feel uncomfortable if too much heat-emitting activities (such as cooking, use of electrical appliances, etc.) occur in their houses; in addition, most people would feel “very very” uncomfortable if there are no escape routes for heat generated from too many activities that produce heat, and make their houses difficult to stay in.

If the statements in the previous paragraph are true, then imagine how much more uncomfortable all living things on Earth would feel as a result of negative impacts man-made (artificial) activities on the environment—especially when generated heat is trapped within Earth’s atmosphere.

Man-made activities, such as breeding/raising livestock, and burning of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil to power industries, vehicles, and appliances in homes) usually release high quantities of carbon dioxide, methane, etc., into the atmosphere.

These gases, along with nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), amongst others, are greenhouse gases, and contribute to “the greenhouse effect”.

The higher the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, the more heat will be trapped within the Earth’s environment.

High quantities of trapped heat cause global temperatures to rise—“global warming”.

Extra details about the causes of global warming

Although details of global warming are well known, some important points will be stated for the benefit of those who might not know a thing or two about it.

Naturally, certain gases like carbon dioxide and methane (known as greenhouse gases—GHGs) help the Earth to trap the sun’s heat (cosmic rays) in the atmosphere, from where plants absorb it, use it to grow to maturity, and provide all types of food that empower all other living things.

Also, naturally, greenhouse gases warm the Earth’s surface to an extent that is enough to sustain all forms of life. Without greenhouse gases, the average temperature of the Earth would be around zero degrees (0º) Fahrenheit, instead of today’s temperature which is around 58º Fahrenheit.

(Note that a temperature of 0º Fahrenheit would not be sufficient enough to empower many important natural processes that keep most forms of life alive.)

Man-made activities, especially burning of fossil fuel and coal, produces methane, other greenhouse gases, and carbon cycles that emit carbon dioxide which is absorbed every year by oceans, seas, plants, lands, etc.

Greenhouse gases cause the greenhouse effect, and negatively impact global climate by warming.

97% of scientists believe that man-made activities are the major cause of global warming

Mankind has to be concerned about global warming, especially when multiple reviews of scientific literature have pointed to the fact that about 97% of scientists/climate specialists believe that man-made activities are the major cause of the high level of global warming which the world has been experiencing in recent times.

Also, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, scientists have concluded with 90% confidence that global warming is increasing beyond the natural level because of increasing heat-emitting man-made activities which produce lots of carbon dioxide through burning of natural non-renewable resources like fossil fuel oil, and coal.

In an Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are unprecedented in the last 800,000 years”.

It is now an indisputable fact that the earth is heating up. In fact, within the last century, the Earth’s temperature is believed to have risen by 1.3° Fahrenheit, and temperatures are still rising.

With global warming on the rise, in about 10, 20, or more years from today, mankind will likely feel greater negative impact of man-made burning and heating activities if sensible ways are not discovered and used to halt escalating rates of heating activities.

The negative effect of gases generated from man-made (anthropogenic) activities has been observed in the climate system, and is believed to be the major cause of global warming which has been observed since the middle of last century—the 20th century.

Evidence of the negative impacts of global warming

  • The thickness of ice in the regions around the north of the Arctic Circle has decreased by a surprising 50% within the past 50 years. Currently, much of the Arctic ice is just below the freezing point, and is floating on water where it is highly sensitive to little rises in temperature that can make it melt completely.
  • Large chunks of ice at the South Pole around the Antarctic Circle, which have been stable for tens of thousands of years, are gradually breaking off. In fact, during the year 2000, a piece of ice with an area of about 4,200 square miles, broke off. Also, in the year 2002, a large piece of ice broke off in the Thwaites Glacier.
  • In 2007, Greenland’s ice shelves decreased in size by 24 square miles. In 2008, it decreased further by 21 square miles.
  • Each time the ocean rises vertically by one foot, it spreads horizontally by about 100 feet, and covers more land. Researchers observed that sea levels rose by 8 inches in the past century, and was due to expansion of seawater as a result of absorbing more heat.
  • As the Earth’s temperature in rising, tropical diseases are gradually spreading northward; dangerous insects, waterborne diseases and malaria are spreading northwards.
  • From reliable records of temperatures taken in the past, 1995, 2005, and 2010 ranked among the hottest years ever, while the period between 2000 and 2009 was once considered to be the hottest decade.
  • Recent levels of carbon dioxide emission have been the highest in the past 100,000 years.

Despite all the evidence some people still don’t believe in global warming

It’s surprising that with all the evidence presented to the world by science, quite a number of people still don’t believe the globe is heating or warming up.

It is obvious that such people need to be educated to an extent. The following points could really clear up misunderstandings, or unfounded beliefs:

  • Greenhouse effect causes global warming when the Earth’s atmosphere traps heat radiating from the Earth towards space. Examples of gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect include water (H2O) vapor, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
  • There are 2 types of greenhouse effects that are part of global warming: man-made (anthropogenic) greenhouse effect, and natural greenhouse effect. Man-made greenhouse effect is caused by mankind, while natural greenhouse effect (which is mild) is caused by nature.
  • Natural greenhouse effect is spurred by natural solar and cosmic rays, and is extremely important because it supports all forms of life.
  • The major problem is that the general greenhouse effect (natural + man-made) has been strengthened by man-made activities, and made life-threatening negative impact on the whole environment.
  • Human activities, such as burning of fossil fuels, clearing of forests, amongst others, have strengthened the general greenhouse effect (natural + man-made), and caused global warming to be higher than it naturally was in the near and distant past; also, recent negative effects of warming are worse than at any other time in recorded history.
  • Man-made activities (especially the incessant and excessive burning of large quantities of fuel) have increased the total quantity of heat, and caused overall global warming (natural + man-made) to be higher than the natural level that cosmic rays has been producing for billions of years.
  • The greenhouse effect, which has increased excessively due to increasing man-made activities, is mainly attributed to increasing carbon dioxide emission levels.

One major question usually asked by people who don’t believe in global warming—and an answer

Question: If global warming is real, why is it so cold in some parts of the world?

Answer: Global warming is a gradual and on-going process that does not prevent cold weathers. Global warming can make average cold weathers not to be colder, and average warm weathers to be hotter: when temperatures are rising, it would be unlikely for colder weathers to occur, and likely for hotter weathers to occur.

Another thing is that a study of special local weather patterns could be misleading. Weather specialists have observed that cold winters in the North-eastern part of U.S.A. could be an exception; in which case there is abnormal warm winter around the same period in the whole of the northern hemisphere.

Over time, scientists expect winters to become shorter as global temperatures continue to rise. Some researchers have observed that colder-than-average winters could be caused by climate change. How? As the climate warms, more water vapor is produced; it enters the atmosphere, intensifies rain and snowstorms, thereby creating colder and snowier environments—winter.

Possible negative impacts of global warming in the future—if man-made heating activities are not curbed

  • According to the United Nations, sea levels could rise by 7 to 23 inches by the year 2100.
  • The polar ice cap may vanish completely and permanently, and alter the Earth’s natural weather by changing the flow of air and ocean currents around the world.
  • If all the ice in Antarctica melts, sea levels would rise by about 180 feet worldwide.
  • If all the ice in Greenland melts, sea levels would rise by about 21 feet worldwide.
  • If ocean and sea levels continue to rise, there will be a gradual change in the orientation of the map of the Earth’s coastlines

Do you think mankind should completely put a halt to man-made activities that have been heating up the Earth and causing drastic negative impacts on the environment? Or, do you think global warming does not exist, and mankind should continue with its current rate of fossil fuel usage, and other activities that have been causing global warming?

Comments about your opinion will be appreciated in the comment section.

How to transform an environmentally unsustainable society into an environmentally sustainable one

Environmental degradation is no longer a new topic. Many air, water, and land environments in many societies (worldwide) are heavily polluted to such an extent that they’ve become unsustainable and need urgent attention so they can be transformed from unsustainable environments to sustainable environments: the types of environments that are part and parcel of environmentally sustainable societies.

But how can environmentally unsustainable societies move from an unsustainable level to a sustainable one? What important measures must be put in place before such a great challenge can be surmounted—especially when an appreciable amount of time, human and natural resources are needed in transforming a society and its environment?

This article will provide very important strategies that could help to transform environmentally unsustainable societies into environmentally sustainable ones.

But first, what is an environmentally sustainable society?

An environmentally sustainable society is one that has enough natural resources that can cater for the needs of its present and future population(s) without threatening the ability of its future generations to meet their own basic needs.

Environmentally sustainable societies conserve, manage and protect their natural resources (or natural capital) properly, and live on the income that their natural resources generate.

Download PDF: 18 Best Ways to Save the Environment Much More

Download PDF: 15 Reasons why you should study environmental science

Environmentally sustainable societies know that if they waste, excessively deplete and mismanage their natural resources/capital, they will deteriorate from a sustainable level to an unsustainable one.

Environmentally sustainable societies exploit natural resources (i.e., the Earth’s natural capital or fund which nature provides for all human beings, plants and animals), and use them to enhance their environments and increase their present and future ability to meet human, animal and plant needs.

Sustainability of the environment is in the hands of mankind, and it needs to be properly implemented and maintained

On the other hand, environmentally unsustainable societies also exist, and there is growing evidence that some environmentally sustainable societies are showing signs of becoming environmentally unsustainable—i.e., they are living unsustainably and their environments are degrading.

What are some major characteristics of environmentally unsustainable societies?

  • their air is highly polluted with smoke from indigenous industries; it’s at such a degree that people have to turn on vehicle headlights during the day in order to see what is in front of them.
  • their lakes, rivers, seas, oceans, or water bodies are polluted because they contain various types of toxic solid and liquid wastes that have been dumped or discharged by people.
  • their lands are highly polluted with wastes from factories; this has happened to such a degree that people and industries have abandoned certain polluted wastelands. Why? Because they are unproductive and have recorded high rates of unemployment and crime.
  • etc.—many other unsustainable characteristics.

Now, what are the most important steps that can be taken in order to transform an environmentally unsustainable society into an environmentally sustainable one?

(1) Establish, or improve existing social capital: Everybody in each society has to put hands together in order to solve environmental problems—this needs to start at the grassroots

In order for an environmentally unsustainable society to become environmentally sustainable (or much less environmentally unsustainable) it has to build or improve on what sociologists call “social capital”.

Each society has a social capital—its own citizens.

In order to establish or improve social capital, people from different backgrounds, with opinions and characteristics have to come together, communicate with each other, understand each other, and find a common ground to work together in order to solve existing societal or environmental problems.

In this regard, indigenous local society leaders, learned people, government officials, business leaders, and all citizens have to come together, discuss, work out modalities and look for high- and low-cost options that can be used to transform ailing and highly polluted unsustainable societies into sustainable and livable ones.

The solutions to environmental problems are easier to implement if every single person in a society—regardless of age or background—is carried along.

Important questions that should be asked during meetings—when establishing or improving social capital:

  • is there pollution in the environment—air, water, and land?
  • is there too much pollution? What is the presumed level of pollution?
  • what are the causes or existing sources of pollution?
  • how can pollution be eradicated from the society or environment?
  • should the sources of pollution be regulated or eradicate, even if it will affect the economy/standard of living, but end up preserving health?
  • etc.—many other important questions.

If citizens of societies do not put heads together, and reason together, it will be difficult to eradicate environmental problems because, naturally, without discussions, enlightenment and leadership, many people tend to neglect Mother Nature’s call of duty to protect the environment.

(2) Once respective leaders can summon people together and address environmental issues, a timeline should be set—as agreed—in which it is believed that most important goals would be achieved; for example: environmental clean-up, closure of polluting factories, etc.

(Also, there should be a plan, not only for a few meetings, but a continuous series of meetings, as agreed by all members of a society or community.)

All citizens, especially leaders and learned people, should be allowed to contribute as much as possible so that environmental problems can be identified precisely and goals/solutions can be proffered after members of society brain-storm all important solutions, or ideas provided by citizens.

Examples of some important goals that environmentally unsustainable societies could proffer

  • enforce or encourage reduction of air pollution from industries—from high emission rates to low or even zero-emission rates, if possible.
  • stop or discourage littering/open dumping of solid waste on land, and in water bodies.
  • stop construction of structures, building or factories that encourages increasing discharge of waste into air, water and land environments.
  • launch a recycling program in order to conserve certain resources, and recycle and re-use others that are recyclable and reusable.
  • replace some high carbon-emitting factories and vehicles that use more fossil fuel, with those that use more electricity, and give off low- or zero-emission discharges. Note: replacement could only be a good option if there is sufficient funding to do it.
  • etc.

(3) Implement goals

All stated goals that have been agreed on, should be zealously and vigorously implemented, and effectively monitored from inception to completion.

If goals are properly implemented, then air pollution and environmental degradation levels will gradually become much lower than the minimum levels recommended locally, or internationally.

(4) Exercise patience

It takes time and patience to get things done in today’s world. Government leaders, society leaders, learned people and citizens have to exercise a lot of patience because transforming an environmentally unsustainable society into a sustainable one would involve a lot of human resources, natural resources, energy, and a lot of time as well. It is not such an easy task as stated on paper, but it can be done.

If patience is not properly exercised, the dream of a society can be forgotten, long before a single step is taken.

Conclusions

  • each individual in a society matters a lot. Most environmental damages are results of social changes due to each individual’s action—which could be excessive burning of combustible fuels, dumping of solid wastes on land, and in water, etc.
  • Each individual’s action at grassroots can lead to massive changes in overall  environmental conditions—either positively or negatively.

In fact, research conducted by social scientists suggests that it takes between 5% and 10% of the population of a society, community, country, or the whole world to bring about a “major social change”.

  • human history and research have proven that significant social and environmental changes occur in a shorter time than many people think—especially if goals are pursued with the type of vigour and zeal that is necessary.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead once summed up the ability a group of people could have if they desire to make a social change: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

  • If societies start now, rather than later, they will still have enough time to change from environmentally unsustainable societies to environmentally sustainable ones.

Recommendations for sustainable living

There are some recommendable strategies that can be used to reduce negative environmental impact and create more environmentally sustainable environments/societies.

The following strategies can help to sustain the Earth’s natural capital and create more sustainable environments:

1. Carry everybody along—as stated at the beginning of the article.

2. Rely more on renewable energy from the sun, and indirect forms of solar energy such as wind and flowing water. Solar energy can provide most heating and electricity needs without emitting health-deteriorating carbon compounds into the atmosphere.

3. Protect the biodiversity of nature by preventing pollution and degradation of air, water bodies and land—since pollution affects the health of animal species, natural processes and ecosystems.

4. Sustain the Earth’s natural chemical cycles by reducing pollution, production, and mismanagement of solid wastes; and preventing natural systems from being overloaded with harmful man-made chemicals.

How to reduce/eradicate environmental problems caused by mismanagement of common & shareable resources

Mismanagement of resources and environmental pollution is common in places where a lot of people use common and shareable resources together. Today’s post defines private, common and shareable resources or properties, and provides recommendable solutions that could reduce or prevent environmental problems and degradation caused by unsustainable use of resources and mismanagement of common & shareable resources—at local and global level.

Since the beginning of time, nature has been providing resources and sustaining all forms of living and non-living things without handing right/ownership over any resource to any particular person or group of people. However, over time, people, different nations and governments have been claiming ownership over resources, and have engaged in wars in order to secure rights over resources and materials supplied by nature.

When a resource is owned, it becomes a property. To own a property is one thing; to manage it is another. One major problem associated with both common and shareable properties—which we will soon define—is that they are much more mismanaged than private property is.

Download PDF: 18 Best Ways to Save the Environment Much More

Misuse of resources leads to mismanagement of resources, wars, environmental pollution, environmental degradation and destruction of human lives and properties. Irrespective of the type of procedures used by people or organizations to acquire resource ownership or properties in various regions or countries—legally or illegally—resource or property can be categorized into any one of the following three:

(1) Private resource

A private resource is any resource owned by an individual, or an organization—or any group of individuals or organizations. Examples of resources that could be called private resources include land, farmland, minerals, animals, etc.

(2) Common resource

A common resource is any resource owned by large groups of individuals or organizations. For example, all citizens of the United States own about one-third of the total land area of the country. Examples of common resources include irrigation systems, pasture/grazing land, fossil fuel, coal, electricity, etc.

(3) Shareable/open-access resource

A shareable or open-access resource is any resource owned by everybody because it’s shared by everybody and is openly accessible to any interested individual. Examples of shareable resources include groundwater, air, fishes, lakes, rivers, oceans, etc. In some cases, common resource and shareable resource mean the same thing.

Over the decades, several wars and cases of mismanagement and wastage of common and shareable resources have been incited by the mentality that “If I don’t use this resource, then someone else will; it doesn’t matter whether I actually need this resource, let me just use it; even if I waste it and pollute the environment, it doesn’t matter; it will always be available”.

Whenever few people have used resources, this mentality has not often led to instances of drastic negative environmental impacts; however, whenever many people have used resources, this mentality has often made the reverse to occur. Lots of evidence have shown that negative environmental impacts occur whenever a lot of people use shareable resources like air, various species of fish in oceans, groundwater from open hand-dug wells, etc.

Observations & Lessons

1. Since the beginning of the industrial age, the Earth’s environment has been exposed to negative impacts of indiscriminate disposal of chemicals, gases, liquid and solid wastes, etc.

2. Uncontrolled use of fossil fuel in industrial and transportation facilities has caused carbon dioxide emission levels to rise and increase environmental temperature, thereby melting ice caps and rising sea levels.

3. Large quantities of waste, sewage and unwanted materials like plastics have been indiscriminately disposed in the environment, and have found their ways into lakes, rivers, oceans and seas; moreso, they have polluted these bodies of water, and negatively impacted the quality of human and marine lives.

4. Etc.

How to reduce/eradicate global environmental problems caused by mismanagement of common & shareable resources

(1) Regulate the use of common and shareable resources so that rates of consumption would be less than rates causing environmental problems. This is one area where governments and leaders of communities have to come in and establish laws/regulations that would limit the use of various types of resources to sustainable levels, and also limit the quantity of pollutants disposed on land, air and water environments.

(2) Regulate access to common and shareable resources. This is another area where leaders of governments and societies can make a difference by passing laws that would regulate or limit access to, and exposure of shareable resources like fish and other species that have been killed beyond sustainable limits—even to the point of extinction.

Laws could be implemented that would limit or regulate the amount of time that certain land, air, and water environments are exposed to different types of environmentally degrading activities, and different sources of pollution and pollutants.

(3) Convert ownership of shareable resources from the public, to a private organization(s) or person(s). The reason for this is that whenever an individual (or a few individuals) owns a resource, such a resource tends to be protected and managed better.

Although some individuals would be able to manage public-turned-private resources better, life could be difficult for those individuals who don’t have rights to public resources that have been converted to private ones.

Imagine the possible negative impacts mankind could be exposed to if some self-centered and stingy individuals (who are, on the other hand, probably good managers) owned the air, rivers, oceans and seas, and kept them as their own private property.

(4) Harmonize scientific solutions from research with political processes dictated by world leaders. While scientists look for solutions to prevent degradation of forests and unsustainable use of common and shareable resources, the applicability of their work would be limited if there is no effective input from political leaders.

For example, major environmental problems could include:

  • extinction of wildlife. 
  • depletion of forests.
  • pollution of rivers.

For these problems to be solved, scientists might state that:

  • people should limit or stop killing wildlife—or they should be prevented from doing so.
  • people should limit or stop cutting down matured trees—or they should be prevented from doing so.
  • people should stop disposing chemicals into rivers—or they should be prevented from doing so.

But the implementation of such solutions would require input from leaders of government through enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

In this area, one major challenge is that enforcement of laws often leads to conflict between scientists, and either government, businesspeople or citizens.

For example, when scientists advise that forests should be protected in order to preserve and conserve important diversity of plants and animals, citizens and timber/paper production companies might protest against scientists because of the benefit they derive from using wood and paper.

Read all articles related to environment

18 best ways to save the environment much more

This article contains a list of 18 best ways to save the environment. (Featured image credit: Pixabay.com.)

In many cases, there is no way we can save the environment without giving up certain standards—even high ones. People tend to think that if we walk more, use smaller cars, recycle plastics/cans, compost certain forms of waste, reuse water, buy energy-efficient appliances…then such actions would cut down, and even interfere with the growth of an economy. People who think this way are greatly mistaken!

In fact, it is easier to save the environment much more than people think we possibly can, and without experiencing detrimental effects. We can conserve natural resources much better, and save the environment much more if we change certain daily habits like the ones related to eating and transportation—amongst others.

How to make money by browsing with CryptoTab Browser

Download PDF: Living in the Environment by Miller & Spoolman_17th_edition

Download PDF: 18 Best Ways to Save the Environment Much More

15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science

Generally—in addition to many other ways that can be used to save the environment, and which might not be listed in this article—we can save the environment much more through the following 18 ways:

1. By reducing our rate of/dependence on driving or using vehicles

Even though it’s quite true that we might not be able to walk always and everywhere, it has to be noted that the use of vehicles for everything, continues to produce emissions that compromise our air and health. One of the worst things that usually happens is when people leave vehicles on without using them for the purpose they were designed or manufactured for. It’s dangerous for people to continuously inhale polluted air. We can save the environment much more if people actually walk or take public transits much more than has been the norm.

2. By conserving water much more

Regardless of how much or less water is available in an environment, it can and should be conserved much more than has been the norm in many places. We can save the environment much more if we stop taps from running for too long without using them, especially when we brush and cook. We should try to make more use of spigots or regulators that control the flow of water, and shower-heads that conserve water and energy.

3. By reducing or conserving the amount of paper we use

About 40% of the world’s timber is used for producing paper. Paper production uses a lot of water and endangers natural habitats or environments where organisms or groups of organisms live. Since it has become normal to print and use paper, people don’t usually think about the effects of the excess paper that is being littered indiscriminately in the environment. We can save the environment much more if we lessen paper production and usage by reducing the amount of paper that is being wasted in many world activities.

4. By reusing refillable plastic water bottles/containers much more

Most people use refillable water bottles and containers once, or a few times and throw them away forever without seeing any value in using them again and again for the same purpose, and in a way that can save the environment. It is wasteful to throw away water bottles or containers that can be reused; in addition, waste endangers the environment and affects environmental health. We can save the environment from much more health hazards if we reuse refillable plastic bottles or containers, and plates/utensils, instead of disposable ones.

5. By being more mindful, and carefully scrutinizing what we throw away into trash cans or containers

Before you throw away “waste” collected from the kitchen or any other part of the house or environment, observe whether it contains any items that can be used or recycled. The obvious truth is that there are much more valuable wastes than we are usually aware of. There are lots of plastic bags and wastes that can be reused or repurposed, rather than thrown away.

Plastic bags that are thrown in the open environment can suffocate animals that mistaken them for food. Truth is that there are lots of so-called “useless trash or junk” that are still useful, and can be turned into something fresh and purposeful. We can save the environment much more if we don’t throw away wastes that we honestly believe can be reused in one form/way, or another.

6. By saving much more electricity

We should get adapted to turning off switches whenever we aren’t using light bulbs, laptops, desktops, TVs, and general electrical appliances. In addition, we should lower air conditioning or heating equipment when necessary: whenever we can, we should make our air conditioning or heating systems less hot or less cold, instead of allowing them run unnecessarily on certain temperatures.

We can save the environment much more if we stop the habit of leaving electrical devices plugged in without putting off switches. Leaving switches on can still allow such devices use what is known as “phantom” energy: electrical energy that is drawn in even though devices are in sleep mode after they have been turned off.

7. By preventing wastage of food

Many people draft a plan for the food they would eat in a day, week, or month, without ever taking time to quantify the approximate amount that would be enough for eating without leaving excess and throwing it away as waste into the on-looking and helpless environment.

By buying and using a necessary amount of food, people can save money and the environment, and reduce production of waste. We can save the environment much more if we cook only the quantity of food needed per meal/meal time, so that we won’t cook more than necessary. In addition, we can properly store leftovers and use them as one or more future meals. In other cases where there are unplanned leftovers, we can give them to beggars or people who are homeless.

It is believed that food production is one of the major causes of wildlife extinction. The food we eat contributes to approximately 25% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and is responsible for almost 60% loss of global biodiversity.

8. By living a bit of a vegetarian lifestyle—if we can’t live it completely

Nobody has to give up meat forever; however, it would bring the human body and general environments much benefit if people commit to living a meat-free lifestyle every few days, weeks, or more. It takes about 2,500 gallons of water—which is insufficient in so many societies—to produce only one pound of beef; imagine the quantity of water that would be required to produce the uncountable pounds of beef eaten on Earth every year. We can save the environment much more if we cut down the quantity of meat we produce and eat.

9. By properly disposing hazardous wastes

There are certain kinds of wastes or items that shouldn’t be thrown in open dumps, landfills, and sanitary sewers; examples include pharmaceutical products or by-products, pesticides, paint, fluorescent light bulbs, cleaning products, batteries, etc. It is advisable to dispose such items in a special or more technical way because if the common/popular methods are used to dispose them in the environment, they could deteriorate environmental air, land and water quality to an irreparable extent.

We can save the environment much more if we properly dispose hazardous waste much more than it has been usually disposed in many societies and environments, especially in developing or underdeveloped countries/societies.

10. By using our voices, websites, the internet, or any platform

One of the noblest things to do in life is to speak up for what is right, or speak up for the truth—for reality! Everyone would agree that it is right to speak up for the environment, and let people know how it should be saved or protected. We seem to be the first generation to know fully well that man-made activities are gradually destroying the environment; and we may be the last to do anything meaningful to save it.

We can save the environment much more if we use our voices, websites, platforms or brands to speak up for protection of the natural world which is the home of humans, animals, plants, and every other type of living and non-living thing. So speak up because people are out there and ready to listen, learn, and take action!

11. By downloading/installing softwares, instead of buying discs

Downloading many types of software—rather than buying them—reduces the amount of paper and materials used for packaging, and consequently reduces transportation/air pollution and waste of time and other forms of energy. In addition, it is often cheaper to download softwares than to buy discs that are used to install softwares. We can save the environment much more if we install more softwares by downloading them from the internet, rather than using them from paper-enveloped discs.

12. By using the internet to make more payments and receive more statements for household bills

Once there is good internet connection, making payments, and receiving statements online is quick and convenient, and can also make a huge difference on the depreciating state of the environment because it can cut down reliance and dependence on paper.

It was once reported that if every household in the U.S. received electronic statements for household bills, instead of offline paper statements, about 18.5 million trees could be saved; and the unnecessary production of 2.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases could be prevented. We can save the environment much more if we make more payments and receive more statements online, rather than buy discs offline; in addition, we can use e-mails to send more correspondences, rather than paper.

13. By using rechargeable batteries much more

Science has informed us about the extent of damage that corrosive acid (from discarded batteries) can create in/on soil, especially when it ends up in landfills. Apart from the fact that using rechargeable batteries can protect the environment much more, it can also save money on the long run. We can save the environment if we make use of rechargeable batteries much more than batteries that can’t be recharged more often!

14. By minimizing the amount of pesticides and fertilizers needed or required

Many farmers and food producers rely heavily on pesticides and fertilizers to kill pests, protect their growing crops, and help them grow as much as possible. On the other hand, the use of pesticides and fertilizers is often unregulated, unchecked, and thus causes more harm to the environment. We can save the environment much more if we use pesticides and fertilizers in a much more precise and regulated manner.

15. By reporting smoking vehicles to local air agencies

Air pollution is one of the most common and destructive forms of pollution, both to the environment and living things in general. Although it is true that smoking vehicles are the sources of income in countries with low standards of living, it is advisable to put smoking vehicles away because people’s health and lives are far much more important than vehicles that pollute the air and deteriorate environmental air quality. We can save the environment much more if we report vehicles that emit too much smoke than usual.

16. By painting with brushes and rollers, rather than using spray paints

Anybody who compares the mechanism behind spray paint, and painting with brushes or rollers, will come to a quick conclusion that spray paint emits higher quantities of chemicals into the environment than brushes and rollers do. We can save the environment much more if we minimize the rate and quantity of harmful chemicals emitted into the environment; in this regard, brushes and rollers should be used much more often than spray paint.

17. By regularly inspecting, servicing and emptying septic tanks

One of the most disturbing causes of land and water pollution is failed septic tanks/septic tank systems, especially in underdeveloped or developing nations. Septic tank systems run unchecked by both owners, and the government agencies in charge of environmental protection. We can save the environment much more if we regularly inspect, service and empty septic tanks at appropriate times.

18. By inspecting and regulating the amount and quality of noise circulating in the environment

Noise or sound pollution is the propagation of poor quality and harmful noise that has a negative impact on human and animal health. Most of the world’s noise is caused mainly by machines, transportation, and poor urban planning—especially side-by-side placement of industries together with residential buildings; this results in noise pollution and emotional imbalance within residential areas.

High noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects in humans, and increased incidences of coronary artery disease. In fact studies are showing that the rate and quality of noise has had negative effects on a range of animals in various habitats—generally, noise can directly impact the health of humans and animals. We can save the environment much more if we regulate noise-producing activities and put industries at an appreciable distance away from residential areas and various types of marine (water), land, and air environments.

You may like to read other articles on environmental protection and sustainability through the following links:

How to reduce/eradicate environmental problems caused by mismanagement of common & shareable resources

How to transform an environmentally unsustainable society into an environmentally sustainable one

How water wastage can be reduced in the environment

Impact of microplastics on marine environment & a cheap method for optimal extraction

Point sources vs non-point sources of pollution; how non-point sources of pollution can be controlled

Negative environmental impact of using mineral resources

Mineral resources are naturally occurring concentrations of solid homogeneous inorganic substances that occur in nature and have precise chemical compositions. Mankind has done a great deal in developing the technical know-how to investigate, locate and extract more than a hundred minerals from the Earth’s crust.

On the other hand, the mining, processing and production of items, tools and equipment from mineral resources has left open wounds on the environment’s land, air and water resources.

Two major types (broad categories) of minerals

The two major types of minerals that exist are metallic minerals and non-metallic minerals. Examples of metallic minerals include gold, iron, copper, and aluminium, while examples of non-metallic minerals include limestone, gravel, sand, and phosphate salts.

Download PDF: 18 Best Ways to Save the Environment Much More

Minerals and rocks are called “non-renewable resources” because it takes a very long time for them to be reproduced by nature or natural processes.

Negative impact of mineral resources on environment

Although metals can be used to produce many useful products, the processes of mining and recycling take up a lot of energy, produce a lot of solid wastes, and also pollute the surrounding air, water and land (soil) environments.

Many studies conducted by scientists warn that one of the greatest threats to environmental health is the negative impact caused by industrial processes which include extraction, mining, and product conversions.

If mankind is not careful, the cost of manufacturing and production will exceed the value that mankind derives from finished products of mining, manufacturing and production.

The degree of environmental impact of mining a mineral or ore depends on the grade or mineral content of a particular mineral or ore. Usually, higher-grade minerals are the first to be sought for, located and used.

As higher-grade minerals become depleted, lower-grade ones become the next valuable mineral resource to be sought for. But the problem associated with lower-grade minerals is that the process of mining them takes up a lot of energy, water, money, and other minerals.

In addition, the process is known to increase mining and solid wastes, land degradation, and land, water and air pollution.

In the pursuit and acquisition of minerals, mining can cause long-term harm to an environment because it is widely known to disfigure and disrupt environments by scarring and disrupting their land surfaces.

Whenever minerals are removed from mountaintops by great machines, dirt and waste rocks usually destroy surrounding forests, cover up mountain streams at the base of mountains, and also increase flood hazards.

Nearby communities are not safe when it comes to mining: they find it hard to breathe pure natural air. Many communities have been economically and environmentally damaged as a result of mineral exploration and mountaintop removal.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, hundreds of mountaintops have been removed in the U.S.A in order to extract coal; this has degraded the surrounding environment by polluting and burying about 1,900 kilometers length of streams.

In tropical areas like tropical forests, surface mining degrades or destroys important biodiversity that keeps many forms of life, and the environment balanced.

Degradation or destruction of biodiversity occurs when forests are cut down and rivers become polluted with wastes produced from mining activities.

Sub-surface mining causes lands, houses and sewer lines to collapse above some underground mines; also, it creates hazards such as explosions, fires, and cave-ins, and causes diseases such as black lung.

In addition, water runoff from mining processes usually contains pollutants such as mercury, arsenic and sulfuric acid which contaminate surrounding fresh water supplies and aquatic life used as food.

For further reading in case you may like to read related articles on environment:

Negative impacts of material & immaterial types of affluence on environment

Impact of microplastics on marine environment & a cheap method for optimal extraction

Why environmental pollution increases despite the usage of pollution prevention & clean-up measures

15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science

Environmental unsustainability: characteristics & lessons

How water wastage can be reduced in the environment

The use of water is of serious concern in our world today, especially because of the way it is being used in unsustainable ways that have led to lots of wastage and deterioration of the environment which is mankind’s earthly home.

It is far easier, and much less costly to reduce water wastage than many people think. In fact, it costs much less money and energy to reduce water wastage than it does to provide new supplies of water—except in situations where governments subsidize water systems in order to reduce water prices and make their acquisition much more easy.

Download PDF: 18 Best Ways to Save the Environment Much More

Download PDF: 15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science

Many studies have been carried out on the usage and sustainability or unsustainability of water. Mohammed El-Ashry of the World Resources Institute once made three profound statements concerning water wastage:

  • it is technically and economically possible to reduce water wastage to 15%, and meet most of the world’s water needs in the anticipated future.
  • approximately two-thirds of the quantity of water used worldwide is unnecessarily wasted through leaks, evaporation, and other types of losses.
  • about half the quantity of water obtained from surface and ground supplies in U.S.A. (the world’s largest user of water) is unnecessarily wasted.

According to most water and environment specialists, the first major cause of water wastage is the fact that water is relatively cheap or easy to acquire

Because water is almost readily available, and governments subsidize it to low prices, users have little or no interest to invest time or money in water-saving schemes.

At times, it seems as if governments efforts to subsidize water is sending out a wrong message that water is abundant and can be used haphazardly or wasted.

On the other hand, if water is not subsidized, low-income farmers might find it hard to buy enough water to meet their agricultural needs.

How water can be conserved (or water wastage reduced) in an environment

In the U.S.A., almost 90% of the quantity of water used in industries is for production of oil, chemicals, paper, coal, metals, and processed foods.

Reduction of water wastage can be achieved by following the example of some industries that recycle their water via recycling and purification in order to reduce water wastage, and most especially costs—water treatment costs.

Another way to reduce water wastage is by depending less on the use of coal-burning and nuclear power plants for the production of electricity.

Coal-burning and nuclear power plants normally use large quantities of water in their cooling systems which have a wide variety of applications in manufacturing and production industries.

Brief summary of some important solutions for water wastage

  • collect and reuse household water for agricultural or other purposes (offices, hotels, etc.)
  • use water-saving shower-heads and toilets
  • recycle water in manufacturing and production industries
  • pass laws to enforce regulations for conservation of water in cities
  • conduct research and redesign manufacturing and production processes
  • plant crops or trees that require little water for their growth, especially in heavily populated cities
  • use drip irrigation which has the ability to save water and nutrients by making water drip slowly to the roots of plants, crops, or trees
  • fix all leaking taps, or leakages
  • use water meters in billing systems.

We can all reduce our water wastage footprint by using water much more sustainably without wasting it. The solution starts with taking adequate steps and acts within our local environments, and stretching our acts globally.

For further reading in case you may like to read related articles on environment:

18 best ways to save the environment much more—PDF download available

15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science

Point sources vs non-point sources of pollution; how non-point sources of pollution can be controlled

The reality of global warming: scary facts, and possible future consequences

Why environmental pollution increases despite the usage of pollution prevention & clean-up measures

Impact of microplastics on marine environment & a cheap method for optimal extraction

Microplastics are small and barely visible pieces of plastic that are between 0.1 µm and 5 mm in size, and known to pollute the environment through man-made activities.

They have been widely studied and are known to be products of fragmentation of large pieces of plastics that have deteriorated in quality after long periods of exposure and shedding.

They cause a lot of pollution, and have grabbed global attention as one of the major causes of marine pollution which is due to exponential increases in production of plastics for beneficial uses.

Coppock et al. (2017) cited several studies that reported the following statistics which are related to production and deposition of microplastics:

• within the past 75 years, plastic production drastically increased from 1.5 million tonnes/year to 322 million tonnes/year, worldwide.

• in the year 2010 alone, between 4 million and 12 million tonnes of plastic were estimated to have been deposited in the marine environment from land-based activities.

• there have been reports of widespread debris of microplastics in deep seas, open oceans, at the poles, and at shorelines in many parts of the world.

Also, Miller et al. (2017) cited several studies which reported the following:

• in the year 2015, over 300 million metric tonnes of petroleum-based plastics were produced worldwide. Most of this quantity contained 6 main types of plastics: polyethylene terephthalate, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polyurethane, and polystyrene.

• the rate of annual production of plastics would lead to a cumulative production of 33 billion metric tons by the year 2050; this implies that there would be mass production and increase in the quantity of microplastics along shorelines, and in oceans.

• between 4.8 and 12.7 metric tons of plastic debris is being deposited in oceans each year; this quantity of pollution creates the possibility for organic contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carcinogenic polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers and toxic metals to enter the marine food web.

Negative impact of microplastics on marine environment

Among different categories (megaplastics, macroplastics, mesoplastics, microplastics and nanoplastics) of microplastics that cause marine plastic pollution, microplastics are of major concern because they are readily and easily consumed by organisms living in marine environments. In fact, microplastics can be consumed by mussels, crabs, oysters, fish, and even humans.

Ingestion of microplastics has been found to have negative effects on food intake, and decrease the amount of energy needed for reproduction and growth of aquatic species. Microplastics are sources of chemical contamination because they contain additives and plasticizers added during production of plastics.

Studies have revealed that plastic litter/debris contains harmful pollutants that are about a million times more than pollutants in seawater; the intake/digestion of this could result in negative impacts on marine life.

Brief review of existing separation techniques for extraction of microplastics from marine environments

Several researches showed that the principle of density flotation is commonly employed in separating less dense plastic polymers from denser sediment particles, and different types of high density salt solutions could be employed in extracting microplastics from marine sediments; however, existing methods have been known to show a number of drawbacks:

• they are expensive.

• their extraction efficiencies are low.

• they are not compatible with sediments that are very fine.

• they are complex and inhibited by impracticalities or inefficiencies.

One major challenge has been the unsettling of settled sediments which occurs at periods when floating microplastics are being removed. Typically, this has led to low extraction efficiencies and caused extractions to be repeated. In some other methods, several steps need to be taken in order to extract microplastics; such steps might require the use of equipment that are only suitable for extracting coarse sediments.

An example of a method that could require several steps is the elutriation step which allows clogging to occur whenever very fine sediments are used. Owing to this reason, it is important to promote a cheap and convenient method that uses zinc chloride (ZnCl2), as highlighted in the study carried out by Coppock et al. (2017).

Proposed extraction method, and stages employed

Coppock et al. (2017) constructed a prototype of the popular Munich Plastic Sediment Separator (MPSS). Typically, the original MPSS isolates microplastics above a shut-off valve and achieves 95.5% recovery rates on microplastics that are less than 1 mm in size. The typical MPSS is 1.75 meters high, made of stainless steel, and was initially designed to take large quantities of sediment (6 kg); however, MPSS is quite expensive to produce and is less feasible and portable, especially when numerous replicates of small sediment samples have to be used.

In order to cut down expenditure and achieve equal or higher recovery rates, a cheap, small-scale and portable microplastic extraction unit was constructed and designed to mirror/mimic the original MPSS. This prototype was used to assess the viability and financial cost involved in extracting microplastics using 3 high-density salt solutions: sodium chloride (NaCl), sodium iodide (NaI) and zinc chloride (ZnCl2).

It was observed that this method is less expensive, and can be used on a wide range of sediment types to extract microplastics from marine sediment samples. Before assessments and comparisons were made between the 3 methods, and a conclusion was arrived at—that the study involving zinc chloride (ZnCl2) is cheap and can be used for optimal extraction of microplastics—the following stages were employed in the method highlighted by Coppock et al. (2017):

(1) Three separate media were prepared for floatation.

(2) A prototype sediment-microplastic isolation (SMI) unit was constructed.

(3) The SMI unit was cleaned, purged and primed.

(4) Extraction of microplastics was carried out on 3 different sediment samples: each contained NaCl, NaI and ZnCl2, respectively.

Observations

After construction and application of the prototype unit using the stated method, the following were observed:

(1) Although saturated sodium chloride (NaCl) solution is cheap and adequate enough to extract low density plastics from marine sediments, employing it in the constructed unit wouldn’t help to estimate the exact quantity of abundant microplastics found in a marine environment containing microplastics that are highly dense.

(2) Although sodium iodide (NaI) solution can be used to prepare higher density sediment samples than NaCl, it is the most expensive option for preparing high density samples; based on this, it was eliminated from the sediment trial samples prepared for extraction in the study.

(3) Zinc chloride (ZnCl2) solution is the cheapest and most inexpensive method that can be used to prepare high density samples (greater than 2 g/cm3) for extraction. For this reason, ZnCl2 was used to quantify microplastics in a number of previous studies.

Conclusion

It can be observed that for high density samples involving NaI, fine sediments in the SMI method were in suspension; as a result, the method was deemed to be inefficient for optimal extraction of microplastics.

In comparison with sodium chloride (NaCl)—which cannot be used efficiently to extract highly dense microplastics—and sodium iodide (NaI)—which costs quite much to use—results show that zinc chloride (ZnCl2) is the cheapest and most appropriate solution that can be employed in floating microplastics when using SMI unit to make extractions from marine sediments.

In summary, the method involving ZnCl2 is the best one for extracting microplastics because it is cheap, convenient and can recover up to 95.8% in a single step—a bit higher than the recovery rate for the original MPSS (which is 95.5%).

Also, the method involving the use of ZnCl2 would likely gain universal acceptance because it can fit into budgets. With further researches in this area, it might be possible to obtain 100% extraction of microplastics in the near future.

Top 9 sustainability practices of nature that you should practice

We may refer to nature as the unseen power that empowers all forms of life and natural activities on Earth. Nature has been handling enormous environmental changes on Earth for about 3.5 billion years; that’s why many environmental experts say that when the Earth faces problematic environmental changes, we should observe and learn how to use nature’s methods/practices to handle such changes.

In order to sustain our mental and emotional health, and have good control over our environment, children, restaurants, homes, hotels, businesses, construction industries, and many other areas of life, we can learn and apply the incredible ways nature has employed in sustaining the variety of life on the Earth, especially in the midst of catastrophic environmental changes.

Such changes have come in two shapes. The first one involved various changes caused by nature; for example: gigantic meteorites once collided with the Earth; ice ages once lasted for millions of years; also, lengthy periods of hot weather have melted ice and raised sea levels by hundreds of meters. The second one involved various changes initiated by mankind who has used the resources of the Earth in an unsustainable manner, and degraded much of the land, water and atmosphere. The fact that man has degraded a part of the Earth’s life-support system, shows that he might not be as wise as he thinks.

These few examples should serve as a wake-up call on us to observe how nature works, and live by the lessons it teaches in silence. If we learn from nature, we’ll live more sustainably, and the Earth’s living and natural resources will be sustained over a longer period of time without becoming weak or deteriorated. In the face of environmental challenges, there are a number of sustainability practices nature has been using to maintain the Earth for about 3.5 billion years, and which are worth practicing. The following practices are what I may call: “top 9 sustainability practices of nature”:

1. Nature’s practice of relying on solar energy

The sun powers life on Earth and energizes our weather, water cycle, ocean and river waves, and supports photosynthesis—thereby helping plants acquire nutrients and chemicals which most organisms need to live and reproduce. Without energy from the sun, there would be no plants, no animals, nothing to feed on, and probably no life; in fact, in order for all natural systems to thrive, they must depend on the sun.

Sunlight—unlike fossil fuels which have been known to cause harsh climatic conditions and global warming—also powers indirect forms of solar energy like flowing water and wind, which can all be used to produce electricity without degrading the Earth’s atmosphere.

Lesson worth practicing

In order to reduce or stop global warming, we need to practice using more solar energy than we’ve been doing. The fossil fuels (which mankind have been heavily dependent on) seem to be threatening the existence of life on Earth. This threat will be under control if we start using more solar energy than we’ve been doing. Any increase in the practice of using sunlight energy (along with wind and other types of waves) will still provide all the energy that Earth-heating fossil fuels provide; and fortunately, unlike fossil fuels, the use of more sunlight energy (in place of fossil fuels) will make climatic and weather conditions more favorable for living organisms.

2. Nature’s practice of being diverse

Nature is diverse and produces a wide variety of organisms that expand their territories, and increase in size, range and scope. Take a look at the astonishing variety of plant and animal life (biodiversity) and natural systems (oceans, lands, forests, mountains, etc.) that exist, and the uncountable natural services that these living organisms and natural systems offer freely to each other.

Biodiversity has provided countless ways for living and non-living things to sustain each other in the face of adverse environmental conditions. Without biodiversity, most forms of life would probably not be in existence.

Lesson worth practicing

We should learn to diversify, in terms of the knowledge and solutions we seek. If you’ve been using only one popular approach to achieve something, you’d be better equipped if you learn another (or others). Never keep your hope on one or few ideas, solutions or activities. Most people tend to depend on only one or few ideas—which might not be a bad thing to do—until failure sets in. People seem to ignore the fact that a popular idea or activity that’s good/strong today, might become bad, weak, and even extinct tomorrow.

If you look outside your comfort zone, you’ll be surprise to find out that there are many other better ideas and solutions to specific problems! It’s important for us to realize that diversity is essential in building strong, lasting and sustainable lives and environments/systems.

3. Nature’s practice of recycling without wasting

The Earth doesn’t throw away any minerals, materials, chemicals or waste; for instance, nature recycles chemicals (i.e., nutrient cycling) in mostly water and soil environments through organisms, and gives the recycled product back to the Earth so that life will continuously be supported. Nature makes these processes and cycles to continue and replenish the Earth with recycled supplies of chemicals, rather than entirely new ones.

In order for nature to sustain life on Earth, nutrients must be cycled indefinitely. Without chemical cycling, there would be stale air (or no air), no water, no replenished soil, no food—and thus no life. Earth is somewhat a “closed” system, and has nothing much leaving it. It manages and recycles its waste; in fact, living things rarely create waste: what one organism considers to be waste is often food for another organism.

Lesson worth practicing

Look for ways to re-use (or recycle for further use) most of the things you throw away as “waste”. It’s quite unfortunate that most people use too many items only once and throw them away. Good enough, science and the industries seem to be practicing and advocating for an increase in the practice recycling—almost in the same vein that nature has been practicing it for 3.5 billion years. If recycling is practiced everywhere, most natural resources will be sustained indefinitely, and financial capitals will be much more stable.

4. Nature’s practice of silence

Most times, nature is quiet or silent. We aren’t referring to the type of silence in most cities, especially during the daytime when cars, radios, stereos, and other equipment produce noise; rather, we’re referring to the type of silence that can be heard clearly on mountains, hills—or in places (even houses) that don’t produce too much noise.

Those who dislike quiet environments because it makes them feel lonely, should be informed that silent environments have their own benefits; even science says so. Many who meditate in/on silence know the obvious benefits of practicing silence, either in quiet environments, or in their hearts wherever they are meditating. They seek silence with zeal and attentiveness as if they are looking for gold, and many have found profound benefits that a lot of people aren’t aware of.

Lesson worth practicing

It’s beneficial to always practice silence because it can enhance one’s overall physical and emotional health. Apart from giving our emotions a break from the negative effects of noise, silence has proven to strengthen health and boost overall well-being; generally, it helps to:

• boost the body’s immune system

• reduce blood pressure (and help prevent heart attack)

• support brain chemistry and grow new cells; in fact, a study in 2013 concluded that two hours of silence can help produce new cells in the hippocampus (the region in the brain that is associated with emotions, learning and memory).

• lower blood cortisol levels and decrease stress. According to another study conducted in 2006, two minutes of silence can reduce tension in the brain and body, and can be more emotionally soothing than music.

5. Nature’s practice of never being in a hurry

Nature does things at its own pace. It doesn’t try to mimic what other planets are doing; neither does it try to do things the way they are done in other solar systems or galaxies. In order to illustrate, there are countless examples in nature that deserve to be mentioned; however, we’ll use only two examples that cut across a lot of living and non-living activities: a seed doesn’t become a tree within a day, and a child doesn’t become an adult within a year.

From the time a seed is planted, it doesn’t stop growing till it reaches an age or stage of maturity/productivity! It takes time (days, months, years, etc.) to grow every day, little by little, and steadily, except something deters it.

Lesson worth practicing

As we pursue certain dreams in life, we shouldn’t hurry to reach a particular stage or level, especially within a limited amount of time. There’s no way you can become an adult within an hour, a day, or even a year; it requires several years, coupled with a lot of patience, trials and challenges. Hurrying won’t get us results in many areas of life that require a moderate or considerable amount of time.

We should allow time to have its way. Mix time with patience, positive thinking and faith, and never allow discouragement to creep in!

6. Nature’s practice of being positive—or not worrying

In life, there are many things that don’t deserve our attention, and which we shouldn’t bother/worry about because they are out of our control. In the midst of catastrophes, tsunamis, wars, etc., nature doesn’t seem to worry one bit; it doesn’t even seem to worry or hurry in resolving any issue, and subsiding anything that’s problematic. You would have noticed that heavy cyclones and rainfall shatter/destroy a lot of things, but after a period of time, nature balances or restores everything and behaves as if nothing happened!

Lesson worth practicing

We shouldn’t worry. Also, we have to learn how to accept certain things that life throws at us because we obviously don’t have power to control or change them; nature is the best teacher that exemplifies this. Do all you can to prevent any thought or belief system from killing any existing positivity you possess.

7. Nature’s practice of being flexible and fully fit

Being flexible will increase your ability to adapt and survive in any situation. Furthermore, it will place you among the group who survive because of their high fitness levels: “Survival of the fittest”. “Survival of the fittest” was coined in the era when Darwin’s theory of evolution gained popularity. Research has shown that many genetic mutations took place in history, and eventually, only the species that were fit, adapted and survived! Nature teaches us to be the same: flexible and fully fit.

Lesson worth practicing

If you want success in life, you have to be able to adapt to any condition—whether you are rich or poor, have much or have less, live in cold weather or hot weather, etc. It’s unfortunate that we won’t be able to move on smooth and easy-going terrains every time! We must learn how to swim in any type of river: shallow or deep! Many living species have survived in both favorable and extremely unfavorable conditions, and they teach us not to give up, no matter the circumstances we face.

8. Nature’s practice of being selfless and caring

We’ve witnessed how trees produce foods and fruits for our consumption and sustenance. Most of us don’t think about the selflessness in this activity of nature! Nature compels plants to be selfless and offer what they can offer, voluntarily. Nature is the greatest giver you can see around, and it doesn’t ask or expect anything back from anyone or anything on Earth.

Lesson worth practicing

What we can learn from nature is that giving and helping are great qualities that can sustain the lives of everything around us! People, animals, and the environment are always in need of help, and we should do our best to help, especially wherever help is needed. Helping spreads happiness and joy, and can relieve a lot of people from worries and emotional problems.

9. Nature’s practice of not being extravagant

In a quest to acquire material things, money and power, humans have been extracting raw materials from nature much faster than nature can replenish or regenerate them—so the raw materials are quickly depleting. Imagine what would happen if the Earth produces more trees than it’s able to replenish the chemicals and nutrients in the soil that supports their growth to maturity. Also, imagine what would happen if nature provides the Earth with more sunlight than is necessary; wouldn’t everything burn up?

Mankind uses far more quantities of resources and materials than required, and still goes ahead to toss/throw whatever they’ve used into the environment without thinking about the aftermath, or any negative consequences.

Lesson worth practicing

We have to practice how to use resources in moderate or adequate quantities, and look for ways to exploit other resources that are not widely known or used.

Nature has always had a way of controlling human populations

Records about the pre-historic and historic times indicate that through one activity or another, nature has always controlled or regulated the growth human populations by reducing them.

Sometimes it has happened through floods; at other times it has happened through unknown diseases. Heat, earthquakes, tsunamis, and many other activities have also controlled and reduced human populations—maybe nature has its reasons!

A brief history of some natural activities that have pummeled and reduce human populations

In 1845, Ireland experienced a drastic reduction in its population after fungus destroyed potato crops and caused about one million people to die from hunger as a result of diseases related to malnutrition.

Because of this natural act, three million people were migrated to other countries, especially the U.S.A.

During the fourteenth century, at least 25 million people died after the “bubonic plague” spread across densely populated cities of Europe.

Usually, the bacteria that causes this disease lives in rodents; however, it was transferred to human beings by fleas that sucked or fed on rodents and bit human beings thereafter.

The disease was wild, and spread far and wide through crowded cities that were characterized by poor sanitary conditions.

One surprising side of history is that diseases which killed many people in a past age, are easily being cured in the present age: today, several antibiotics that were not available until the present-day, can be used to eradicate “bubonic plague”.

On the other hand, if treatment is not administered, about half the number of any group of people infected with the disease would die within three to seven days.

According to some studies, AIDS killed more than 27 million people died between 1981 and 2008, and still continues to claim about two million lives each year.

No matter the feats that will be achieved, mankind would likely continue to look defenseless against nature’s ways of controlling human populations

It is evident that technological, social, and cultural ideas have assisted mankind in increasing its populations within the space/capacity of the Earth to accommodate humans; on the other hand, nature always has something up its sleeves to reduce human populations.

Although Nature’s plans are hard to decipher, mankind keeps going as if much is known about the future—as if the future is the past: although we remain positive and expect the best, no one knows for sure what nature might bring next!

For further reading in case you may like to read related articles on environment:

Why environmental pollution increases despite the usage of pollution prevention & clean-up measures

The reality of global warming: scary facts, and possible future consequences

15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science

How to reduce/eradicate environmental problems caused by mismanagement of common & shareable resources

Impact of microplastics on marine environment & a cheap method for optimal extraction

Negative impacts of material & immaterial types of affluence on environment

27 latest environmental job opportunities—with links to continuous updates on upcoming opportunities

This article contains information about 27 latest environmental jobs and links to a site that regularly updates its information on environmental job opportunities that cut across environmental advocacy, law & policy, and natural resources/conservation and protection. Note that you will always get updates on hundreds of the latest environmental jobs if you follow the information in any of the web pages related to the 4 categories of environmental jobs listed in this article. (Featured image credit: Pixabay.com.)

This article contains information linking to 27 latest environmental jobs, and a link to a site that regularly updates its information on hundreds of environmental job opportunities that cut across environmental advocacy, internships, law & policy, natural resources/conservation and protection. Many people are happy to earn a living by preserving or saving the environment. And like in happens in many other fields, there are many environmental jobs opportunities up for grabs today and in the future.

Although environmental jobs spring up every now and then, you can still apply for hundreds of upcoming or newer ones later. Please note that the job adverts which can be accessed via the links listed below, could disappear after some time, especially if a good number of people apply quickly.

However, even though job adverts and opportunities could disappear at any time, you may still make regular checks for hundreds of new or upcoming environmental job opportunities on a site that can be accessed via information on the pages that will open if you click the following links:

(1) 7 latest environmental advocacy job opportunities

(2) 8 latest international environmental job opportunities

(3) 7 latest environmental law, policy & regulation job opportunities

(4) 5 latest environmental natural resources & conservation job opportunities

Copy the URL or use the share buttons below to share for the benefit of others whom the article could help.

5 latest environmental natural resources & conservation job opportunities—with links to continuous updates on new or upcoming opportunities

This article contains information on the latest environmental natural resources & conservation job opportunities and links to a site that regularly updates its information on hundreds of environmental job opportunities that cut across environmental advocacy, law & policy, natural resources/conservation and protection, etc. (Featured image credit: Pixabay.com.)

Although environmental natural resources & conservation job opportunities are often advertised, you can still apply for upcoming ones in the future. However, if you are interested in applying for environmental natural resources & conservation opportunities today and now, then quickly view and apply for the job opportunities listed much further below because the adverts could disappear after some time.

You can frequently check sites that regularly publish and update information on all types of environmental job opportunities. If you are interested in viewing regular updates for new or upcoming environmental natural resources & conservation opportunities, click here. More importantly, for updates hundreds of different types of environmental jobs, click here and bookmark the web page that opens.

27 latest environmental job opportunities—with links to continuous updates on upcoming opportunities

15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science

The latest available environmental natural resources & conservation job opportunities are as follows:

(i) Job Title: Stewardship Director

Description

  • Royal River Conservation Trust (RRCT) is seeking for an interested individual who is qualified to become part of its mission to protect the natural, recreational, scenic, agricultural and historic resources of the Royal River region for current and future generations.

Requirements

  • In order to find out more about the job position, interested candidates should click here and download relevant information.

Application

  • For more details, click here. In order to apply for the job position, click here and download application instructions.

(ii) Job Title: Senior Associate, Conserving Marine Life in the U.S.

Description

  • The Pew Charitable Trusts is seeking for interested individuals who can develop and implement outreach and campaign strategies to support the conservation of marine life in the United States, specifically along the Atlantic coast with a focus in North Carolina and other south Atlantic states. The individual should be capable of building strong relationships with regional and state policy-makers, including engaging policy-makers and their staff directly, etc.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree (Advanced degree required) or equivalent expertise in public policy/marine conservation issues.
  • Interested candidates should at least four years of applicable experience in natural resources conservation, advocacy campaigns, or public policy work.
  • Etc.

Application

(iii) Job Title: Director of Conservation

Description

  • Catalina Island Conservancy is seeking for interested individuals to fill the position of Director and help to improve and maintain the biodiversity and ecological health of Santa Catalina Island by using an adaptive management approach that comprises of all aspects of wildlife, vegetation, rare species, habitat management, small- and large-scale restoration projects, wildlife and plant community monitoring, etc.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should view the job requirements here.

Application

  • For more details, click here. In order to apply for the job position, interested candidates should send their cover letters and resumes to jobs@catalinaconservancy.org, and indicate the position they are applying for in the subject line.

(iv) Job Title: Database and Development Coordinator

Description

  • The Natural Resources Council of Maine is seeking for qualified individuals who can fill the position of full-time Database and Development Coordinator and manage its online and offline databases, and also generate and maintain data and reports—amongst other duties.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should visit here for more details regarding the requirements.

Application

  • For more details, click here. Interested candidates should submit their cover letters and resumes to jobs@nrcm.org by October 14, 2014.

(v) Job Title: Oak Openings Restoration Manager

Description

  • The Nature Conservancy is seeking for interested and qualified individuals who can fill the position of Restoration Manager, and develop, manage, and advance conservation programs, plans, maintenance, management, development and coordination across the 1,300 square mile Oak Openings region of NW Ohio and SE Michigan.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree and 3 years’ experience in natural resource management or similar field, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Interested candidates should have experience managing staff or volunteers, and be able to work closely with partners such as the media, government officials, internal scientists.
  • Etc.

Application

  • For more details, click here. Interested individuals should apply for this job position, by clicking here and the “How to Apply” button.

Note

Generally, if you are interested in getting regular updates on new or upcoming environmental natural resources & conservation job opportunities, click here; for information on general environmental jobs, click here and bookmark the web page that opens.

Copy the URL or use the share buttons below to share for the benefit of others whom the article could help.

7 latest environmental law, policy & regulation job opportunities—with links to continuous updates on new or upcoming opportunities

This article contains information on the latest environmental law, policy & regulation job opportunities and links to a site that regularly updates its information on hundreds of environmental job opportunities that cut across environmental advocacy, law & policy, natural resources/conservation and protection, etc. (Featured image credit: Pixabay.com.)

Although environmental law, policy & regulation job opportunities are often advertised, you can still apply for upcoming ones in the future. However, if you are interested in applying for environmental law, policy & regulation opportunities today and now, then quickly view and apply for the job opportunities listed much further below because the adverts could disappear after some time.

You can frequently check sites that regularly publish and update information on all types of environmental job opportunities. If you are interested in viewing regular updates for new or upcoming environmental law, policy & regulation opportunities, click here. More importantly, for updates hundreds of different types of environmental jobs, click here and bookmark the web page that opens.

27 latest environmental job opportunities—with links to continuous updates on upcoming opportunities

15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science

The latest available environmental law, policy & regulation job opportunities are as follows:

(i) Job Title: Senior Air Consultant

Description

  • RPS North America is seeking for individuals who can prepare permit applications, letters, and memoranda for client, local, state, and/or federal agency review; assist clients with permitting strategy and developing pathways to compliance; build and maintain client relationships through professional interactions and active networking; and mentor junior staff to ensure the quality and technical accuracy of work—amongst other duties.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a B.S./M.S. degree in Engineering or Environmental Sciences.
  • Interested candidates should be proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel, have strong written and oral communication skills, and be able to demonstrate understanding of EPA/TCEQ air regulations and practices.
  • Etc.

Application

(ii) Job Title: Oceans Policy Manager

Description

  • Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is seeking for individuals who are passionate about creating environmental solutions that can make a lasting difference in the world, regardless of perspective and talent. EDF intends to hire candidates who have integrity and a desire to uphold commitment to science, rigorous analysis, intellectual honesty, and ethical action.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a graduate degree or equivalent work experience in science, policy, economics or law in areas related to environment and/or energy.
  • Interested candidates should have a minimum of six years’ experience working to effect changes in policy issues or regulatory processes.
  • Etc.

Application

(iii) Job Title: Deputy Director

Description

  • The Pipeline Safety Trust is seeking for a talented individual who will fill the position of Deputy Director and work collaboratively with the current Executive Director for a period of at least 6 months, before filling the position of Executive Director.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field, be committed to improving pipeline safety, and be willing to travel throughout the United States and Canada.
  • Interested candidates should have the ability to communicate technical information to diverse audiences, and, at times, build networks across oppositional constituencies.

Application

  • For more details, click here. In order to apply for the job position, interested individuals are expected to submit their resumes and cover letters of modest length describing their current understanding of pipeline safety in the United States, and why they think safety needs to be improved. In addition, email applications should be sent to jobs@pstrust.org. In order to apply for the job position, click here

(iv) Job Title: Environmental Coordinator

Description

  • Kiewit is seeking for qualified individuals to fill the role of Environmental Coordinator and coordinate, manage and implement project-wide environmental compliance programs and strategies with an understanding of state and local regulations—amongst other duties.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree in environmental health, environmental engineering, environmental studies, or other related fields, and three years’ experience as an environmental coordinator.
  • Interested candidates should be familiar with ASTM E 1527-05, as well as one or more of the following: FERC, SWPPP, SPCC, CWA, CAA, RCRA, CZMA.

Application

(v) Job Title: Bureau Chief of Law Enforcement

Description

  • The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is seeking for an individual who can fill the position of Chief (Colonel) of the Department’s Law Enforcement Bureau and oversee operations aimed at protecting the State’s natural resources and providing public safety and education in order to enhance, promote, and protect the natural resources of Iowa through public relations, education, and law enforcement.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have graduated from an accredited four-year college or university and possess up to six years’ experience in full-time management-level work in finance, human resources, engineering, law, social work, regulation, data processing, or program research or evaluation.
  • Etc.

Application

(vi) Job Title: Environmental Field Technician/Asbestos Inspector

Description

  • Woodard & Curran is seeking for a highly motivated, experienced and dedicated environmental technician to join its Environmental Remediation consulting team in the Greater Boston Area and support a variety of environmental investigation and remediation projects.
  • Etc.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree in environmental science or related field, and a strong background in remedial systems, site investigation, safety, and construction related to environmental clean-up projects.
  • Interested candidates should have 3+ years’ experience in environmental sampling and monitoring for site investigation and remediation projects, and an understanding of basic environmental sampling requirements and procedures for a variety of environmental media, including but not limited to groundwater, surface water, soil, and sediment.
  • Etc.

Application

(vii) Job Title: Environmental Planning Department Director

Description

  • HNTB is seeking for an interested individual who can fill the position of Environmental Planning Director and continue with an established and successful practice of managing complex projects, and supervising/mentoring a large interdisciplinary department.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a Bachelor’s Degree in a relevant science, planning or engineering discipline, and 15 years of relevant experience in extensive business development and project management with various governmental agencies (cities, counties, authorities, MPOs, DOT, etc.).
  • Interested candidates should have 15 years relevant experience in business development and hands-on management of complex and multifaceted projects that followed the NEPA, SEQRA, CEQR and ulRUP process for various agencies.

Application

Note

Generally, if you are interested in getting regular updates on new or upcoming environmental law, policy & regulation job opportunities, click here; for information on general environmental jobs, click here and bookmark the web page that opens.

Copy the URL or use the share buttons below to share for the benefit of others whom the article could help.

8 latest international environmental job opportunities—with links to continuous updates on new or upcoming opportunities

This article contains information on the latest international environmental jobs, and links to a site that regularly updates its information on hundreds of environmental job opportunities that cut across environmental advocacy, law & policy, natural resources/conservation and protection, etc. (Featured image credit: Pixabay.com.)

Although international environmental jobs spring up every time, you can still apply for upcoming ones in the future; but if you are interested in applying for international environmental jobs today and now, then hurry up and apply for the job opportunities listed much further below because the adverts could disappear after the position is filled, or applications are over.

You can frequently check sites that regularly publish and update information on all types of environmental job opportunities. If you are interested in viewing regular updates for new or upcoming international environmental jobs, click here. More importantly, for hundreds of updates on different types of environmental jobs, click here and bookmark the web page that opens.

27 latest environmental job opportunities—with links to continuous updates on upcoming opportunities

15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science

The latest available international environmental job opportunities are as follows:

(i) Job Title: Conservation Programme Manager

Description

  • Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust (CWET) is an award-winning conservation education non-governmental organization (NGO) that operates in Mfuwe (Zambia) and educates local children about wildlife, the environment and conservation. CWET is seeking for a full-time Conservation Programme Manager (CPM) to oversee all its financial and administrative operations, and programmes.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should be happy, self-motivated, capable of working largely without being supervised, and have a strong proficiency in both written and spoken English.
  • Interested candidates should have a degree in business studies (or similar/related); relevant post graduate qualifications would be a clear advantage.

Application

  • Interested candidates MUST address the “Job Description and Person Specification” which is available on request from posvac@chipembele.org. For more details, click here. Note that the position will become available on or as soon as possible after 1st November 2019.

(ii) Job Title: Field Environmental Engineer/Scientist

Description

  • Golder is seeking for an individual to fill in the position of Field Environmental Engineer/Scientist in their Contaminated Sites team on a full-time basis. The position, which will be based in Perth, Australia, will require working with driven professionals across multi-discipline groups.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, or a related discipline.
  • Interested candidates should have 3+ years of experience working on contaminated sites, with strong analytical, technical reporting and problem-solving skills.

Application

  • For more details, click here. Interested candidates can apply by clicking here.

(iii) Job Title: Climate Programme Lawyer

Description

  • ClientEarth (a regional non-profit conservation organization) is seeking for an accomplished individual who can fill the position of Climate Programme Lawyer based in any European office of ClientEarth in London, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, or Warsaw. The individual will be involved in occasional travel. (Note that other European locations are potentially available.)

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have experience in a relevant corporate or financial services environment; specifically with litigation or disputes practice (private, or in-house).
  • Interested candidates should have some experience working in a fast-paced environment with corporate and financial sector actors in the EU, US or Asia.

Application

  • For more details, click here. Interested candidates can come from any section of the community if they have the legal right to work in the country where the position is based. Download the full job description and person specification here.

(iv) Job Title: Project Manager (public engagement, Dutch gas phase-out)

Description

  • The European Climate Foundation (ECF) is seeking for an individual who will lead in the advocacy and policy work of its project, support citizens gas phase out, and engage with partners in the Netherlands and abroad; in addition, the individual will manage and monitor budget and deliverables conducted by a set of grantees and external consultancies.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates must have at least 5 years of relevant work experience.
  • Interested candidates should have knowledge of Dutch energy policies, and understand spoken and written forms of both Dutch and English languages.

Application

Interested candidates should read more details here, and apply via this link.

(v) Job Title: Head of the Environmental Department

Description

  • Enel Green Power is seeking for an individual who will occupy the position of Head of Environmental Department and coordinate activities associated with the environment by defining, implementing and developing environmental procedures and policies according to ISO 14001 standards, and those of the group. In addition, the individual will evaluate contractors in environmental matters, and monitor and control the group’s environmental objectives.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental, Industrial or related any field of study.
  • Interested candidates should have at least 5 years’ experience supervising or being in charge of environmental areas at national level.
  • Interested candidates should have knowledge of Mexican Environmental Legislation, ISO 14001, and International Environmental Standards (Ecuador Protocol, ESG, etc.).

Application

(vi) Job Title: Director, Clean Energy (B.C.)

Description

  • The Pembina Institute is seeking for a highly motivated individual to join its team as Director, Clean Economy (B.C.), and head the development of the strategic direction for the clean economy program in B.C. with the aim of effecting policy change that could result in thriving more on clean energy, and reducing carbon pollution in the province.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should be strategic thinkers who can bring fresh ideas on how to create change.
  • Interested candidates should have strong backgrounds in climate policy, and a record of influencing policy change.

Application

  • For more details, click here. Find the full job description and information on how to apply here.

(vii) Job Title: Project Research Officer

Description

  • TRAFFIC International (a leading non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants conservation/sustainable development) is seeking for an individual who can provide necessary support to the project, and liaise closely with the TRAFFIC Project Manager and other key stakeholders based in Thailand, as well as other TRAFFIC team members in Asia..

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have at least a Bachelor’s degree in either natural resource management, environment or sustainable development-related studies, social sciences, and/or related fields.
  • Interested candidates should have at least 5 years of professional experience in conducting research (ideally including wildlife trade), and strong research methodology skills, project delivery, planning and time management, etc.

Application

  • For more details, click here. In order to apply for the job position, click here.

(viii) Job Title: Director, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

Description

  • African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is seeking for an individual who can develop and implement a public relations strategy that can build AWF’s brand visibility and reputation; manage, mentor and grow a team of professional and dedicated communications experts; identify challenges and emerging issues faced by the organization, and exercise judgment on how to prioritize media opportunities, etc.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a Master’s degree in either of communications, journalism, public policy, international development, international relations, or any other relevant field.
  • Interested candidates should have a minimum of 10 years’ experience in strategic communications/public relations, and a minimum of 5 years’ experience in senior management.
  • Interested candidates should have outstanding verbal communication skills including experience in making presentations and working with the media at events.
  • Etc.

Application

  • For more details, click here. In order to apply for the job, click the “Apply for this position” located at the bottom of the page that can be accessed here.

Note

Generally, if you are interested in getting regular updates on new or upcoming international environmental job opportunities, click here; regarding information for general environmental jobs, click here and bookmark the web pages that open.

Copy the URL or use the share buttons below to share for the benefit of others whom the article could help.

7 latest environmental advocacy job opportunities—with links to continuous updates on new or upcoming opportunities

This article contains information about 7 latest environmental advocacy job opportunities, and a link to a site that regularly updates its information on hundreds of environmental job opportunities that cut across environmental advocacy, law & policy, and natural resources/conservation. (Featured image credit: Pixabay.com.)

Although environmental advocacy jobs spring up every now and then, you can still apply for newer or upcoming ones in the future. However, if you are interested in applying for environmental advocacy jobs now, then quickly view and apply for the job opportunities listed below because the adverts could disappear after some time, especially if people apply quickly.

In addition, it will be a good idea to frequently check sites that regularly publish and update information on all types of environmental job opportunities. If you are interested in viewing regular updates on new or upcoming environmental advocacy jobs, click here. More importantly, for updates on hundreds of different types of environmental jobs, click here and bookmark the web page that opens.

27 latest environmental job opportunities—with links to continuous updates on upcoming opportunities

15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science

The latest available environmental advocacy job opportunities are as follows:

(i) Job Title: Communications Director

Description

  • Highstead is a regional non-profit conservation organization that is seeking for an accomplished change-agent who can create a communications program beaable to propel its land conservation, science, and stewardship programs, and inspire people to advance the Wildlands and Woodlands Initiative strategies for conserving New England’s forests and farmlands, and support nature and society.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have extensive communications background, a strong conservation ethic, and experience in advancing non-profit, environmental policy, conservation, and/or land planning initiatives.
  • Interested candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree (Master’s preferred) in a communications-related or environmental field, with excellent writing, editing, and verbal communication skills, and be willing to travel regionally on occasion in support of outreach and events.

Application

  • Interested candidates should submit their cover letters and resumes to jcologgi@highstead.net as a single PDF file, and reference “Communications Director”. Note that applications will be accepted until September 23, 2019. For more details, click here.

(ii) Job Title: Fundraising and Administrative Position

Description

  • Mount Grace is seeking for an individual who can provide administrative support, assist in major fundraising campaigns and general office needs, and work closely with, and report to, the Executive Director and Deputy Director, respectively. No previous fundraising experience is necessary. Note that Mount Grace is a proud equal opportunity employer and strives to be an inclusive and diverse organization.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have excellent communication skills.
  • Interested candidates should be enthusiastic, positive, and have a responsive approach when interacting with colleagues and community members.
  • Interested candidates should have a creative mind with the ability to suggest improvements, set priorities, and meet deadlines.

Application

  • Interested candidates should send their letters of interest and resumes to Sarah Wells at wells@mountgrace.org, and mention how they learned about this job opening. For more details, click here; in order to view other available full-time positions, click here.

(iii) Job Title: Outreach Coordinator

Description

  • Conservation Northwest is a regional non-profit organization that is seeking for a temporary Outreach Coordinator in order to increase understanding of wildlife and habitat conservation, organize grassroots and community advocacy, and participate in wildlife forums, particularly those related to carnivore recovery.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have at least three years’ experience in wildlife biology, ecology or related fields, and excellent written/oral communications skills, and be able to work with people from the political and social spectrum.
  • Interested candidates should have some knowledge about north-central Washington’s communities, landscapes and wildlife.
  • Interested candidates should have skills and experience, as well as enthusiasm for wildlife conservation.

Application

  • Interested candidates should submit resumes and one-page cover letters to Joe Scott, International Programs Director at jscott@conservationnw.org. Note that this job position will be opened until it is occupied. For more details, click here.

(iv) Job Title: Institutional Partnerships Coordinator

Description

  • American Farmland Trust (AFT) is seeking for an individual to fill the position of Coordinator, Institutional Partnerships, and regularly report to the Director of Institutional Partnerships in Washington, DC, at AFT’s national office.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have Bachelor’s degree in a related field, and at least two years experience.
  • Interested candidates should be highly organized, creative, attentive to detail, and have a strong ability to prioritize and manage multiple deadlines.
  • Interested candidates should have excellent oral, written, interpersonal, and communication skills and experience in copyediting.
  • Interested candidates should have knowledge of project budgets and be able to review/proof budget information.

Application

(v) Job Title: Executive Director

Description

  • The Madison River Foundation is seeking for an individual to fill in the position of Executive Director and lead the Madison River Foundation in a strategic direction by identifying and implementing short- and long-term strategic goals, and be accountable to the Board of Directors of Madison River Foundation.

 Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have 3-5+ years experience in non-profit, and advocacy for local, state, and federal issues.
  • Interested candidates should have 5+ years experience in broad fundraising, and grant writing.
  • Interested candidate should have 5+ years experience in hiring and managing staff, and creating a positive work environment.
  • Interested candidate should have 3+ years experience in managing and operating budgets, and relating with organization boards.

Application

(vi) Job Title: Communications Director

Description

  • Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council is seeking for a Communications Director who will develop its annual communication’s plan, implement communication strategies to promote the mission of the organization, and be responsible for directing media relations, websites, publications, events, social media, and member/community outreach.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree and three years communications experience.
  • Interested candidates should be able to demonstrate strong organizational, interpersonal, public speaking, and writing skills.
  • Interested candidates should have be able to work independently, take initiative, manage multiple projects simultaneously, and have a desire and interest in working to protect Northern Michigan’s water resources.

Application

  • Interested candidates should send resumes and cover letters to Gail Gruenwald, Executive Director, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, 426 Bay St., Petoskey, MI 49770. Note that applications have to be submitted before October 10, 2019. The start date for the job will be in November or December, 2019. For more details, click here.

(vii) Job Title: South Coast Project Manager

Description

  • The Coastal Conservation League is searching for a full-time South Coast Project Manager who is experienced, reliable, task-oriented, and will work on coastal issues involving land use and transportation, planning, public health, sustainable agriculture, energy and climate, and air and water quality. The position of project manager requires organizing extensive grassroots, building relationships, communicating in public, and analyzing policies.

Requirements

  • Interested candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, and 3+ years experience in the environmental field, or in the field of communications, or media relations.
  • Interested candidates should be able to initiate, support, and lead grassroots organization efforts.
  • Interested candidates should be able to speak publicly on a regular basis, and write for internal and external audiences.
  • Interested candidates should be able to work with the media, educate the community, and plan/identify new projects and strategies.

Application

  • Interested candidates should send emails of cover letters and resumes to jobs@scccl.org, or a regular mail to Coastal Conservation League, Human Resources, 131 Spring Street, Suite A, Charleston, SC 29403. For more details, click here.

Note

Generally, if you are interested in getting regular updates on new or upcoming environmental advocacy job opportunities, click here; regarding information for general environmental jobs, click here and bookmark the web pages that open.

Copy the URL or use the share buttons below to share for the benefit of others whom the article could help.

Application of Google Earth in remote sensing for environmental research

(Image credit: Pixabay.com.) Nowadays, physical presence, and the rigors associated with making it available, are not always needed in any quest to acquire information about the environment—thanks to remote sensing technologies: satellites and Google Earth.

In order to get information in the distant past, the physical presence of human beings was required much more than it has been in the present age. Why? Because of the obvious lack of advanced technology back in the times of the distant past.

Nowadays, physical presence, and the rigors associated with providing it, is not always required in any quest to acquire information; thanks to remote sensing technologies such as satellites and Google Earth which are very important tools in the present age when information seems to be much more important, and vaster than at any other time in recorded history.

Satellites and Google Earth are now at the fore-front, and will likely continue to be there; they will continue to be used in detecting and acquiring information from remote places.

Remote sensing devices

Remote sensing devices are instruments that sense and acquire information about environments from remote positions that don’t necessarily require the physical presence of humans.

The use of satellites and Google Earth as remote sensing tools/devices is now very popular because of their wide range of applications which have been employed by people who know how to use them in monitoring different types of environments.

In the recent past, probably 10 or more years ago, Google Earth software has helped uncountable number people fly virtually over anywhere on Earth, and view brilliant high-resolution images and maps of specific areas.

Any interested individual who has Google Earth software and internet connection, can zoom the screen of their devices (e.g., laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.) and see multi-dimensional views of cities, buildings, vegetation, oceans, and other important features on the surface of the Earth.

What is Google Earth?          

Google Earth is a computer program that can help anybody view the Earth’s surface from remote positions and different altitudes.

Present-day satellites have highly advanced cameras with microwave sensors that pass through clouds, and infrared sensors that measure temperatures at different heights above the Earth surface—and in different locations around the world.

Application of satellites & Google Earth in monitoring environmental issues

Environmental groups and scientists use satellite and Google Earth technologies to acquire information useful to people in Amazonia (areas in the Amazon Jungle); acquired information helps in making good decisions that could help protect land much better from activities such as illegal mining and felling of trees.

Remote sensing tools (satellites and Google Earth) have other applications in environmental protection: they can be used to monitor oil spills, illegal fishing, air pollution from various sources, melting of sea ice, and variations in concentration of ozone around specific parts of the world.

Many scientists, people, and even governments, use Google Earth for various purposes such as studying the negative impact of urbanization on the environment, and the growth of plant species and diseases that affect people—amongst other purposes.

Google Earth was used to discover a forest that was unknown to the world before

In 2008, British scientists used the technology behind Google Earth to find a remote mountain forest which was unknown to the world, but always located in Mozambique, Africa.

The scientists who later visited this remote area, which is difficult to access, discovered hundreds of new insects (which included 3 new butterfly species), plants, and animals that were unknown to the world before.

Mark Mulligan (London’s King’s College) who is an expert in using remote sensing, used satellite technology to help people get a close look at all the Earth’s seventy-seven thousand protected areas.

David Tryse, an ordinary citizen, developed a computer program/software that enables anyone to surf the world virtually, track where deforestation is occurring, and see/study endangered species and biodiversity.

Conclusion

Google Earth and satellites can help ordinary citizens around the world in their quest to carry out environmental investigations/inquiries, improve environmental quality, and prevent environmental degradation in places where people live.

Thanks to science and the handful of individuals who have made it possible for any interested person to hover around the Earth virtually, zoom for themself and see how certain types of natural capital are being used or misused.

The positive environmental impact of the world’s invisible organisms

The growth and continuous existence of human and animal life are as a result of the work of multitudes of micro-organisms which are completely out of the range of normal human sight.

Usually, people only appreciate what they see; often, they don’t appreciate what they can’t see. Many processes in nature are carried out by invisible organisms (specifically micro-organisms) that are too tiny for the unaided human eyes to see; probably, the chief among these processes includes nurturing of plants, and continuous provision of food.

Micro-organisms are everywhere! Billions of them can be found in the human body, on the human body, in any quantity of soil or water. So important are micro-organisms that one could be tempted to view them as “minute” or “tiny” rulers of the universe. They exist in different forms and thousands of species: fungi, bacteria, phytoplankton, protozoa—and many others that are too small to be viewed directly with physical eyes.

The importance of micro-organisms is often overlooked

Because people concentrate more on negativity or the negative side of things, micro-organisms are mostly viewed as threats (which is quite true), and infectious to human and animal health in various forms: “germs” or bacteria, fungi that cause skin diseases/athlete’s foot, and protozoa that cause malaria, etc.

But compared to the vast number of micro-organisms that have helped human, animal and plant life to be sustained for ages, harmful micro-organisms are much lesser.

The growth and continuous existence of human and animal life are as a result of the work of multitudes of micro-organisms which are completely out of the range of normal human sight.

The valuable activities of micro-organisms

Many processes in nature won’t be able to work without the valuable and invisible activities of micro-organisms. Science informs us that the presence of micro-organisms in human nostrils helps prevent harmful bacteria from reaching the lungs, while bacteria helps the human intestinal tract to break down eaten food.

Bacteria and other micro-organisms help reduce the concentration of pollutants in wastewater by breaking down animal and plant wastes that are usually present in wastewater, and other less-polluted waters.

Fungi (for example: yeast) and bacteria help to produce foods such as yogurt, bread, soy sauce, cheese, wine and beer.

The fungi and bacteria present in the soil help to break down, biodegrade, or decompose organic wastes into similar nutrients usually absorbed by the plants that humans and animals eat.

So it can be safely agreed that without these invisible creatures, humans and animals would go hungry and produce much more unuseful waste.

Micro-organisms (a.k.a. microbes), particularly phytoplankton, provide much of the Earth’s oxygen, and help to regulate temperature by removing part of the carbon dioxide produced from the combustion of coal, natural gas, and gasoline.

Scientists use micro-organisms to develop new fuels and medicines.

Genetic engineers input genetic material into microorganisms and convert them into micro-organisms that can remove contaminants and pollutants from soil and water environments.

Some micro-organisms help to control diseases that affect plants; others help to control insects that attack food crops. It would benefit the environment immensely if micro-organisms are relied upon much more in pest control, rather than potentially harmful chemical pesticides.

In summary, micro-organisms are an important part of the Earth’s natural resources.

How to develop models for natural/environmental systems

(Image credit: Shutterstock.com.) An extensive study of past or existing real-life conditions and scenarios can help provide relevant information that could be used to produce effective and widely applicable models.

One of the best ways to develop appropriate models, computer programs, or simulations that can predict the behavior of similar, simple or complex real-life natural or environmental systems, is by studying several existing real—life natural or environmental systems.

An extensive study of past or existing real-life conditions and scenarios can provide relevant information that could be use in making a computer program, or model.

By the way, what is a model?

A model can be defined as a product that represents a hypothetical description of processes, circumstances or situations.

With useful data/information, and important technology, models can be produced and used to understand how various types of natural or environmental systems could behave or work.

Information (data) and technology are absolutely necessary in creating models

Usually, a combination of available (raw) data, and technology is useful in producing mathematical models or simulations from dependent or independent variables; the final product helps to understand, learn, or predict how other difficult, accessible or inaccessible natural/environmental systems work.

Some of the most applicable and powerful technologies consist of mathematical models that are operated on high-speed computers.

Important steps in developing a model

Anyone who desires to produce an effective or highly applicable model, has to repeat some particular steps, probably many times over:

  • First, the major components of any natural or environmental system have to be identified and expressed in the form of mathematical equations—which actually summarize major information. (It has to be noted that, in most cases, natural and environmental systems have a couple of components associated with them.)
  • Second, high-speed computers have to be used to describe the probable behavior of a system, which is based on circumstances and equations fed into a model. Typically, circumstances and equations are based on past or existing studies.
  • Third, a comparison has to be made between a system’s projected or predicted behavior (which is hypothetical and drawn from studies of existing case scenarios), and actual case scenarios or behaviors.

The 3 steps briefly highlighted above, have to be repeated until a trend/pattern is observed. By observing and studying trends, relevant information and equations can be generated and used to produce models that would mimic past and current behaviors of natural/environmental systems.

Successful models can be used to make useful predictions

After developing a successful mathematical model for any natural or environmental system, it can be used to predict what would likely happen under different types of conditions or circumstances.

In fact, models can actually provide precise, or useful answers; like what could/would likely happen tomorrow, or in the near (distant) future. Models give a number of projections or predictions of likely occurrences, which are based on different suppositions or assumptions.

How can a model be applied?—An example

Based on the 3 steps briefly stated, a model can be produced and used to describe, for example, a river, and predict what would likely happen to its water quality and other variables if the river is continuously being polluted with varying quantities of solid waste.

Other areas where models can be appliedq include: pollution of oceans, deforestation, air pollution, climate change, loss of biodiversity, etc.

7 Important steps that can be used to study environmental problems—like a scientist

This article contains an outline of seven important steps most inquisitive people and scientists use to acquire deep understanding about environmental problems, and how the natural environment works.

It has to be noted that, in order to comprehend the physical world, it isn’t necessary to follow the steps below, and in the exact order they appear on this post.

The step-by-step outline listed below is based on the author’s personal experience, and could be a highly valuable procedure for studying the environment, and the things within it:

(1) Acquire correct information about an environmental problem: What is the actual or basic problem? What are the specifics?

What is known about a particular issue? What is the basic information available, even if it might be a bit trivial?

Example: Plastic debris has been polluting a river (of interest), reducing the speed of boats and rates of fishing activities, and killing aquatic life.

(2) Commence investigation by asking a question

It’s always important to ask what the cause of an environmental problem is, or what the causes of a particular issue/situation are; why it developed, or why it persists.

Example: What can be done to reduce or stop pollution, and prevent loss of aquatic life in the river?

(3) Source for more detailed data/information. Search for the type of data that could provide the best answer to questions related to the problem

In order to answer questions (to a high degree of certainty) during investigations about problems, issues have to be observed or watched, and experiments have to be conducted; also, data has to be collected, and/or measurements have to be made.

Example: Who disposes plastic into rivers? How many times do people or companies dispose plastic into rivers? What is the quantity/weight/volume of plastic disposed into rivers?

(4) Suggest a hypothesis to explain the reason behind sourced or collected data

A hypothesis should be suggested after evaluating observations and collected data. Typically, hypotheses explain what has been observed naturally, as expressed by results from experiments.

Collected data could reveal how many times plastic is dumped into rivers; furthermore, it can provide a reason or an answer why it is difficult for aquatic life to survive.

Example: “When plastic is dumped into rivers, it occupies an appreciable amount of space in the body of water, thus making it easy for aquatic life to ingest plastic, and die as a result of ingestion.

(5) If the hypothesis is valid, strong  and logical, then make projections to other environments that could have similar or different data related to the environment of interest 

A hypothesis can be projected to cover other rivers that have similar or different conditions: similar or different rates of dumping waste; similar or different temperatures; similar or different quantities of aquatic life or species; etc.

If the hypothesis is certain or logical, then could it provide reasons for the issues occurring in other rivers that are equally, or more polluted?

Example: It is possible that disposal of plastics into other rivers, is causing pollution, reducing the speed of boats and fishing activities, and loss of aquatic life.

(6) Conduct more observations, do more experiments, take more measurements, or make more assessments in order to strengthen hypothesis and evaluate projections

In order to evaluate projections, observations, tests or measurements should be made on other rivers which will definitely have their own characteristics: temperature, volume of flow, volume of water, suspended solids, etc.

Example: In order to assess how valid, broad and general a hypothesis is, results of observed data from the river of interest can be compared with results of observed data obtained from research carried out on other rivers.

(7) Accept or reject previous or earlier-stated hypothesis

If newly observed data does not support an earlier-stated hypothesis, there could be obvious reasons and explanations from experiments, observations, measurements, or tests.

The process of accepting and/or rejecting hypothesis based on observation and study, is what scientists use, consistently, until there is an agreement on the best explanation for problems, and the reason(s) lying behind certain issues.

Well-tested and widely accepted hypotheses become scientific theories.

Example: with the amount of reliable data available, it is widely agreed that dumping of plastics into rivers results in/causes pollution, obstruction of fishing, and loss of aquatic life.

Lesson

Curiosity and critical thinking are important in studying the environment. Critical thinking involves the following:

1. Scepticism: we have to be sceptical about everything we hear or read about—don’t just accept everything without making assessments, no matter how little; make as many assessments as possible.

2. Critical evaluation and validation of available evidence are very important in this age of Internet in which a lot of highly unreliable data floats around; some data are just opinions of unlearned people.

3. Identification and assessment of public and personal assumptions, beliefs and feelings regarding certain problems or issues.

Conclusion

Curiosity, scepticism, logic, evidence, and critical thinking are very important tools to use in studying the environment. On the other hand, faith, intuition, imagination and creativity are also very important.

According to Albert Einstein, “There is no completely logical way to a new scientific idea.”

History supports Einstein’s statement, and has shown that different types of logic were used by different creative people to discover most scientific & technological advancements, along with much-improved ways that have helped mankind to understand how the natural world works.

Questions & answers 3: Environmental worldview, sustainability of biodiversity, and the environment

Question 1: How does poverty cause harmful environmental effects?

Answer: Poverty leads to desperation for survival, and causes poor people to harm the environment by degrading wildlife, species of fish, forests, soils, grasslands, and renewable energy resources at an ever-increasing rate. In places with large populations, the overall environmental impact is higher because of improper disposal and littering of waste in the environment, amongst other negative effects.

Question 2: What major health-related problems are associated with poverty?

Answer: Due to the fact that poor people have limited access to adequate sanitation facilities and clean drinking water, the following problems usually occur:

  • malnutrition: this is caused by a lack of protein and other important nutrients needed for good health; it could lead to several other problems as well.
  • water-borne diseases: this is caused by pollution of drinking water by human and animal faeces.
  • respiratory diseases: this is as a result of people inhaling smoke from open fires or poorly vented stoves used for heating and cooking inside homes.

Question 3: What is environmental worldview?

Answer: Environmental worldview is a set of views and beliefs each person has about how the world’s environment works, and what they think their role is in it. Each group of people have different opinions about how environmental problems should be handled and balanced with socio-economic problems.

Question 4: How do environmental worldviews affect environmental problems?

Answer: If similar data is given to different people who have widely different environmental worldviews, each person would arrive at almost different conclusions because of the difference in their assumptions, moral, religious and ethical beliefs.

Question 5: What is environmental ethics?

Answer: Environmental ethics are beliefs about how the environment should be treated. It expresses the conviction about what is right and wrong, as regards to how the environment should be treated.

Question 6: What is an environmentally sustainable society?

Answer: An environmentally sustainable society is one that has enough current and future basic resources needed by its people, in a way that doesn’t compromise the ability of present and future generations to meet their own basic needs.

Question 7: What does it mean to “live sustainably”?

Answer: To live sustainably means to live comfortably on natural resources (natural income). Natural resources include renewable resources (such as plants, animals, soil, atmosphere and bodies of water—oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, etc.) provided by the Earth; and non-renewable resources like fossil fuel, coal, etc. To live sustainably means not to degrade or deplete the Earth’s natural capital which supplies income, and provides mankind with resources for the foreseeable future.

Question 8: How important enough is social capital when it comes to creating a sustainable society?

Answer: When it comes to creating a sustainable society, social capital, which involves bringing people together and harmonizing their different views, helps societies to find a common ground  and understanding to work together in order to solve environmental problems facing any society.

Question 9: What is biological extinction?

Answer: This is a term used to describe incidences in which species can no longer be found anywhere on Earth. Any specie that cannot be found, is said to be have suffered biological extinction.

Question 10: Why is it important for mankind to prevent its activities from causing extinction of other species?

Answer: The most important reasons are as follows:

(i) Each specie is an important part of the Earth’s life-supporting system. Each specie provides natural resources and natural services that keep mankind and other species alive. For example, mankind depends on some insects for pollinating crops, and some birds for natural pest control. Each specie is ecologically valuable because they play key roles in energy flow and chemical cycling.

(ii) Most species contribute to economic services: services that support each economy. For example, various plants provide economic value as food crops, paper, medicine, etc.

(iii) It’s likely that from analysis of previous extinctions, future generations of mankind won’t enjoy the diversity of life-sustaining biodiversity we are currently enjoying, if we make some species extinct.

(iv) Last but not the least, all species have the right to live/exist, regardless of how useful they are. According to people who hold this view, mankind has an ethical responsibility to protect species from becoming extinct, especially if causes of extinction are man-made.

Question 11: What is mass extinction?

Answer: Mass extinction is the extinction of many species in a relatively short period of time.

Question 12: What are endangered species?

Answer: Endangered species are species that have few survivors in quantities that could make them become extinct in a short period of time.

Question 13: What are threatened species?

Answer: A threatened species (a.k.a., vulnerable species) are species that have enough remaining survivors, but due to their depreciating numbers, would likely become endangered in the near future.

Question 14: How many segments does the environment consist of?

Answer: The environment consists of the following segments:

(i) The atmosphere: the gases surrounding the Earth.

(ii) The hydrosphere: all water resources (oceans, seas, rivers, etc.)

(iii) The lithosphere: consists of all minerals occurring in the earth’s crusts and soil.

(iv) The biosphere: is the sphere where all living organisms and interact with the environment.

Question 15: Why is environmental studies important?

Answer: Environmental studies is important because it enlightens us about the importance of protecting the environment from pollution, and conserving its renewable and non-renewable resources.

Question 16: Why is the current rate of the world’s growing population an environmental challenge?

Answer: The growing population is an environmental challenge because it puts heavy pressure on natural resources, and reduces the ability for countries/regions to develop socio-economically.

Question 17: Why is poverty an environmental challenge?

Answer: Poverty is an environmental challenge because poor people, who depend on resources in their immediate surroundings, plunder resources much faster than nature can renew them.

Question 18: What is deforestation?

Answer: Deforestation is a process whereby trees are cut down indiscriminately, and to such an extent that it leads to empty spaces of lands that were once covered with trees.

Question 19: What are the most significant negative effects of deforestation on the environment?

Answer: The most significant negative effects of deforestation are: soil erosion, landslides, and loss of agricultural productivity.

Question 20: What are the major causes of land degradation?

Answer: The major causes of land degradation include:

(i) Increasing urbanization, industrialization and other soil-related activities.

(ii) Unplanned clearing of forests, and littering of forest litter.

(iii) Washing away of soil particles from deforested areas: soil erosion, which has resulted in high increase in run-off, pollution and increase in turbidity and mineralization in many rivers.

Negative impacts of material & immaterial types of affluence on environment

(Image credit: Pixabay.) Materially affluent rich people, and immaterially affluent poor people both contribute to environmental pollution and degradation.

When people talk about affluence, they usually associate it with abundance of material possessions or valuable items—especially items that are not “so common” or available.

Seldom is affluence associated with things that are either common, almost available to everybody, or in the possession/vicinity of everyone. In most cases, affluence isn’t associated with things that are almost evenly distributed or accessible to everyone, such as air, time, space, etc.—we may call such things “immaterial possessions”.

It’s sad to see that when certain things/possessions are in abundance, most people become more self-centered, materialistic, and only pay more attention to pollution and environmental degradation when the negative effects of their affluent lifestyles affect their health, or the income generated from their commercially profitable business(es).

Material & immaterial types of affluence

Environmentally-speaking, all of us are affluent because we have things or possessions that are almost available to everybody.

Some people fall into a category I may call “the materially affluent”, while the same people and others fall into a category I may call “the immaterially affluent”. Why? Because the materially affluent have available or abundant cars, industries, electronics, etc.—they have possessions that are not so common or available to everybody. On the other hand, the immaterially affluent have air/atmosphere, space, time, etc.—they have possessions that are quite common or available to everybody.

But mind you—in a way—the immaterially affluent poor also contribute to pollution caused by industries owned by the materially affluent rich people. How? They contribute by working in industrial processes of production or disposal that contribute to environmental pollution.

We can conclude that almost all of us are immaterially affluent because we have almost equal access to an appreciable amount of air, land or space which we can use; the only problem is that when it comes to waste management and disposal, people misuse these things a lot. Another thing that should be noted is that immaterially affluent people have almost an equal amount of/access to air, time, space—intelligence can also be included.

On the other hand, we can also conclude that most people are not materially affluent because they don’t have (or don’t have enough) cars, industries, electronics, etc.

In one way or another, all of us might be guilty of being recklessly extravagant in the way we use our material or immaterial possessions. Extravagance is an attitude that is quite difficult to change, especially when possessions are in abundance.

Mismanagement of material and immaterial possessions has caused pollution in the environment to such an extent that the aesthetic quality and productive capacity of atmosphere, water, soil and landscape have been impaired; in other cases, some ecosystems have been completely damaged.

Apart from the fact that material affluence and excess/unnecessary purchase of possessions lead to littering of wastes in the environment, immaterial affluence—associated more with the  poor who aren’t materially affluent—also leads to littering of waste in the environment, in the same way that material affluence does.

In summary, any excessive, inappropriate and trivial use of material and immaterial possessions could lead to environmental degradation of the atmosphere, land and water bodies (rivers, oceans, seas, etc.) in any part of the world.

The downside of material & immaterial types of affluence

The downside of material and immaterial affluences is the negative impact that both types of affluence have/have had on the environment. Negative impacts easily occur because both materially and immaterially affluent people have the ability  to acquire resources or possessions at almost any time, and from almost anywhere in the world. Also, most people use resources without looking for/at the harmful environmental impacts of the high-consumption and largely wasteful lifestyles associated with using such resources.

The lifestyles of many materially-rich consumers in countries like U.S.A., India and China, are built upon growing affluence, which leads to high levels of unnecessary consumption and waste of resources. This type of affluence is based mostly on mass advertisement, and the belief that by buying more and more material goods, one would likely be able to have more joy, fulfillment and happiness—unfortunately affluence doesn’t always bring these pleasures.

Affluence affects the environment both positively and negatively, and leads to mismanagement and unnecessary depletion of resources, and environmental damage. Many people who are materially and immaterially affluent have embraced an extravagant lifestyle and imposed a lot of burden on the environment because they easily access and misuse material or immaterial possessions—they use possessions in recklessly wasteful ways.

Negative impacts of some activities associated with material and immaterial affluence

Records and studies of negative impacts of affluence on environment have shown that many people manage material and immaterial possessions in ways that have damaged the Earth’s land, air and water bodies—especially when proper waste management practices are not employed. Some activities associated with negative impacts include:

  • pollution of land and rivers with solid, human and animal wastes. These types of pollution (caused by the affluent lifestyles of the materially affluent rich and immaterially affluent poor) expose people to air and water-borne diseases.
  • preparation and use of wheat, rice, meat, food, and production of coal, fertilizer, steel, cement, etc., have created bye-products which have been littered in the environment, and degraded the air/atmosphere, land, and many water bodies.
  • production of televisions, cell phones, refrigerators, electronics, etc., has created solid waste bye-products which have also caused pollution in the environment whenever there has been improper disposal.
  • production, and use of fuel-efficient cars have led to air/atmospheric pollution and caused a lot of discomfort and diseases, especially in populated cities.
  • industrialization has created products that have polluted and choked many water bodies to such a extent that some water bodies are devoid of fishes and other forms of marine life.
  • production of ammunition and nuclear weapons has provided an available platform for people and nations to engage in wars, thus destroying houses and property, and polluting large quantities of air, land and water bodies.

Observations

  • generally, people use their money or time to acquire material or immaterial possessions as they see fit, and they face little or no supervision or interference from regulatory bodies or governments.
  • most times, people acquire/use what they have acquired for trivial reasons: they seek social status and base their self-worth on the quality and quantity of their acquired possessions.
  • mass advertisement, and campaigns of consumerism—whichever ways they are portrayed in the media—lead to ever-increasing pollution, scarcity of renewable and non-renewable resources, and many other forms of environmental degradation all over the world.
  • while a small percentage of humanity enjoys the benefits of material affluence, and a much higher percentage enjoys the benefits of immaterial affluence, the negative impacts of both types of affluence contribute to the loss of health and life among both the poor and rich in every country.
  • the rate at which waste is being collected from one environment and dumped in another, seems to be unprecedented. Often, when improvements occur in one environment, another environment gets worse because the waste simply has to go somewhere.
  • production processes often create large amounts of waste than useful products; also, packaging, distribution, use and consumption of products produce large quantities of waste.

Conclusion/advice

  • it’s in the nature of human beings to be consumers: we have to consume in order to survive. However, consumers should learn and try to consume responsibly.
  • the future of life on this planet will depend on how we create policies that could reduce our own environmental problems.
  • if we can tackle materially or immaterially affluent lifestyles that create negative impacts on our environment, we’ll likely be able to address most environmental issues.