You don’t have to be an eco-activist or a Green Peace supporter to help keep New Jersey clean. Everybody has a duty to preserve the environment, not just talk about about it. Some may think that it’s only big companies who can make an impact on the environment but that is simply not true. Each individual either helps or harms the environment through his “small” actions.
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past four decades, you already know about today’s issues of global warming and climate change and how everybody is up in arms debating what laws to pass and whom to fine to resolve the issue.
But before we go deep into this subject, let’s start at the beginning. What is the environment? Why is it so important for us to preserve it?
The simplest definition of an environment is the surroundings that surrounds a particular object. For example, one can talk about the political environment of a certain country and how it is either conducive to democracy or not. However when refer to the environment in the context of climate change, we are referring to the ecosystem of our planet.
The ecosystem is the sum of all the organisms that exist on this planet and their relationship between each other and the natural resources and environment. Man is part of the ecosystem. A more scientific definition for the ecosystem is the medium of connections between the biotic, that is, the living and the abiotic components of an environment.
There is a distinction when talking about the built or artificial environment that was built by man and the natural environment. The natural environment has existed for millions of years without the intervention of man. It consists of air, water, earth and all the animals that inhabit it. Of course, human is part of the natural environment, but it also has the capacity for building its own environment, which influences the natural environment. Humans build cities, towns, buildings, industries, machinery, automobiles and other things which make up the built environment of man. This environment exists within the natural environment.
The problem that the natural environment is faced with today is that of the harmful expansion of the human-built environment. Beginning with the industrial era in the 19th century, a number of technological advances have shown a clear impact on the environment. Humans had learned and now had the capacity to significantly harness natural resources and shape the face of the land. Science and technology demanded exploitation of the natural resources – land, water, minerals, metals and even space.
These advances were also accompanied by a growth of the human population, which meant an increase in the consumption of natural resources. As it is right now, there are more than 6 billion people on Earth. This number is not without consequence. Sustaining such a large population will become unfeasible at some point in the future. We can see quite clearly that calamities and breakdowns in the ecosystem have occurred in places where human requirements exceeded the available resources.