We are the first generation on our planet to truly understand the far-reaching impacts that human actions are having on our environment, and yet, we are the last generation that can truly make the biggest impact in solving these challenges.
The list below discusses many of the environmental challenges that we are facing in our world today. Together as a human race, we have the solutions and the resources that we need right now to move forward and transition to a sustainable world for everyone. As you read about these challenges, how can you play a role in bringing forth the changes that we need during this very important time in our planet’s history?
Land disturbance and destruction
All over the world today, there are many ways that land is being degraded, such as the cutting down of our global forests, to the increasing development of natural ecosystems and fragmentation of habitat, and mining, natural ecosystems are under threat as never before. We must implement habitat protections and work within the limits of nature to preserve and restore what nature remains for the health of our Earth.
Today, species are under such a great threat due to human activities and biodiversity is being eroded at such an alarming rate, that we stand to lose many of our natural treasures that support the web of life on our planet. We must protect both individual species that are under threat and the critical habitat of these species.
Agriculture has one of the largest environmental footprints of all human activities on our planet today, composing almost half of all land use¹. While most subsistence agriculture has very little impact on land, most global commercial forms of agriculture are contributing to problems of environmental degradation, such as erosion, runoff, water pollution, and a loss of soil fertility.
Eliminating these environmental problems that plague global agriculture will require a transition to ecological and organic farming such as biodynamic and permaculture farming that respect nature’s limits and naturally build soil fertility.
As human beings have increased traveling and trade all around the world, many species of organisms have been transported to areas that they would never have been able to access in the past. This has led to many environmental problems such as new diseases that decimate native species, and invasive species that are able to outcompete the native species.
Today, our world is becoming increasingly toxic due to the pollution of our air, water, and land. This not only hurts wildlife and other organisms that live in natural ecosystems, it also hurts our own health and can lead to chronic and fatal diseases like cancer.
For a healthy planet and human population, we simply must stop the production of such toxic substances and return to the use of natural substances that are safe and do not compromise our own health and our global environment.
In much of the world, those living in poverty are left with few options for survival but to utilize natural resources for food, shelter, fiber, and to generate an income. Unfortunately, due to the increased use of these natural resources, many ecosystems around the world are becoming stressed and cannot sustain such intensive use.
In order to solve the challenge that global poverty poses to natural resource destruction, we absolutely must solve the problem of global poverty itself, and ensure that there is a fair, equitable, and sustainable world for everyone on Earth.
The use of fossil fuels for energy
Using fossil fuels as humanity’s primary energy source to run our economies and lives has been one of the biggest causes of environmental destruction, such as oil spills, the production of greenhouse gases, and water pollution from hydraulic fracturing, the era of fossil fuel energy much quickly come to an end. We now have more options and technology than ever before to transition away from fossil fuels and to embrace a clean, 100% renewable energy future.
Lack of regulations, enforcement, and resources
While it is important to understand the consequences that humanity’s negative actions have on the planet, the changes that are needed to truly transform an environmentally destructive situation into a positive one require proper regulations, enforcement of those regulations, and the political, fiscal, and human resources that are necessary to effectively put them into place.
Human behavior and overconsumption of resources
Our relationship to our planet Earth and how we consume its natural resources must be wholly transformed into one where we finally live in harmony with nature and its limitations and restore our planet.