Thursday, September 26, 2019

Global Environmental Change Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2000 words

Global Environmental Change - Essay Example Serious threat from oil exploration on the eastern slopes of the Andes and the adjacent Amazonian lowlands of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia have led to a conflict between hydrocarbon hotspot and biodiversity hotspot. Loss of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services is one of the most challenging problems ecologist face. Advances in information technology, featuring computer simulation models built on digital databases and satellite imagery incorporating GPS and GIS can go a long way to identify problems, evaluate risks and design counter measures. Accurate maps are created using remote sensing technology that can play an important role to monitor the environmental effects of human activities on land and water resources. We are passing through the defining moments of human development challenges of the 21st century. Failure to respond will not only stall but also reverse international efforts to reduce poverty. The earth's ecosystems and the biosphere's life-supporting sy stems need to be understood for survival of mankind. The poorest countries are most vulnerable and will be the first to suffer from global environmental change, though they have contributed least to the problem. Large-scale global environmental hazards to human existence include climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, biodiversity loss, changes in hydrological systems and the supply of freshwater, land degradation and stresses on food-producing systems (WHO, 2008) 1. Their influence on the earth's ecosystems and the biosphere's life-supporting systems needs to be understood for survival of mankind. It also brings the complexity of the systems upon which we depend. Though there are many factors affecting global environmental changes, in this paper we shall discuss the impact of "desertification" and "dwindling biodiversity" on the earth. Desertification Approximately one-third of the earth's land surface is arid desert land with scanty rainfall, sparse vegetation and limited population (Walker, 1997) 2. Deserts are formed by a combination of factors that change over a period of time and will vary with locations. Unscientific land use practices leads to deterioration in vegetation, soil erosion and salinity directly affecting soil fertility and leads to soil compaction and crusting. Population pressure, socioeconomic factors, globalization, unbridled urbanization and merciless mining indirectly induce desertification. The inability to logically and technologically respond to such demands sets off a downward spiral of land degradation. It is very difficult to distinguish whether desertification was caused by reckless land management practices or from climatic turbulence. Due to its vastness, discussing desertification on a global scale require copious deliberations. This discussion is, therefore, being confined to China, which is big enough and favorably positioned in the northern mid latitudes for such a study. China also suffers from a very patchy distribution of water resources 3. China's Environmental Protection Agency has reported that Gobi Deserts expanded by 52,400 km2 during 1994-99 and is now within striking distance from Beijing. Scientists fear if this rate continues complete desertification will arrive within 15 years. Satellite pictures forewarns how two deserts in North central China are

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