Unfortunately, a problem that humanity has only recently realized is the degradation of the environment, which endangers the very survival of our species on this hospitable planet that we are gradually making unlivable.
It is very complex to act to safeguard the environment, because the environment is something that works together, an organism, in which a single local intervention has consequences on the entire system, since the various elements are connected to each other by a close network of relationships . If this balance is broken, the entire system risks being destroyed.
Of course, the earth has been able to withstand violent and devastating changes, operated not only by man, but also by nature, such as the glaciations, and has always been able to find a new environmental balance. In the last two centuries, however, human intervention has become massive and disproportionate. Even from a visual point of view, we realize that our planet is now made up more of concrete than of “green”.
It is now worthwhile to understand at least which are the areas in which human intervention is most evident. Each of these problems deserves a separate discussion, but, however generic our discussion may be, an overview will not be useless.
First of all, man has a negative effect on the earth’s environment, for example, by deforesting the forests. It has always done so, but now the planet is no longer able to cope with the action of man. The percentage of land covered by forests decreases year after year, and we know how trees are essential for the production of oxygen and for food balance. On the other hand, the deserts are advancing, to the point of threatening areas which have long been dedicated to crops and other productive activities. The soils are depleted of essential nutrients, and in some areas the earth’s crust has already made room for the mantle, devoid of essential nutrients for life.
Waste not disposed of, and often highly toxic, such as nuclear waste, make up the picture of a “land” attacked from many sides.
Secondly, water is a precious commodity that only a fifth of the world population can use and we, who are perhaps in that fifth, are unaware of the drama of water shortages.
In some cases, however, it seems that there is too much water, but this too may be the result of a reckless action by man, who favors an immediate economic interest in taking measures against floods and overflows.
Even the sea, which had always been able to appear in all its purity even when it had to dispose of the pollution of river mouths, today hides far greater dangers, such as chemicals and nuclear waste in significant quantities.
The atmosphere is also negatively affected by human intervention.
Pollution invades our cities, causing diseases, the most serious of which is certainly lung cancer, caused by the excessive smog that our body has to endure. It is not only factories that cause pollution, but also private individuals, with car exhaust, heating and air conditioners.
Furthermore, refrigerators produce chlorine-fluorocarbons which retain heat inside the atmosphere, with the phenomenon of the so-called greenhouse effect.
Not to mention the pollution from electromagnetic fields, not perceptible with the human senses, but no less worrying and disturbing.
In short, we have deluded ourselves that nature was an inexhaustible good, while now we realize that this is not the case at all. Today we realize that it is not even free, and to protect it we need to spend more and more, even if this has meant the creation of new jobs in the sector. We must therefore abandon the attitude of those who place absolute trust in industrial and urban progress and direct man’s creative capacity towards the search for techniques for preserving the environment. Perhaps only in this way will we be able to solve the serious problem of environmental degradation.