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Human Impact

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by

Andy St. Louis

on 22 May 2014

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Transcript of Human Impact

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
By Mr. St. Louis
Human Impact
Palm Oil
Palm oil, an ingredient found in many everyday food and cosmetic products, is contributing to the rapid destruction of rainforests. Orangutan habitat in Sumatra and Borneo is being cleared at an alarming rate for conversion to palm oil plantations.

The biggest threat to orangutan populations is undoubtedly the increasing expansion of palm oil plantations.

The only place on earth that Orangutans still live in nature is Borneo and Sumatra.
Air Pollution
Coral Reefs
Causes of Coral Reef destruction
Pollution runoff
: nitrates from fertilizers, point-source pollution, oil spills.
Exploitation
: Over 90% of saltwater aquarium fish are taken directly from reefs.
Increased water temperatures
: global warming, increased El Nino.
Direct Destruction
: Boats, fishing nets, removal of coral for sale
Endangered Species
-In the U.S. 735 species of plants and 496 animals are listed as threatened or endangered.
-
More than 1,000 animals worldwide are endangered.
Forests
-Human impact on forests have been dramatic.
-
Each year approximately 78 million acres of rainforest are destroyed and as many as 137 species are going extinct each day.
Global Warming
-Average temps have climbed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit around the world since 1880.
-11 of the past 12 years have been the warmest
since 1850.
-In Montana's Glacier National Park there are only 27 glaciers now, compared to 150 in 1910!
-
The Arctic is feeling the effects the most. Avg temps have risen at twice that of the global average.
Invasive species
All the species which have ever existed, 99.9 % are now extinct!
The
current extinction rates
, however,
may be as much as 40 - 100 times the natural rate
for extinction.
Worst bleeching, or die-off, ever recorded in 1998. As high as 70% in some areas.
With the increase in ease of travel and shipping, one of the greatest threats by humans is the introduction of invasive species
Causes of global warming
come from the combustion of
fossil fuels in cars, factories and electricity production.
The
gas responsible
for the most warming is
carbon dioxide
. Other contributors include methane released from landfills and agriculture, nitrous oxide from fertilizers, gases used for refrigeration and industrial processes, and the
loss of forests that would otherwise store CO2.
Causes of Deforestation

-Logging
-Agriculture
-Cattle Ranching
-Road Building
-Industrialization
Causes of endangered species

1. Habitat loss
2. Pollution
3. Illegal Killing
4. Introduction of non-native species
5. Over hunting/Over fishing
Introductions of invasive species are primarily caused by human actions
Control costs and environmental damages of invasive species can add up to millions of dollars per year.
For example,
Zebra mussels were introduced into the Great Lakes in 1988
and have
since

spread rapidly
throughout the Great Lakes and other water systems in the United States
.
These mollusks
compete with native species for food, damage structures and boats, and clog water intake pipes.
22% of the world’s coral reefs are threatened by land-based pollution.

This type of
pollution includes fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, human derived sewage, and large amounts of sedimentation from coastal land development.
OVER-FISHING
Many marine scientists now believe that
overfishing is the biggest threat to the ocean environment
, even greater than that of other human caused disruptions like increasing pollution.

The high demand for fish, along with more effective fishing techniques, has lead to many species of fish around the world being depleted, making them commercially extinct (not worth fishing).

In 1997-1998, the total global capture peaked at an estimated 93 million tons.

This
overfishing not only depletes the fish that are desirable to consumers but causes serious consequences for the marine environment.

One example occurred in the Chesapeake Bay when overfishing and other environmental toxins depleted the oysters. These filterfeeders play an important role in balancing the most abundant ocean plant, microscopic algae. The Chesapeake Bay now has an estimated 1% of the former amount of oysters. The lack of algae caused a disruption of the oxygen balance which has resulted in
life-depleted areas known as dead zones
. The Chesapeake Bay’s “dead zone” now stretches for hundreds of square miles during the summer.
Air pollution causes damage to crops, animals, forests, and bodies of water
. It also contributes to the
depletion of the ozone layer
, which protects the Earth from the sun's UV rays. Another negative effect of air pollution is the formation of
acid rain
, which harms trees, soils, rivers, and wildlife. Some of the other environmental effects of air pollution are
haze, eutrophication, and global climate change.
Causes of Air Pollution
Human activities have been highlighted as the major causes of air pollution, especially in the cities. To support a larger population, there's a need for energy production, transportation, and industries, resulting in the emission of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. A list of the
human causes of air pollution includes vehicles, domestic smoke and heating, aircraft pollution, outdoor fires, and incineration of waste.
Water Pollution
The effects of water pollution are varied and depend on what chemicals are dumped and in what locations.

Boston Harbor is a strong example of how badly pollution can damage bodies of water. The water is filled with toxic waste and sewage, and routinely receives more waste when rainfall pushes it into the harbor.

Many bodies of water near urban areas are highly polluted.
This is the result of both
garbage
dumped by individuals and
dangerous chemicals
legally or illegally dumped by industries.
At the turn of the century, orangutan populations in Borneo and Sumatra numbered in the hundreds of thousands, inhabiting endless expanses of untouched tropical rainforest. Today, the situation couldn’t be more different.

Satellite imagery shows that orangutans have lost approximately 80% of their forest home in the last 20 years, and current estimates put their numbers on the island of Borneo at 54,000, with just 6,500 in Sumatra.
Just because a product says it is "Organic" or "Cruelty-Free" does not mean it doesn't contain palm oil. In fact, most natural/organic products do contain palm oil - because palm oil is a very much a natural ingredient. It's the way it is produced that is far from natural, which is something many companies fail to realize.

Ingredients with the word 'palm' in them are palm oil or are derived from the oil palm fruit.

-Palm Fruit Oil
-Palmitic Acid -Palmate
-Palm Stearine -Palmitate
-Palmitoyl oxostearamide -Palmolein
-Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3 -Cetyl Palmitate
-Octyl Palmitate
-Palm Kernel
-Palm Oil Kernel
The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), was set up to encourage the growth and use of sustainable palm oil worldwide, meaning that palm oil can only gain a certification of sustainability if it has been produced in such a way where no undue harm has come to the environment or society as a whole. Despite huge initiatives to get people growing palm oil sustainably, only 1% of the sustainable palm oil produced is actually being bought by companies, mainly due to the fact that it is a touch more expensive than palm oil that has been grown illegally.
What is sustainable palm oil?
Certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) and palm kernel oil (CSPKO) is produced by palm oil plantations which have been independently audited and found to comply with the globally agreed environmental standards devised by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). These stringent sustainability criteria relate to social, environmental and economic good practice.
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