The year is 2055, the vast oceans are emptied of nearly all marine life and the air outside is unsafe to breathe without specialized gas masks. Human life exists only within the confines of protected buildings, never venturing out into the desolate space on the other side of the walls. This image is a very real description of the life possibly awaiting the human race if the global population continues to ignore the vehement environmental issues facing them. In the Western Hemisphere alone, the countries face harrowing problems such as overdependence on oil, deforestation, urbanization, and global warming. Though

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8 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

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BEAUVAIS

GP Exam May/June 2010



The year is 2055, the vast oceans are emptied of nearly all marine

life and the air outside is unsafe to breathe without
specialized gas masks. Human life exists only within the confines of protected buildings, never venturing out into the desol
ate
space on the other side of the walls. This image is a very real descrip
tion of the life possibly awaiting the human race if the
global population continues to ignore the vehement environmental issues facing them. In the Western Hemisphere alone, the
countries face harrowing problems such as overdependence on oil, deforestati
on, urbanization, and global warming. Though
each of these issues is being carefully considered, the effectiveness of such handling widely varies.


The United States’ dependency on oil and fossil fuels is a major environmental concern. The burning of n
onrenewable
resources, such as the petroleum used in gasoline, causes irreversible damage to the natural environment. For instance, the
large factories that depend on fossil fuels and oil dump huge amounts of mercury into oceans, contaminating one of the
world’s
largest sources of food supply. Also, the use of gasoline adds tons of pollution such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide
into the atmosphere. These gases exacerbate respiratory conditions like asthma, a common modern ailment. While President
Barack Obama has attempted various remedies, these have been easily challenged. For example, he first established a cap
-
and
-
trade system in hopes of weaning large industries off oil and fossil fuels; he also began funding research projects on
alternate en
ergy sources including wind and solar power. However, these small steps are quickly reversed by the rivaling force
of human error, which is best evidenced by the recent BP oil spill off the coast of Mexico. Bent on increased production, th
e
Deepwater Hor
izon oil drilling rig exploded in April 2010, spewing millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. If this
oil reaches land it will have devastating and irreversible effects on animal habitats, it will shut down family businesses su
ch as
fish
eries, and tourist attractions will virtually cease to exist. Because of the continuation of offshore drilling, it appears t
hat any
solutions the United States attempts will be rendered ineffectual.


While the solutions for decreasing oil and fossil fue
l dependency have been unhelpful, the steps toward solving global
warming have proven the opposite. Global warming affects all areas of the planet and all species that inhabit it. Scientist
s
predict that this change in climate will ultimately melt all of

the largest glacier ice
-
caps, which will in turn raise global sea levels.
This will then flood low
-
lying areas such as the state of Florida or Manhattan, New York. Thus far, countries from all across the
globe have met twice to discuss their options on
how best to deal with this imminent threat. The Kyoto Protocol was initially
created in response, which sets a limit on carbon emissions, and the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December 2010 set out to
revise this draft further. While this failed to bring
about major change overnight, it was successful in bringing world leaders
together to finally address the dangers of global warming in a more aggressive fashion, making the combination of these two
meetings an effective step toward improvement.


Unlike c
limate change, deforestation and urbanization have not been handled appropriately. Deep in the Amazon
rainforests of South America lies the Kamayura Tribe, an indigenous group that lives entirely off the land. Recently,
deforestation and the encroachment

of urban civilizations have led to the loss of this habitat. With fewer trees, the air is drier,
What are the main environmental problems in your part of the world,

and how effectively are they being tackled?


which affects river levels and ultimately depletes their primary source of food: fish. Tribal leaders fear for their surviva
l and the
safety of their people
. Brazilian politicians have failed to find solutions to deforestation, which is taking place to make way for
factories and other urbanized developments in the growing world power that is Brazil. Members of the Kamayura Tribe think
that their only soluti
on will be to give up their traditions and urbanize themselves as well, thus making the loss of habitat and
traditional forms of living the unfair end result of those environmental issues not being effectively handled in the Western
Hemisphere.


On the c
ontrary, issues regarding endangered species provide an example of effective solutions in thi
s part of the
world. It is no secret

that nearly half the world’s animals have become endangered
as a result

of humanity

itself.

Tigers,
penguins, polar bears, p
andas, whales, and even monarch butterflies make the top ten list of most endangered species. The
loss of these animals will not only deprive the world of valuable sources of food and elements necessary for productivity, it

will
also result in the loss of

a culture completely different from our own. Luckily however, the formation of the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Wildlife Fund has succeeded in protecting the animals that remain. The Endangered
Species Act also prevents poachers f
rom killing any animal in danger of extinction. Many animals such as the egret and
American alligator

two geographic hallmarks

have been saved from extinction thanks to these measures, making them very
effective efforts.


In the end, many steps have bee
n taken to deal with environmental concerns in the Western Hemisphere, but only in
the case of global warming and endangered species have they been successful. This region of the world still has a great deal

of obstacles to overcome when it comes to oil d
ependence and deforestation. Clearly, global society has much to do
if we are
to

save
our

planet from the dangers that lurk
just
outside the
industrial
walls
of

an increasingly uninhabitable planet.