How Do You Think Humans Interact With the Environment?
The term environment has different definitions depending on the context and the people involved. Culture and technological advancements of a people are some of the criteria used to define the term environment. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the environment as the “complex physical, chemical, and biotic factors that act upon and organism and ultimately determine its survival.” An important point to note from this definition is that, in this particular case, the human being is the organism whose survival is dependent on the environment. Among all living organisms on earth, none ...view middle of the document...
Environmental resources are being consumed at a pace that does not allow enough time for recharge or recovery. This unsustainable use of resources is slowly shaping the environment that we live in. When discussing issues to do with the environment, one has to focus on how humans have affected, water, air, food, forestry, and other human-related challenges such as poverty, health, and education. As human populations continue to increase, people’s activities will affect the environment like never before. Therefore, human coexistence with the environment has to be coupled with an element of sustainable use.
Early humans generally had a low environmental impact due the relatively low population during that period. Currently, the global population is increasing at an exponential rate resulting in an increased amount of stress on the environment. Common sense dictates that a threshold will be exceeded above which the earth will no longer be able to sustain human beings. Therefore, it is of prime importance to be able to measure or determine threshold points at which the earth will be unable to support humans. The IPAT formula is one such methods; it measures the environmental impact of a civilization according to the product of its population, the level of affluence, and level of technology (Nath and Santel L14,4). In early periods, human populations were limited by the degree of technology of the period. Therefore, when a population exceeded what the environment was able to sustain, factors such as scarcity of food would result in a decline back to normalcy.
Figure 1: Growth curve showing population progression of organisms in an environment. Source: (Nath and Santel L20,35)
However, with improved technology human beings began to produce excess food, amongst other activities, which enabled them to increase far beyond the carrying capacity of their locality. The danger is that a time will reach when the environment’s carrying capacity is exceeded leading to death (see fig.1). This shows how technology has played a significant role in the interaction between humans and the environment.
It is also important to consider that human problems vary from one region to the other. A broad categorization can be made in terms of global north and the global south. The global North comprises of countries that are situated in the northern hemisphere, the developed Western nations that make up of the United States, Canada, and most European countries. The global south comprises of emerging countries also known as developing countries such as China, India, Brazil, and many other emerging nations (Nath and Santel L11,12). These countries have wide differences in terms of the challenges that they face. Most developed countries are very keen on the how human activities affect the environment. Additionally, very strict laws and policies have been enacted to ensure that environmental activities are used sustainably. On the other hand, developing...