Humans are changing the planet so fast that many
scientists are now referring to this epoch as the
Mountaintop coal mining, as seen here in West Virginia, has been excavating and hauling away the rock
that used to top many area mountains. This is just one way that humans are reshaping the environment.
Through the centuries, new layers accumulate above
the older ones. Those layers of rock “record” the
events that have shaped our planet. These events
include the geology of a location. Rock also records
the evolution of organisms that lived nearby.
The geologic record is not a complete historical account. It is
more like a diary that’s been tattered and torn. A few pages
remain, but many have been destroyed by erosion, the
collision of tectonic plates and the upheaval of mountains.
The pale band of rock marks the end of one geologic time period (the Cretaceous) and
start of the next (the Tertiary)
Changes through the centuries
Throughout Earth’s history, a host of different processes have
shaped the planet. Our planet’s surface was pelted by rocks and
asteroids that came from space, Continents drifted and many
volcanoes erupted. The mix of gases in our planet’s atmosphere
has changed. The chemical recipe of the sea water also
changed. Therefore, life started to emerge— and steadily
evolved in response to Earth’s constant changes. Life, in turn,
reshaped the Earth.
Ways People Are Affecting the
Captive Breeding and Release of Endangered
Protecting Native Species
Finding Renewable Energy Sources
and Release of
Nearly extinct animals are
bred in protected
environs. When the
numbers are sufficient,
they are reintroduced into
All the endangered animals
are given protection by
declaring certain areas of
their native habitat as
protected ones. This may
help increase their numbers,
as the protected natural
habitats help them
Waterways get clogged up
with the accumulation of
natural debris and excessive
plant growth, and also by
waste dumping. Periodical
clearing prevents flooding of
the banks and protects
Reforestation is the natural
or intentional restoring of
existing forests and
woodlands that have been
depleted, usually through
can be used to make up for
or improve the quality of
human life by absorbing
pollution and dust from the
air, rebuilding natural
habitats and ecosystems
and lessening global
Finding Renewable Energy
The renewable energy sources are those which are regarded as infinite,
meaning that they cannot run out. Some examples are wind power, solar
energy and hydropower. Finding renewable sources can be beneficial, as
they limit our dependence of non-renewable sources.
The foremost benefit of recycling is that it helps in protecting the
environment in the most balanced manner, as recycled paper is
re-used repeatedly in order to minimize deforestation. It also
conserves natural resources, as there is no need to extract fresh
raw materials from beneath the earth. It also reduces the
amount of waste in landfills.
How Do Humans Affect the
Soil, Water and Air Pollution
Global Warming and Ozone Layer Depletion
An increase in population makes excessive demands on natural resources, and increases the
demand on agriculture and livestock. There are many negative impacts associated with population
Chemical fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides that are used in agriculture to increase
production actually pollute the air and contaminate the soil with toxic chemicals. Fertilizers
cause toxic algal blooms, that is fast growth of algae in marine environments. Because
some algae produce toxins, they can be harmful to humans and other animals.
Monoculture keeps cost of production low, but it reduces biodiversity and negatively impacts
Large scale farming of animals increases their susceptibility to diseases such as Mad-cow
disease and avian flu.
The greater distance food items have to travel to reach the consumer, the greater that
transportation's impact is on the environment.
Humans are the most
polluting species, as we are
generating far more waste
than the Earth can cope
with. Not everyone has
understood the impact of
recycling, and continue to
throw away old products,
phones, batteries, which
pollute the environment
when burned in landfills
Pesticides, herbicides, large landfills, waste from food
processing industries, and nuclear waste generated
from nuclear reactors and weapons make the soil
virtually lifeless. Furthermore, fragile ecosystems are
damaged by fertilizer run offs and industrial waste.
Moreover, burning fossil fuels and toxic gases cause
Global Warming and
Carbon footprint is the
measure of direct or indirect
CO2. Greenhouse gases
like CO2 and methane that
are produced by burning
huge amount of waste in
landfills and by burning fossil
fuels are believed to lead to
global warming. In addition,
aerosols destroy the ozone
layer that shields the earth
from UV rays.
1.Straightened River vs.
Rivers have been crucial transport routes long before streets
and highways were ever built. Straightening out their bends and
meanders has made shipping easier, but it has left the
surrounding lands more prone to floods.
2.Alps vs. Mountain Forest
Some forms of human land use have been practised
for centuries creating landscapes that most people do
not recognize as artificial anymore.
Rearing cattle (left) has produced alpine pastures that, under
normal circumstances, would be covered with mountain forests
3.Rice Paddy vs. Rainforest
Rice is Asia's most important food crop. In 2004, world production
amounted to some 600 million tons, most of it grown in Asia. The
most common sort of rice is grown in paddies. The picture shows
rice paddies in the mountains close to Manila and the Philippines
(left). In Cambodia, for example, 90 percent of the total agricultural
area is used for rice production. Without cultivation, this land would
soon be transformed into dense rainforests (right).
4.The Scottish Highlands
Before the era of oil and concrete, wood had been the most
important fuel and building material. The Romans logged large
areas around the Mediterranean, sometimes creating entirely new
ecosystems. The Scottish Highlands (left) are another example for
such forceful change. Once covered with extensive forests (right:
mountain forest in Idaho), they are now known for their bare hills
and moorlands (left).
Wherever humans went, they brought new species with them.
Some came as pets, others to facilitate work and some, like rats,
often hid in ships as stowaways. The picture on the left shows a
squirrel in Cape Town's Company Gardens. Alien to the area, the
animals were introduced for ornamental purposes around 1900.
The endemic Black and White Ruffed Lemur (right) is among the
endangered species in South Africa.
Exotic plants have often been introduced as ornamental plants.
While some species would not survive without humans, others
have thrived well in new environments. Kudzu (left image), a
vine from Japan, is an extreme example of the latter kind.
Introduced in the U.S. in 1876, the plant is now considered a
major pest weed that covers and suffocates trees (right) and
Technology is the collection of techniques, skills, methods and
processes used in the production of goods or services or in the
accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation.
Effects of technology in the
Technology has many effects. It has helped develop more advanced
economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise
of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-
products known as pollution and reduce natural resources to the
detriment of Earth's environment. Furthermore, with the use of
technology we can deal with nuclear energy and build plants that
exploit natural resources.
Negative Effects of Technology
on the Environment
• Increase in Travel
• Excess power consumption
• We generate more waste
• Excess Deforestation
Increase in Travel
With technology, we travel more. By this we contribute to
air pollution. Current technology is so advanced that we
travel from one part of the world to another in a short time.
This is great but has greater risk for human life and the
environment, as the burning of fossil fuels for the engines
to work produce polluting gases that lead to global
Excess power consumption
Power consumption is high due to technology. We
use technology in education, our work place, at home
and even in remote places. We always need energy
to use gadgets and electric devices. This electric
energy is generated by use of fossil or nuclear fuels
on a large scale.
More Waste Production
We contribute a large amount of toxic waste in the
name of technological up-grading. Specifically, we
throw away huge amounts of waste such as old
computers and machine parts. These products can
be recycled, but usually we throw them away and
In the name of development, comfort etc. there is
widespread deforestation. This is possible due to the
larger capacity of machine technology. We make vast
clearing of greenery in a short time and also dig tunnels
through a hill. Moreover we lay out vast roads by clearing
the greenery around. Also this increase in technology
makes it easier to build many houses and resorts.
The Positive Ecological Impacts
Technology does not only impact the environment negatively. It
can often be beneficial:
reducing the need for paper.
low carbon technology
Since the rise of technology in the workplace, numerous ICT
companies have been designing "green technology" to combat
the harmful effect that computers and their accompanying
technology have on the environment. The field of "green
technology" encompasses a continuously evolving group of
methods and materials, from techniques for generating energy
to non-toxic cleaning products. Some examples of green
technology subject areas are energy, green building, green
chemistry and green nano technology
Reducing the need for
One obvious way that technology is helping the ecology of the
planet is by reducing the need for paper. With the ever
increasing use of email and electronic communication,
paperless offices are now a common occurrence in companies.
Reducing the need for paper reduces the demand for logging
and deforestation, allowing richer lands to expand.
Low carbon technology
Low carbon technology is a form of technology that has
been developed in China. Largely developed because of
China's low carbon footprint (the total set of greenhouse
gas emissions) in comparison to other developing
countries, low carbon technology aims to offset the
amount of emissions polluting the air by using renewable
In conclusion, humans play a key role
regarding the Earth’s changes. The impact
of our actions on the environment is huge.
If we try to restrict the negative aspects
and concentrate on the positive ones and
use technology properly, there will be
massive positive results, beneficial to the
mutual existence of human beings and the