Instead of human beings choosing to lead sustainable lives, they are busy conducting activities that have short-term benefits at the expense of their health and the lives of future generations. Human activities and the natural environment are inseparable and human beings should be well educated to understand the natural environment in terms of learning how to use it sustainably and protecting its quality for long-term growth. Besides learning, human beings should be committed to environmental management practices and be controlled to avoid environmental degradation.
Environmental Degradation and how it is continually taking place
Human beings assumed that the free essential services that the ecosystem has been providing are infinite and it is only after a dynamic increase in the human population, rapid urbanization and industrialization that mankind has realized that they are limited (Roy, 2016). Roy (2016) calls this loss of essential services environmental degradation. Saylan and Blumstein (2011) claim that environmental education has failed in changing humans’ behavior and attitude towards the essential services provided by the ecosystem. As a result, environmental degradation is one of the major threats to the environment globally and it is taking place at an alarming rate (Saylan and Blumstein, 2011).
The environment that influences human health in numerous ways is deteriorated when natural resources such as water, air, and the land become depleted when the ecosystem is destructed, and wildlife becomes extinct (Tyagi, Garg, and Paudel, 2014). That is, any disturbance or undesirable change made to the environment degrades it making it less capable of meeting its ecological as well as social needs and objectives (Tyagi et al., 2014).
Human disturbance to the environment is the major cause of environmental degradation (Tyagi et al., 2014) and the amount of change done depends on the habitat, then the plants and animals that inhabit it. Shanty, Dita, Firmansyah, and Sugiyanto (2018) note that today, humans’ economic growth is majorly driven by industrialization and urbanization and these activities degrade the environment and once the environment is degraded, human health is negatively affected. Saylan and Blumstein (2011) recall that scientists have continually warned about the effects of human disturbance on the environment but the society has been politicizing the matter. Thus, instead of being committed to change from undesirable human economical practices, environmental degradation has been on the rise.
Measures to Lessen Environmental Degradation
Environmental education that can teach people how to live sustainably is limited (Saylan and Blumstein, 2011). Human beings are to be blamed for this because they are the ones responsible for protecting natural resources that all life on the planet today need and in future will need. Failing to improve environmental education is a failure to humanity (Saylan and Blumstein, 2011). Human health is dependent on the productivity of natural resources and the quality of the environment (Singh, 2009). To ensure this, environmental education needs to teach about good use of natural resources to sustain economic growth and proper management of the environment to maintain the quality of the environment (Singh, 2009). The effects of education can be facilitated by developing and implementing public policies and programs that promote the productivity of natural resources and protect the quality of the environment (Singh, 2009).
Environmental education is necessary for human beings to understand the functions of the environment in supporting life and its capacities. To be effective, environmental education needs to teach people how to use the environment sustainably and to protect the quality of the environment. The quality of the environment encourages the productivity of natural resources and sustainable use of these resources involves using less of them to achieve economic goals. Laws need to be put in place to control human behaviors and programs need to be developed to implement knowledge developed from environmental education.
Roy, K. (2016). Human response to degradation of ecosystems. J. of Resources and Ecology, 7(4), 261-268.
Saylan, C. and Blumstein, D. T. (2011). The failure of environmental education (and how we can fix it). California: University of California Press.
Shanty, O., Dita, W. P., Firmansyah, and Sugiyanto, F. X. (2018). The relationship between environmental degradation, poverty and human quality in Indonesia. E3S Web of Conferences, 73, 10020 (2018).
Singh, K. (2009). Environmental degradation and measures for its mitigation with special reference to India’s agricultural sector. Ind. Jn. of Agri. Econ., 64(1), 40-62. Tyagi, S. Garg, N., and Paudel, R. (2014). Environmental degradation: Causes and consequences. European Researcher, 81(8-2), 1491. doi: 10.13187/er.2014.81.1491.
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