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Destroying the Human Race

Pollution is when the air, water, or land becomes dirty through the actions of people.

Some types of pollution such as litter along the beach are easy to see. Other types of pollution

such as chemicals in the water or air, are not as easy to see but can be even more harmful. The

most common example of air pollution is factories and cars letting out fumes and chemicals in

smoke. Pollutants in the air make it hard for people to breathe causing lung disease. When it

rains the chemicals in the air cause acid rain hurting the animals and plants. Another type of

pollution is land pollution. This is done by people throwing litter on the ground. Many people

don’t recycle and throw away so much garbage that we have landfills growing in our cities.

Some effects of land pollution are animals eating the litter and becoming sick and dying. Litter

lying around covers the land from the sun and the grass and plants can die. The third type is

water pollution. This happens when companies dump the toxic waste in many rivers and lakes.

Ships spill oil in oceans and rivers. People throw litter in the water. Toxic waste and oil spills

cause many animals and plants to die. Litter is also eaten by animals or they get caught in the

waste like six pack plastics causing the animals death. Most transportation fuels like gasoline and

diesel fuels, for example, are made from oil. Oil is considered a non-renewable fuel. When oil is

burnt, CO2 is added to the atmosphere. Nature cannot make CO2 back into oil very quickly, so

the amount of CO2 in the air keeps increasing. When plants are used to make fuels, these fuels

are renewable. When renewable fuels are burnt, CO2 is added to the atmosphere, but in this case

there is a balance, since growing plants removes CO2. In a perfectly renewable system, the same

number of plants that are harvested are replanted. This way, the amount of CO2 being added to

the atmosphere is the same amount that the growing plants are using, and there is no net increase.

Using renewable fuels instead of non-renewable fuels can reduce the total amount of CO2 added
to the atmosphere. Biodiesel and alcohol fuels made from plant matter are examples of

renewable fuels. Some types of clean fuels include alcohol, biodiesel, and electricity. There are

two types of alcohol fuels, ethanol and methanol. Historically, ethanol has been made from corn

or sugar cane. New processed can make ethanol from paper, yarn trimmings, or sawdust.

Methanol is usually made from natural gas but could also be made from wood or sugar cane.

Alcohol fuels produce less carbon monoxide. Today, methanol is primarily made from natural

gas. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oil including used cooking oil. Its lubricating qualities are

good for engines. Biodiesel produces less smoke and particulates. Regular diesel fuel particulates

are carcinogenic (can cause cancer). Using biodiesel fuel, or blending it with regular diesel fuel,

can reduce the production of these cancer-causing emissions. In other words its healthier.

Electricity is not really a fuel like gasoline or diesel; rather, a form of energy. Electrical energy

can be made by burning oil, coal, solid wasted (rubbish), biomass, or other fuels. In addition,

electricity can be made without burning anything by using the energy of the wind, the sun, or

flowing water. Propane, also known as LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas), is made from fossil

fuels, as a byproduct of the refining process or found in natural gas reserves. Propane produced

less carbon monoxide, and helps engines last longer.

The future of tropical forests and their human inhabitants depends on the ways in which

resources are managed. Most of the world’s species live in forests. Although some of these

creatures are not obvious to all, e.g. insects, fungi, and lower life forms, they play a critical role:

they notably recycle nutrients and enable our ecosystems to renew themselves. It is estimated

that 73% of tropical forests will have been felled by the year 2100. Tropical forests of all

varieties are disappearing rapidly as humans clear the natural landscape to make room for farms

and pastures, to harvest timber for construction and fuel, and to build roads and urban areas.
Although deforestation meets some human needs, it also has profound, sometimes devastating

consequences, including social conflict, extinction of plants and animals and climate change.

These changes are not just local but global. Even though tropical forests cover only about seven

percent of the earth’s dry land, they probably harbor about half of all species on earth. Many

species are so specialized to microhabitats within the forest that they can only be found in small

areas. Their specialization makes them vulnerable to extinction. In addition to the species lost

when an area is totally deforested, the plants and animals in the fragments of forest that remain

also become increasingly vulnerable, sometimes even committed to extinction. The genetic

diversity of tropical forests is basically the deepest end of the planetary gene pool. Hidden in the

genes of plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria that have not even been discovered yet may be cures

for cancer and other diseases or the key to improving the nutritional quality of foods. Tropical

forests are home to millions of native (indigenous) people who make their living through

subsistence agriculture, hunting and gathering. Deforestation in indigenous territories by loggers,

colonizers, and refugees has sometimes triggered violent conflicts. Of great concern is the rate at

which deforestation is occurring. Currently, twelve million hectares of forests are cleared

annually. Almost all this deforestation occurs in the moist forests and open woodlands of the

tropics. At this rate all moist tropical forests could be lost by the year 2050, except for isolated

areas in Amazonia, the Zaire Basin, as well as a few protected areas within reserves and parks.

Some countries such as Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Costa Rica, and Sri Lanka are likely to lose all their

tropical forests by the year 2010 if no conservation steps are taken. Tropical rainforests presently

give a place to call home for fifty percent to ninety percent of all organisms, ninety percent of

our relatives, the primates, and fifty million creatures that can live in no place but the rich

rainforests. Not only are other species at risk, but the human race also benefits from what the
trees give. From something as minor as the spices that indulge food to life giving medicine (25%

of medicine comes from the forests), the rain forests amplify and save lives. The forests give life,

not only to other species, but they help to prolong the human race. The forests have global

implications not just on life but on the quality of it. Trees improve the quality of the air that

species breathe by trapping carbon and other particles produced by pollution. Trees determine

rainfall and replenish the atmosphere. As more water gets put back in the atmosphere, clouds

form and provide another way to block out the sun’s heat. Trees are what cool and regulate the

earth’s climate in conjunction with other such valuable services as preventing erosion, landslides,

and making the most infertile soil rich with life. The logging industry is fueled by the need for

disposable products. Eleven million acres a year are cut for commercial and property industries.

Beyond the major causes of deforestation lie some supplementary ones that too stack the odds

against forests along the globe. Acid rain and building of dams have their share of harmful

effects. Deforestation presents multiple societal and environmental problems. The immediate and

long term consequences of global deforestation are almost certain to jeopardize life on earth, as

we know it. Some of these consequences include: loss of biodiversity; the destruction of forest-

based-society; in climatic disruption. What we must realize is that the paper products that we use

daily could have been a part of a forest which function to enrich and hold soil, absorb carbon

dioxide, collect and recycle water, release oxygen, and regulate climate. Some companies do

plant trees to produce the kinds of the products needed by industry to spare the older forests but

many do not. By wasting paper products, we are wasting forests. The simple fact is that the more

paper we use, the more forests need to be cut down to serve our paper needs. We as human

beings may not understand the severity of the possible consequences that deforestation poses.

Since deforestation has had no severe effect on us yet, we ignore the problem. Everywhere you
go, you see pieces of paper on the ground, people using multiple tissues to wipe their noses, and

countless people pulling excessive amounts of brown paper out of the paper towel dispensers in

lavatories. These are just few of the sources of paper that we use each day, without any thought

whatsoever. There is no cure or deforestation. Many people talk of reforestation; however that is

just not a true solution. Although replanting the forests that have been destroyed seems like a

good idea, it actually does no good. Often times the new trees are not the same species as the

originals. Also, by the time the trees grow and mature, the soil has already lost much of the

nutrients that once had. Old forests and new forests are not the same and it is the old forests that

need to be protected. The immediate effects of deforestation may not yet be felt, but if this

generation does not feel it the next generation and their children will be the ones to suffer. It is

the actions of the human race that can make or break the future of the planet. In the end everyone

loses unless a solution can be reached. This is easier said than done but the choices that lie ahead

on this matter carry severe consequences that will forever change the way that all things live if

they are able to live at all.

Toxic waste is waste material, often in chemical form, which can cause death or injury to

living creatures. It usually is the product of industry or commerce, but comes also from

residential use, agriculture, the military, medical facilities, radioactive sources, and light industry,

such as dry cleaning establishments. The term is often used interchangeably with hazardous

waste, or discarded material that can pose a long-term risk to health or environment. Used motor

oil alone accounts for a massive waste disposal problem. Americans use about one billion gallons

of motor oil each year, and 350 million gallons of that ends up in the environment. The amount

of used oil illegally poured into backyards and storm drains each year is equal to ten times the

amount of oil spilled in the Exxon Valdez tanker accident in late 1980s. It only takes one quart of
motor oil that is disposed of improperly to eventually contaminate 250 thousand gallons of

ground water. Our major concern is the use of nuclear weapons. The destructive power of nuclear

weapons cannot be contained in either space or time. They have the potential to destroy all

civilization and the entire ecosystem of the planet. We have yet to fully grasp the monstrous

effects of these weapons, that the consequences of their use defy reason, transcending time and

space, poisoning the earth and deforming its inhabitants.