Every human need and activity “demands different natural resources” (Dietz, Rosa, & York, 2007, p. 14). Such activities also produce numerous wastes. The term “human footprint” focuses on the continued use of the earth’s resources for survival. Human activities tend to have copious impacts on the natural environment. Human beings should measure this impact in order to make the planet more sustainable. Humans expect the planet to produce every required resource.
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They also expect the natural environment to consume their waste materials. It is notable that the planet cannot cope with this kind of pressure. This fact explains why people’s impacts on the natural environment continue to affect the world ecology. This essay discusses the impact of the human footprint on the natural environment. The essay presents useful recommendations that can make planet Earth more sustainable.
The Human Footprint
The “concept human footprint estimates the amount of natural resources consumed by individuals in order to survive” (Dietz et al., 2007, p. 15). The planet can no longer support the needs of its people. The global population has been increasing at an alarming rate. However, the available resources have reduced significantly. The current population growth calls for more water and food. Human beings also require more land and resources.
Human movement also utilizes numerous resources. The issue of urbanization is also putting much pressure on every natural resource. The current changes in the developing world are encourage people to consume more resources. The developing world is consuming more meat, fuel, and electricity. The human footprint for the developing world is increasing at a very high rate. These developments explain why “the rate of consumption continues to outpace the available resources” (Dietz et al., 2007, p. 15).
The built environment has also shifted different environments. This practice has affected the integrity and sustainability of different ecological zones. Many people are living in big homes thus increasing their energy demands.
The “human footprint concept makes it easier for researchers to estimate the amount of resources needed to sustain a person’s lifestyle” (Dietz et al., 2007, p. 15). People are drawing more natural resources from planet Earth than ever before. That being the case, more natural resources will be required in order to support the world’s population. The “manner in which individuals clothe, travel, house, drink, and eat affects the sustainability of the planet” (Penna, 2013, p. 47). Human beings will deplete these resources in the future. Human activities have affected the effectiveness of different natural systems. Some of these systems include “hydrological cycles, climatic patterns, and nutrient exchanges” (Penna, 2013, p. 47). The choices embraced by the global population have numerous impacts on the ecology of the universe.
How Human Footprint Affects the World Ecology
People’s choices have numerous impacts on the world ecology. To begin with, every human activity has numerous implications on the natural environment. Human beings always use “fuels, different sources of electricity, food materials, and clothes” (Penna, 2013, p. 83). Such materials are produced by the planet. The agreeable fact is that most of the Earth’s resources are finite. The choices made by human beings have adverse impacts on the natural ecology. The level of degradation has been increasing significantly. According to different studies, human beings are “using the equivalent of one and half planets to fulfill their needs” (Penna, 2013, p. 83). Humanity requires more resources than the planet can generate. Planet Earth is unable to regenerate what mankind uses in a year.
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According to the United Nations (UN), the current consumption and population trends will affect the sustainability of the planet within the next two decades. By the year 2030, humans “might need two planets to acquire and dispose their wastes” (Penna, 2013, p. 63). This scenario shows clearly that people’s footprints have resulted in adverse ecological impacts. Human beings are also producing more wastes from every available resource. This development “has put the natural environment on something called ecological overshoot” (Niccolucci, Tiezzi, Pulselli, & Capineri, 2012, p. 24). Human activities continue to deplete the available resources. This development shows clearly that the natural environment will be unable to support life in the coming years.
Human beings are destroying more natural habitats in order to get new farming lands. They have also been constructing new homes and infrastructures. The built environment has increased due to the current wave of urbanization. This malpractice has reduced the available land for food production. The available natural environment is unable to regenerate most of the wastes into useful products. The world’s ecology is unable to support different creatures.
Carbon emissions are “major challenges affecting the world today” (Niccolucci et al., 2012, p. 28). Such emissions have destroyed the ozone layer thus resulting in adverse climatic patterns. The planet has become unsustainable because many ecological habitats are being lost.
The number of forests has reduced significantly. Human beings have destroyed these natural environments in order to get wood and timber. The above issues show clearly that human footprints have produced numerous problems. The agreeable fact is that planet Earth’s ecology is no longer sustainable. People require more natural resources in order to support their demands. Studies also indicate that “more people are facing water shortages and poverty” (Niccolucci et al., 2012, p. 28). New environmental hazards have emerged in the recent past. People are exposed to different toxic materials. This problem has emerged because the natural ecology cannot regenerate most of the produced wastes. Poor land-use decisions continue to worsen the situation (Niccolucci et al., 2012).
The above discussion should encourage human beings to reconsider their relationships with the natural world. People should embrace the best conservation methods in order to reduce their footprints. They can also make the best choices whenever fulfilling their demands. For example, human beings should “save energy, conserve water, share resources, construct small homes, and use bicycles instead of vehicles” (Cornelia, 2014, p. 553). Proper urban planning policies are needed in order to conserve more environments. Governments should use sustainable methods to produce electricity. Such practices will ensure the natural environment supports the needs of many citizens.
The global population is consuming more than planet Earth can produce. Human beings, governments, and institutions should therefore create health relationships with their surrounding environments. Human beings should transform their footprints by embracing the most appropriate practices. New conservation efforts are required in order to protect more natural resources, habitats, and ecologies. People should “use their capacities to modify different natural ecologies” (Cornelia, 2014, p. 556). This practice will ensure human beings coexist with other natural creatures. Carbon emissions should be reduced in order to deal with global warming. Policymakers and scientists should also present powerful insights in order to promote the best ecological practices.
Cornelia, P. (2014). True Cost Economics: Ecological Footprint. Procedia Economics and Finance, 8(1), 550-555. Web.
Dietz, T., Rosa, E., & York, R. (2007). Driving the Human Ecological Footprint. Research Communications, 5(1), 13-18. Web.
Niccolucci, V., Tiezzi, E., Pulselli, F., & Capineri, C. (2012). Biocapacity vs Ecological Footprint of World Regions: A Geopolitical Interpretation. Ecological Indicators, 16(1), 23-30. Web.
Penna, A. (2013). The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History. New York, NY: Wiley. Web.