We explain what the environment is and what its general characteristics are. Also, what are renewable and non-renewable resources.
What is the environment?
The environment is everything that surrounds organisms . It is composed of:
- Biotic factors. The other living beings .
- Abiotic factors. Lifeless elements such as wind, temperature , humidity or light .
When the environment is modified, in some cases organisms can adapt to the change . However, in recent decades, due to the action of man, the environment has been modified to the point that the habitats of many animals were reduced or disappeared, causing the extinction of many species.
The environment is a complex and delicate system in which each of its components is related and affects the others.
See also: Environmental impact
When we speak of the organisms present in the environment, we refer to populations, that is, the set of individuals of a species that is found in the studied environment .
Each of the organisms affects the environment and is affected by it. For example, large populations of cattle pollute the air , affecting the entire environment.
At the same time, cattle are affected by abiotic factors such as heat and water availability , and biotic factors such as the availability of plant food.
The air is one of the elements of the environment including:
- Biotic factors. Microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria that remain in the environment. Pollen or seeds that dissipate thanks to the air.
- Abiotic factors. Wind and humidity, but also polluting inorganic substances such as carbon dioxide or sulfur .
On the other hand, the chemical composition of the air, depending on the degree of pollution and oxygen saturation, can determine whether or not an environment is suitable for humans and other species.
Water is one of the essential elements for the survival of organisms. Water pollutants are closely related to air and soil pollutants. For example, if there is carbon dioxide in the air, it falls to the water through the precipitations called acid rain .
Therefore, the level of contamination in one of the aspects of the environment also affects the contamination in others. The presence or absence of water affects the populations of living beings, both animals and plants.
- They are the "lungs" of the planet as they provide the oxygen consumed by animals and humans.
- They remove polluting carbon dioxide.
- They are the habitat of hundreds of thousands of living things.
- They maintain the balance of humidity and temperature in the air.
- They sustain the fertility of the soil .
Deforestation is the loss of forest and jungle land . Some of its causes are natural (such as fires), but for the most part it is caused by man, by the exploitation of the natural resources of the forest or by clearing to use the land in order to build houses or make plantations.
The role of forests is irreplaceable. For this reason, losing hectares of forest affects the environment in its entirety: living beings, temperature, air, soil and indirectly water.
In contrast, cities that are located in valleys surrounded by mountains tend to have high concentrations of pollution. Therefore, in these cases , care for the environment must be strengthened in reducing emissions of toxic gases .
Temperature is one of the abiotic factors of the environment and that in recent decades has attracted the attention of scientists and ecologists due to the phenomenon of global warming . The increase in global average temperature is a consequence of multiple environmental factors such as air pollution and deforestation.
In turn, changes in temperature affect organisms , since many of them can only live in a specific range of temperatures. For example, rising water temperatures are causing coral deterioration.
For the most part, the use of renewable energies has much less environmental impact than non-renewable energies, since they do not generate toxic gases. Given that human populations need an energy source , the use of renewable resources is essential for caring for the environment.
Non-renewable resources, such as oil or gas, are part of the environment since man extracts them from it . Although the decrease in these resources usually does not affect the environment directly, the extraction methods used by man do.
For example, the mining open pit destroys and pollutes the soil and landscape . Other non-renewable resources such as hydrocarbons (oil and its derivatives) pollute the air when they are used as a source of energy.
For this reason, part of caring for the environment is to ensure the correct recycling and reuse of as much waste materials as possible.
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