Environment refers to everything that surrounds us. It is a term that is used in many fields of study and also in everyday life. In simple terms, the environment can be thought of as the ‘world’ around us. The earth’s environment is continually in change. The environment is categorized into three main categories: biological, chemical, and geological. In a nutshell, the environment is a continuously changing world.
The natural environment encompasses all living and non living things occurring either naturally or unaided, which means outside of human control. In this case, the word non living is often used in place of living organisms. In fact, the term is sometimes even used to describe the moon, stars, planets, or indeed the universe. In a very broad sense, the earth, its atmosphere and oceans are considered to be the entire environment.
The environment is affected by human activities. This may be in the way of materials being used (such as trees or coal mining), or human beings themselves, such as through land destruction or alterations to the land. Even natural processes like wind, rainfall and earthquakes can affect the environment in some way.
Human activities have caused significant alterations to the earth’s natural world, with the increase in population leading to urbanization and the need for more resources. Also, industrialization has meant the concentration of numerous human activities in a relatively small area. As these changes have occurred, human beings have altered the earth’s ecosystems to their benefit. They have built large cities, changed the amount and type of wind that is released into the atmosphere, altered the amounts of natural resources that are available, and built factories in which to process these resources.
Humans can also alter the environment through their actions and reactions. Humans can be responsible for creating or destroying natural resources. Governments can control human activities by controlling the use of their natural resources. They can also be responsible for managing their ecosystems and ensuring that there is a balance between humans and nature. Managed environments can either be natural or manmade, and are typically managed by businesses.
In managed environments, this balance between humans and nature is maintained by regulating what is placed in the environment, controlling what pollutes the environment, and preventing or reducing the use of natural resources. Managed environments are not necessarily created to function in an unsupervised way. These environments can have severe consequences for the people who occupy them and for the environment as a whole. Therefore, it is important for everyone to become aware of the impact of their actions on the Earth’s environment.