What Is Environmental Degradation?

The environment can be thought of as a model of the planet. In this case the environment is used to represent the non-human environment. The environment covers everything living and nonliving including animals and plants.


The environment can be thought of as the total combined human activities that occur on Earth and/or any part of Earth or the entire universe. The earth is made of several layers including ice, tectonic, chemical and physical layers. The atmosphere consists mainly of CO2 with some other gases and ozone layers. A distinction should be made between the human activities and non human activities. Human activities are those which modify the environment through burning fossil fuels for example, or are responsible for creating the changes in the atmospheric pressure that leads to global warming. They include all human activity such as mining, drilling for oil and gas, deforestation, fishing, construction, transport, production of food products, etc.

A change in the environment occurs whenever there is an addition of something that was not there before and / or something that was already there in a previous environment suddenly becomes extinct. There are three types of environment: biosphere, hydrosphere and the biotic. The biosphere is the place where all life forms exist together in combination with water and oxygen. In the hydrosphere the atmosphere is replaced by water and the ground is covered with soil. Life forms include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, etc.

The human activities that result in the destruction of the environment are categorized as anthropogenic. The other categories are contributed by natural processes and by chance. A healthy environment has the conditions necessary for the existence of living organisms. There are various natural systems that maintain ecosystems. These include:

A healthy natural environment is one in which biological diversity exists in its natural state. This means that there are a number of different species of living organisms existing in their natural environment in parallel with the amount of unnatural introductions needed to maintain the equilibrium. In essence then the definition of the word “natural” includes all the variations that occur in their natural environments due to human intervention. This situation is greatly aggravated by the fact that there is no regulatory body to control the activities of these anthropogenic introductions which in turn allow for the rapid introduction of new species.

The imbalance between the biosphere, hydrosphere and the environment leads to a variety of problems. One such problem is global warming. The earth has been warming since long time and this problem is only accentuated by the increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases. Since these greenhouse gases trap heat within the earth, they tend to increase the earth’s temperature and disrupt the natural balance. This in turn triggers changes in the earth’s weather patterns, which often result in heavy rainfall, drought and increased fire in arid regions. Thus we can say that the present environmental crisis is directly linked to the human activities and the misuse of the earths resources.