Christian Ledina
Professor Townsend
English B1A T/Th 1:00
15 October 2018
Crucial life altering choices made by Humans
The choices people make throughout their lifetime may negatively impact the planet far worse than some may think. In a human-dominated world, understanding the effects of human disturbance is critical for effective management and conservation of wildlife. The human population has exploded with a subsequent acceleration in poor human choices that impact our planet. This rise in poor life choices has resulted in the destruction of wildlife, and the habitats that come with it for the sake of an individual’s own greed. There are many different life altering choices that an individual can simply avoid partaking in that helps aid in bettering the future. Littering is a growing problem all over of the world, and is something people do out of laziness. The act of littering is the process by which waste is improperly disposed of. Not properly getting rid of trash and waste posses a threat to the public health due to the harm caused on water systems, Oceans as well as rivers. Littering kills the environment and increases the amount methane produced in earth’s atmosphere. Methane in the atmosphere also creates ground-level ozone, and ozone isn’t only bad for human health; it also contributes to global warming. Human influences are the number one cause of global warming, especially the carbon pollution we cause by burning fossil fuels and the pollution-capturing we prevent by destroying forests. Along with littering and global warming, another worldwide problem individuals still chose to practice in todays time is the act of killing a certain species for the sake of one’s own personal benefit is known as poaching. Poaching has lead to the extinction of 11 different types of animals and is still going on present day. This affects the environment by depleting certain species of animals. This causes animals that are endangered to become extinct, thus creating a disruption in the food chain. All of these problems that have arisen within the past decades are the results of choices that the human population have chosen to be apart of.
Littering is a dangerous activity that should not be taken lightly because it greatly impacts the environment in many different ways. Humans are the number one cause of global warming and the production of Methane. Methane is one of the most powerful greenhouse gasses, and decomposing garbage in landfills is one of the producers of those gas. Landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the United States, with municipal solid waste landfills representing 95 percent of this fraction. When solid waste is first deposited in a landfill, it undergoes a decomposition stage where little methane is generated. Then, typically within less than 1 year, conditions are established and methane-producing bacteria begin to decompose the waste and generate methane. Once these gasses produced by the decomposition of littering reach our atmosphere they infuse with the other gasses in the atmosphere and begin to store radiation, which results in an increase in temperature on earth’s surface. This process of heating up the earth is known as global warming. Due to the slowly rising temperature on earth’s surface because of human choices, the polar ice caps are beginning to melt. This will also cause a rise in the sea levels which will eventually flood some low lying land that animals and people inhabit. In addition to the ice caps melting the sea’s temperature is also rising. The article from states that, “As benthic habitat-forming species decline and as the physical structure of the habitats are modified, there may be indirect impacts of marine debris such as declines in species that are dependent on these habitats for foraging and shelter”( This means that a rise in the sea’s temperature causes a widespread death of various types of marine life such as algae and plankton. Global warming is also one of the leading causes in the bleaching of coral reefs which ends in the coral dying. Rising surface temperatures on the earth also worsen air pollution by increasing ground level ozone, which is created when pollution from cars, factories, and other sources react to sunlight and heat. Ground-level ozone is one of the main components of smog, and the hotter things get, the more of it there is. Polluted air is linked to higher hospital admission rates and higher death rates for people with lung-related illnesses. The increase in air pollution also worsens the health of people suffering from cardiac or pulmonary disease. Just like “The Handmaid’s tale” pollution in an environment is caused by humans careless decision to improperly dispose of their toxic waste.
Human’s careless decisions in improperly disposal of trash has been one of the main causes for the destruction of wildlife, and the habitats that come with it. In Ciampaglia article “Oceans of trash” she states that, “Plastic can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade, or break down into smaller parts, once it’s thrown away.” So once an individual chooses to litter, their piece of trash could take about 1,000 years to biodegrade. Littering introduces both noxious biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste into the environment. Animals that tend to roam in these areas are subject to eating these wastes. Plastic litter has often been mistaken for food by both land and marine wildlife, such as sea turtles, fish, and some herbivores. In Catherine Irving’s article she states that, “When plastic litter drifts out to sea, animals like turtles or dolphins may ingest the plastic. The plastic creates health problems for the animals including depleting their nutrients and blocking their stomachs and intestines. Animals cannot break down plastic in their digestive system and will usually die from the obstruction.”(Irving) In this article Irving is describing what exactly happens to animals when humans do not chose to properly dispose of waste and do the right thing when it comes to our environment. Some of the non-biodegradable waste can sometimes ensnare or wound animals that get trapped. For example, nets and ropes that have not been disposed of properly can get caught on animal limbs, and could eventually cause dehydration or suffocation in the animal. People don’t understand the damages they are causing to the animals, the place in which they live, and the environment. Littering can also carry and spread diseases such as cholera and typhoid. These waste can potentially carry around germs that could end up in various of places and as a result, it forms a breeding ground for bacteria. The effect of these breeding grounds of bacteria is the exposure of the germs to the general public which can lead to deaths and poor health within the society. Not only does these germs affect human society but animal society as well. Just like humans, animals are susceptible to microbial attacks. Another way litter can also cause disease and injury is by directly introducing pathogens to individuals. When rusted metal is not properly disposed of they can cause infections such as tetanus to those who get cut by these wastes. Littering not only damages the wildlife and habitats on the planet, but also could potentially damage other people as well. When trash makes its way into bodies of water it can cause a boom in algae. Algal blooms are the result of a sudden burst of algae in a large body of water due to organic litter being dumped into these waters by humans. These algae are very dangerous for the marine life that live in these waters because the algae acts like a carpet layer on the surface and it that prevents the diffusion of oxygen in the water. Without this oxygen the marine life will slowly start to die all because of improper disposal of waste. There are many dangerous results that occur when a human chooses to partake in poor life choices such as littering.
Another life choice that is destroying our environment is when individuals partake in the act of poaching. Poaching is the process in which an individual kills an animal for their body parts for “medicinal” reasons. Wildlife poaching has a negative impact on local communities, wildlife populations, and the environment. Poaching is a crime fueled by the black market, and it commonly practiced because people will pay top dollar for these animal parts, such as elephant tusks, rhino horns…etc. Poachers kill hundreds of thousands of animals every year and if nothing is done then animals will start to go extinct. Communities that thrive on its wildlife are at great risk for economic hardship if these beautiful animals keep getting poached at the rate they are now. Extinction is the greatest threat to the animals that are being victimized by wildlife poachers. Many animals such as dodos, and Caspian tigers are no longer around today due to human poaching. Poaching is incredibly dangerous to the environment, for example when the North American Gray Wolf was on the brink of extinction because of poaching and trophy hunting, the elk population of Yellowstone national park skyrocketed. Since the elk had no natural predator they nearly ate all of the aspen tree to extinction. Poaching disrupts the cycle of life within this ecosystem because animals need one another for proper balance. Ecosystems are very sensitive and must be protected at all costs. Lack of protection for our wildlife can result in the endangerment, or extinction of many different types of species. Which then result in the disruption of the animal’s cycle of life, local communities, and the habitats around the affected area.
The life choices that humans make are very crucially to not only themselves but to everyone, and every living thing around them. The choices people make throughout their lifetime may negatively impact the planet far worse than some may think. Humans often practice the act of littering out of laziness. The simple action of littering damages the planet in many ways than one might think. Human litter is the leading cause of the production of methane that gets released into our atmosphere. Littering is a dangerous act and should not be taken lightly because of its great impact on our planet. Methane is one of the most powerful greenhouse gasses, takes about 8 years to disappear from our atmosphere, and is one of the gasses mainly responsible for global warming. The result of this gas being released in the atmosphere is a sudden rise in temperature on earth’s surface. This rise in temperature can hold alot of negative effects on the environment such as the death of different types of marine wildlife, a rise in airbourne related illnesses, and an increase in air pollution. Methane is produced from decomposing piles of improperly disposed waste that humans let build up over time. Littering not only produces methane but also affects the wildlife exposed to these toxic waste. Human’s careless decisions in improperly disposal of trash has been one of the main causes for the destruction of wildlife, and the habitats that come with it. Plastic litter is often mistaken for food by both marine and land wildlife. Animals that tend to roam around in areas where there are trash are subject to consuming litter. The plastic creates health problems for the animals including depleting their nutrients and blocking their stomachs and intestines. Animals cannot break down plastic in their digestive system and will usually die from the obstruction. Animals can also sometimes get caught in these non-biodegradable waste and cause suffocation, starvation, and dehydration in the animal. People do not understand that one piece of trash can greatly impact everything around them if not properly disposed of. The killing of a specific species for their body parts in order to gain profit is known as poaching. The act of poaching is another life choice humans make that greatly impacts local communities, wildlife populations, and the environment. Completely annihilation of a species in an ecosystem disrupts the balance within that community and results in an overflow of a specific animal or resource that could then lead to other altercations. Wildlife is very sensitive and must be protected at all costs, If humans do not chose to do the right thing now there will be very severe consequences in the future.

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