Is Mankind Dangerously Harming The Environment? - Essay by Chickschurp



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Is Mankind Dangerously Harming The Environment? Essay

  • Submitted by: chickschurp
  • on April 11, 2011
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 1,883 words

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Below is an essay on "Is Mankind Dangerously Harming The Environment?" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Is Mankind Dangerously Harming the Environment?
Professor R. Rifai
November 15, 2010

Is Mankind Dangerously Harming the Environment?
Only during the last hundred years has “one species – man – acquired significant power to alter” the events in his world (Carson, 1962, p. 5). Rachel Carson, in her book “Silent Spring”, warns that if humanity continues living the way we do now, we will harm the planet. But how big of an impact do humans really pose? Is Earth just on a cycle of events that is in no way correlated to mankind? Many changes in the last century are beginning to make people wonder just how we are affecting the Earth; and are these changes going to make us better off, or hinder us in the future?
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The most notable change is the increase in greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are mostly comprised of carbon dioxide and methane. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities have increased by 14 percent from 1990 to 2008” (Climate, 2010, slide3). In the last century, the carbon dioxide “concentration in the atmosphere has risen from 280 ppm [parts-per-million] to more than 380 ppm because of the industrial activities of humans” (Ruddiman, 2008, p. 86). We’ve had strong levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the past from volcanoes, but what does this really do to the environment? First off, it raises the temperature, and also the excess carbon dioxide that does not go into the atmosphere eventually gets dissolved in the oceans causing them to acidify.
Water Changes
Changes in water include changes in the water level, temperature, and acidity. In the last hundred years, the sea level has risen about “15 cm (6 inches) due to melting glacier ice and expansion of warmer seawater”, and in the next ninety years, “models predict that sea level may rise as much as 59 cm (23 inches)” (Gardiner, 2010, para 3). That is more than four times faster than it did in the...

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