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Nature and environmental politics

What do nature and environment mean to us? But not only to humans but to every living creature on this planet? These two words represent our life and our being on the Earth. Nature and environment create surrounding around us. Everything what we can see and perceive is nature and its elements. Animals, plants and even a human are also ones of these elements. Environment is very essential for living beings, and for that reason we are obliged to protect it as much as possible. The problem is, that it is not always, and nowadays, less and less in interest of people, to save our Earth, as it seems.

First of all, we should have a look at protection of our environment. Is it sufficient? Or should we do and care for it more? What are its positives and its drawbacks? Or I could make the question like this: Why ought we to do something to protect and to improve the state of environment and nature all around us? The answer is simple. If we don´t do it, we will die. Not today, not tomorrow, but as the conditons for our living are getting worse and worse, and the reason of it, is mankind itself, one day we kill ourselves.

As far as positives and drawbacks of protection are concerned, there is much done for saving our health environment. On the other hand, it is probably for sure, that there is still more to do and to fight against than positives of this problem.
So, another point is: what does the human being do so bad to the nature and environment? Let me have a closer look at it.
One of the biggest producers of pollution are factories and industry itself. Factories for their activies, in order to produce and make their products, use different chemicals containing dangerous substances and materials which in final consequences have enormous effects on nature, air and all surroundings. Almost every branch of industry, if it is for example tourism, oil industry or giant factories making products of all kinds, assists by their part to pollution.

We can divide the pollution into two categories. It is air pollution, and ground and water pollution. The first one, the air pollution, is mostly caused by traffic. Although all living beings share the air, only people pollute. Because only people use cars, buses, aeroplanes or motorcycles, and all of these vehicles play a large role in the creation of air pollution. These vehicles produce exhaust, which often gets trapped in the cities due to the wind currents created by the cityscape, causing smog in heavy congested areas, which smarts the eyes and chokes the senses.

The ground and water pollution, on the other hand, is caused by factories, power plants and normal households. As many factories don´t have an efficient cleaning system, they discharge their waste into the water system. Water is also endangered by tankers transporting oil. Thanks to accidents happening to these tankers, several million litres of water has been polluted and many fish and seabirds have died. Ground is also polluted by conventional agriculture, more closer by chemical fertilisers-major source of nitrous oxide, used instead of manure. Moreover, normal households pollute as-well. They not only use chemically based cleaning products, but also don´t separate trash, don´t recycle it and waste energy and water.

But probably the most dangerous for our planet, for air we breath, for seas – the home of enormous number of water creatures, for ground we live on and we grow plants in and for every living creature, are the factories producing so called greenhouse gases and then consequent of them are effects called greenhouse effect and the hole in the ozone layer.

First of all let me have a look on the second problem – the hole in the ozone layer. The ozone layer in the atmosphere works as a filter for the sun. In case of a damage of this layer there is a bigger possibility of the increase of skin cancer. Thanks to the hole in the ozone layer, the weather patterns are changing as-well. The hole was caused by the industrial and technological way of life of this century. Nowadays, there is vast amount of the gas Freon and CO2 released from cars, power plants, and homes. Responsible for the holes appearing over the Artic and the Antarctic, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have been held too. Most CFCs are in the atmosphere as a result of their emission from household aerosols and also as a result of the burning of lightweight foam packaging as plastic coffee cups and the like.
Likewise the first problem, the second one also is a danger for living beings and the Earth. And it is probably even more dangerous problem. As I already wrote, the greenhouse effect is caused by the greenhouse gases among which belong: carbon dioxide (CD), earlier mentioned CFCs, methane, nitrous oxide and in the lower atmosphere it is ozone.

These gases allow the sun´s rays to pass through the atmosphere to warm the surface of the earth, but they prevent the earth´s heat from being radiated back into space. Global warming then, would bring a complete change in the global climate. The largest single contributor to the greenhouse effect is, of course, the carbon dioxide – CD, whose amount is still increasing. A doubling of the CD concentration would cause a rise of between 1,5°C and 5,5°C at the earth´s surface. The combustion of fossil fuels and other industrial releases are pumping more than 5 billion tonnes of CD into the atmosphere each year.

The second greenhouse gas is the methane. It is also thought to contribute to about 20% of the greenhouse effect. Significant quantities of methane is produced by insects. Other source for example is biological decay in waterlogged areas – paddy fields for instance.
Agriculture, particularly the use of fertilisers is major source of the nitrous oxide, the other greenhouse gas. This gas is also emitted from power stations and car exhausts.

But what about tourism? Has it a big participation on pollution?
We can definitely say „yes“. Every favourite touristic destination, either if it is in Slovakia or anywhere else on the earth, brings many, and many tourists and they then mean more and more pollution. If we want to hear it or not, only people are responsible for the state of the earth. The good example for this theory are still increasing disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunami, last time in December 2004 with tragic consequences, and if we want one example from our country, it is whirlwind in the High Tatras destroying huge amount of trees and nature. After this disaster another problem has been installed there. How to use the area arisen after cutting the trees down. One side wants to plant new trees but the other side would like to see there a new touristic centres. So, the question is, what is the best? The problem is that people tent to prefer their own convenience and luxury over a healthy natural environment.

Among the activists, trying to save our earth, where we can rank organisations like Greenpeace, The Green Party, Eyfaa – the European Youth Forest Action Alliance or GEN – Global Ecovillage Network, should belong also governments of each state and country and their politics in this area should be more active and radical, because industrial and personal interests have still been advanced.

This planet has been in existence for 5 million years and we would like it to last into the future, but we also must do something for it.
So, how could we help to save the Earth? What should be done for it and what to do to reduce the worst problem – CD in the atmosphere?
There is more solutions for the last problem-reduction of CD.

The first solution rests in natural gas. This fuel should be used instead of coal, as the gas is cleaner and more efficient as a fuel. It produces just over half as much CD as coal for the same amount of heat. Secondly, other energy sources(not fossil fuel) could be used, for example nuclear reactors and renewable energy such as wind turbines and tidal water barrages. Fuel itself should be burnt more efficiently in the first place – in domestic boilers, cars and power stations, and vast quantities of waste heat from generators can be used to heat buildings. Moreover, homes and buildings are possible to be built to conserve more heat and gain more from sunshine.

The new information about this problem was also annonced to the world few weeks ago. The Kyoto´s protocol has been signed among the countries of the world in order to reduce the greenhousegases by 5% in a period of seven years. But the problem is that biggest producers of these gases, the USA, Australia, China and India didn´t sign it.

And what about other forms of protection against pollution? Each individual can make a difference by making changes in their daily lives. Each of us can for example separate and recycle our trash, don´t throw it in nature, don´t waste water and electricity, buy only sprays without FCKW, use public trasportation, buy cars with a catalysator or have one installed in our old car, use unleaded petrol, avoid using washing powders with harmful chemicles or grow plants and trees.
I know, one can say, how I can save the earth, when big factories are not interested in it at all. But it is not true. Every single person can do something for our planet.
To sum up all of these infornation, I would say, that this planet is a place where we live, we will not live anywhere else, so it should be our first-rate interest to keep it as much in a good condition as possible.

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