Global environmental problems involve one or more of the following:
3. Rapid Population Growth
4. Food Production and Equitable Distribution
5. Global Warming
6. Depletion of the Atmospheric Ozone
7. Acid Precipitation and Air Pollution
8. Ocean Pollution
Characteristics of International Environmental Problems:
1. Many of the international problems involve the use of common pool resources - air, water, ocean and forests – that are owned by no one nation.
2. Human and environmental impacts of the problems transcend the borders of any one country. Impacts of such problems as acid precipitation, ozone depletion and air pollution are not felt at only within countries where the problems are often created.
3. International Environmental Problems require international Cooperation to resolve them
Factors Responsible for the Emergence of the Environment as a Global Issue
1. The Multiplication and Deepening of Environmental Problems. The rapid growth in population and its effects on resource exploitation has led to the emergence of many environmental problems. Problems such as deforestation, air pollution, acid precipitation and oil spills have become a common sight. Many people have experienced the effects of human activities on the environment such as the impacts of toxic waste dumping at Love Canal, New York and the Chernobyl nuclear fall out.
2. Improvement in Scientific Research: An increase in scientific research on environmental problems has contributed to much richer and by no means, a complete understanding of several environmental problems. The work of Rachel Carlson on DDT educated the public on the consequences of chemicals.
3. Effective Dissemination of Information about Environmental Disasters: The advent of radio and television, e-mails and the web, book publishing and air transportation brought about very efficient way of disseminating either environmental problems occurring at far away locations or new materials (films, books and research) about environmental education.
4. The Rise and Establishment of Grassroots Environmental Organizations: In responding to local environmental problems caused by toxic waste dumping, citing of nuclear plants or the preservation of plant and animal species, the door to door campaigns of local groups have galvanized into strong internal forces that have made environmental problems an issue in local politics and elections.
5. The rise of National and International Environmental Political (Green) Organizations: Environmentalism has become a dominant political force in many nations. In many Western countries, environmental concern has manifested itself in the development of Green Movements and Green Political Parties to challenge the environmental management policies of established political parties. Beginning first in West Germany in the 1970’s, Green parties have sprung up all over the world including Brazil, Costa Rica, Japan, Canada, Soviet Union, United States (Barry's Commoner's Citizens Party 1980) to press for solutions to global environmental problems. Candidates from Green parties have been elected into parliaments in Switzerland, (first in 1979) Finland, Belgium, Portugal, West Germany (1983), Luxembourg (1984) Austria (1986) Italy (1987), Sweden (1988), and the Netherlands (1989).
6. Evolution in thinking about Relationships between Economic Activity and the Environment. With increased research on environmental issues and effective dissemination of such research findings, the public and some politicians have come to understand the relationship between economic activities and environmental problems.
7. International Environmental Conferences: The meeting of world leaders at international environmental conferences have highlighted common environmental concerns and sought to galvanize local environmental groups...