Humans are a part of the natural environment. Unfortunately, we have not yet learnt to moderate our activities in such a way as to help the environment. Human activities often lead to degradation of the environment. Impacts of humans include:
•pollution - land, freshwater creeks and rivers, seas and oceans, and air •deforestation and destruction of habitats
•endangerment and extinction of flora and fauna species
•introduction of invasive and parasitic fauna and flora species to new areas •increased desertification of land - this often occurs because, when humans try to increase fertile land in one area, they must divert needed resources from another area •altering natural waterways which can increase the risk of flooding •Interfering with the natural fire cycles of an area (one cause of increased bushfire problems in Australia) •overuse of natural resources, resulting in depletion of some of these resources •climate change and the development of extreme weather conditions: scientists continue to debate how much humans actually contribute to climate change and/or global warming, but there is evidence that our activities do contribute in some part •rising sea levels
•increased erosion of land as a result of mining or agricultural activities •Mining activities not only can destroy the vegetation of the area, but can contribute to instability in the earth's crust.
There can be some neutral impacts. Native people in many lands lived in harmony with their environment for thousands of years. The Native Americans and Australian Aborigines, for example, used only what they needed, and did not pollute their environment or alter it negatively and permanently.
Fortunately, man is learning (a little too late) that there are activities he can undertake to improve land he has already degraded. This may involve: •conservation, monitoring of and captive breeding programmed for...