If it was possible
to peer into the future and see the environmental consequences
of mankind’s actions, humans’ harmful contributions to the
highly acidic rain levels would be apparent. Seeing the
possibility of a tragic environment in the future would change
the ways we treat our environment today and forever. The
environment receives its main punishments from a variety of
sources, ranging from car smog to industrial smog and waste.
Acid rain, fog, sleet and snow all have severely harmful affects
on our environment. In order to protect our environment, humans
need to be conscious of the results of their actions and act
responsibly to slow down, if not stop, the negative effects of
acid rain on our plant, animal and human life.
Acid rain is rain with a low PH level. A scale ranging from zero
to fourteen defines the ph scale, with zero representing the
most acidic, fourteen representing the most basic ph levels and
seven representing neutral. Acid rain can formulate from sulfur
and nitrogen, which is emmited by cars and coal fired
generators. America and Europe are the leaders in the war
against acid rain, and are fighting to protect our health and
environment. One way these two regions are attempting to reduce
acid rain is by encouraging the use of natural gases rather than
coal in power plants. This is useful because natural gases
contain less sulfur. Acid rain is detrimental to all living
organisms and needs to be decreased.
Acid rain affects the entire environment, especially plants and
animals. One of the most harmful effects acid rain has on the
ecosystem is its destruction of plant life. Acid rain containing
highly acidic ph levels also greatly affects animal lives. After
falling, acid rain flows directly from the plants, through the
watershed and into a stream, river or lake, where it can
dramatically affect aquatic life. During the flow of acid rain
through soils and into the watershed system, aluminum is picked
up and dispersed into the nearby streams, rivers and lakes.
Aquatic life can live with a below normal acid level, but the
additional aluminum deposited into the reservoir greatly affects
the fish. All breathing organisms are also affected by the acid
rain pollutants distributed into the air. The major source of
these air pollutants is nitrogen oxide from vehicles and
industrial sites where fossil fuels are burned. Forest fires,
often caused either deliberately or accidentally by man, are
another source of pollution. Ironically enough the polluter ends
up being the polluted.
Humans are affected by their own mistakes. Mankind depends upon
plants and animals for food. Due to acid rain, the entire supply
of fish in certain lakes has been wiped out. In addition to loss
of plant and animal life as food sources, acid rain gets into
the food we eat, the water we drink, as well as the air we
breathe, and it doesn’t stop there. Acid rain also affects the
buildings we live in and the cars we drive. There are changes we
can make to save ourselves and the environment. To help with
acid rain problems environmentalists have come up with some
astounding and revolutionary ideas. One idea is to lower the use
of fossil fuels by using cars operating on battery power and
fuel cells, which in turn will lower the negative affects acid
rain has on our environment. The changes we have put our
environment through can be reversed.
In order to protect our environment, humans need to act
responsibly to help slow down, if not stop, the negative effects
acid rain has on our plant, animal and human life before it is
too late. The effects of acid rain have been a very
controversial issue because the environmental concerns
associated with acid rain conflict with our capitalistic
society. Humans are improving their lives with inventions such
as the automobile and industrial plants, but these inventions
are damaging the environment which is necessary for human
survival. Despite all the negative aspects associated with acid
rain and the depletion of our food and water sources, there is
good news. We learn from our mistakes. Changing our actions now
would not solely better our own lives, but would also benefit
all of mankind in the future.
Essay Example 2: Pollution Acid Rain
when a substance is added to the environment at such a fast rate
that it cannot be broken down, stored or recycled in the air,
land, or water in a non-damaging form. Pollutants cause
Acid rain occurs when pollutants that come from burning fossil
fuels and contain sulfur, nitrogen or carbon mix with water
vapor in the air and turn into acidic water which falls as
When this acid precipitation gets into lakes and rivers they can
become too acidic for fish and plants. Water with a pH level
below 5.6 is considered acidic.
Pollutants move from level to level in a food chain. The
pollutants get stored in the tissues of organisms that are
exposed to the pollutants. More pollutants are found in top
level consumers because they eat more organisms and so they get
the pollutants from every thing they eat. This is called
bioaccumulation or biomagnification.
Succession and Changes in Ecosystems
Changes are constantly occurring in an ecosystem. Some changes
happen very quickly and are referred to as sudden change. An
example of sudden change would be a landslide instantly
destroying an ecosystem, or a forest fire destroying an entire
forest. Other changes are slow and are referred to as gradual
change. For example seeds may get carried by wind or by water
and end up taking root in cracks in a vacant lot and eventually
end up resulting in a new population of plants. If the
conditions are good perhaps the new population of plants will
replace other plants that were already growing. Succession is
the process by which some species gradually replace other
species in an ecosystem.
In succession, Organisms present at one stage change the
environment so that the next group of organisms can move in.
If succession occurs in an area that was previously bare, such
as rock this is called primary succession. Example: A volcano
erupts leaving an area covered in hard volcanic rock and over
time a lush island is formed.
Secondary succession occurs in an area that previously had a
number of organisms.
Example: When a forest burns down the slow process of secondary
succession takes place.
Humans also affect ecosystems by using pesticides to kill
unwanted organisms. Using pesticides can cause other organisms
to die as well. These other organisms are called non-target
species. This disrupts fragile relationships in an ecosystem:
One alternative to pesticides is using biological controls. A
biological control is an organism that feeds on a pest. For
example, the black dot spurge beetle was introduced to feed on a
weed called the leafy spurge or lady bugs can be used to control
Introduced species, also called exotic species, are living
things that are not naturally found in an ecosystem. They are
often introduced by humans to an ecosystem. This can happen
accidentally or on purpose.
Often introduced species thrive in their new ecosystems because
they do not have any natural predators and as a result, they can
take over an ecosystem by using up all of the available
If an organism no longer exists anywhere in the world it is said
to be extinct. The loss of an organism’s home or habitat is the
main reason why some many species are threatened with
extinction. Humans have cleared land for farming and to build
their homes, cities and roads. These activities destroy animal
habitats. In order to try to prevent species from becoming
endangered and going extinct scientists observe and monitor
changes to the environment.
Environmental monitoring, also called ecosystem monitoring, is a
way to check the condition of the environment. Both biotic and
abiotic parts of the environment can be monitored
There are 4 types of ecosystem monitoring:
1) Physical monitoring uses satellite pictures to monitor
changes in the land over a period of time.
2) Environmental monitoring tracks changes in climate,
temperature and weather patterns.
3) Chemical monitoring checks the quality of air, soil, and
4) Biological monitoring tracks the changes in organisms or
populations of organisms like toads, foxes, deer…
When Do We Monitor?
Continuous monitoring allows scientists to identify the changes
in an environment over time.
We can monitor an area before or after a disturbance. The goal
of environmental monitoring is to balance the needs of humans
with the needs of other organisms in the ecosystem.
Organisms that are sensitive to environmental changes are
called indicator species. They ‘indicate’ to us if there is a
change in the environment.
Amphibians are indicator species. They are affected by
pesticides, acid rain, loss of habitat, and the introduction of
exotic species. Scientists from all over the world have started
to notice a decline in the number of amphibian species and an
increase in the number of deformed amphibians.
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