ADVOCACY DISSERTATION DOCUMENT
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS & THE EDUCATIONAL OPTION:
photo credit Mariusz Prusaczyk
Global environmental problems are one of the fundamental issues to be addressed because of their impact on the quality of life throughout the planet. However, the study programs of the subjects do not allow, in general, a broad treatment of these contents that, by their nature, correspond to different areas of knowledge.
One of the possible ways to be used in educational processes to study global environmental problems is the use of multimedia interactive application products that complement what is addressed within the study programs.
The importance of knowing the global environmental problems and their contextualization at a regional and national level is highlighted. The magnitude of global environmental problems is evident, an issue that still indicates today the importance of its treatment from Environmental Education.
During the past generation, the environment has changed more rapidly than at any other comparable time in history. Although natural phenomena have played their part in this change, the primary source of this dynamic has been accelerated by human interaction with the biosphere. Those influences, produced inadvertently or on purpose, have created or will create dramatic global changes that can alter human existence for many years.
The biosphere is a system that encompasses all living beings on our planet as well as the air, water, and soil that constitute their habitat or place where their life cycle normally develops. For the maintenance of this life cycle it is essential that the ecological balance is not altered, which implies the need to avoid actions that may modify it in some way or may introduce changes in any of the agents involved in it, of which, the air, water, and soil are, without a doubt, of vital importance.
To clarify the above, contamination means any undesirable change in the characteristics of air, water or soil, which negatively affects all living beings on the planet. These changes are generated mainly by the action of the human being.
In the atmosphere, the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide, CO 2, can alter the temperature of the Earth because this compound is transparent to the solar radiation received from the Sun, allowing it to pass freely, but absorbs, nevertheless, the infrared radiation emitted from the earth. The total effect of this phenomenon is that the higher the concentration of CO 2 in the atmosphere, the greater the amount of energy received by the Earth from the Sun that is "trapped" in the atmosphere in the form of heat. This phenomenon is known as the "greenhouse effect" would cause an overheating of the atmosphere and modify, among others, the rainfall regime, which would produce alterations on the arable land and the extension of the deserts.
The presence in the stratosphere of certain compounds, especially chlorofluorocarbons, man-made chemicals, can cause a decrease in the concentration of ozone in the stratosphere, which is an essential atmospheric filter to contain ultraviolet radiation. A sensitive decrease in this protective layer would have detrimental effects on human health and the biosphere.
Importance of Climate Change Mitigation
Climate change mitigation consists of actions to limit the magnitude or rate of long-term climate change. Climate change mitigation generally involves reductions in human (anthropogenic) emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Mitigation may also be achieved by increasing the capacity of carbon sinks, e.g., through reforestation. Mitigation policies can substantially reduce the risks associated with human-induced global warming.
"Mitigation is a public good; climate change is a case of ‘the tragedy of the commons’" Effective climate change mitigation will not be achieved if each agent (individual, institution or country) acts independently in its own selfish interest, (See International Cooperation and Emissions Trading) suggesting the need for collective action. Some adaptation actions, on the other hand, have characteristics of a private good as benefits of actions may accrue more directly to the individuals, regions, or countries that undertake them, at least in the short term. Nevertheless, financing such adaptive activities remains an issue, particularly for poor individuals and countries."
Examples of mitigation include switching to low-carbon energy sources, such as renewable and nuclear energy, and expanding forests and other "sinks" to remove greater amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Energy efficiency may also play a role, for example, through improving the insulation of buildings. Another approach to climate change mitigation is climate engineering.
Most countries are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC). The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC is to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of GHGs at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference of the climate system. Scientific analysis can provide information on the impacts of climate change, but deciding which impacts are dangerous requires value judgments.
In 2010, Parties to the UNFCCC agreed that future global warming should be limited to below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F) relative to the pre-industrial level. This may be revised with a target of limiting global warming to below 1.5 °C relative to pre-industrial levels. The current trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions does not appear to be consistent with limiting global warming to below 1.5 or 2 °C, relative to pre-industrial levels. Other mitigation policies have been proposed, some of which are more stringent or modest than the 2 °C limit.
To creating lasting climate change mitigation, the replacement of high carbon emission intensity power sources, such as conventional fossil fuels - oil, coal and natural gas - with low-carbon power sources is required. Fossil fuels supply humanity with the vast majority of our energy demands, and at a growing rate. In 2012 the IEA noted that coal accounted for half the increased energy use of the prior decade, growing faster than all renewable energy sources. Both hydroelectricity and nuclear power together provide the majority of the generated low-carbon power fraction of global total power consumption.