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Cause and Effect Essay
Pollution is a very serious problem in society today. The lives of millennials are constantly being impacted by the worsening situation of the Earth. The definition of a millennial is someone who is born between 1981 and 1996 (Dimock). They represent the majority of the population of individuals on the planet at this time. This generation of individuals is greatly impacted by the effects of pollution which only seems to get worse as time goes on.
Pollution can be best defined as the “introduction of harmful materials into the environment” (National Geographic). Pollutants can be either natural or human made. Natural pollutants do not hurt the environment as much as human made pollutants do, especially considering how much human made pollutants are released into the environment every day. The human made pollutants can come from many different sources, such as factories or landfills. Another kind of pollutant is the burning of fossil fuels. This type of pollution can source from gas burning in cars to the fuels burned for energy in homes. The fumes that come from these activities is very harmful and causes the formation of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are “gases that trap heat in the atmosphere.” Examples of greenhouse gases include, carbon dioxide (which is released through the burning of fossil fuels), methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases (US Environmental Protection Agency). These gases trap heat waves from the sun which hurts the environment. Due to pollution of the environment, millennials have to deal with warming temperatures, worsening health, and changing energy sources.
One of the biggest focuses on the impacts of pollution is climate change. The increasing amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap heat waves from the sun in our atmosphere. This is causing the average temperature of the Earth to continuously increase. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), “the average global temperature has increased about 0.8ºC since 1880” (Przyborski). To put this into perspective of how large of a change this really is, a negative one-degree change in Earth’s temperature was enough to cause the Little Ice Age. With temperatures on the rise, environments with normally cold temperatures are now experiencing warmer weathers. For example, the Antarctic ice shelf is currently melting into the ocean because of the rise in temperatures. The ice melts into the ocean and it is causing a sea level increase by “1 meter per year for every 0.1ºC rise in ocean temperature” (Rignot). This is causing flooding in coastal communities. Communities that have been present for generations are being forced to move inland because the sea is expanding into their homes.
With the release of the harmful chemicals in the air, the air quality is becoming increasingly worse, especially in large metropolitan cities. Air pollution comes from many common sources such as, cars, buses, trucks, factories, power plants, and wood burning fireplaces. All of these sources release chemical waste into the air which people breathe in. It is quite scary to think that black fumes released from cars end up in our lungs. The worsening air quality in cities has caused many diseases to become more common such as “chronic respiratory and heart disease, lung cancer, acute respiratory infections in children and chronic bronchitis in adults, aggravating pre-existing heart and lung disease, or asthmatic attacks” (Kampa). Millennials have to deal with these serious illnesses on a day to day basis happening either to them or to a loved one. This leads to more trips to the hospital, in cars that emit more pollution, more money spent at pharmacies, and more inconvenience that could have been prevented if everyone would have just been more environmentally conscious.
The pollution that ends up in the air also eventually cycles back into the bodies of water around. The fumes and chemicals float in the air and dissolve into water vapor which turns into clouds. Clouds release rain and the chemicals that had dissolved also come back to the surface of the earth in the form of acid rain. This acid rain can contaminate lakes and rivers and even sources of drinking water. Directly ingesting these chemicals or swimming in contaminated bodies of water is very dangerous for human beings. This can cause humans to deal with “waterborne diseases, viruses, and microbial pathogens” (Schwarzenbach). Millennials must then deal with more hospital trips, more money spent on medicines, and more inconvenience that could have been prevented through measures that kept industries more environmentally conscious.
Another impact of pollution is the push towards cleaner energy production and introducing measures that prevent further destruction of the Earth’s valuable resources. Millennials have started to promote energy production that does not include the burning of fossil fuels such as, solar energy, which is the method of harnessing sunlight and converting it into energy, wind energy, which involves using the energy of the wind and converting it into the usable energy, geothermal power, which is the conversion of heat from the earth into energy, and hydro energy, which is the conversion of the energy of water into energy that humans can utilize. There is also a push from millennials for the use of hydrogen gas, which is a clean renewable alternative to natural gas and fossil fuels.
To conclude, pollution is a very big problem for millennials. Pollution is hurting the planet that humans live on and individuals are destroying it by not caring for the environment. It causes global warming, which causes humans to have to move around to escape coastal flooding, air and water pollution, which causes many serious illnesses, and the push towards clean energy.
- Dimock, Michael. Where millennials end and post-millennials begin. 1 March 2018. 15 October 2018.
- Kampa, Marilena. “Human Health Effects of Air Pollution.” Environmental Pollution (2008): 362-367.
- National Geographic. pollution | National Geographic. 2018. 15 October 2018.
- Przyborski, Paul. World of Change: Global Temperatures. n.d. 15 October 2018.
- Rignot, Eric. Rapid Bottom Melting Widespread near Antarctic Ice Sheet Grounding Lines. 14 June 2012. 15 October 2018.
- Schwarzenbach, Rene P. “Global Water Pollution and Human Health.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources (2010): 109-136.
- US Environmental Protection Agency. Overview of Greenhouse Gases. 9 October 2018. 16 October 2018.
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