Sustainability: Water and Wind Power Essay

Submitted By BLar5592
Words: 4773
Pages: 20

Rise Towards Sustainability

The world is constantly going through a variety of changes and it is our jobs as human beings to make sure we establish a sustainable environment. Problems facing our environment today are climate change, carbon dioxide emissions, food shortage, endocrine disruptors and water depletion. If these problems are not sustainable we could face some serious problems in future years. Sustainability refers to the ability of an ecosystem service to replenish and not deplete over time. The Rio Declaration of Environment and Development consists of twenty-seven principals that direct the world to a sustainable development. The Rio Declaration’s goal is to work towards international agreements, which respect the interests of all and protect the integrity of the global environmental and developmental system (Rio Declaration of Environment and Development). (Triple Bottom line?)

Ecosystem services are extremely important in maintaining a sustainable environment. There are three different types of ecosystem services; provisioning services, regulating services and cultural services. Provisioning services are goods that are produced or provided by an ecosystem (Beall et al. 2011). Some examples of provisioning services are food, fiber, water, concrete, and cotton. Provisioning services are important in a sustainable environment because they provide products used in everyday life. Regulating services are benefits gained from the regulation of ecosystem processes (Beall et al. 2011). Air quality regulation, climate regulation and disease regulation are examples of regulating services. Cultural services are non-material benefits gained from ecosystems (Beall et al. 2011). Examples of cultural services are spiritual and religious values, educational values and social relations. An example of an encounter I have had relating to ecosystem services is when I visited the waste treatment center near my home. They treated the water before releasing it to waterways, which is an example of regulating services of water quality regulation. The resilience of an ecosystem from these threats is extremely important because it allows the ecosystem to recover and not get destroyed completely. Nitrogen loading has the effect of too high of nitrogen within water ecosystems, which results in eutrophication. The resilience of eutrophication is fairly difficult because it typically takes a significant amount of time in order for it to repair itself. Although, “Unintended releases of reactive nitrogen to the environment pollute waterways and coastal zones accumulate in terrestrial systems, contribute several gases to the atmosphere, and ultimately undermine the resilience of critical Earth subsystems” (Ecosystem Management, 2010 pg. 14). Climate change also has an extreme effect on ecosystems globally because ecosystems are then altered and tend to be unable to provide what is needed for biotic and abiotic organisms. Climate change can lead to a variation of problems such as greenhouse gases, change in sea level and weather patterns that can effect ecosystems. Resilience of climate change is extremely difficult because a lot of it is out of the control of humans. “Most rivers have been totally restructured; water bodies are severely polluted and fish stocks are depleted; coral reefs are near a tipping point and may disappear as functional ecosystems due to warming, pollution, and acidification” (Ecosystem Management, 2010 pg. 15). Another issue regarding ecosystems globally is loss of biodiversity within ecosystems. “Biodiversity is the basis of ecosystem health and of the provision of ecosystem services. It is also a critical factor in managing ecosystems for resilience, that is, their ability to absorb and recover from disturbances” (Ecosystem Management, 2010 pg. 14). The resilience of loss of biodiversity of ecosystems would occur in protecting species from going