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Sustainability

Environment

World Population Day: Can Our Planet Sustain a Growing Number of People?

July 11, 2019
world population day

In 1989, the United Nations dubbed July 11 World Population Day to focus on the urgency of Earth’s growing population. The day’s purpose is to encourage discussion about health care, contraceptives, family planning and much more. With a current population of more than 7 billion people, the Earth is seemingly already at capacity.

Experts are searching for ways to extend our planet’s natural resources. But in the meantime, overpopulation acts as a threat to our species’ existence, with 83 million people added to the population each day. As the years pass and more people are born, it will compound the problem.

The Effects of Overpopulation

Earth’s population is snowballing. As we reach a tipping point and the planet becomes overpopulated, we’ll begin to see several adverse effects.

Water Will Become Scarce

More than 2 billion people already lack access to safe drinking water, and twice as many don’t have access to clean water for sanitation. As the population grows, the lack of potable water will become a major threat. While options for producing clean water exist — such as desalination, which removes the harmful minerals from saltwater — they are often costly and a drain on energy resources. Advancements in technology will determine if a water treatment process ultimately becomes viable in the future.

Animals Will Go Extinct

So many people exist on Earth that it’s driving down the population of other species. Scientists believe we’re entering the Earth’s sixth mass extinction, an event that could wipe out three-quarters of the planet’s animals. As the human population grows, so does the threat to animals’ natural habitats. Humans poach threatened and endangered species, reducing their numbers and preventing the chance of repopulation. We depend on many of these animals to survive and will need to adopt alternative food sources as the population grows.

The Earth Will Warm

The more people on Earth, the higher the demand for fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal, which, when burned, release carbon dioxide into the air. CO2 is what traps heat inside the atmosphere, making the Earth’s temperature warm up. The rates of deforestation also rise with the population. Trees can capture CO2, able to mitigate the effects of global warming. 

However, we lose 8.7 million acres of forest on Earth each year, working against our chances to reverse climate change. Even remote areas, especially those with oil or gold, are susceptible to deforestation.

Diseases Will Spread

Infectious diseases are something we as a species already fight against, developing vaccines to eradicate viruses like smallpox. But people can’t keep all infections at bay, especially when they lack access to clean water. When the planet is overpopulated, the chances of an infectious breakout increase rapidly. Some of the most troubling diseases we face as the population grows are cholera, influenza, Ebola and typhoid fever. Many of these diseases, including cholera and typhoid fever, are infectious and spread through the water supply.

How Many People Can the Planet Support?

By 1800, the Earth’s population had reached 1 billion people. In 1927, the population was 2 billion. By 1974, it was at 4 billion. The more people there are, the less time it takes for populations to double in growth. And this growth is not slowing anytime soon, with the world population expected to reach 8 billion around 2023.

There’s no denying the population is rising fast. But the problem might not be as dire as it sounds. While sustainable resources are still a necessity, research shows Earth’s population will peak by 2070, mainly due to the slowdown of population growth in Asia, the world’s fastest-growing region. The steps we take now to mitigate the effects of overpopulation could lead to future sustainable improvements adopted across the globe.

The Future of the Human Race

The future of the human species is hard to predict. The desire to have children can be powerful for many families. How will the growing population shape our planet’s future?

It’s natural for the population to increase. A population decline typically comes with unwanted events like famine, war or natural disaster. But we shouldn’t wait for these events to happen to take action. The problem of the planet’s growing population should remain a global topic of conversation, especially how to control numbers by implementing new regulations and technology.

Experts are discovering more efficient ways to create clean drinking water. Government-subsidized programs can aid farmers and prevent food shortages. Educational programs focusing on proper hygiene, such as washing hands before eating and taking a daily shower, can easily cut down on disease-causing organisms. And we can mitigate pollution and environmental effects by investing in sustainable resources, such as solar, wind or hydroelectric power.

Green Technology

How Green Buildings Will Change Our Architectural Landscape

May 13, 2019
green buildings

Decades ago, you didn’t hear much talk about global warming or saving the planet. It was all about building bigger and better. Studies now show construction — everything from sourcing materials to putting them together — is responsible for 23 percent of air pollution, 40 percent of water pollution and 50 percent of landfill waste.

Now, people are more aware of the Earth’s dwindling resources and are taking steps to implement green initiatives.

This growing awareness — along with sustainability becoming more profitable and desirable in the construction market — has led to a demand for more building options. In fact, experts say green building is the fastest growing industry worldwide.

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Environment

7 Composting Facts for Composting Awareness Week

May 6, 2019
composting facts

International Composting Awareness Week (ICAW) occurs during the first full week of May each year and educates the compost industry and individuals about the benefits of composting. ICAW started in 1995 in Canada and has a different theme each year, such as “Cool the Climate – Compost” for 2019.

The Composting Council, who heads up ICAW, works with businesses across the globe to create composting events for communities, such as workshops, compost give-away days and lectures from gardening experts. If you’ve been thinking about starting your own compost pile, May is the perfect time to get started. Begin by learning a few basic composting facts before moving into more aggressive sustainability approaches.

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Green Technology

What Green Healthcare Means for Medical Manufacturing

April 29, 2019
green healthcare

The term, “green healthcare,” refers to the incorporation of eco-conscious practices in healthcare delivery. Industry professionals have seen the value in these improvements, as they reduce their ecological footprint, save money and help educate members of the public on environmental stewardship.

As an example of the updates, the use of biodegradable cutlery in hospital cafeterias results in less waste. Safe cleaning agents, fewer pesticides and sustainable renovations are all a part of the green healthcare movement. In short, it’s an effort to enhance the well-being of patients while restoring the environment.

Beyond the benefits of the transition, it’ll have a transformative effect on many areas of the industry. Medical manufacturing will need to change, given the massive volume of waste from the disposal of medical supplies. Though it’s an issue of patient safety, it represents a significant problem for sustainability.

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Oceans

10 Ways to Prevent Ocean Noise Pollution

April 25, 2019
ocean noise pollution

The average person associates the word “pollution” with carbon emissions, chemicals and debris. Pollution takes the form of smoke, exhaust from vehicles, oil spills and the discarded refuse that contaminates the country’s coastlines. By comparison, noise pollution doesn’t receive nearly as much attention.

Even so, noise pollution is just as dangerous as the more visible manifestations of pollution. In certain environments, noise pollution can even prove deadly. You don’t have to look further than our oceans to find an example of this, with ocean noise pollution causing the death of precious marine life, including whales.
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Environment

The History of Earth Day: How Has It Shaped Our Planet?

April 22, 2019
history of earth day

Every year on April 22, we collectively demonstrate support for environmental protection. Earth Day is a celebration of nature and a petition to preserve it, a time when people of all backgrounds, affiliations and cultures come together for one commonality: the planet where we live.

While it’s taken on more of an abstract purpose, Earth Day actually marks the anniversary of the modern environmental movement. The history of Earth Day begins in 1970, a pivotal year for the U.S. for a number of reasons. With all the problems plaguing the nation, pollution wasn’t at the forefront.

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Environment

Tips for Zero Waste Grocery Shopping When You Don’t Live Near a Zero Waste Grocery Store

March 28, 2019
zero waste grocery shopping

If you’ve chosen to embrace a zero-waste lifestyle, you’re making a positive contribution to the planet. Your eco-conscious actions are setting an important precedent for future generations. At the same time, the greener choice isn’t always convenient, and you might have to go a little out of your way to manage your expenditure.

But there’s no reason to worry! As long as you follow a few basic strategies for reducing waste, you’ll find it’s simple and easy to maintain a small footprint. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know, touching on seven tips for zero waste grocery shopping when you don’t live near a zero waste grocery store.

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Environment

10 Tips for Planning a Zero-Waste Wedding

March 14, 2019
zero waste wedding

Although you want your wedding to stand apart as a sentimental celebration, you also want to treat the earth right. However, you might be like many others who don’t realize how many paper products, decor accents and food items get thrown away after a couple ties the knot. Welcoming a zero-waste wedding can be your solution.

Environmental considerations during your wedding planning can have a substantial impact. Based on the 2.5 million American weddings each year, a typical wedding generates approximately 500 pounds of waste. Exchanging your vows doesn’t have to expend massive amounts of material if you choose a zero-waste wedding.

A zero-waste wedding doesn’t mean you skimp on the ambiance of the event. It means you carefully reduce your consumption and implement renewable alternatives. Check out these 10 tips for planning your green wedding.

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Green Technology

How Big Data Could Benefit Sustainability

February 28, 2019
big data sustainability

Big data provides a promising solution to many of today’s most pressing problems. Interconnectivity and predictive analysis enable researchers and scientists to address issues that were previously beyond their grasp. As computational strength continues to increase, our capacity for problem-solving increases, as well.

At the current rate of progress, IBM estimates we’ll have access to 300 times more information in 2020 than we had in 2005. While many businesses use this info to inform marketing strategies and drive profit, it has applications elsewhere. Big data shows incredible promise in the fulfillment of sustainability goals.

In this article, we’ll detail the data-driven strategies that business owners and environmental organizations have used to improve sustainability. We’ll touch on the benefits of big data for both the preservation of the planet and a company’s bottom line, showing its potential as a catalyst for positive change.

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