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Our environment is a topic that receives a great deal of attention The environment has been the basis of numerous television and radio commentaries as well as a multitude of newspaper and magazine articles The environment is even the foundation for many political debates addressing issues and the concerns about what is happening and what will happen to the environment over the next several years A look at the past I s helpful in understanding the present concernComparatively speaking little emphasis was placed on ecology the study of the relationship of plants and animals to their environment prior to 1955 Air pollution toxic waste marine pollution pesticides oil spills acid rain etc are relatively new problems that are taking their tolls on the environmentSince 1955 however our interest in protecting the environment has been kindled by recognition of these environmental problems Studies of change in the environment have led to efforts to protect itEnvironmental changes Changes to the environment have been significant over the past 35 years Talbot 1989 21-22 listed these major changes1The human population has almost doubled from fewer that three billion to more that five billion people2Half the worlds tropical forests have been lost3The processes of overgrazing and desertification have greatly increased4Chemical pollution has become pervasive and few species or lands escape its effects5New hazardous wastes not even mentioned in 1955 now represent a major problem worldwide6Acid rain and carbon dioxide buildup have resulted from increased industrialization throughout the worldEnvironmental protection As the seriousness of environmental problems has been recognized governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations have been established to deal with them Talbot 1989 22 In 1955 there were only a few nongovernmental environmental organizations today there are thousands In 1955 no government had environmental agencies today virtually all nations have them The purpose of the agencies is to identify quantify and reduce adverse impacts on the environment Bascietto 1990 14A clean environment is a global problem a problem that is
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