Food is an indisputable aspect of life; without food, life forms would perish. However, there are different types of food and different modes of producing food, and these two distinctions can characterize a society (Sernau, 2013, p. 325). Today, most developed nations depend on agribusiness for food production, which is simply industrialized agriculture (Sernau, 2013, p. 329). While agribusiness is successful in producing enormous quantities of food, the food itself is not that healthy, as the origins of many food products, even orange juice, are mysterious and not as natural (Sernau, 2013, p. 332).
Many other food products are filled with preservatives and packaging, which is also unhealthy (Sernau, 2013, p. 333). Recently, people have taken a more serious interest in the food that they consume, as evidenced by the growing organic and natural foods movement. This is a solid first step, but more people need to adopt a healthier lifestyle in order to truly change the way food is produced. More people should take advantage of local farmers’ markets and avoid purchasing heavily processed foods. While some food items may be more costly than packaged food items, the health benefits accrued from healthier eating will translate to lower healthcare costs in the long-run.
Pollution is an enormous problem, and its effects are apparent today when examining the world’s bodies of water. With the growth of industrialization, numerous chemicals were dumped into rivers and oceans, which wreaked havoc on the environment (Sernau, 2013, p. 335). Coastal regions typically suffer the most, which is tragic given that these areas contain the most ocean life (Sernau, 2013, p. 336). While most countries strive to avoid this type of pollution today, it often is unavoidable in heavily industrialized areas. Other countries bent on expansion, no matter what the environmental costs, increase the amount of pollution in the world today. Due to the magnitude of the open ocean, the only way to halt increased pollution now is to establish enforceable, international agreements designed to protect the water (Sernau, 2013, p. 336). With regard to future generations, the importance of oceanic health should be stressed in schools so that young people will grow into more environmentally conscientious citizens.
(c) Deforestation and Desertification
Deforestation is a travesty that afflicts the planet today. Massive destruction of tropical rainforests has occurred throughout the world, including locations in South America, Africa, and Asia (Sernau, 2013, p. 342). Deforestation has a number of negative effects, perhaps the most obvious being the endangerment and extinction of countless animal and plant species (Sernau, 2013, p. 344). Another effect of deforestation is desertification, which refers to the transformation of forests into deserts (Sernau, 2013, p. 344). Impossible as this may be to believe, the Sahara was once covered in lush greenery, and it is now one of the most famous deserts in the world (Sernau, 2013, p. 342). Solutions to deforestation include reforestation (Sernau, 2013, p. 344), as well as avoiding any further destruction of forests that still exist. Every effort should be made to monitor endangered species and preserve their lives.
(d) Invasive Species
Invasive species refer to species present in an environment where they do not belong. Countless examples of this abound throughout the world, from the brown snake in Guam to the feral dogs in Australia (Sernau, 2013, p. 346). The United States is also plagued with its own issues with invasive species, notably the rapidly growing python population that is destroying the Everglades. Invasive species cause a number of negative effects, such as contributing the endangerment and extinction of different animal and plant species. Oftentimes, invasive species emerge in a given environment for a variety of reasons, some of them accidental and some of them intentional. Given the difficulty in stopping invasive species, the best solution is to educate people about the horrific damage caused by invasive species, as well as increase the penalties faced by those who deliberately introduce invasive species into an environment.
- Sernau, S. Global Problems: The Search for Equity, Peace, and Sustainability. New York, New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2013.