The environmental movement continues to grow. In the last few decades, there has been a dramatic increase in awareness and concern about the state of the planet and its effect on humans.
As the world becomes more interconnected than ever before, everyone is susceptible to issues that arise from climate change, deforestation, pollution, and other environmental issues.
With this growth in awareness comes an increase in regulations and policies regarding how we as a society can protect our natural resources and environment for future generations. This blog will focus on some of the most important policies that have changed over the past decade or so about how we manage our natural resources.
Global climate change policy
Climate change is one of the most urgent environmental problems we face today. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report says that greenhouse gas emissions must decrease by 45% from 2012 levels by 2030, and reach zero emissions by 2050, to prevent catastrophic and irreversible climate change.
To reach these ambitious emissions reductions and prevent climate change, there has been a significant increase in policy surrounding climate change. This includes increasing regulations and restrictions on emissions to prevent the most severe effects of climate change. For example, to reduce emissions, governments have implemented taxes, regulations, and subsidies that encourage people to use fewer fossil fuels, invest in renewable energy and use alternatives to fossil fuels.
In 2010, the United Nations (UN) passed a resolution that was meant to change the way people view waste. Since then, there has been a significant increase in activism surrounding plastic waste. A general overview of the problem is that about 90% of all plastic waste is landfilled, and only 9% is recycled.
Concerns that plastic waste poses serious environmental problems have been growing for years, especially as it can take hundreds of years for plastics to break down in landfills. Some of the issues that arise from the current way we produce and dispose of plastic include:
– Plastic waste can potentially harm marine animals, including endangered sea turtles, whales, and seals, which mistake plastic for food.
– Plastic waste has also been proven to pose a serious threat to human health. Animals, as well as humans, can contract parasites, bacteria, and other diseases that are transmitted via plastic.
– Plastic waste also poses a significant threat to the environment. Not only can it take hundreds of years for plastic to break down in landfills, but it also has a high potential to leach harmful chemicals and contaminate soil and waterways.
Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
Air pollution has been a serious issue throughout the history of humanity. In recent years, air pollution has been growing at an alarming rate. According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution, including greenhouse gases, is the leading environmental cause of death in the world.
Climate change has been shown to have a direct correlation with an increase in air pollution. Governments, as well as businesses, have been trying to find ways to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. This has included both direct initiatives, as well as indirect policies, through which companies can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
A few of the policies that have been implemented to cut down greenhouse gas emissions are:
– Incentives for individuals to switch to renewable energy, such as rebates, tax breaks, and funding from government grants
– Regulations that encourage businesses to switch to renewable energy, such as net-metering policies, which allow homeowners and businesses to sell excess electricity that they generate back to the electricity grid
– Direct initiatives, such as subsidies to encourage people to switch to driving electric cars, or to reduce their overall transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions
Urban planning and conservation
As the world becomes more and more connected, the need for planning and conservation of natural resources becomes increasingly important. Unfortunately, many of the policies that protect and preserve natural resources have been changing in recent years.
A major reason behind this is that natural resources have been seen as a potential source of “free” energy, making them a target for companies and individuals. A few of the policies that have been implemented to protect and preserve natural resources include:
– Regulations that protect water sources and initiatives that promote proper disposal of wastewater, including the implementation of wastewater-treatment plants in developing countries that were previously lacking these facilities
– Regulations that protect and preserve forests, such as tree-thinning policies in order to reduce the amount of forest area that is being cleared for development – Preservation of biodiversity through conservation policies, such as the creation of protected areas
Land use and sustainable development
Many of the policies that have changed in the past decade have been associated with sustainable development. This includes both the way we manage natural resources and the way we develop new cities, towns and even countries.
When it comes to natural resources, the world has been trying to transition from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based economy. This means that rather than relying solely on natural resources to drive economic growth, we are attempting to use natural resources as a source of energy, but also as a source of raw materials that can be used for manufacturing. This has led to increased regulations regarding natural resources, including the following:
– Regulations that promote the sustainable use of natural resources, such as the use of resources in a way that ensures the long-term availability of resources, as well as their proper disposal
– Regulations that promote sustainable development, such as policies that encourage the development of sustainable cities, towns, and countries, as well as policies that encourage the development of renewable energy technologies, such as solar power