We are the first generation to feel the climate change and the last that can do anything about it

Barack Obama

This page presents key environmental issues.

global warming

The air we breathe is mainly composed of three substances: oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide (also known as CO2 or greenhouse gas). Each component of that air contributes in a unique and critical way to the balance of the planet. Carbon dioxide absorbs heat energy from the Earth's surface into the atmosphere and, when found in high percentages, it causes global warming.

The following graph shows us the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere on Earth throughout time

As seen in the graph above, fluctuation of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is a natural process which has been accompanied by extreme events on planet Earth, such as ice ages and extreme temperature rise. Why is the current warming different from the previous ones?

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Mid 18th century, an Industrial Revolution began in Europe. As a result, the massive exploitation of natural resources such as coal, oil, and others increased. From this period onwards, the industrialized world has emitted huge amounts of CO2 into the air we breathe. 

The rise of carbon dioxide particles causes an increase of heat absorption, and hence, a constant increase in the Earth's temperature. 

Phenomena as such explain the current Global Warming and clearly explain why it is not a natural process, but a human-caused one. 

The name of the graph to the left is called the Keeling Curve. This graph reflects the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution and onwards. 

By restoration of the CO2 through out our planet’s history, we understand that amount of CO2 in the air is the highest in the last 800K years.

How does global warming affect us?

Learn more:

Plastic

Plastic pollution is a  global disease: by the year 2025, the amount of plastic waste in the sea will exceed the amount of fish. Humans throw between 8-12.7 million tons of plastic into the sea every year! That's the equivalent of 10 full garbage bags for every single meter along the shore or, if you like, every minute a garbage truck empties its contents into the ocean  

Pieces of plastic packaging spill into our food and water - we eat and drink plastic.

After use, most of the plastic finds itself buried with the rest of the garbage or polluting our environment.

Only 9% of the plastic quantities that have been produced so far in the world have undergone a recycling process.

When plastic is exposed to sunlight, it breaks down into tiny particles called microplastics.

These particles are everywhere.

From the deepest points of the ocean to the arctic circles.

The micro-plastic particles have many implications and impacts on the global ecosystem, from water pollution to poisoning the food chain. 

Studies in recent years have revealed tiny pieces of plastic in surprising places - tap water, mineral water (it's no longer surprising, right?) Sea salt, honey, beer, air samples, household dust and even human feces. (plastic free Israel)

The culture of consumerism

We are all consumers. Sometimes smart consumers, and sometimes wasteful. 

Consumerism in recent decades reflects poor basic values ​​of human attitude towards nature. The purchase of luxury items has increased and, as a result, its negative effects on the environment have so. The rise of consumerism results in overproduction, which entails greenhouse gas emissions, high amounts of waste and elevated resource exploitation. 

One of the most prominent examples is the textile industry, which is ranked as the world’s second most polluting corporation after the oil commerce. 

 

Some argue that consumerism is also a critical concept, incorporating a critique of the ideology and practice of capitalism and corporate behavior. The claim is part of a social analysis that allegates that this culture is being channeled by big corporations into excessive and blind consumption. If there is a connection between an increase in consumption and harm to ourselves and the environment, we understand that consumerism is adverse. 

 

What can be done?

In the 1980s, a concept called "Green Consumerism" was developed, which represents a strategy to save the earth. According to this approach, consumers need to be aware of major environmental problems, which will lead them to choose environmentally friendly products (eg: made in Israel, contains organic cotton, not taxed, packed with biodegradable material, no chemicals, etc.). Starting the “green consumer process” is analyzing consumption habits and asking: Do I really need what I”m about to buy?

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Resources used

There is a wide range of resources used by mankind in our daily life. Energy from oil, gas and coal, water and land usage, construction materials, clothes and food are just some examples but there are many more.

These resources serve us for a long period of time but if we overuse any of these resources they are bound to disappear. We tend to think of these resources as a given, as something infinite that renews itself but this is not true for many resources.

There are two types of natural resources.

  • Renewable: this resources renew themselves in a given period of time that is relatively short like forests, water, soil, livestock. Nevertheless if we use them faster than the renewing rate we can deplete them forever.

  • Non-renewable: this resources are finite. We cannot regrow them or make them. When this resources are used they break apart into different materials that cannot be reclaimed or used. This includes oil, natural gas and coal.

If we keep using resources in an irresponsible way we could find ourselves without them in time.

The method used to determine how many resources we use compared to their availability on Earth is called The Ecological Footprint. It tells us how many resources we would need from the planet to keep our way of life. The results are represented in the number of Earth’s we would need to sustain our way of life if everyone lived the same way.

We can all get better

A video with cheap and simple consumer tips

EarthDay2020

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