Category: Environment

The ecosystem (all the communities of living organisms found in a specific place, their habitats and their interactions) is the environment within which we live. It provides natural services for humans and all other species that are essential to our health, quality of life and survival. For example, our forests remove carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the air we breathe and also cool our air temperatures, reducing the formation of ground-level ozone, a pollutant that can cause heart and lung problems to worsen; our wetlands store storm water, filter and make harmless storm water pollutants, and recharge our aquifers (where most of us get our drinking water) with these filtered waters; and the dune systems on our beaches form natural barriers to storm waves and provide important habitat and travel ways for wildlife.

Town of Hilton Head Island

In 2013, scientists reported that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had reached its highest peak in at least three million years. This alarming number, due to human fossil fuel emissions, can cause climate change.

The Center for Climate Change and Energy Solutions says that human activity:

Has increased the temperature of the earth 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century

Will increase the temperature up to another 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100

The effects of this temperature increase will raise the sea level, increase coastal storms, erode beaches, harm wildlife, and cause draughts and flooding. The World Health Organization estimates that even as early as 2004, there were 140,000 deaths annually caused by climate change. These causes ranged from malnutrition after crop production was affected by global warming, to fatal heat stroke, to increased prevalence of diseases like malaria.

University of Minnesota

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Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council (1984): Landmark Supreme Court Cases

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