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What is environment? Its Components and Significance

what is environment

Humans for a lot of years have been one with nature and the surroundings around them are considered their environment. This environment has provided humans with an immense amount of blessings. Right from food to shelter everything you get from the environment. However, due to the recent activities of humans, there has been a high amount of pollution along with environmental issues and challenges. But what is environment and what exactly does it consist of? We very often call the surroundings our environment but is it the only one or is the entire world a part of this environment? Let’s find out more about what is environment and what is the importance of the environment.

Understanding the Environment

So what is environment? The environment is derived from a French word called “Environia” which means nothing but to surround. Here it refers to both the biotic which is the living world and the abiotic which is the non-living or physical world. The environmental definition mentions that it is the conditions or surroundings in which an animal, person, or plant operates or lives. It does not just cover the constituents of the world but also lets us know how they interact with each other. The environment also plays quite an important role in the life cycle of humans. Also, human life is very much dependent on the environment.

Thus environmental definition is nothing but everything that is immediately surrounding an object or exerting a direct influence over it. While the environment might be distinct from us, they however still make a significant impact on daily life and activities that we take part in. This environment could also be affected by various factors which might be natural, biological, artificial, psychological, or artificial.

Importance of the Environment

Well now that we know what is environment, it is time to know what is the importance of the environment in our daily lives. Well, to be said in short, the environment is the one thing that keeps us alive. If our ecosystems were to be damaged and unable to support us with food and water along with good healthy air, it would have been hard to survive.

The environment also has quite a significant impact on those who live within it. For example, if the environment is too cold or hot for an animal or person, and if relocation is not possible there are high chances that the animal won’t be able to survive. This is also applicable in the case of plants, people, and other animals.

However, over time, life has survived through various different environments and has been able to adapt to different conditions. For example, giraffes might not have been able to reach the top of the tree to get leaves however with reproduction and survival it is now possible. This is how evolution has taken place over the years.

There are also several threats to our natural environment and one of them is climate change which is brought about by various factors such as pollution. This also includes the burning of fossil fuels. Such threats have high consequences and bring about drastic changes to our environment which makes it hard to support life.

Components of the Environment

Everything present in the surroundings which includes everything that is living and nonliving things is a part of the environment. Survival on earth is also dependent on this environment. The environmental concepts consist of two components mainly as follows:

Biotic Components

When used together they can also be referred to as living creatures. As a result, biotic components may also be said to be every living organism on the planet. Examples mainly include yeast, insects, people, animals, decomposers, etc. All of these biotic components are responsible for working together and creating new generations that help keep the food chain stable. There are sub-sections in biotic components when it comes to the environmental concepts and could be provided as follows:

Producers

The organisms that are highly capable of creating their own food with the help of photosynthesis are claimed to be producers. Main examples of producers include microbes, algae, and plants. Abiotic substances such as humidity, sunlight, and water help them with the required energy. Chlorophyll is considered as one of the important constituents for food synthesis and producers also use their own food for growth and functioning purposes.

Consumers

Consumers are the ones who consume the products of the producers. These consumers are further divided into two types:

  • Primary consumers: These are the consumers who get direct access to the producers. For example, goats or cows.
  • Secondary consumers: These are the consumers who consider primary consumers as their food. For example, lions and tigers.

Decomposers

Decomposers are the living creatures that break down or decompose the dead bodies of animals and plants. Examples mainly include microorganisms, bacteria or fungi.

Detritivores

Detritivores are those who feed on dead and rotting animals. After they are done with the consumption they get energy from the food.

Abiotic Components

The only parts of the ecosystem that are considered abiotic are the dead or non-living parts. Because the interactions between biotic and abiotic creatures are what keep an ecosystem stable, they are essential to its design. The primary abiotic components include soil types, pH, altitude, humidity, air, and weather.

Climate

The overall temperature of an ecosystem along with the meteorological conditions is called climate. This is very important for the ecosystem since it helps keep steady weather and temperature. Even a small change in the same could lead to environmental issues and challenges, especially with regards to an organism’s life.

pH Balance

The degree of alkalinity or acidity in an environment where you live is called the pH balance of an ecosystem. It is a scientific method that most people use to determine whether the condition is acidic, neutral, or alkaline in nature. Water has a pH 7 which is neutral. Anything you test and has a pH lower than 7 is considered to be acidic and anything higher than 7 could be alkaline. There are a lot of plants and bacteria that cannot live if there is no pH balance which is why it is an important part of the ecosystem.

Light

Photosynthesis which is the primary source of energy for plants is facilitated only with the help of light. However, some plants live in deep forests with gloomy weather and low light where they can also survive.

Human Impact on the Environment

There is no lie that humans have impacted the environment in both positive and negative ways. The rise and development of various industries have led to major impacts such as ozone depletion, acid rain, and even genetic modification. Humans have also created a huge impact on the water bodies in several ways. Some of the impacts due to human activities can be provided as follows:

Water pollution

There is a high amount of plastic being discarded into the water bodies which lie suspended and cause harm to the sea creatures. City sewage and industrial waste are also one of the major contributors to the pollution of these water bodies. Contamination of water has hence led to the death of about 1.8 million animals and humans.

Acid Rain

It is understandable that acid rain has become commonplace due to the large concentrations of nitric and sulfuric acid in the atmosphere. This is mostly because there are a lot of companies in the area, and those sectors produce a lot of chemical fumes into the atmosphere. The toxic acid rain enters water bodies and tends to affect humans and animals alike.

Global warming

High emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have led to global warming. The decrease in pH of the water is also one of the results of this condition. One of the major contributors to this high carbon dioxide level is humans. This is done by not just industries releasing the gases but also due to the burning of fossil fuels such as petrol by cars.

Significance of Environmental Conservation

Environmental conservation and resource saving is very important especially to ensure there is a sustainable future. Environmental conservation does not just involve safeguarding the natural world from being deteriorated due to human activities but also saving resources for the future. If not done properly then it could lead to the exploitation of natural resources and leaving out nothing for future generations. Here are some of the points that indicate the importance of the environment and its conservation:

  • To avoid the excessive exploitation of natural resources
  • To keep a healthy balance in our ecosystem
  • To prevent a lot of human cause natural disasters
  • To significantly reduce the impact of global warming
  • To bring about awareness about protecting our environment.

Ways to Protect the Environment

As humans, there are a lot of ways in which we can change or do a small part of our everyday lives to protect the environment. Taking out more time to protect the environment and thinking about how few human actions tend to affect the environment will be very beneficial to not just the planet but also the environment as a whole. Here are a few tips to start protecting our environment:

  • Save on plastic bags and start using reusable bags which are mainly made of jute or cotton.
  • Try limiting the usage of cars and try carpooling or even walking and cycling could be a plausible option
  • Cut down on a lot of water usage. For example, do not keep the water running when you are brushing your teeth instead turn it on only when needed.
  • Recycle waste as much as you can so that it does not end up going into landfills
  • Try to be more sustainable with clothes. Either donate or recycle them and perhaps you may even find a new item from charity shops which may save the clothes from ending up in a landfill.
  • Save usage of electricity by utilizing energy-saving bulbs. Also, ensure that the lights remain off when there is no one in the room.

Conclusion

Having gained knowledge about the environment and its preservation, it is now appropriate for you to take action and participate in activities that improve the ecosystem, such as recycling. One or two tiny actions that humans can do are to plant as many trees and recycle and reuse as much as possible. Despite the fact that humans are to blame for the environment’s decline, it is imperative that we change this and ensure that our surroundings are protected.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the environment, and why is it important?

Environment is everything that surrounds us and it is important as it helps the lives sustain on Earth.       

2. What are the components of the environment?

Two major components of the environment include biotic and abiotic components. Where biotic is everything related to living organisms and abiotic is related to physical or non-living stuff.

3. How do human activities impact the environment?

Human impact is quite high on the environment and has led to various problems such as the burning of fossil fuels, pollution, global warming, and deforestation.

4. Why is it crucial to conserve the environment?

To maintain the ecological balance and to ensure there is sustainability of the ecosystem it is very important to conserve the environment.          

5. What are some environmental issues facing the world today?

Some of the environmental issues that are faced by the world today can be provided as follows:
1. Global warming
2. Deforestation
3. Pollution

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