I don’t think people realize how the things they do really affect the environment. Those of us in developed nations live very sheltered lives in which we don’t realize what’s going on outside the little bubble of our own lives. I myself can be guilty of this sometimes too. Part of the problem is the lack of awareness. We don’t take the time to really see what we are doing to the environment. Another issue is lack of knowledge. Many people don’t understand how the different things that we do will change the environment. Even things that we do that we think are good, could actually end up harming the environment. One such example is the story of the cats in Borneo.
If you didn’t take time to watch the video, I’ll tell you a little about it. The people of Borneo, an island in South-East Asia, were suffering from several cases of malaria. To fix this problem, the World Health Organization sprayed DDT to kill the mosquitoes that were giving the people malaria. While initially this was a positive action because it led to the reduction of malaria cases, it ultimately caused several other problems for the people of Borneo in a chain of events. The DDT ended up harming other organisms that were very important to the ecosystem, causing it to fall apart in a chain of events.
This story shows us that the choices we make can cause things we had no intentions of causing. That’s why we need to be really conscious of what we are doing, and we need to make sure things won’t have harmful effects before we do them. A lot of the time we just rush into doing things before seeing what it will do.
Sometimes, even if we have researched the effects that something will have, those effects can change and be made greater when they are combined with different things This is called a synergistic interaction. A synergistic interaction is an interaction of two or more factors or processes so that the combined effect is greater than the sum of their separate effects. This is an example of how we can cause harm in our environment with chemicals. Just because we have tested out two chemicals and have found that they are at safe levels, when combined with each other they may be much more harmful.
For our environment to get any better, we need to pay closer attention to what we are doing, and the effects it could cause.