The 4 Major Environmental Issues and Concerns of the EPA
If someone asked you what the biggest threats facing our environment are today, what would you answer? The question is overwhelming because there are so many different aspects of the environment that are being impacted simultaneously.
Environmental Threat Categories Outlined by the EPA
Overpopulation, deforestation, and a host of other problems could ultimately lead to the devastation of the natural environment. This concern impacts all of the people living on this planet. To help make sense of a problem of this magnitude and complexity, the EPA has broken down its environmental concerns into four major areas so that people who are interested in making changes can understand how to best focus their efforts. Each of these four areas of environmental concern is comprised of many different components, but a basic understanding of each of them will help you familiarize yourself with some of the major issues that this planet faces today.
The EPA's 4 Major Environmental Concerns
- Water Issues
- Air Issues
- Waste and Land Pollution
- Climate Change
1. Water Issues
One of the most important areas of environmental concern is the earth's water supply. We need to be concerned about water pollution as well as the increasing scarcity of drinkable water in certain areas of the world.
People who are concerned about this issue should start helping out by reducing their water waste as much as possible. This can be approached by analyzing your water use at home. Make an effort to minimize water used during showers, cooking, tooth-brushing, and restroom visits.
What Can You Do?
- Collect rainwater for re-use.
- Set up a natural landscape that doesn’t require water for your plants.
- Join a local organization to assist in fighting water pollution around the world.
2. Air Issues
Air pollution isn’t an issue that most people consider to be of primary environmental concern since it doesn’t seem to pose an immediate or pressing threat to a lot of us. However, air pollution causes serious health problems and threatens the natural environment. This means that it is actually one of the most important areas of environmental concern that we can start working to change today.
What Can You Do?
- Minimize your use of cars and other vehicles in favor of walking or riding a bike.
- Be conscious of your use of air-polluting chemicals.
- Reduce your engagement with air-polluting services like dry-cleaning.
- Limit your consumption of products that come from air-polluting factories.
3. Waste and Land Pollution
Another area of grave concern to the EPA that impacts many different aspects of the planet's health is waste. Toxic waste like dangerous electronics and harmful chemicals are deposited in landfills on a large-scale basis. Toxic waste is a major issue, but other types of waste are of concern as well. All waste ends up leading to land pollution, causing problems in the environment and taking up much-needed land space.
A lot of items that can be recycled or donated still get thrown away because it’s more convenient for people to toss stuff in the trash. Those who analyze their waste habits are often able to make simple changes in order to minimize the amount of material they discard.
What Can You Do?
- Get in the habit of buying only what you need.
- Recycle all recyclable items instead of throwing them away.
- Re-use or donate all useful, non-recyclable items instead of throwing them away.
4. Climate Change
All of these different types of pollution and waste end up contributing to what is probably the biggest area of concern for the planet—the changing climate. Climate change is a major environmental concern because of the fact that even small changes can cause significant problems for large portions of the world.
Climate change is causing increase in the severity of natural disasters like floods and hurricanes worldwide. These things devastate society and wreak havoc on the regions that they hit. If it continues at its current rate, global warming will cause an increase in these issues along with additional problems that could ultimately end civilization as we know it.
What Can You Do?
If you work on improving your efforts in the EPA's first three areas of environmental concern, then you will be contributing to the battle against this major threat to our planet's health.
Why Focus on These Four Concerns?
It’s true that there are other types of environmental issues that we might be inclined to focus on when we are fretting about what’s going on with the earth around us. However, if you take a close look at any of those specific concerns, you will see that they usually fall into one of the four major categories outlined by the EPA.
Example Issue: Deforestation
Deforestation is a really serious problem that is causing a lot of environmental issues. This can be viewed through the EPA's waste category—it usually happens as a result of organizations or individuals using too many trees from a single area to build bigger homes, make paper products, or otherwise create wasteful material. Reducing waste by building homes using recycled materials and storing more information digitally could help address this issue.
Get an Environmental Education!
This article only touches on the four major environmental concerns of the EPA. To really be able to make a difference on this planet, it’s important to understand each of these four issues in greater depth. The only way to do that is to get an education in what each of these four areas of concern is really all about. Reading through the EPA’s website is a great place to start your environmental education. After that, you can choose which of the four areas concerns you most and focus your personal efforts on that area to do your own small part to change your planet for the better.
Additional Information: Environmental Protection Acts
- Comparison of Environmental Protection Acts
This article provides an in-depth comparison of two historic acts passed to protect the environment.