The impact of human beings on the environment can be likened to a geological force that is shaping the earth and its atmosphere. Mechanisation has allowed us to destroy entire worlds. Pollution, destruction of species on land and in the sea, land erosion through mass clearing of forests, damming of rivers, salinity, creation of deserts from fertile land, the greenhouse effect and overuse of earth’s natural resources are all part of this force. If human beings expect to survive, then the damage created over the previous century needs to be re-dressed. We need to implement sustainable systems of living; the earth’s natural resources are finite: its ecology is fragile: its biodiversity is shrinking.

In order to understand the fragility of our environment everyone needs to be educated and aware of alternatives; it is up to the individual (particularly those in affluent nations) to implement change through their own behaviour as well as through political pressure. Our very survival depends upon the conservation of nature. Because we are only part of a large ecosystem, humans when stripped of all modern developments, are as defenceless as any other animal. Man too is fashioned by the harsh laws of nature. In order for humanity (in general) to understand the importance of conservation we need to understand the concepts. This can only be achieved through education. It has been said that the study of nature is the study of survival!

In the 21st century trends are changing; governments are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of past (and present) practices. Scientists are looking at way of arresting and sometimes reversing environmental damage. Farmers are being educated to work with rather then against nature. Sustainable systems of consumption, growth and use of the environment and our natural resources are being studied and implemented. The "green movement" is very active with regards the environment, ordinary people encouraging change. This is the first generation that has become seriously worried about what the actions of today will have on the lives of future generations. Many attitudes still need to be changed but this century shows an encouraging change for the future.

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