The Earth was once covered in ancient forests. But these ancient forests are under threat. Every two seconds, an area of forest the size of a football pitch is lost due to logging or destructive practices.
Agri-business is responsible for massive rainforest destruction as forests are burned to make way for cattle ranches, or cleared for palm oil or soya plantations. In this way, irreplaceable rainforests are converted into products that are used to make toothpaste, chocolate and animal feed.
Industrial logging for timber, pulp and paper has also devastated much of the world’s rainforests. Not only are ancient trees cut down on a vast scale, but unplanned and inefficient practices lead to enormous additional wastage. And, by building roads into pristine rainforests, the logging industry opens them up to secondary effects like human settlement, hunting, fuel-wood gathering and agriculture.
Industrial pollution can often mean hazardous chemicals-out-of-control. Discharges or emissions come from manufacturing leak out from production-processes, they escape while the product is being used, or they are emitted after the product is thrown away as rubbish.
Many of the chemicals that are produced when goods are manufactured have intrinsic hazardous properties. They might be made on purpose or unintentionally, but most never would occur naturally. Hazardous chemicals can not be managed well enough by ‘end-of-pipe’ techniques, including common wastewater treatment plants. And many can do harm over a very long time and far from their source. They can travel long distances and they can accumulate along food chains, ultimately poisoning our own food supply.
The social and environmental costs can be huge and are often complex – making solutions difficult. Discharges or emissions leak from production processes. They escape while the product is being used, or they are emitted after the product is thrown away as rubbish.
Greenpeace is campaigning for agriculture that is good for the planet and people – healthy food grown with the environment, not against it and farming that will help us cope with climate change.
But the introduction of genetically modified (GM) food and crops has been a disaster, posing a serious threat to biodiversity and our own health. In addition, the real reason for their development has not been to end world hunger but to increase the stranglehold multinational biotech companies already have on food production.
The simple truth is, we don’t need GM technology. Using sustainable and organic farming methods will allow us to repair the damage done by industrial farming, reducing the excessive use of fertiliser, herbicides and other man-made chemicals, and making GM crops redundant.
The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the globe and is experiencing some of the most severe climate impacts on Earth. One of the most notable is the rapid decline in the thickness and extent of sea ice.
Sea ice underpins the entire Arctic marine ecosystem, and as it shrinks and thins, there are major repercussions for the Arctic peoples and wildlife.
The increasingly rapid rate of climate change poses new challenges to the resilience of Arctic life.
In addition to the impacts of climate change, many other stresses brought about by human activities are simultaneously affecting life in the Arctic, including air and water contamination, over-fishing, increasing levels of ultraviolet radiation due to ozone depletion, habitat alteration and pollution due to resource extraction.
The sum of these factors threatens to overwhelm the adaptive capacity of some Arctic populations and ecosystems.