Tag Archives: environmental protection

Biomimicry: Definitions

Definitions of Biomimicry or Biomimetics

(1) Biomimicry is an emerging fi­eld that studies nature and living things in order to gain insight from their wide range of natural processes and strategies and create innovative solutions to enhance life on earth.

(2) Biomimicry is the science and art of analyzing, experimenting on, and observing, examining, or studying nature’s activities to discover biological or natural principles and ideas, and use them to solve human and environmental problems.

(3) Biomimicry is the study of nature’s variety of structures, mechanics or constructions, and designs in order to create new products or materials in line with nature’s continuous strive for maximum achievement with minimum effort.

Biomimicry: Examples & Benefits of Copying Nature

(4) Biomimicry is an enabling discipline that analyses how living systems actually work, in order to discover nature’s tricks and ideas, and adapt and adopt them to solve particular problems.

(5) Biomimicry is a new subject area or discipline that studies nature’s time-tested models, processes, elements, and designs in order to gain inspiration from nature and solve problems sustainably.

(6) Biomimicry is the study and application of the basic principles and processes of nature in order to find solutions or ideas that can solve specific problems encountered by humanity.

(7) Biomimicry is an interdisciplinary field (in technology and biology) that studies the functions, processes, structures, and relationships in biological systems to discover solutions for major mechanical or technological problems.


Best Environmental Practices for the Main Sources of Air Pollution

Before we state each of the main sources of air pollution and list the respective best environmental practices for managing each of them, it is important to point out that prevention has to be pursued at all costs and with as much effort as possible, instead of allowing things to get out of hand and to such a point that we would have to employ best environmental practices to get things a bit or totally under control.

What is pollution prevention?

Pollution prevention is any practical method used to prevent or reduce the production or creation of wastes and eventually cut down air pollutants, solid wastes, hazardous wastes, and water pollutants.

Pollution prevention increases efficiency and enhances environmental protection; in addition, it helps reduce the toxicity and quantity of pollutants when:

  • spills and leakages are prevented from occurring.
  • reusable material is substituted for single-use material, where practicable.
  • less hazardous materials are substituted for more hazardous materials.
  • pollutants from leakages are captured, recycled, and treated before discharge into water or air.
  • solvents are cleaned and reused.
  • raw materials are efficiently utilized in a timely manner in order to avoid and reduce waste.
  • people and society are taught, properly trained, or directed on how to effectively tackle pollution.
  • materials are periodically inspected, serviced, or maintained, and unusable raw materials are rejected or returned.

The main sources of air pollution and the best environmental practices appropriate for each are as follows:

1. General pollutant sources of air pollution

The six criteria pollutants, hazardous air pollutants, and greenhouse gases originate from stationary sources, area sources, and mobile sources which are all different types of sources of air pollution.

Best environmental practices would be needed to manage the sources of air pollution and their respective pollutants which may mix or interact with each other and form completely new or complex pollutants that can be highly toxic at low concentrations and linger around for long periods of time.

The pollutants categorized under general pollutant sources may include the six criteria air pollutants, greenhouse gases, acid rain sources, and hazardous air pollutants.

Best environmental practices for general pollutant sources of air pollution

The best environmental practices for general pollutant sources—which are the same as the best environmental practices for all sources of air pollution—include the following:

  • Cleaning up all spills as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
  • Conducting surveillance on any part of the environment to determine where pollutants are being released into the air, the number and quantity of pollutants being released, and the exact times of their release.
  • Cleaning all HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) systems on rooftops and replacing all essential filters if they are incorporated to help prevent the growth and spread of Legionella organisms which cause Legionnaires disease.
  • Regularly replacing carbon absorbent materials and filters.
  • Searching for leaks using leak detectors, especially around vents, valves, sampling points, trainers, gaskets, ductwork, lint bags, seals, condensing coils, exhaust dampers, and pipe fittings.
  • Reusing and recycling substances, wherever or whenever possible.
  • Substituting less hazardous materials and chemicals for more hazardous materials and chemicals, whenever possible or appropriate.
  • Ensuring that general housekeeping, all operating equipment, sampling equipment, control devices, and storage vessels operate the right way and are maintained in a well-timed manner.
  • Keeping written records of all maintenance works carried out on facilities and equipment, and highlighting notable problems and the solutions that have been used to solve them.
  • Training employees to do their jobs properly, test their proficiency, continuously build their knowledge or education, and upgrade their skills on a periodic basis.

2. Stationary sources of air pollution

Stationary sources are point sources of air pollution, and some of the important information about them also applies to many aspects such as electric power plants, chemical plants, wastewater treatment plants, and a variety of industries.

Other examples of stationary sources of air pollution include areas or locations for mining of raw materials, storage points of raw materials, positions where fuel is stored for heating at industrial sites, etc.

Best environmental practices for stationary sources of air pollution

  • Ensuring that industrial operations are more efficient. Higher efficiency also generates greater profits.
  • Removing the sources of problems caused by the air pollution that is generated by industrial processes.
  • Altering industrial operations in order to reduce the number and quantity of air pollutants.
  • Ensuring that the industrial boilers that use fossil fuels are properly maintained and all leaks are eliminated and pipes are thoroughly insulated.
  • Adjusting various parts of equipment such as boiler doors and burners in order to reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides they discharge.
  • Controlling and properly handling gaseous emissions and employing the use of equipment such as absorbers, bio-filters, thermal oxidizers, boilers and process heaters, flares, catalytic reactors, flares, carbon absorbers, and condensers.
  • Using generated heat and power to distil much of the energy available in fuel.
  • Producing electric motors that are more efficient in various industrial applications: utilizing modern flat belts instead of V belts, and properly adjusting the components of motors—or replacing them with energy-efficient motors.
  • Using less-polluting materials in place of more-polluting materials.
  • Preventing pollutants from being carried downwind to other areas that may be easily affected by them, and using smokestacks that have appropriate sizes to dilute small quantities of pollutants.
  • Pre-treating raw materials before using them to reduce the concentrations of potential pollutants released during industrial processes.
  • Using fabric filters, cyclones, wet and dry electrostatic precipitators, venture scrubbers, and settling chambers to collect and control particulate matter.

3. Mobile sources of air pollution

Mobile sources of air pollution are categorized into on-road sources and off-road sources which discharge pollutants into the atmosphere after fuel evaporation and fuel combustion take place and produce hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter along with greenhouse gases and air toxics.

The mobile sources of air pollution that are regulated by the environmental protection agency (EPA) include: buses, cars, heavy-duty vehicles, commercial aircraft, recreational vehicles, minivans, semi-trailers, light-duty vehicles, SUVs, motorcycles, diesel-powered engines on locomotives, agricultural and construction equipment, lawn and garden equipment, propane and gasoline industrial equipment, snowmobiles, dirt bikes, a variety of boats and ships, etc.

Best environmental practices for mobile sources of air pollution

  • Using redeveloped gasoline to cut down emissions of toluene, benzene, and other toxic pollutants.
  • Ensuring that people who sell engines and vehicles prove they comply with any environmental laws that govern limits on emissions from fuel combustion.
  • Establishing standards for certain types of air pollutants emitted by mobile sources of air pollution, and combustible products such as on-road diesel fuel, off-road diesel fuel, and gasoline which are used to power mobile sources.
  • Ensuring that manufacturers design and implement efficient vapor recovery systems, combustion systems, and use computer technology to observe the performance of catalytic converters, engines, and use filters to efficiently remove pollutants from exhausts.
  • Establishing and enforcing limits for emissions from the tailpipe located at the rear end of cars.

4. Acid rain sources of air pollution

The wet forms of acid deposition/deposit such as acid rain, acid fog, acid snow, and acid mist, and the dry forms of acid deposition are all produced up in the atmosphere and fall down to the earth.

The wet and dry forms of acid deposition can change the chemistry of the soil and bodies of water, destroy or change alter ecosystems, cause health problems, create misty or foggy skies, damage property and goods, and affect the natural functioning of agricultural crops.

Acid precipitation is formed when nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide are discharged into the atmosphere and react with water vapor and other chemicals to form acids.

Best environmental practices for acid rain sources of air pollution

  • Carrying out adequate and appropriate maintenance on all motor vehicles and the diverse range of motorized tools and equipment.
  • Cutting down the quantity of emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide from automobiles and power plants.
  • Reducing thermostat usage during winter and economizing its usage during the summer. This helps to reduce fuel consumption and save money as well.
  • Purchasing and using only energy-efficient appliances and discarding those that aren’t energy-efficient.
  • Reducing the quantity of wasted electricity by switching off televisions, lights, computers, and appliances that aren’t being used or won’t be used for a certain time period.

Best Environmental Practices for the 6 Criteria Air Pollutants

Six of the most common air pollutants are popularly regarded as “the criteria air pollutants” or “the six criteria air pollutants”. By definition, the criteria air pollutants are air pollutants that are:

  • widely distributed across regions or countries and massively pollute the air in many cities around the world
  • regulated by environmental protection or regulatory bodies to control health and environmental effects or impacts of pollutants
  • useful indexes or indicators of the overall air quality.

Nations that are concerned about the atmosphere and environment have a set of standards in place for the following (six) criteria air pollutants—when they are in outdoor (or ambient) air:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Ozone (ground-level)
  • Lead
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Particulate matter or “particles”, and
  • Sulfur dioxide

The six air pollutants listed above are identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “criteria air pollutants” because the EPA itself regulates and uses them to formulate useful science-based guidelines and best environmental practices (BEPs).

The term “best environmental practice(s)” (BEP[s]) refers to the current most suitable professional environmental control or protection strategy/practical procedure that attracts the best or most effective results.

Because criteria air pollutants originate from various types of sources, the discussions concerning them put more emphasis on the criteria air pollutants themselves, instead of their sources. As a result, the best environmental practices for each criteria air pollutant are more general.

Research and experience have shown that the best environmental practices or procedures bring optimal results that can serve as standards appropriate for widespread adoption and application.

The BEPs, techniques, actions, or measures enable people and organizations to reduce the impact of waste generation on the environment which is under the direct control and influence of humans.

The following are the six criteria air pollutants and their respective best environmental practices:

1. Carbon Monoxide

Naturally, carbon monoxide is produced from the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels in homes, vehicular traffic, chemical plants, refineries, coke oven plants, power plants that use coal and gas, farming equipment, heavy equipment, etc.

People can knowingly or unknowingly become exposed to combustion or pollutants generated from the sources stated in the previous paragraph. Carbon monoxide can exasperate heart disease and cause headaches and chest pain and even result in death.

The best environmental practices for carbon monoxide are as follows:

  • Publicizing or calling attention to areas or regions that have or produce high concentrations of carbon monoxide, and encouraging people to live away from such areas.
  • Ensuring that gasoline power engines and tools are not operated in confined spaces.
  • Using motor vehicle inspection programs to assess whether or not fuel combustion is done thoroughly.
  • Employing motor vehicle inspection programs to achieve proper and maximum fuel combustion.
  • Halting the use of cold and rapid starts of motor vehicles in order to cut down carbon monoxide levels.
  • Innovating, initiating, adopting, and establishing programs to examine the level of efficiency of people in charge of fire-fighting and other types of emergency response, and providing efficient medical care when necessary.
  • Innovating, initiating, adopting, and establishing programs to supervise how wood-burning heaters and fireplaces are used and maintained while ensuring that fuel combustion is done properly.
  • Reducing the quantity of inhaled carbon monoxide by enforcing “no smoking” rules in public buildings or places that provide a more general or specific service.
  • Substituting less hazardous chemicals, products, or compounds for more hazardous ones.
  • Formulating or inventing programs that can use fuel more efficiently to reduce carbon monoxide, other pollutants, and pollution.
  • Utilizing continuous emission monitoring systems to record, report, and disseminate information about carbon monoxide emissions from stationary sources.

2. Ozone (ground-level)

Ozone is produced whenever a chemical reaction occurs in the atmosphere between a volatile organic compound (VOC) and nitrogen oxides and in the presence of sunlight.

Volatile organic compounds may be generated from fuel combustion, petroleum refineries, chemical manufacturing plants, cars that burn gasoline, and during use and storage of hydrocarbons, petroleum, and solvents, as well as landfills.

Children are at risk during summer when ozone levels in open/unconfined air are at their highest. Ozone can destroy agricultural crops, some types of plastic, rubber, and forests, especially in depressed/low-lying areas such as valleys or streets that exist between tall buildings. These types of topography could help pave a way for high concentrations of ground-level ozone.

The best environmental practices for ozone are as follows:

  • Using cleaner gasoline, adopting the use of low-emission cars and trucks, and increasing the efficiency of gasoline in order to increase the mileage covered per gallon of gasoline burned.
  • Reducing the amount of nitrogen oxide discharged from industrial combustion sources and power plants.
  • Using nuclear, solar, hydroelectric, and wind power—whenever or wherever possible—in place of fossil fuels.
  • Reclaiming or recovering vapor at service stations during refuelling of automobiles.
  • Reducing dependence on/use of automobiles by employing mass transit and carpooling, and making less use of automobiles for little trips or distances.
  • Using low-evaporation VOC solvents and paints instead of high-evaporation VOC solvents and paints.
  • Employing special gas cans to prevent spillage during refuelling of lawn equipment.
  • Inspecting emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and sulfur oxides from automobiles on a yearly basis.

3. Lead

The most common sources of lead include industrial processes, mobile sources of pollution (buses, locomotives, trucks, passenger cars, construction equipment, etc.), resource recovery areas, battery manufacturing, waste incineration, piston-engine aircraft operation, and the deterioration of lead-based paint (indoors and outdoors).

Exposure (inhalation and ingestion) to lead in both indoor and outdoor environments can damage a children’s nervous system and the renal and cardiovascular systems in adults.

The best environmental practices for lead are as follows:

  • Employing bag-house filters during secondary lead production to get rid of debris from emissions that contain lead.
  • Using electrostatic filters, fabric filters, or wet scrubbers during the primary lead production process in order to remove dust that contains lead.
  • Efficiently controlling smelting operations and transportation of fugitive lead dust to and from a smelter.

4. Nitrogen oxides

Nitrogen oxides are mainly generated from fuel combustion, particularly in industrial boilers, electric utilities, and every kind of wood-burning appliance and fireplace.

Nitrogen oxides can lower one’s immunity or resistance to respiratory infections, induce irritation and damage in the lungs, and increase acute respiratory sickness in children; in addition, it can undergo reactions in the atmosphere to form acid rain and ozone.

The best environmental practices for nitrogen oxides are as follows:

  • Utilizing low nitrogen burners which can maintain high-efficiency combustion and recirculate combustion gases through flue pipes.
  • Recirculating the exhaust gases in automotive vehicles in order to reduce nitrogen oxides.
  • Modifying combustion systems to minimize peak temperatures and combustion time (i.e., time for complete fuel combustion) at peak temperatures in industrial processes.
  • Using catalytic converters to convert hydrocarbons into water and carbon dioxide, reduce nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and oxygen, and also convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide.
  • Employing energy conservation techniques in buildings in order to economize or use less fuel and save energy.
  • Properly maintaining automotive vehicles to ensure that gas compression ratios, spark timing, and air-fuel ratios are suitable.
  • Utilizing continuous emission monitoring systems to record, report, and disseminate information about nitrogen oxides emissions from stationary sources.

5. Particulate matter

Both the fine and respirable (breathable) types of particulate matter can increase lung damage and respiratory problems/diseases and may cause cancer, reduced visibility, surface soiling, and premature death.

Particulate matter causes various kinds of illnesses, especially in children, elderly people, and people who have asthma, lung diseases, and heart diseases.

The best environmental practices for particulate matter are as follows:

  • Applying water or chemical dust suppressants to dry bare soil and unpaved roads, especially in places that have high traffic and many ongoing construction activities.
  • Choosing and using cleaner fuels—for example, natural gas—which discharge little to no particulate matter—for example, natural gas.
  • Utilizing low-ash fossil fuels for burning or combustion.
  • Cleaning coal before burning it, in order to reduce ash.
  • Employing more effective technologies in industrial processes.
  • Using gasification products of coal as fuel, instead of using coal.
  • Using scrubbers, filters, electrostatic precipitators, and dust collectors to remove particulate matter (such as dust particles) from gas streams.
  • Applying appropriate dust collection systems to air emitted from industrial processes/production in order to reduce the quantity of dust generated in the cement industry.
  • Using a wet suppression system or dust collection system along with the principles of ventilation to reduce dust in coal processing.
  • Consistently utilizing appropriate pollution control tools and equipment.
  • Cutting down fuel combustion by upgrading various technologies tied to fuel products.
  • Using continuous emission monitoring systems to record, report, and disseminate information about particulate matter emissions from stationary sources.

6. Sulfur Dioxide

Ninety percent of all sulfur dioxide emissions originate from the activities of paper mills, iron and steel mills, power plants, fertilizer manufacturers, petroleum refineries, and copper smelters: sulfur dioxide is usually produced from and during fuel combustion in oil- or coal-burning industries, diesel engines, refineries, and electrical utilities.

But it comes with a problem: sulfur dioxide increases respiratory problems, exacerbates asthma, and reacts in air to produce acid rain which is also produced when nitrogen oxides combine with water.

The best environmental practices for sulfur dioxide are as follows:

  • Scouring sulfur dioxide from exhaust gases before discharging the gases into the atmosphere.
  • Using only low-sulfur coal as fuel.
  • Prewashing coal before using it as fuel.
  • Using natural gas in place of high sulfur coal.
  • Applying reactive lime in the removal of sulfur or sulfates.
  • Modifying industrial processes when possible in order to get rid of sulfur and sulfur compounds.
  • Using continuous emission monitoring systems to record, report, and disseminate information about sulfur dioxide emissions from stationary sources.

Brief History of Global Environmental Sustainability

Although different environments in the past and distant past were not affected by the severe types of environmental problems affecting our present-day world, they would have still attracted the attention of people who had a desire to protect or sustain the environment.

Outside of Athens, the Greeks developed the first refuse dumps around the year 500 B.C. Because the Greeks understood how solid waste and human waste could spread diseases in the environment, they invented sewers, toilets, and placed waste yards or refuse dumps outside the city.

Within the boundaries of other ancient cities such as Rome, poor disposal of human waste increased the already-existing displeasing level of air pollution due to burning of solid waste, wood, and odors from garbage and runoff from household and industrial sewage.

Pollution of rivers is nothing new. To prevent the river Thames from being polluted, King Edward III of England passed a law in 1357 prohibiting pollution of the river. Nine years later (1366) in Paris, slaughterers were forced to discard animal waste outside the city.

And after about a further two decades more, in 1388, laws were passed in England to forbid/disallow disposal of garbage and refuse into trenches, rivers, and bodies of water.

By responding to numerous outbreaks of diseases and environmental problems, and creating laws to protect the environment, the foundations of environmental sustainability were further strengthened and many improvements were being increasingly made in the centuries that followed.

Even now (in modern times), governments, organizations, and people from across the world still show consistent concern for the environment and environmental sustainability. The need to sustain the environment exists globally, and the United Nations has been a major vehicle driving and promoting environmental sustainability.

In preparation for the Stockholm Conference (The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment), which was held in 1972 in Stockholm (Sweden), a meeting was held in 1971: the developed nations expressed more concern about environmental consequences of global development, while the less developed nations, on the other hand, expressed more concern about economic development.

Sustainable development ensued as a compromise between two major conflicting choices: environmental concerns and economic concerns. The Stockholm Conference led to the birth of the United Nations Environmental Programme with a mandate to handle issues tied to both sound development practices and environmental practices.

The International Environmental Education Programme took off in 1975 and was followed by the World Conservation Strategy in 1980.

Then in 1983, the Secretary-General of the United Nations asked the Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland, to constitute and lead a special independent World Commission on Environment and Development.

The purpose was to enhance global cooperation on environmental and developmental matters, review and suggest how to handle critical global environmental and developmental problems, and raise different citizens’, governments’, businesses’, and industries’ understanding of and commitment to environmental sustainability and sustainable development.

After many meetings took place, the independent World Commission on Environment and Development produced a report which led to the establishment of the UN Conference on Environment and Development, and Agenda 21 instituted at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and was accepted by more than 178 governments.

Agenda 21 report was created with different sections that targeted different aspects of environmental sustainability. Section I of Agenda 21 report contained discourses on eating/consumption patterns, poverty, demographic dynamics, sustainable development in developing countries, how to encourage sustainable human settlements, how to protect and promote human health, how to protect and integrate the environment into development decisions, and how to take care of needs while developing land and resources.

Section II re-examined the methods of protecting air, water, land, vulnerable or destroyed ecosystems, and sustainable agriculture, and discussed environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals, illegal international trading  of hazardous wastes, toxic and dangerous products, solid wastes, and radioactive wastes.

Section III discussed the role of different native peoples, women, children, youths, workers, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, businesses, industries, and the scientific and technological community in sustainable development.

While Section IV discussed implementation of Agenda 21 which is the design pattern or blueprint for environmental sustainability and sustainable development in the 21st century.

Since global climate change started becoming an issue, all countries saw an immediate need to take necessary actions to tackle the major environmental problems affecting the world as a community.

The original “Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer” was signed by 197 countries on September 16, 1987, and became effective on January 1, 1989. Its provisions seek to protect the stratosphere ozone layer which is important and contributes to the sustenance of biodiversity and life on Earth.

Based on new scientific information at the time, adjustments were effected on March 7, 1991, September 23, 1993, August 5, 1996, June 4, 1998, July 28, 2000, and May 14, 2008.

Meanwhile, in December 1997, more than 150 countries established the Kyoto Protocol to sustain and protect the atmosphere and the climate, and support research on climate change.

To propel actions that can increase the availability of clean air, clean energy, and safe water, and protect people and the environment from diseases and injuries, various nations, NGOs, financial institutions, UN agencies, and groups from around the world convened at the World Summit on Sustainable Development between August 26 and September 4, 2002, and discussed major issues of biodiversity, water, agriculture, energy, and health.

Once again, the countries of the world convened at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development between June 20 and 22, 2012, and reaffirmed their commitment to take necessary actions to achieve a sustainable future for present and future generations.

The most important concerns discussed were about how to eradicate hunger, poverty, and diseases, and develop natural resources in ways that are environmentally friendly.

The conference re-emphasized that people were the focal point of sustainable development, while governments, industries, businesses, and organizations were partners, and decisions on sustainable development should be based on scientific research.

History of Environmental Sustainability & Environmental Laws in the USA

From the very beginnings of the USA as a country, concerned individuals, leaders, and the government had made and still continue making efforts to prevent environmental degradation and land, air, and water pollution. The country’s efforts over a few centuries have laid a strong foundation for present-day environmental sustainability practices that have been taking an increasingly firm grip on the world.

As far back as 1634, when the term “environmental sustainability” was still light years away from seeing the light of day, regulations on public sanitation were enacted in Massachusetts. To prevent water pollution, the city of Boston decreed that people ought not to leave garbage or fish near the bridge or mutual landing between two brooks.

About 3,500 sanitary/medical practitioners lived and worked in the colonies that existed in the USA back in the day. Some of the duties they often performed, included the following:

  • Supply of pure water and prevention of polluting substances from contaminated water
  • Enforcement of practices aimed at keeping the environment clean
  • Control of inconveniences from filth and trades that had the potential to harm physical or mental health
  • Drainage of swamps, low-lying wetland that had grassy vegetation, and stagnant small lakes or bodies of water
  • Disposal of wastes, trash, excrement, etc.

As the United States continued to enlarge its size westward in the nineteenth century (1800s), people freely used natural resources; on the other hand, they indiscriminately discharged all types of pollutants on the land and into the water and air.

But between the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century (1900s), people started realizing the need to use natural resources more sustainably and conserve them for future generations.

This mindset helped create the Conservation Movement (also known as Nature Conservation) which was an environmental, social, and political reform movement whose goal was to preserve natural features and resources (such as animal species, plant species, and their habitat) in ways that would leave the environment in a more sustainable or better condition for the benefit of future generations.

President Teddy Roosevelt stood out and became an exemplary American leader who knew that the country’s development depended a lot on preserving natural resources and taking good care of the environment.

Sensing that the country would be depleted of natural resources, especially trees, and that pollution would threaten human life, especially in big cities, Roosevelt sought after the protection of water and the promotion of effective and sustainable land development. Civic associations, The Sierra Club, and individuals such as John Muir agreed with Roosevelt’s initiatives and efforts.

Because of the dangerous environmental and living conditions that existed in cities and which people were exposed to, anti-pollution programs were established and made a considerable impact from around the end of the Civil War (in 1865) to 1915.

The governments that were in power during that period, took some actions that are still being practiced in present-day environmental sustainability programs: they protected water sources, constructed sewerage/sewer systems, cleaned the streets, gathered and got rid of solid waste, set up parks, and started regulating air pollutants.

Care for the environment continued receiving increasing attention to a point that environmental laws were being passed in the form of “Acts”. The “Rivers and Harbours Appropriation Act” was passed in 1899; it prohibits “the discharge of refuse matter of any kind into the navigable waters, or tributaries thereof, of the United States without permit”.

Congress passed another environmental law, the “Pure Food and Drug Act” in 1905, to protect consumers or people from adulterated or contaminated and harmful food and drug products. Subsequent amendments—such as the “Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” of 1936—regulated the pesticides used in the environment and—the “Food Quality Protection Act” of 1996—guaranteed that standards for the pesticides applied to foods, were instituted and enforced.

The “Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act” (FIFRA) Act was passed in 1947 to control the use or application of pesticides and ensure that, whenever they are applied, they won’t pose unreasonable risk to human health and the environment. The FIFRA was amended in 1972 and further amended in 1988 and 1996.

The “Atomic Energy Act” (AEA) was passed in 1954 to regulate the production and use of nuclear energy, nuclear power plants, and nuclear weapons facilities, and protect the health and safety of the public and environment.

Senator Gaylord Nelson created “Earth Day” on April 22, 1970, and about 20 million people throughout the USA showed their support for Earth Day and environmental protection after constantly seeing people living side by side with environmental pollutants. The first Earth Day in 1970 expressed people’s desire to see the general public take much better care of the environment and their own health and lives.

United States Congress passed the “National Environmental Policy Act” in 1969 to establish a broad structure and national policy for protecting the environment and preparing an environmental impact statement whenever the environment would have to be affected by certain actions or changes.

Programs were brought together from 15 different agencies and departments in order to create the “Environmental Protection Agency” (EPA) in 1970. And many additional environmental laws were passed in the form of Acts in order to protect people and the environment, at both federal and state levels.

To ensure sustainability was also applied to the coasts, an environmental law named “Coastal Zone Management Act” was passed in 1972 to permit the federal government and states to protect United States coastal areas from actions and overdevelopment activities that are regarded as “environmentally destructive”.

The “Marine Mammal Protection Act” was passed in 1972 to protect marine animals (such as sea lions, seals, dolphins, whales, manatees, seals, etc,) from becoming endangered. The “Endangered Species Act” was passed in 1973 to protect habitats that are havens for species of wildlife, fish, and plants that are becoming endangered in the United States. The “Fisheries Conservation and Management Act” was passed in 1976 to keep fish stock in a healthy state and prevent people from over-harvesting fish in the future.

The “Safe Drinking Water Act” was passed in 1974—and amended in 1986 and 1996—to establish drinking water standards and protect groundwater or underground environments that are saturated with water. And the “Federal Land Policy and Management Act” was passed in 1976 to protect federal lands that have ecological value.

The “Resource Conservation and Recovery Act” was passed in 1976 to establish standards for managing and properly disposing hazardous waste and preventing the creation of toxic waste dump sites in the environment. The “Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act” was passed in 1977 to ensure coal mining is regulated so it doesn’t degrade or destroy the environment and human and animal life.

The “Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act” was passed in 1980—and later underwent subsequent amendments—to ensure that sites contaminated by toxic wastes are cleaned up, even if the toxic wastes were placed there many years prior to the creation of such sites.

The “Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act” was passed in 1986 to ensure that industries or companies that produce toxic chemicals, inform communities or residential areas about the toxic chemicals they discharge on land and into the water and air.

The “Oil Pollution Act” was passed in 1990 to ensure that the organizations or people who pollute the environment through oil spills/spillage, take responsibility for any damage they cause to the environment or any natural resources.


Since each environmental law was passed or created by United States Congress, a lot of actions, scientific research, studies, environmental sustainability best practices, and programs have been pioneered throughout the country in order to promote sustainability and ensure that the environment is protected, and injuries and illnesses are prevented or abated.

Techniques & Strategies for Environmental Conservation

Due to the causes of environmental problems, the global environment which provides us with basic necessities of life is degenerating year in and year out; water scarcity and environmental pollution are greatly hampering mankind’s progress.

Decades of drastic changes in land use and the extravagant and unreasonable exploitation of natural resources have led to rapid degradation of the natural environment in many parts of the world.

Each person is part of the international community and needs to help create a society that would protect the natural environment or restore it to its natural or original state and ensure there will be continuous harmony between human activities and natural ecosystems.

18 Best Ways to Save the Environment Much More

The techniques, methods, or practices used to conserve the environment are many and varied. Some of them are expensive while others are inexpensive and require people to apply and become familiar with them; others are temporary, while others are permanent; still yet, others are widely useful, while others are limited to specific conditions.

The following techniques and strategies can be used to maintain or preserve the natural environment:

1. Tree planting, supply of more vegetative cover, and sustainable forest/vegetation management

More trees, grasses, plants, dense vegetative cover, and sustainable forest management are needed in critical places of the natural environment around many parts of the world.

Appropriate plantings and management should be effected on steep slopes, odd corners, or other problematic areas that provide food, stable water supplies, habitation for wildlife, and help to control soil erosion, conserve soil fertility, absorb and accumulate greenhouse gases, and mitigate natural disasters such as landslides and floods.

2. Crop rotation, narrow row spacing, and strip cropping

Crop rotation is an important and necessary environmental conservation technique because it uses series of different crops to protect soil against erosion, considerably reduce erosion, and also provide more income. Crops that are strictly grown for the purpose of protecting soil are known as cover crops.

The practice of narrow row spacing is equally an important and effective environmental conservation technique because it enables row crops to provide better soil cover much earlier and improve both crop yield and soil erosion control.

In addition to crop rotation and narrow row spacing, there are various forms of strip cropping that can reduce wind erosion, water erosion, and environmental pollution.

3. Contour tillage & no-tillage systems, and mechanical methods

The practice of certain types of tillage systems—which are usually inexpensive and don’t require investments unless equipment is required—are effective environmental conservation techniques because they hold more crop residues on soil surfaces and considerably reduce erosion.

For instance, by employing contour tillage, erosion is often reduced to half of what it would be if straight-line tillage is employed in place of contour tillage. The no-tillage system is even more effective and rapidly expanding because modern herbicides are making it unnecessary to use tillage (till the soil).

Mechanical methods could be either metallic structures, wooden structures, and concrete structures which exist in forms such as dams, terraces, chutes, drainages, channels, or any object that can limit erosion and environmental degradation by controlling water flow, holding soil, and preventing surface water pollution.

4. Less intensive land use

Inappropriate use of land constitutes a major problem: most lands are only suitable for some purposes, while others are unsuitable, and vice-versa. One of the best ways to conserve land/soil and the air and water environments around it is to use each land/soil within its capabilities and prevent intensive land use when it can degrade the environment.

Some lands are suitable for intensive cropping, especially if they have deep and fertile soil that has favorable texture and structure. On the other hand, other lands are only suitable for wildlife and other non-disruptive purposes because they are stony, shallow, steep, or too steep, and limited in ways that make them only suitable for specific purposes.

Therefore, it’s advisable to be prudent when using a particular land, while acknowledging fully well that some land uses conserve the environment, while others can degrade it.

5. Sustainable uses of natural resources

Cooperation or ties need to be established or strengthened between various governments, NGOs, and international organizations in order to promote activities that can reduce over-exploitation and excessive usage of natural resources; sustainable use of natural resources need to be commenced, enhanced, or maintained in different parts of the world, especially developing countries where the majority of inhabitants rely on local natural resources to sustain their lives on a daily basis.

6. Biodiversity conservation by protecting certain areas

In addition to buffer zones and national parks, more protected areas need to be set up to promote environmental education, support and promote the harmonious coexistence of nature and humans, and reduce the risk of species extinction due to overhunting of wildlife, growing or breeding of alien species in new environments, climate change, and other factors.

7. Effective solid waste management

In many parts of the world, the existing sanitation, public health, and pollution control schemes tied to recycling and solid waste management need to be improved in order to reduce the environmental impacts of the solid waste that is being generated increasingly and in large quantities.

8. Effective air, water, and land pollution control

Assessments of pollution situations need to be made, institutions have to be developed, and regulations have to be enforced or re-enforced in order to reduce and prevent cases of air pollution, water pollution, and land pollution due to mercury pollution, chemical substances, oil spillage, and lack of environmental management in urban and rural areas.

Major Challenges Faced by Environmental Conservation

Air, land, and water environments consist of numerous vital natural resources that have been used to produce food and other necessities of life, and sustain the majority of living organisms since the Earth came into existence.

Human activities tied to the use of natural resources, especially during the past few decades, have degraded most air, land, and water environments and caused a ton of environmental problems that have held a firm grip on the world.

The negative impacts of environmental problems have always necessitated the call for effective implementation of environmental conservation practices which are aimed at managing, protecting, and preserving natural environments (land, air, and water) and ecosystems, or restoring degraded natural environments and ecosystems to their natural state.

However, attempts to implement environmental conservation practices usually encounter stiff challenges that have made it difficult to eliminate or remediate environmental problems such as soil erosion, desertification, climate change and severe weather, increased droughts, global warming, increasing ocean acidity, environmental (air, land, and water) pollution, loss of biodiversity, aquifer depletion, etc.

Generally speaking, the efforts that have been made to achieve environmental conservation goals have faced the following major challenges:

1. Ignorance and lack of concern

Many people who work in or interact with the environment have short-term view-points regarding the future uses of the environment, and they are often ignorant, apathetic, and unconcerned or unaware of how some of their activities are degrading the environment.

As a result, air, land, and water environments degrade so gradually and insidiously that the impacts are easily ignored or overlooked until they become big environmental problems long after preventive action should have been taken by implementing environmental conservation practices.

The environmental conservation practices that are required to prevent environmental pollution and degradation are delayed or not employed because of indifference; at times, some landowners or communities that own a particular natural resource (like land or water) claim that they have the right to use it as they see fit.

2. Economic obstacles

Generally speaking, the unwillingness of people, governments, or organizations to employ environmental conservation practices is mostly based on economics. Before major decisions are taken to apply environmental conservation practices, economic considerations are made; this usually involves evaluating the total cost that would be required to conserve an air, water, or soil environment.

The costs for conservation are usually on the high end. In many instances, because of insufficient funds—especially in developing or less developed nations that have low standards of living—people, communities, governments, or NGOs find it difficult or impossible to finance and implement environmental conservation practices.

3. Unreadiness to deviate from traditional or cultural practices

Some people or communities have inherited cultural or traditional practices that continue to be practiced in their environments; unsurprisingly, they aren’t ready to relinquish such practices in order to eliminate or reduce their environmental problems.

Take for instance, situations whereby many farmers continue to plough farmlands in ways that completely cover crop residues and make it easier for rain, runoff, and wind to wash away topsoil and nutrients, and thus cause nutrient depletion and soil erosion.

Because some people or communities place a great deal of pride in certain traditions or cultural practice, they aren’t ready to push tradition or culture aside and employ scientific or conservation ethics that can help to retain residue and consequently reduce or prevent soil erosion and water pollution. 

4. Insecurity and uncertainty

Many people in developing countries struggle to make a living while employing long-lived traditional or cultural practices that have degraded the environment in the long run.

Some people usually feel insecure and uncertain about modern conservation practices, and believe that—although science has proven that the practices would benefit the environment in the long run—the practices may end up making people become poorer or financially worse in the short run.

Napier and Sommers (1993) noted that, if the benefits of environmental conservation practices are expected to be delayed or distributed over several years, then the people who are asked to apply them should be guaranteed that they won’t starve to death if the environmental conservation practices fail.

10 Features of Ecocities & Ecovillages that Inspire our World to Be More Sustainable

The environmental problems in urban and large cities should not be hinged solely on urbanization, but on our inability to make cities more sustainable and livable by using urbanization in much better and efficient ways than we have been able to.

We can use urbanization in much better ways if we apply the concepts used in creating ecocities and ecovillages which employ good ecological designs and make new and existing urban areas more sustainable, naturally self-reliant, and pleasurable places to live in.

An ecocity (also known as a green city) is an environmentally sustainable city that applies the following three principles of sustainability, or lessons from nature, in order to promote environmental sustainability based on development and minimal environmental impact goals:

  • reliance or dependence on solar energy in order to reduce or eliminate environmental impacts of fossil fuels and artificially created forms of energy.
  • application of nutrient or chemical cycling or waste reuse to ensure there is little or no waste disposal in the environment.
  • allowance for all types of biodiversity (or biological diversity) to exist and provide vital ecosystem services; this can further provide numerous ways for the variety of plant and animal life to adapt to changing and challenging environmental conditions.

The vehicles, appliances, and buildings that exist in ecocities are highly energy-efficient and make ecocities to be somewhat energy-independent. Unlike in most cities where industrial sites are either unkept and abandoned, in ecocities, abandoned industrial sites are cleaned up, regenerated, and used for beneficial purposes.

Future ecocities look attractive because they could consist of buildings that would be powered by solar panels, power plants, wind turbines, and roofs; in addition, they could have digesters that would be used to convert kitchen and plant waste into natural gas for cooking and heating.

In addition to ecocities, eco-villages exist, in cities, urbanized areas, or ecocities. The term “ecovillage” was first coined and used by Robert Gilman in 1991. In his paper titled “The Ecovillage Challenge”, he defined ecovillage as “a combination of a human habitat and human activities that does not cause environmental damage and support human health” (Gilman R., 1991).

An ecovillage (a.k.a. ecodistrict) is an environmentally sustainable community or settlement of people that is smaller than a city and applies the goals targeted by the three principles of sustainability mentioned earlier.

Ecocities, ecovillages, and the findings in other projects and research works on biomimicry, provide mankind with sufficient ideas that can be used to improve the ecological design of buildings, based on the three principles of sustainability.

10 Features or characteristics of ecocities and ecovillages

1. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages use solar energy and locally available renewable energy resources; in so doing, they reduce their ecological footprints.

2. Ecocities and ecovillages consist of buildings that produce more energy than they consume, and can be heated and cooled as much as possible by nature or natural processes.

3. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages plant trees and plants in most areas in order to ensure that there is pure air, adequate shade, and soil is protected from erosion.

4. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages use material resources and energy more efficiently; for instance, instead of using money and energy to mow grass, they ensure cattle or sheep graze on grass, thereby saving energy and using grass as a resource.

5. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages reuse, recycle, and compost high percentages of their solid waste. Instead of disposing animal manure in their environment, they ensure that it is used as organic fertilizer on farmlands.

6. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages reduce waste generation and prevent pollution as much as possible. To ensure there is little or no air pollution, waste is properly disposed or efficiently reused, and the inhabitants walk or move around in low-polluting vehicles.

7. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages promote agriculture, aquaculture, and construction of urban gardens and farmers’ markets.

8. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages protect and support the growth of biodiversity, preserve forests and grasslands, and protect and restore natural systems.

9. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages ensure that most of their food is produced from organic farms, community farms, solar greenhouses, and gardens.

10. The inhabitants of ecocities and ecovillages educate their populations about environmental problems and solutions.

Examples of ecocities and ecovillages

  • Curitiba ecocity, Brazil.
  • Dongtan ecocity, China.
  • Masdar ecocity, UAE.
  • Vauban urban ecovillage, Freiburg, Germany.
  • Los Angeles ecovillage, USA.
  • Cloughjordan ecovillage, Ireland.
  • BedZED housing development ecovillage, London, England.

Examples of emerging ecocities or cities that are becoming environmentally sustainable

  • Bogota, Columbia.
  • Helsinki, Finland.
  • Waitakere City, New Zealand.
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Malmo, Sweden.
  • Portland, Oregon, USA.

Biomimicry: Examples & Benefits of Copying Nature

If we can’t be able to use man-made or artificial methods of pollution prevention and waste reduction to reduce waste as much as we possibly can, then we can, at least, be able to apply the principles of biomimicry and mimic nature’s methods of composting, recycling, or exchanging waste, so that we can reduce waste as much as possible.

Biomimicry is the science and art of studying nature’s activities through experimentation or observation, in order to discover natural principles and environmentally beneficial ideas, and apply them in ways that can solve human problems and make the environment better.

Top 9 Sustainability Practices of Nature that You Should Practice

Biomimicry observes certain changes that nature currently makes, and goes back to study how natural systems have responded to such changes in the past or distant past; thereafter, it copies or adjusts the responses to fit into human or man-made systems in order to reduce or eliminate various environmental problems.

To create a more sustainable and low-waste society, one important goal of environmentalists is to apply biomimicry and make industrial manufacturing processes much cleaner and more sustainable by redesigning them to behave like nature and mimic how nature handles waste.

Examples of biomimicry

1. Like nature, which has been carrying out chemical recycling for ages and using wastes produced by some living organisms to serve as nutrients and aid the growth of other living organisms, mankind has been using animal wastes to aid plant growth, and vice-versa. In this way, the earth’s nutrients have been continuously recycled, and waste has been minimal in undisturbed ecosystems. 

2. Similar to what nature does during chemical recycling, some industries or manufacturers have been reusing and recycling most of the waste, chemicals, and minerals they use, instead of burning or discarding them by transporting them elsewhere.

3. On the other hand, if a certain industry won’t be able to mimic nature and reuse or recycle its waste, it could interact with other industries or manufacturers through resource exchange channels, and make their waste materials available for use as raw materials, instead of burning or discarding them in the environment.

Generally, the waste output(s) from one industry can be exchanged for the waste output(s) from another industry, and converted into resources or raw materials, thereby reducing pollution, waste, and the movement of non-renewable energy and mineral through society.

4. The study of termite mounds by scientists has led to the discovery of how to cool buildings naturally, instead of artificially, which has been degrading the quality of the atmosphere and environment, especially when fossil fuels are used.

Benefits of biomimicry

1. Biomimicry can inspire companies to invent new, environmentally uplifting, and less energy-consuming processes and products that can help mankind and gain the affection of the world.

2. Biomimicry can solve human problems and make the natural surroundings/environment better.

3. Biomimicry can make man-made or industrial manufacturing processes to be much neater and more sustainable.

4. Biomimicry can reduce the costs of handling solid wastes, reducing pollution, and abiding by pollution regulations.

5. Biomimicry can reduce pollution, transfer of toxic waste, and the flow of non-renewable minerals and energy through society.

6. Biomimicry can help to prevent industries or manufacturing companies from damaging communities, thereby reducing their chances of getting sued because of how they handle or dispose waste.

7. Biomimicry can reduce companies’ health insurance costs and improve the health and safety of their workers by reducing their exposure to noxious and harmful wastes or materials.

Why Environmental Justice Still Has a Considerable or Long Way to Go

The health risks posed by incinerators, landfills, hazardous waste dumps, and polluting factories located in communities, called for the need to enforce environmental justice which is a concept that embodies the belief that everyone is qualified to be protected from environmental pollution and hazards, regardless of their race, age, gender, income, country of origin, or social status.

Over the past few decades, some individuals organized environmental justice movements to prevent the construction of landfills, incinerators, and other types of polluting structures near or within communities inhabited by people.

In addition to the efforts of the proponents for environmental justice, manufacturers and waste industry officials have opined that actions need to be taken to prevent toxic and hazardous wastes from being dumped in anyone’s or any country’s backyard and environment.

However, not everyone accepts this argument; some people believe that the best way to tackle hazardous and toxic waste is to employ or enforce pollution prevention measures and drastically reduce the quantity of waste produced.

Environmental injustice inspired the rise of environmental justice

Past studies have shown that a considerable number of incinerators, hazardous waste dumps, and landfills in the USA were located in areas mostly occupied by Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans.

Studies also showed that the noxious or toxic wastes sites located in areas occupied by whites have been decontaminated or cleaned up much faster than noxious sites located in areas occupied by non-whites, especially Latinos and African Americans.

As a result of oil pollution, drinking water sources and farmlands have been contaminated in the Niger Delta region (in Nigeria) which has experienced decades of oil spills and gas flaring which have transformed it into one of the most polluted regions in the world; most times, nothing is done to clean up any mess from the oil spills.

These types of injustice or discrimination, which occurred and still occur in many parts of the world, led people and grassroots to form environmental justice movements and pressurize businesses, governments,  and environmental organizations to be aware of environmental injustice and use environmental justice to prevent it.

For decades, countries that are highly or more developed have been transporting hazardous waste to nations that are under- or less-developed; but in 1992, an international treaty called “the Basel Convention” came into effect to control the movement and disposal of hazardous waste.

According to the Basel convention international treaty, more-developed countries are banned from transporting hazardous waste to other countries without the latter’s permission. The treaty was amended in 1995 to ban the transfer of hazardous waste from industrialized nations to less-developed nations.

The general interest in environmental justice was proven by the fact that, in 2009, the agreement that created the treaty had been signed by 175 nations and formally approved and implemented by 172 countries. Out of the 175 nations that had signed, only three (Afghanistan, Haiti, and the USA) didn’t ratify or sign for implementation.

But despite the efforts made, environmental justice still has a considerable or long way to go

Although treaties and bans have helped to some extent, experience has shown that they might not be able to prevent or wipe out all illegal transfers of hazardous waste. In the midst of treaties, laws are still broken, and hazardous waste smugglers use bribes, false permits, and tactics to evade laws and label hazardous wastes as recyclable wastes.

In the year 2000, delegates from 122 countries established an international treaty, called “the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)”, in order to regulate 12 widely used organic pollutants (including DDT) that accumulate in humans; by the year 2009, 152 nations signed a stronger version of the treaty; however, the USA still hasn’t ratified the treaty which allows 25 countries to still use DDT to combat malaria.

In the year 2000, the Swedish legislative assembly or parliament enacted a law that demanded industries to perform risk assessments on chemicals and prove that they are safe to use, instead of waiting for the government to find out whether they are safe to use. Most industries strongly oppose this approach in the USA, especially those that produce and use unsafe or life-threatening chemicals.

As we can see, there is no consensus among humankind when it comes to practicing and ensuring that there is environmental justice. Generally, the Earth as a whole is still being polluted without complete restrain.

A treaty that is accepted by some nations is signed by the nations involved in it, but still not implemented by all the nations that signed the treaty. Also, the acts which some nations consider to be unjust are considered by other nations to be fair or just.

Therefore, the current state of environmental justice still has a considerable or long way to go in order to carry everyone along in the same boat. Until all governments, businesses, leaders, organizations, movements, and people have a common opinion or goal for environmental justice, environmental justice itself may continue having a considerable or long way to go.

7 Ways to Reduce Negative Environmental Impacts of Food Production

Over the centuries, mankind has been producing food to eat and survive, but many practices used for food production have been degrading the environment, especially in the modern age, and may severely limit food production in the future.

In order to reduce the negative impacts of industrialized food production on the environment and eliminate practices that encourage such negative impacts, a number of environmental protection schemes have to be re-enforced, enforced, or implemented in some parts of the world where natural resources need to be used more efficiently and sustainably.

Although many farmers around the world know about soil protection strategies, most of them don’t practice the strategies because of their desperate struggle to survive; in fact, they are more interested in earning money than protecting the environment against long-term degradation.

6 Harmful Environmental Impacts of Food Production

The following schemes have to be re-enforced, enforced, or implemented to reduce or eliminate the harmful or negative impacts of food production on the environment:

1. Restoration of soil fertility

Although one of the best ways to preserve or conserve soil fertility is by reducing topsoil erosion through some soil conservation practices, the best way to restore soil fertility is by actually using natural organic fertilizer or manufactured inorganic fertilizer.

Natural organic fertilizer can be obtained from animal (urine and dung) and plant (green manure) remains or materials and decomposition processes, while manufactured inorganic fertilizer can be acquired from minerals that are mined from the Earth’s crust.

2. Reduction of topsoil erosion

Reducing topsoil erosion is one of the best ways to reduce the harmful environmental impacts of food production processes or agricultural practices. Land is a basic natural resource that must be used for production because it contains fertile topsoil which is formed after hundreds of years.

During the process of repeatedly using topsoil to grow and produce crops, a lot of agricultural and man-made activities erode or reduce topsoil and topsoil fertility. Topsoil erosion can be reduced—or, topsoil and topsoil fertility can be conserved—by employing the following practices:

  • Plowing land or planting crops in rows across a piece of land; this practice, which is called contour farming or contour planting, reduces topsoil erosion when each row acts as a dam that slows down water runoff and holds back topsoil, thereby suppressing the presence of any environmental impacts during plant growth and food production.
  • Planting crops in alternative strips (relatively long and narrow heaps of soil), and in such a way that a row of the crops (such as corn) or food being produced grows beside another row of a different crop called a “cover crop” (such as oats, or alfalfa); this practice, which is called strip cropping or strip farming, restores soil fertility by reducing topsoil erosion. When water runoff erodes topsoil away from the rows of crops or food being produced, the topsoil is trapped or held by the cover crops which also add nitrogen to the soil. In addition, when the crops or food being produced are harvested, the cover crops are left behind to trap topsoil and water runoff and reduce water runoff.
  • Planting crops or growing food on steep slopes (sides of hills or mountains) in a way that doesn’t deplete topsoil or cause topsoil erosion; this practice, which is called terracing or terrace cultivation, reduces topsoil erosion by significantly curbing runoff, thereby limiting the presence of any environmental impacts of food production.
  • Installing windbreaks and employing alley cropping (an agroforestry practice) or planting shelterbelts to control and reduce wind erosion which can erode topsoil if left unchecked. Windbreaks are structures that impede wind flow and reduce wind speed, while shelterbelts are trees or shrubs that are planted in rows to protect growing food crops against wind.
  • Practicing low-tillage and no-tillage cultivation by reducing or eliminating the tilling or plowing of topsoil; in addition, crop residues that cannot be consumed by humans can be left behind after harvest; these practices help to reduce topsoil erosion.

3. Prevention and reduction of soil salinization

Soil salinization can be prevented by reducing irrigation and planting saline- or salt-tolerant crops instead of crops that cannot tolerate certain significant degrees of salinity. Soil salinization can even be halted and salinity can be removed by using flush soil and installing underground drainage systems—but both of these methods are expensive; in addition, salinization can be prevented by not planting crops on the soil for a period between two and five years.

4. The practice of aquaculture far away from or near the offshore

The environmental impact of rearing aquatic animals and plants for food can be significantly reduced if it is practiced far away from the offshore. Even if it can’t be practiced far away from the offshore, at least, it can be practiced near the offshore where the environmental impact of rearing aquatic animals and plants would be much lesser than that of industrialized fishing.

Rearing aquatic animals or cultivating aquatic plants far away from or near the offshore, or in zero-discharge tanks or freshwater ponds which are recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), would reduce discharges of polluting wastes and the demand for chemicals to tackle diseases.

5. Control and reduction of desertification

Although desertification is quite difficult to resolve, especially if it is exacerbated by natural factors, it can still be controlled by reducing population, man-made impact on climate change, deforestation, overgrazing, irrigation, mining, and environmentally degrading planting practices.

Desertification can be reduced by installing windbreaks, and land can be restored by planting trees and other plants on it. Growing plants and trees can help to maintain and stabilize topsoil and hold water more firmly in place.

6. Efficient production and less consumption of meat

If efficient, well-managed, and non-industrialized meat production is done on the ground, land, or pastures, instead of in buildings, it can help to avoid the harmful health and environmental costs of industrialized beef production.

In addition, the production and consumption of more poultry and plant-eating farmed fish, instead of animal protein such as carnivorous fish, beef, and pork would significantly reduce fossil fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

Generally, eating less or no meat would save money, reduce ecological and carbon footprints, and make the environment much more healthy.

7. Application of low-input farming or agricultural systems

In contrast with high-input farming—which relies heavily on fossil fuels, increases the quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and violates the principles of sustainability—low-input farming relies on comparably less renewable energy (wind, solar energy, flowing water, etc) to produce fuels and electricity for crop or food production.

In addition, low-input farming or agricultural systems produce lower carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases, reduce topsoil erosion, increase topsoil fertility, make food production much easier for poor farmers, and help poor families feed themselves.