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48 Examples of Environmental Problems

 , updated on June 16, 2021
Environmental problems are negative changes to the natural environment of the planet. This may reduce the current quality of life of people and threaten the long term sustainability of communities, societies and life itself. The following are common examples of environmental problems.
Acid Rain
Agricultural Runoff
Air Pollution
Bioaccumulation of Pollution
Biodiversity Loss
Chemical Spills
Construction Emissions
Coral Bleaching
Cruise Ship Emissions
Deforestation
Desertification
Electromagnetic Pollution
Endocrine Disruptors
Environmental Impact of War
Extinction
Food Quality
Global Dimming
Global Warming
Habitat Destruction
Habitat Fragmentation
Herbicide Pollution
Illegal Dumping
Incinerator Pollution
Indoor Air Quality
Invasive Species
Land Degradation
Marine Debris
Medical Waste
Microplastic Pollution
Mining Runoff
Nanomaterial Pollution
Noise Pollution
Ocean Acidification
Oil Spills
Ozone Depletion
Persistent Organic Pollutants
Pesticide Pollution
Radioactive Waste
Resource Overexploitation
Shipping Emissions
Soil Pollution
Space Junk
Toxic Waste
Unsustainable Fishing Practices
Urban Heat Island
Vehicle Emissions
Volatile Organic Compounds
Water Pollution

Cause & Effect

Environmental problems are defined according to their impact on the environment or people. For example, consumerism is arguably a root cause of pollution but isn't an environmental problem itself.

Problems & Risks

Beyond current problems, there are environmental risks that represent possible future problems. For example, the risk of nuclear war.

Solutions

Solutions to environmental problems generally require systems thinking whereby you consider possible unintended consequences. For example, solutions that directly address the root cause of a problem such as producing vehicles with zero or low emissions that are required to be efficiently recycled or reused at the end of their life.

People, Planet & Profits

People, planet & profits is the principle that solutions to environmental problems not make things worse for people or the economy. This defeats the false dichotomies of environment vs people or environment vs economy. This can also be viewed as pragmatic realism that recognizes that environmental action that is hostile to people and their goals it is unlikely to succeed. For example, green infrastructure projects that provide jobs and solve environmental problems at the same time.

Environmental Issues

This is the complete list of articles we have written about environmental issues.
Air Pollution
Cascading Failure
Creeping Normality
Cultural Lag
Disasters
Environmental Impact
Environmental Issues
Existential Risk
Forest Dieback
Global Warming
Greenwashing
Material Diversity
Microplastics
Pollution
Problems
Quality Of Life
Resistance To Change
Right To Know
Space Junk
Sustainability
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