Restoring the Environment through Conservation

Conservation is an act of conserving as well as preserving, protecting or restoring the natural environment, ecosystems, vegetation and wildlife. As an individual, we can help in our own small way to minimize any harmful substances that pollute the environment.

Air and energy conservation

In order to help reduce air pollution, you can do several things:

• Use automobiles less and take public transportation or bike;
• Quit smoking;
• Turn lights off when not in use to save energy;
• Use energy saving light bulbs;
• Recycle all plastics;
• Use reusable grocery bags;
• Use an eco-friendly string trimmer to trim your garden.

You will help reduce global warming when using less energy from fossil fuels. On a larger scale, government will impose a penalty on industries for releasing chemicals that burden the atmosphere.

Water conservation

Surface and underground water are our primary sources of drinking water. We should help to conserve water by:

• Washing vegetables and fruits in a bowl instead of running water over them;
• Watering your garden early in the morning to minimize evaporation;
• Upgrading toilet with a low flow device;
• Shortening your shower by a minute or two;
• Collecting water from your roof for your garden, and;
• Shutting the faucet tightly to prevent water drips.

Soil or land conservation

Soil is our most precious resource for food production. With fertile soil, we can plant our vegetables and fruits for healthy consumption. We can prevent the soil from degrading through:

• Avoiding pesticides or insecticides on your lawn;
• Using eco-friendly bags to reduce landfills;
• Using recyclable materials to reduce the amount of trash;
• Planting trees because the tree roots help retain water and prevent soil erosion, and
• Using manure for fertilizer.

Small scale farming should be widely encouraged. This will help the soil to remain fertile as it requires less chemical additives. Iowa has numerous methods to conserve their soil. They use strategies such as crop rotation, conservation tillage, and contour farming, to just name a few.

Noise conservation

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, approximately 30 million people in the United States are exposed to hazardous noise. Thousands of employees suffer from preventable hearing-loss. Noise reduction is important; even a few decibels will help. Noise and its impact can be reduced through:

• Engineering controls by modifying or replacing noise producing equipment;
• Operating noise producing machinery when fewer people are subject to exposure;
• Hearing protection devices, and
• Implementing an effective hearing conservation program.

Flora and fauna conservation

Animals and plants are important to keep our environment in balance. Loss of habitat will devastate the biodiversity of the Earth and we will pay a hefty price. Protecting wildlife is not limited to the forest, but also to the water. We can do something to help the wildlife live in a healthy environment by:

• Protecting endangered and vulnerable species, such as wild birds, animals and plants from extinction;
• Preventing forest burning activities;
• Preventing deforestation by planting trees;
• Protecting animals from hunters and poachers, and
• Removing non-native species of invasive plants.

More enviro links

Pollution Facts

According to a 2011 Gallop poll, 52% of Americans believe pollution from human activities is a primary cause of the rise in the Earth’s temperature. Only 43% believe the cause is natural.

Pollution occurs when individuals or industries discharge harmful substances to contaminate the air, water and soil. Additionally, pollution is also due to events like earthquakes, floods, and volcanic eruptions.


Water pollution

Water pollution

Water is polluted when chemicals or other harmful substances contaminate lakes, rivers, or oceans. Discharges, as point sources, through sewer pipelines like sewage treatment plants, factories, oil wells and tankers, cause much pollution of surface water. Other pollutants come from non-point sources deposited from air, traffic, and spread through rivers to enter the groundwater. Much of our drinking water comes from sources like lakes and rivers, and groundwater, and if not protected it is easily polluted by:

• Human and animal wastes;
• Mining activities;
• Organic compounds, such as, oil, plastics, and fertilizers;
• Arsenic;
• Pesticides and lead from homes and farms;
• Industrial wastes;
• Hazardous waste generated by dry cleaners, gas stations, landfills, and
• Improperly discharged household wastes.

The consequence is obvious: our drinking water sources will be less, and if we drink contaminated water, our health will be impacted. Additionally, when water is contaminated, aquatic life may be destroyed.


Air pollution

Air pollution comes from sources such as:

• Smoking;
• Chemical and fuels leaks;
• Industrial and manufacturing wastes;
• Fuel combustion, and
• Mining.

Another pollutant is smog above urbanized areas that discharge sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. This pollutant is closely related to acid rain, that impacts on our health. Volcanic eruptions release massive sulfur dioxide and particulates making foggy layers that block the sunlight from penetrating to the earth.

The greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is the primary pollutant contributing to global warming. Excessive discharge of this gas comes from cars, power plants, and burning fossil fuels. Another greenhouse gas is methane discharged by swamps and livestock waste. Last but not least, are chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which are used in refrigerants and aerosol propellants. These have been mostly banned due to their negative impact on the Earth’s ozone layer.


Noise pollution

Noise is a pollutant when it disturbs life’s balance and makes us annoyed as it interferes with our conversation, sleep, and our overall quality of life. Modern living leads us to face an excessive amount of disrupting noise. Excessive noise may lead to increased stress levels and hearing loss.

Noise pollution also occurs in the oceans from motorboats, ships, activities of oil and mining companies, sonar and jet skis.

Enviro Links of the week

Environmental Concerns

Extreme drought in Texas. Shrinking glaciers in the Alps. Floods in Asia. These are among many indications of a changing climate. We have faced environmental changes before, however those changes were the facet of life—we grow, cultivate our food, make our clothing and shelter—but this time, global warming is increasing, making climate change more critical and threatening all species, including us. At the same time, we are also dealing with other factors that cause imbalances in the environment. This article will discuss the important factors leading to environmental contamination and how to mitigate some of them.



Deforestation means clearing the forest by removing trees and converting the land to commercial use. This is another important environmental concern that leads to global warming. The increasing human population leads to more deforestation, causing the flora and fauna to go extinct.

Deforestation is also caused by wildfires and overgrazing that prevents young trees from growing.

The effect of deforestation on the ecosystem is significant. It impacts:

• Water cycle in the forest. The trees make the atmosphere cooler because the roots extract water and release it into the air through the leaves. Without trees the atmosphere becomes drier;
• Increase soil erosion. The roots bind the soil together, and without trees on slopes, the lack of roots increases the risk of landslides, and
• Losing the balance of biodiversity, such as, the wildlife habitat. 70 percent of our planet’s floral and fauna live in the forests.

The impact on deforestation and pollution is clear: with the rise in global warming, our birds and animals living in the forest have lost their habitat, and we are experiencing an increase in stress and respiratory diseases due to all the atmospheric pollution. This will lead to a low quality life and soon we may become extinct. We have to do something to minimize pollution and deforestation. Governments and concerned institutions will have to organize to help restore our environment.