When we pronounce the word “Globalization”, first of all
global ecological problems come to mind. The ecological consequences of the
changes that have occurred in the global geopolitical space at the end of the
century, and their manifestations in the long run, should make the world
scientific community to think deeply.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented the report “We the
Peoples: The Role of the United Nations In The 21st Century”1 at
the September 2000 meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the UN
member states. The report examines the priority strategic areas that humanity
faces in the new millennium and stresses that the challenge of ensuring an
environmentally sustainable future for future generations will be one of the
Analysis of the results of long-term meteorological observations carried
out in all regions of the globe confirms the inconstancy of the climate, its
susceptibility to certain changes. Thus, at the end of the XIX century, began
warming, which increased markedly in the 1920s-1930s, and then there was a cold
snap that slowly continued until the 1960s. Geologists have studied sedimentary
deposits of the earth’s crust and found that in the past epochs the climate has
undergone much more large-scale changes caused by natural processes. These
changes are called natural.
Along with natural factors, the economic activity of man is exerting an
ever increasing influence on environment conditions. Its impact began to appear
hundreds of years ago, when in connection with the development of agriculture
in arid areas, huge irrigation became widespread. Distribution of agriculture
in the forest zone, accompanied by deforestation in large areas, also affected
the climate, but in this case everything was limited to changes in
meteorological conditions in the lower atmosphere and only in areas where
significant economic activities were carried out.
Second half of XX century was marked by the rapid development of
industry and, correspondingly, the growth of power capacity, which could not
but affect the environment on the whole planet. Modern scientific studies have
established that the impact of anthropogenic activity on the global climate is
associated with several factors, especially with an increase in:
The amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide, as well as
some other gases entering the atmosphere in the course of economic activity and
enhancing the greenhouse effect in it;
Mass of atmospheric aerosols;
Produced in the process of economic activity of thermal
energy entering the atmosphere.
The increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has a significant
effect on the Earth’s climate, changing it towards warming. The general trend
towards an increase in air temperature, which was observed in the XX century,
is increasing, which already led to an increase in the average air temperature
by 0.6 ° C.
As a result of a fourfold increase in the second half of the 20th
century, the volume of emissions of carbon compounds, the Earth’s atmosphere
began to heat up at an increasing rate. According to the UN forecasts, the
subsequent global increase in air temperature in the 21st century will be from
1.5 to 4 ° C.
The following consequences of global warming are predicted:
The rise in the level of the Ocean due to the melting
of glaciers and polar ice (in the last 100 years it has already risen by 10-25
cm), which in turn will lead to the flooding of territories, the shifting of
the swamp borders, the increase of salinity in the mouths of rivers, and the
potential loss places of residence;
Change in the amount of precipitation;
Change in the hydrological regime, quantity and
quality of water resources;
As weather trends increase, weather conditions become more volatile, and
climatic disasters are devastating. The damage caused by natural disasters to
the world economy is increasing. Only in 1998 it was higher than in the entire
1980s, tens of thousands of people were killed and about 25 million refugees
were forced to flee their homes.
At the end of XX century humanity has come to realize the extreme danger
of environmental problems associated with climate change, and in the mid-1970s
an active search for their solution began. At the World Climate Conference in
the foundations of the World Climate Program were laid. In accordance with the
resolution of the UN General Assembly on the protection of global climate for
the sake of present and future generations in 1992, the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)3
was adopted, whose goal is to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gases
in the atmosphere at levels that exclude dangerous effects on the global
climate system. This task is expected to be accomplished in a time sufficient
for natural adaptation of ecosystems to climate change and avoiding the threat
to food production, as well as ensuring further economic development on a
of the Earth’s ozone layer.
The main amount of ozone is formed in the upper layer of the atmosphere
– the stratosphere, at altitudes of 10 to 45 km. The ozone layer protects all
life on Earth from the hard ultraviolet radiation of the Sun. By absorbing this
radiation, ozone significantly affects the temperature distribution in the
upper layers of the atmosphere, which in turn affects the climate.
The total amount and dispersion of ozone in the atmosphere is the result
of a complex and ultimately unexplored dynamic equilibrium of photochemical and
physical processes that determine its formation, destruction, and transport.
Starting around the 1970s a global decrease in the amount of stratospheric
ozone is observed. Above some Antarctic regions in September-October, its total
content in the atmosphere is reduced by 60%, and in the middle latitudes of
both hemispheres it decreased by 4-5% over the decade. Depletion of the ozone
layer of the planet leads to the destruction of the existing biogenesis of the
ocean due to the death of plankton in the equatorial zone, the inhibition of
plant growth, a sharp increase in eye and cancer diseases, as well as diseases
associated with weakening the immune system of humans and animals, increasing
the oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere.
The world community cannot stay idle. In 1985, the Vienna Conference on
the Protection of the Ozone Layer4
was held and a relevant multilateral convention was adopted providing for the
implementation of political and economic measures to protect stratospheric
ozone. In 1987, on its basis, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete
the Ozone Layer was developed and adopted, which defines the list, procedure
and standards for a phased reduction in the production and consumption of
ozone-depleting substances. Pursuant to this protocol, the production of
substances causing the greatest harm to the ozone layer has ceased to exist in
developed countries since 1996, and in developing countries it was projected that
production would cease by 2010. Unless this document was signed, levels of
substances that deplete the ozone layer could five times the current one.
The depletion of
freshwater resources and the pollution of the waters of the World Ocean.
During the period from 1900 to 1995, freshwater consumption in the world
increased six-fold, which is more than twice the rate of population growth.
Almost a third of the earthlings live in countries that consume water in
volume, 10% higher than their available reserves. If current trends continue,
by 2025, every two out of three inhabitants of the Earth will live in
conditions of water shortage5.
Underground waters provide the needs of one-third of the world’s
population, so their irrational use and imperfect methods of exploitation cause
great concern. The extraction of groundwater in many regions of the globe (in
the Arabian Peninsula, India, China, Mexico, the CIS countries and the USA) is
conducted in volumes significantly exceeding the capacity of nature to resume
them. As a consequence, the groundwater level drops by 1-3 m per year.
Between the states there is an acute competitive struggle for water
resources used for irrigation or for electricity generation. As the population
grows, such conflicts will intensify. Today, the Middle East and North Africa
suffer from a shortage of water, and by the middle of the 21st century, they
can be joined by sub-Saharan Africa, where the population is expected to
increase two to three times.
The International Water Forum in The Hague6
(March 2000) assessed the magnitude and causes of current and future water
crisis and identified a number of achievable targets for water resources and
The world ocean is the largest ecological system of the planet Earth,
including the waters of the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Arctic Oceans with
interconnected adjacent seas. Sea water occupies 95% of the total hydrosphere.
Being an important link in the water cycle, it provides food for glaciers,
rivers and lakes, and thereby – the life of plants and animals.
Radical changes in the use of resources of the World Ocean brought a
scientific and technological revolution. It deepened and expanded the range of
scientific research, paved the way for a comprehensive study of the ocean,
identified and provided new directions for the development of marine
soil cover of the Earth.
Mankind has lost over 1.5 billion hectares of fertile land irrevocably
over its history, more than they are being plowed all over the world. Once
productive plowed lands have turned into deserts, wastelands, marshes, shrub
thickets, badlands, ravines. Many lifeless deserts of the world are the result
of unreasonable human activity. The process that multiplies irrecoverable
losses continues. According to the most optimistic estimates of UN experts,
about 2 billion hectares of land are subject to degradation caused by human
activities, which threatens the existence of almost a billion people. The main
reasons for this are erosion caused by excessive grazing, deforestation,
desertification of lands, and salinization of soils as a result of irrigation.
All over the world, depletion of arable and pasture lands occurs, the
fall of their fertility as a result of irrational intensive use; bogging of
soils in areas of sufficient or excessive atmospheric moisture; other
degradation processes include soil compaction, their technogenic pollution. Every
year, 20 million hectares of agricultural land become unsuitable for use due to
land degradation or the onset of cities. But it is predicted over the next 30
years that the demand for food in developing countries should double, so new
land should be developed, and this will occur mainly in the zone of risky
farming, where the soils are even more susceptible to destructive processes.
The growing threat of land degradation is also due to changes in
climatic conditions. Every year, the territories affected by desertification,
suffering from droughts and arid phenomena, are expanding. The idea of ??the
need for coordinated and coordinated actions of all countries in combating
desertification was first put forward at the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro7
(1992). As a result of negotiations and approvals, it was possible to develop a
special UN Convention to Combat Desertification (1994), aimed at uniting the
efforts of states and the general population to prevent the destruction of land
and mitigate the effects of drought. The Convention is aimed at combating all
forms of land degradation in different geoclimatic zones, including Europe.
The main guarantor of maintaining stable conditions for the existence of
life on Earth is the preservation of maximum biological diversity, that is, all
possible forms of living organisms of all habitats, including terrestrial,
marine and other aquatic ecosystems and ecological complexes of which they are
a part. This concept covers both intra- and inter-species diversity, as well as
the diversity of ecosystems.
Throughout evolution, some species died out, others emerged, reached
their peak and also disappeared, and new ones replaced them, which were
determined by the dynamics of the Earth’s climate and some geological
processes. As a result, not only individual species were replaced, but entire
biotic communities were replaced. This was extremely slow, for tens of millions
During the period of the scientific and technological revolution, the
main force that transformed the plant and animal world was man. His activities
led to the fact that the disappearance of many species of wildlife, especially
mammals and birds, dramatically accelerated, far exceeding the estimated
average rates of the previous millenniums.
Direct threats to biodiversity, as a rule, are based on socio-economic
factors. Thus, population growth raises the need for food, which leads to the
corresponding expansion of agricultural land, intensification of land use, land
allocation for building, general increase in consumption and increased
degradation of natural resources.
Currently at issue is the survival of about 25% of all mammal species
and 11% of bird species. Depletion of the fishing areas of the World Ocean
continues: over the past half-century, fish catches have increased almost
fivefold, with 70% of the oceanic fisheries subject to extreme or extreme
The problem of biodiversity conservation is interlinked with forest
degradation. Forests contain more than 50% of the world’s biological resources,
provide landscape diversity, form and protect soils, facilitate the detention
and purification of water, produce oxygen, reduce the threat of global warming.
The growth of the population and the development of the world economy
have led to a growing global demand for forest products. 3 over the last 300 years,
66-68% of the planet’s forest area was destroyed, the forest cover was reduced
to 30%. The degradation and loss of forests is caused by both natural and
In developing countries in the last decades of the XX century tens of
millions of hectares of forest land were lost as a result of excessive logging,
transformation into agricultural lands, diseases and fires. Especially the
threatening situation has developed in the tropical forests. With the current
speed of their information in some regions (Malaysia, Indonesia)9,
forests can disappear completely.
Among the main causes of depletion of forest resources is the high
demand for timber in industrialized countries. As an alternative, it is
necessary to improve the efficiency of timber production technology, paper, to
use waste and secondary materials more widely, in order to save paper, to
produce publishing products in electronic form. Reforestation will meet future
demands for wood and will facilitate the absorption of carbonaceous compounds
from the atmosphere, thereby slowing down the process of global warming.
In my opinion, no matter how many praise the achievement of humanity,
through the prism of globalization, “globalization” is the cause of
the destruction of the environment. We do not even have time for all the trends
of today. Together with globalization, humanity begins to forget its place in
the cycle of life. There is a
possibility that very soon, the environment will decide that it will be better
without people, and irreversible events will begin for humanity.