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In the modern world, environmental problems have gained a special urgency. In the beginning of the 21st century, ecological situation has worsened all over the world. Industrial revolutions and technological activity of people, which cause ejection of harmful elements into the surrounding environment, are the main reasons of the problem’s aggravation (UN, 2007). In addition, traditional consumer attitude of a person and society to the nature and resources negatively affects ecological situation in the world. Enrichment of certain businesses is still done at the expense of nature without proper consideration of its consequences for the habitat. The aggravation of environmental problems threatens the safety and existence of human society and calls for its adequate reaction to the arisen threats.
Impacts of the Industrial Revolution
Industrialization is the process of accelerated social and economic transition from the traditional stage of development to the prevalence of industrial production. This process entails development of new technologies, especially in such fields as energy and metallurgy. During industrialization, the society experiences changes in their attitude to the phenomenon. The beginning of the global process of industrialization is represented by the first Industrial Revolution. It started at the end of 18th century in Great Britain, followed by Germany, France and some regions of the Western Europe and North America (UN, 2007).
The main impacts of the industrial revolution on the environment include environmental depletion and global warming. Emergence of plants and mass production caused exhaustion of the natural resources. In particular, it led to deforestation as the woods were used in large quantities in production. When trees disappear, the wild animals have no place live. The lack of trees is aggravated by the carbon emissions from the production. While the woods produce oxygen and refresh the atmosphere, industrial plants emit toxic agents and absorb oxygen (McLamb, 2011). Metallurgical and chemical plants produce harmful emissions not only in the air, but also pollute soils and waters. Global warming is another big problem that resulted from the contamination and carbon emissions. As temperature increases, the glaciers melt while the oceans grow. Some animal species face the threat of extinction as a result of global warming (McLamb, 2011).
Environmental phenomena such as floods, droughts, fires, temperature fluctuations, and hurricanes are especially destructive for the natural systems. Moreover, degradation of the woods, decreased fertility of soils, lessening biodiversity and vital natural resources, the change of some geographical indicators like an ozone layer, gas structure of the atmosphere, radiation pollution and other effects became the most adverse consequences of the industrial revolution for the nature (McLamb, 2011). Besides, industrial environment generates a number of negative consequences for human health, in particular, nervousness and stress. The factors generating stress include excessive noise, bad air, polluted water, bad food, industrial accidents, social estrangement, poverty, the use of alcohol and other drugs (Mairs, 2007).
Philosophical Reaction of People to the Environmental Changes
The need for the coordination of social relations and nature is quite realized presently. There is a clear understanding of the fact that humankind should work as a unit towards the solution of environmental problems. However, environmental problems have not been solved effectively yet. Efforts in this area are very poor and only coordinated actions are not enough.
Social philosophy, studies of the reasons of degradation of the human habitat and measures for its protection and improvement promote preservation of natural environment. The discipline of philosophical thought contributes to the formation of ecological humanism in human consciousness and behaviors. Formation of the relations between the society and nature as well as the approaches to solving environmental problems substantially depend on the development of ecological humanism in a society.
The attitude of a person toward nature is always mediated by public relations, social structures, and political and economic systems. Therefore, philosophy helps build interaction between the society and nature, and impacts individuals’ acceptance of the opinions, values, norms, beliefs, and the spiritual culture in general. Any social system, the means of labor, production and consumption should be in harmony with the environment. The population should adapt its ways of life to the environment (Mairs, 2007).
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Presently, environmental threats reached the pre-crisis situation, which under certain conditions can escalate to crisis and jeopardize the world community in general. Therefore, the situation needs to be cardinally changed. Many people believe the reason of ecological disasters is humans and their ability to create and apply technologies destroying the nature in aspiration for consumerism and enrichment at the expense of environment. Such thinking and behavior should be changed (Boano, Zetter, & Morris, 2008).
The measures, which can improve present ecological condition in the world, include the change of the attitude towards nature, economy of the natural resources and processing of the wastes. Preservation of the biosphere is a necessary condition of human survival. Ecologically sustainable development satisfies people’s needs without posing the threat to the future generations.
Development of the ecology-focused economy is the major condition of the social transition toward harmonization of the natural systems and stabilization of the ecological situation in the world. Since the main reason of arisen environmental problems is a human, people and their spirituality also need to change. Spiritual potential of a person and the society needs to be studied, defined and realized (Boano, Zetter, & Morris, 2008).
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Pragmatic Reaction of People to the Environmental Changes
Ecological crisis caused by the industrial revolution intensifies. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Climate Change Adaptation Plan (2014), humanity should implement pragmatic measures for the improvement of current situation, which include the following:
- Balanced development of the humanity is the solution of contemporary environmental problems. It is necessary to control the growth of the population, develop new industrial technologies that will allow avoiding pollution, search for the renewable power sources, and increase the production of food without the growth of acreage among other activities.
- Rational management of natural resources and minerals demands not only extensive and profound knowledge of the economic regularities and mechanisms, but also the purposeful formation of the moral base of a society as well as reorganization of the social production and consumption systems. The main strategic direction of the industrial development includes the transition toward the new technologies, which allow reducing harmful emissions into the environment.
- Preservation of the nature and biodiversity is a basis of the future welfare of the humanity.
- Protection of anthropogenic landscapes is obligatory. As the result of their economic activity, people transformed huge territories creating new fields, gardens, parks, reservoirs, canals, railroads, highway, settlements, and cities (USEPA, 2014).
Thus, the reaction of people to the environmental changes caused by the industrial revolution manifests in the measures aimed at the protection of environment, rational management of the natural resources and minerals as well as the preservation of natural biodiversity.
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To sum up, given essay discussed the aggravation of the environmental problems caused by the industrial revolutions and the reaction of the humanity to arisen threats. The main reaction is the application of timely measures aimed at the protection of the environment and nature. Moreover, it is also necessary to change the model of the future society toward ecology-informed civilization capable to harmonize the relations with the environment. It is the central strategic objective of the further prospect. Besides, reorientation of the society from the consumerism to environmental awareness is also among the main priorities of the world community.