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Melissa Burggraaf

ANTH 2281
Prof. Schaefer
6 December 2016
Big Topic Writing Assignment 5:
Global Problems, Local Solutions

Humans have this nasty habit of taking advantage of things given to them freely and tend
to dismiss destructive behavior that affects their life and the future of other's around them. One
thing that is taken very much advantage of is our planet, Earth. With this lack of attention on the
world that we inhabit, we also become increasingly unaware of the problems forming around us
due to environment and global change. Some of these problems are small and affect only a few
ecosystems, but others are much more problematic and are drastically changing the place we've
grown to know as home (Rinkesh, 2009). A big issue many are aware of but do not understand
fully is global warming and climate change. Human activities and natural events seem to be
causing an increase in the global temperature's average (Shah, 2015). Another big issue,
sometimes caused by global warming and climate change is biodiversity loss. Biodiversity is a
collection of species and life found in a certain environment and habitat. Everything found in a
certain ecosystem is part of the biodiversity. A healthy biodiversity benefits the society, the
biological resources, and the ecosystem. If something is taken out of the ecosystem because of
human actions, the entire system is skewed (Shah, 2014). Not only does the planet suffer from
biodiversity loss, but the species in that environment are the ones to carry most of the burden.
One major way for biodiversity to be destroyed is through the burning and clearing of forests,
known as habitat destruction. Not only does this emit around 20% of the greenhouse gases on
our planet, it is also the biggest threat to primates living in those forests (IUCN, 2008).

When learning about global problems, we must educate ourselves first by understanding
some key terms. Conservation is an action. It is when steps are being done for a long-term
preservation of something specific, which, in this case, is the environment (AIC, 2016).
Sustainability is a development that meets the need of the present world without compromising
or ruining the needs for the future world. This is in usual regards to natural resources (UCLA,
n.d.). Environmentally responsible behavior is action done by a group or individual meant to
help and correct environmental issues and problems (Giuseffi, 2011). A lot of action is required
in order for us to save this planet and if certain action is not taken, dire consequences will arise
when it is too late.
Fortunately, many actions are being taken in this world, including Utah. University of
Utah has their own Sustainability Office that provides initiatives to help the environment,
research having to deal with sustainability, and educational courses for those who want to help
make the world a more inhabitable place. Not only does the University of Utah educate their
students about sustainability, they use their own campus as a living lab, applying their practices
and taking the actions they teach. In 2015, they created a Climate Action Plan to make changes
in their buildings to reduce the amount of emissions being produced. Green teams are set up and
they even have an Edible Garden Campus where students can get their hands dirty as they grow
their own food (U Sustainability Resource Center, 2016).
Salt Lake City has also done its fair share of conservation and sustainability acts and are
slowly improving the living conditions in the city. The Salt Lake City government has created a
sustainability department under the name SLCgreen with the sole purpose to help and heal our
environment. From helping to conserve resources to reducing pollution, the city is doing their
best to slow climate change and ensure a bright future for Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City Green,

2016). Salt Lake City is also part of a state that allows their residents to form organizations that
support the environment and its healing. Ski resorts do their part by educating their skiers and
improving the sustainability practices across their departments. Air quality is a big issue in Utah
and organizations have formed to change policy and participate in government action to better
the quality of air we are breathing. Awareness groups have protected the great national parks of
this state, including the biodiversity of the Great Salt Lake (Sustain Utah, 2016). The Utah
government have taken it upon themselves to improve and sustain the water quality and to
control waste management and radiation so as to protect the environment and respond to its
needs. These laws, restrictions, and promotions help Utah residents do their part in sustaining
and conserving the world in which we live in and help future generations thrive instead of die
(Utah DEQ, 2016).
Due to past ignorance from the human population, our world is facing its next mass
extinction. We pollute the air relentlessly, destroy natural resources without a second thought,
and forget that in order to survive we need things the Earth provides that we can't produce on our
own. If there is no clean air to breathe, our species will not last. If all our water is polluted and
disgusting, not only will that alter the ecosystem, but we will struggle to support our own
civilization. If any drastic change occurs on our planet that affects biodiversity and ecosystems,
we will lose precious resources and our world will closely resemble a shaky Jenga tower falling
to waste. In order to make a change, all must do their part as a whole and as individuals.
Primatologist should be a part of the group of concerned human beings when it comes to our
world's status. Primates are greatly affected by careless actions of hunting and deforestation and
need conservation and sustainability actions to avoid permanent extinction. If primatologist don't
include sustainability practices and conservation methods in their studies, they will soon find that

they have nothing to study because of biodiversity loss and damages. Primates need to be
protected and our society must make an effort to save them.
I have always been a big supporter of 'going green' and 'saving the world'. Growing up, I
would always visit the zoo and along with being able to see how beautiful animals are, I also
learned that we as a human race must repent of our previous actions and start making a
difference to protect these remarkable species. A couple of years ago, I learned about the
damaging effects of palm oil plantations and the saddening status of the orangutans. Even though
it meant giving up Nutella, Skittles, and other yummy treats, I didn't want to take part in the
extinction of innocent animals. Researching for this assignment has reminded me of the damage
we create and has encouraged me to start making a difference by first taking some small steps. It
doesn't take much effort on my part to turn off my car so it's not idling or to throw away
recyclables in the bin next to the garbage can. By recycling my old phone instead of throwing it
away I can help the gorillas keep their forests. And not only can I help sustain the environments
on this planet by being more consciously aware of my actions, I can also educate those around
me so that together, we can make a difference.

References:
Shah, A., (2015). Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction. Retrieved from
http://www.globalissues.org/article/233/climate-change-and-global-warmingintroduction#WhatisGlobalWarmingandClimateChange
Rinkesh, (2009). 15 Current Environmental Problems. Retrieved from
http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/15-current-environmental-problems.php
American Institute for Conservation., (2016). About Conservation. Retrieved from
http://www.conservation-us.org/about-conservation#.WEbb7KIrKRs
UCLA, (n.d.) What is Sustainability? Retrieved from https://www.sustain.ucla.edu/aboutus/what-is-sustainability/
Shah, A., (2014). Why is Biodiversity Important? Who Cares? Retrieved from
http://www.globalissues.org/article/170/why-is-biodiversity-important-whocares#WhyisBiodiversityImportant
IUCN, (2008). Extinction Threat Growing for Mankind's Closest Relatives. Retrieved
from https://www.iucn.org/content/extinction-threat-growing-mankind%E2%80%99s-closestrelatives
Giuseffi, J.M., (2011). Environmentally Responsible Behavior and the Application of
Leave No Trace Beyond the Backcountry. Retrieved from
https://etd.ohiolink.edu/rws_etd/document/get/ohiou1292355986/inline
U Sustainability Resource Center, (2016). Sustainability Resource Center. Retrieved
from http://sustainability.utah.edu/resource-center/

Sustain Utah, (2016). Sustain Utah Organizations. Retrieved from


http://www.sustainutah.org/community/organizations/
Salt Lake City Green, (2016). Salt Lake City Sustainability Department. Retrieved from
http://www.slcgreen.com/
Utah Department of Environmental Quality. (2016). Utah Department of Environmental
Quality. Retrieved from http://www.deq.utah.gov/classic.htm