The human population is growing and growing and so is the human impact on the environment. I guess most of us are aware of what effect for example climate change and habitat destruction have on the planet. Nevertheless, there are several other activities that have a major effect on animals and plants that many people are not aware of.
This blog post will deal with the less thought of things humans do that disrupt wildlife and nature.
Written by Lea
Sound is an everyday part of this world and not only humans make sound. Waterfalls, wind, as well as the waves of the ocean make sound. And there is nothing bad about it. However, all these examples mentioned are natural sounds and as soon as they are suppressed by human-made sounds (such as the sound of heavy machinery) the damage and disruption of the natural environment starts. Unfamiliar sounds can influence the survival of an animal or plant. Most animals are very sensitive to noise and run away when they hear something too loud. This for example can result in the disruption of predator-prey relationships as too much noise can lead to the disappearance of an entire species in an area.
I have heard many people saying that they can not see the stars at night when they are in a city. Thanks to our artificial lights many places of this world (especially cities) just do not get dark anymore. Nevertheless, not seeing the stars might be a bit annoying but nothing that’s really damaging to this planet. But light pollution is actually very damaging to many animals and plants.
For billions of years, all life has relied on Earth´s predictable cycle of day and night. It is basically encoded in the DNA of all animals and plants and the disruption of this rhythm can affect the survival of an individual or the entire population.
Sea turtles for example hatch at night on the beach. They are then supposed to follow the light of the moon to reach the safety of the ocean. But nearby artificial lights are often confusing and draw them away from the ocean. Millions of hatchlings die this way each year, as they are often get hit by cars or get exhausted on their way in the wrong direction.
But not only sea turtles are affected by artificial light. Scientific research showed that light pollution has deadly effects on many species, including mammals, birds, plants, insects and amphibians.
Fences and border walls
Trump´s planned border wall between the USA and Mexico is a hotly debated topic all over the world. There is no doubt that this wall would be a disaster for many humans. But whatever the wall´s effect on immigration/emigration might be, sure is that it is going to be destructive for the environment.
Many species native to the border region are going to lose more than 50% of their natural range. That means that many populations will be isolated and not able to roam for food, water, and reproduction. Furthermore, wildlife will be trapped in the event of natural disasters such as floods, fires or heat. In general migration patterns will be drastically affected by this wall.
But not only large borders can disrupt wildlife and natural habitats. Garden fences for example can influences the movement and distribution of wildlife (e.g. of hedgehogs) too.
These are just a few less thought of examples of how we humans influence the environment.
We should always be aware of our actions and should show respect towards our non-human friends and their “homes”. And I am sure you would not like it to be trapped in a brightly lit room with loud music when you just want to sleep.