The Impact of Humans on the Environment

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The article ‘The historical roots of our ecologic crisis’ by Lynn White Jr. traces the origins of the deterioration of the environment from the past centuries. The author claims that over the years humans have sought to satisfy their unending wants through the exploitation of the environment. Periods such as the Industrial Era promoted the use of methods of production that are harmful to the environment. The same practices have been carried on to the present day. Besides, the human religion especially that adopted in western countries has promoted disrespect for the environment. Science and Technology have also promoted the destruction of the environment. The writer encourages that the right strategies are employed in addressing ecological problems. This work reviews the article.

Tracing the history of the impact of humans on the environment can be quite tiresome, especially since most of the small human acts are responsible for the massive negative ecological conditions that are experienced on the present day. White (1967) establishes that one of the major factors that have promoted the development of the problem is the increasing human population. The writer describes that human activities such as irrigation, the use of fossil fuels, overgrazing, and deforestation have had adverse effects on the environment. The introduction of technology has also promoted the development of human activities that negatively impact on the environment. It is through the scientific knowledge that humans have managed to create weapons that emit harmful gases such as the hydrogen bombs, and heavily dependent on fossil fuels for as a source of energy. The writer believes that there are enough instances to justify the fact that humans are the most irresponsible creatures that have the ability to pollute the only place that they can call home.

Human religion has also influenced the manner in which humans perceive their environment. In religions such as Christianity and Judaism, believers acknowledge that humans have been given the authority over the earth and all of its creatures so that they may fully exploit it to meet their needs. Also, with religion wiping out paganism and other religions that respected their environment, the belief has helped in eliminating human feelings for the environment and the objects in it. Christianity, for instance, wiped out animism, and humans no longer respect nature. The low regard for nature has been carried on to generations and has promoted environmental pollution.

The article goes on to emphasize the essence of the creation of effective strategies that promote the conservation of the environment. White (1967) believes that it is through the application of science and technology that humans can conserve and preserve the environment. Besides, there is the need that humans develop appropriate beliefs and values that embrace environmental protection. The interpretation of the environment from a religious perceptive also needs to be rectified so that humans no longer see the environment as a factor for solving their needs, but as a divine creation that requires utmost respect.

I wholly agree with the contents of the article. The writer perfectly describes the environmental challenges that humans have developed over the years in a detailed manner. I concur with the writer when he describes that technology and science have been on the front line in environmental pollution and that they also have equal power in rectifying the menace.

In conclusion, the relationship between humans and the environment has deteriorated over the years. The increasing human population has necessitated the increased exploitation of the environment. The means of production have also negatively affected the environment. Religion, cultural beliefs, science, and technology need to be integrated into the identification of a lasting solution to the ecological problems experienced today.


White, L. (1967). The historical roots of our ecologic crisis. Science, 155(3767), 1203-1207.

November 13, 2023

Environment Science

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