What Does The “Environment” Consist of?
By Clifford Woods
The word environment can be defined as conditions that sustain life or an ecosystem. Different environments sustain both living and non-living organisms.
What Makes Up The Environment?
The composition of the environment is quite interesting and we can classify it into two main categories, which are:
· Natural Universal Resources: These are resources that are not man-made and this includes water, climate, air, electric charge, magnetism, radiation as well as physical phenomena, such as the lack of boundaries on land.
· Ecological Units: These are natural systems that occur within the boundaries of natural phenomena and this includes rock formations, soil, vegetation, the atmosphere and microorganisms.
Factors Affecting the Environment
Various things affect the composition of the environment and these include the following processes:
1. Biotic processes: These involves living organisms and they affect the environment through excretion, breathing, absorption of sunlight, consumption of plants and animals, planting as well as decomposition. Different living organisms affect the environment in different ways, and a good example of these differences is roots hold the soil together while burrowing animals loosen it.
2. Hydrologic processes: Water also affects the environment in many ways. Water sustains life and plants and animals depend on its availability to develop and gain food. It also affects soil and can be detrimental through erosion. Water exists in various forms and can be present in liquid form, ice and vapor.
3. Geomorphic processes: These are factors that affect land and include processes such as deposition, weathering, transportation and erosion. To put this in order of occurrence, we will start with weathering that occurs when rock formations break either due to chemical, biotic or mechanical means. They then erode, thanks to wind and water that leads to transportation of the rocks and soil before being deposited to another location.
4. Atmospheric processes: The final factor affecting the composition of the environment is atmospheric processes. This includes climate, the wind and changing weather patterns. The weather we experience is as a result of atmospheric processes and these affect the environment by regulating availability of water for living organisms.
As you can see, there are physical and biological characteristics of the environment. The biological characteristics include plants, animals and other living matter, such as bacteria, while physical characteristics are made of land, water, the atmosphere and climate.
Types of Environment
There are different environments and these include:
· Tropical rainforests
· Polar environments
· Water bodies
· Urban environments
Urban environments are largely man-made and they too, contain the resources just like any other environment.
Our environments are ever changing and while some changes are subtle, such as the receding water levels at a beach, others are massive and may cause major changes.
Our short life spans prevent us from fully realizing the drastic environmental changes and what many don’t know is that the environment as we know it today is not as it was a hundred or a thousand years ago.
The next time you get out of the house, think about where your environment meets the next change and how it will look like in the next century or decade.
It has been a great achievement over the years, to see people embrace new strategies, which are meant to help the environment. Use of environmentally friendly products should be given much more attention by one and all. We all live on this planet and the better we take care of it, the better our children and our grand children’s lives will be.
Source – Goraticles.com