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Aug 14 2020 | By - Anmol Kapoor

How do volcanism, species extinction, and other factors impact Earth?

Volcanism, climate change, extinction of species, and other such issues have brought down quality of life over past few years, making lives tougher for people. Quality of life can be impacted by various factors, ranging from economic dips to climate and environmental changes. The impact, is definitely more than what it looks at fist sight, and shows itself as we dig deeper.

Lets take a look at how do these major factors affect planet earth and its people

Volcanism

Volcanic activity generally lasts only a few days, but its impact on climate can last a lot longer, going up to as much as a few years even. When volcanoes erupt, they lead to a lot of activity, including release of lava, gases, and ash. All these things impact the climate and people in different ways. Lets take a look at it with the most recent example, the Mount Sinabung volcano in Indonesia. The eruption spewed ash and smoke over 16,000 feet into the air. The eruption caused 16 deaths and thousands living in the area were forced to vacate their homes. Now the ash and and smoke from the volcano has covered a 5km area with darkness, and the mixture of wet ash, gases and aerosols will stay in the area’s air for some time, making it difficult for people there to breathe.

Next came the lava and pyroclastic flows, essentially a molten hot mix of hot gases and ash, these run down from volcanoes at 100-200 km/hr. The flows can destroy things in their way, and actually kill any humans trapped in between. Now imagine the destruction of an entire village in its path?

Mass extinction of species

All living beings starting from plants to insects to humans, are connected to each other. Its a circle of life! Two major ways of existence are via food chains and the food web. It is from here that a hidden reality of mass extinction of species is occurring. Any given set-up, relating to anything, is only complete as long as it has all the required components. Those components are there for a reason, and fulfil a task, without which, the set-up would fail. In that essence, Earth is the most purposeful, detailed, and sophisticated system ever built. Very similar to a smart computer in fact. It too has various components including an input, output, processor, memory storage etc. These might be very sophisticated, but the computer can still work without various components, and function as it is supposed to.

Earth doesn’t work that way, it has all its components(read species), for a reason. Take mice, for example, if we were to remove all mice from an area, there would be no one left to eat insects, allowing their population to grow unchecked. Now go ahead and imagine, a whole city infested with insects, carrying around dirt, viruses and bacteria and what not. This could create more problems than we can imagine, which is why mass extinction of species is something we as humans must help stop. This also brings us to our next topic, pandemics.

Pandemics

Pandemics are pretty powerful in terms of how they impact life, environment, economy, and other aspects in life. Pandemics don’t just decrease populations, they also affect every thing from environment, economy, and human lifestyle, as people adapt to the new changes brought by it. Understanding this with the latest example of COVID-19 pandemic, it basically brought the world’s movement to a standstill. If anything, it has actually affected the environment positively, with the results visible. Air pollution levels and emission levels of gases across the world have been tracked down to visibly lower levels since before pandemics

Imagine millions of people around the world sitting at their homes, not being transported around or operating heavy machinery in factories. The percentage of use of cars, flights, trains, and other means of transport, came down as pandemic raged, and also brought down consumption of fuel and its downsides. Lowered emissions have ultimately saved over 70,000 lives in over two months since the world was under lockdowns, which would have otherwise been taken by illnesses caused due to pollution.

At the end, it all comes down to humans, as we are the only ones who hold the key to improving our quality of life. Everything from Volcanism and pandemics to climate change and ozone holes were from nature, but were also created due to human actions, which have been causes of various issues. If humans adopt more ideas such as harnessing renewable energy, and controlling the pollution on the Earth, we can definitely make the world a better place to live in.