While many people would claim that money, data, or food are our most important resources in the world – none of that matters without a world to house them in. Environmental science has far-reaching consequences for man’s survival, and explores many facets of the world in which we live. Currently, there are scientists studying many different factors of both the world we live in and those that surround the Earth in order to better understand the environment so as to preserve our surroundings and utilize them in the best way possible. To that end, scientists are exploring the benefits of genetically modified food, how to clean up the ocean, and the possibility of colonizing beyond the planet Earth.
There has been a lot of debate spurred by the media recently concerning the safety of GMO’s or genetically modified organisms. Scientifically altered food sources are nothing new to man, but the label has come to have a negative connotation with many people. For those that are open-minded, there is great potential with GMO’s to help provide more plentiful, better tasting food. Beyond the fear of the unknown lies great scientific progress. Several large organizations, including the American Medical Association, European Union, and the World Health Organization have shown scientific analysis proving the safety of GMO’s.
Stemming from the concern over the safety of these foods is the issue of whether or not they need to be clearly labeled. When many people glance at the label and see the GMO on there, they don’t purchase the food. Unfortunately, this leads to increased use of pesticides, lower crop yields, and farmers who can’t generate sufficient produce to stay in business.
The Final Frontier
Since the 1960’s, people have been looking to space with questions. Questions of whether there are other forms of life out there, how far can man travel beyond our planet, and whether or not we could live on another planet. Just this year, two big movies (Superman, Pacific Rim) have made reference to terraforming. Yet whereas these films reference aliens shaping Earth to meet their needs, there are scientists exploring whether or not it could be possible to shape another planet to sustain human life. Mars is the number on contender right now, but who knows what the future may hold?
Cleaning the Oceans
Approximately 70% of the world is made up of salt water oceans, with light only touching about 3% of it. Considering this, there seems to be a disproportionate amount of focus being placed on studying what is happening on the land. Mankind has both overlooked and polluted the oceans of the world. Fortunately, there are scientists dedicated to the exploration and preservation of these bodies of water.
Earlier this year, a young scientist developed a means to clean several large patches of ocean overrun with plastic debris. To this end, a vessel would be sent out to gather all up the plastic, which not only threatens the birds and fish that feed upon it, but also people who eat those animals. The plastic and microscopic sea life are then separated through centrifuges, bag filters, and filtration systems. Not only would this clean the environment, but it could lead to the supply of tons of plastic as a new resource for man to use.
About the author: This is a guest contribution by James Cash. James is a scientist and writer.
Image credits: Royalty Free. Source: Science of biology includes the study of DNA