Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, humans have ravaged and polluted the earth on a massive scale and at a rapid pace. The quest for profit and/or a "better life", combined with an ignorance or rejection of environmental concerns, is leading our species to the brink of disaster. This can be demonstrated on many fronts. Let's return to some of the topics we touched upon in our discussion of the atmosphere. Let's start with a basic need: the need for oxygen. We could not survive without oxygen. Oxygen, you will recall, is the result of photosynthesis. Yet as countries move into an industrial phase of social development, as did the United States in the early 1800's, land is systematically stripped of it plants and trees to make way for factories and high rise buildings. As vast forests such as the Amazon are denuded of their beauty and natural resources, our atmosphere is also seriously altered. The forests are stripped faster than they can be re-planted, and when severely depleted, photosynthesis is greatly reduced. No photosynthesis, no oxygen. No oxygen, no life. But deforestation continues at a breakneck speed in many areas of the world.
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