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environmental geography
The cheetah, prized for its luxurious fur, is an example of an endangered animal.

The killing of animals for their fur or horns or other parts. Laws make poaching illegal but it still takes place.

Animals becoming extinct

Scientists predict that up to half of the species currently around will be extinct by the year 2100. Famous extinctions include the dodo, the tasmanian devil and the quagga.

Disappearance of bees

Bees are disappearing around the world and the reasons for this are unknown. This will result in more than a loss of sweet honey, the number and range ofplants around the world will also diminish rapidly. 

Invasive species

When the brown tree snake managed to hop on a ship / plane? and establish itself on the island of Guam, it wiped out most of the native bird populations as there was no natural predator for the snake.

Endangered animals
Loss of biodiversity

These are animals which are becoming so few in number, the species may become extinct. 

The reduction in the number of plants and animals around the world.

Habitat destruction/fragmentation

The reduction in the number of plants and animals around the world.

Geography topics for you to learn and enjoy

Climate change

The world is getting hotter and this is melting the ice at the poles leading to higher sea levels.

Sea level rise

The world is getting hotter and it is doing so at an increasing pace.

Global warming
Greenhouse gases

This refers to the chemicals that are released into the air that make the planet warmer. Human activity is increasing the number of greenhouse gases in the air.

The amount of carbon in the air is increasing and it is absorbed by the seas, making them more acidic and slowly killing off the sealife within them.

Ocean acidification
Thermohaline circulation shutdown

Currents in the sea help carry warm water to places far from the equator. It is predicted that this process will be affected as a result of climate change.

Sea level rise is one of the main problems associated with global warming.
There are many environmental issues facing the world today? 










Which is the most important?
Can you rank these issues according to importance?


More efficient use of energy helps the enrgy we have to go further and last longer.

Conserving energy

Energy that is made from resources that will not run out. E.g. solar and wind power.

Renewable energy

By pumping water underground at high pressure, it can crack rocks releasing the natural gas within them. 

Hydraulic fracturing
Solar power is a renewable energy source that will not run out.

Nuclear issues

Electricity derived from the use of nuclear fuel. 

Nuclear power

When the nuclear fuel in a power plant loses its ability to keep cool and gets so hot, it can melt anything.

Nuclear meltdown
Radioactive waste management
A nuclear power plant can produce huge amounts of electricity.

Land degradation

This is where fertile land loses its ability to support plantlife and the soil degrades to become a desert.


The top soild is worn away by wind or washed away by floods and rainwater. Loss of trees speeds up this process. 

Soil erosion

When land is flooded with seawater, the salt in the water remains in the soil making it difficult for plants to grow.

Soil salination

Farmland and natural habitats are lost when cities expand. 

Urban sprawl

When used in excess quantities, pesticides and herbicides can make the food that grows on them poisonous.

Overuse of pesticides

Rubbish is thrown away in a landfill dump and this can lead the water and the soil to be polluted. Plus they are unsightly.


The soil around Chernobyl is too contaminated with nuclear fallout to be used for farming after the nuclear accident there. 

Soil contamination

Opencast mines destroy the land where they operate. Deep mines have spoil tips which do a similiar job. 


Some waste is so poisonous that it cannot be thrown away in the normal way. It is often shipped to developing world countries.

Toxic waste
Water is taken from the rivers that flow into the Aral sea for farming but over extraction has reduced the lake's size.

Resource depletion

Natural resources running out

For example, it is expected that the amount of oil that can be feasibly recovered will run out during this century.

Lakes, seas and fresh water running out

The Aral sea, the Dead sea and Lake Chad are all examples of lakes that are drying up due to overextration of water from their sources.


This refers to the scientifically modifying of seeds to create stronger, more drought resistant plants.

This can be achieved in a number of ways, for example, through having two crops a year and not one or by larger fields.

Intensive farming

When farming only one crop over a large area, it leads to the wiping out of large amounts of incidental wildlife.


Cows and pigs eat large amounts of animal feed but instead of the feed, crops like corn and maize would feed more people.

Increased meat consumption

Farmers use plastic tunnels to grow fruits and vegetables in this increasing the growing season and the water use. 


Fisherman harvest their fish at faster rates than the fish can naturally replace themselves leading to their decline.


Growing food many thousands of miles away from where it is consumed leading to lots of CO2 produced as a result. 


Farmers in forested areas burn the trees to clear the land to make space for fields and crops.

Slash and burn

By taking water from rivers and placing it on the land for farming, it increases the amount of farmland 



  • Overpopulation in water shortage areas
  • Gender imbalance
  • Smog
  • Atmospheric particulate matter
  • CFCs
  • Ozone layer hole

Air pollution

  • Electronic waste
  • Litter
  • Medical waste
  • Landfill
  • Leachate



Deforestation leads to loss of habitat for wildlife.

Water pollution

  • Acid rain
  • Ocean dumping
  • Sea pollution
  • Oil spills
  • Thermal pollution
  • Urban runoff
  • Marine debris
  • Ocean acidification
  • microplastics
  • ship pollution
  • algal bloom
  • impact of reservoirs
  • Light pollution
  • Noise pollution
  • Visual pollution

Other pollution

Environmental issues range from the very big to the very small. Here we have compiled and illustrated a comprehensive list of environmental issues for you to find out more about the ecological problems we face in the world. These environmental hazards vary in size, impact, distribution and cost to repair. Whilst reading about these ecological problems, have a think as to how these problems can be solved.


  • Clear cutting
  • Deforestation
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