Our planet is home to millions of different kinds of plant and animal species, which are linked in different ways. Together, they make up the complex world of nature. Unfortunately, co-habiting with humans brings up ecological problems. The most acute are pollution, acid rain, wildlife destruction, shortage of natural resources and global warming. These problems are interrelated as everything in the natural world depends on one another.

Many plants in the world are known to be in danger or threatened with extinction. The world has over nine million square km. of forests. Paper and cardboard are made from wood. Every year over 100000 sq. km. of forests are cleared for different uses, and a lot of forests are so badly damaged that they will hardly be able to recover.

Acid rain falls when poisonous gases from power stations and vehicles mix with oxygen and moisture in the air. Acid rain poisons or kills wildlife in lakes, rivers, and forests, and damages the surrounding plant life. The problem could be controlled by reducing vehicle emissions and limiting the gases released from power stations.

World temperatures are currently rising every year. This phenomenon is called global warming. As the planet warms up, the water in the oceans will take up more space and water from glaciers and the polar ice caps will start to melt. This could cause sea levels to rise and many habitats will disappear under water.

The cause of global warming is attributed to the greenhouse effect. It works in the following way — sunlight gives us heat which warms the atmosphere. Some of the heat returns into space. Nowadays the air surrounding the earth has become much warmer because the heat can’t go back into space. That’s why winter and summer temperatures in many places have become higher.

Needless to say, that the main problem is the pollution of air. A lot of people in our district have their own cars and a lot of companies, especially transport ones, use lorries in their work. These transport facilities carry loads and passengers from one destination to another and at the same time do a lot of damage to nature. The car exhaust fumes mix with air and we have to inspire this harmful mixture. I am very glad that lately the number of cars and garages in our yards has decreased but suppose that it would be better to use another transport, to move the garages to the suburbs or to arrange days of pedestrian traffic if we really want to clear the air.

I have already told you about two sources of pollution but I consider that the major source is not a plant, a heat station or cars. First of all, the state of the environment depends upon people. We know that our streets and yards are polluted with great amount of garbage. A lot of teenagers and adults are used to setting scrapes of paper, cigarette ends and another small-sized garbage down and don’t think that these things decay, pollute the ground, smell and look very unlikely. And, watching these teenagers and adults, small children do the same.

Environmental protection is of a universal concern. That is why serious measures to create a system of ecological security should be taken.

Some progress has been already made in this direction. As many as 159 countries — members of the UNO — have set up environmental protection agencies. Numerous conferences have been held by these agencies to discuss problems facing ecologically poor regions including the Aral Sea, the South Urals, Kuzbass, Donbass, Semipalatinsk and Chernobyl.

An international environmental research centre has been set up on Lake Baikal. The international organisation Greenpeace is also doing much to preserve the environment.

But these are only the initial steps and they must be carried onward to protect nature, to save life on the planet not only for the sake of the present but also for the future generations.