13 февр. 2011 г.

The Biosphere and You


Ever since people appeared on the Earth the knowledge about the environment has been the most vital information. Nowadays, that human beings have populated almost every piece of land, the understanding of how exactly our planet “works” is the key to maintaining it inhabitable. All the inhabited places on the Earth make up the biosphere. The word “biosphere” is a combination of the Greek words “βιος” — life and “σφαρα” — sphere. So it can be translated as “the sphere of life”.


The term “biosphere” was coined by the Swiss geologist Eduard Suess in 1875. But the one who recognized its ecological importance was Vladimir Vernadsky. He was the first to consider living organisms to be the main transforming force on the Earth. He also divided biosphere into distinct environments such as the atmosphere (the air), the geosphere (the land), the lithosphere (the rocks) and the hydrosphere (water). The sickness of the Earth’s biosphere can’t be calculated precisely but it is believed to have boundaries at about 5000 meters above sea level and 9000 meters below sea level.

As the dominant species, human beings affect the biosphere a lot. The way we use resources, produce goods and interact with other species can change the environment for the worse as well as for the better. For example heavy industry and various explosion engines emit into the atmosphere huge amounts of carbon dioxide which destroys the ozone layer. On the other hand, modern technology allows protecting endangered species more effectively. Vernadsky believed that human reason combined with scientific effort could lead to creation of the noosphere – “the sphere of reason”. But before that we should put an end to all wars, poverty and hunger.

In my opinion, now that people have finally realized that the environment could easily be destroyed by thoughtless actions we’re making a step closer to creating the noosphere.

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