Earth, also called the world and, less frequently, Gaia (and Terra in some works of science fiction), is the third planet from the Sun, the densest planet in the Solar System, and the only astronomical object known to accommodate life. The earliest life on Earth arose at least 3.5 billion years ago. Earth’s biodiversity has expanded continually except when interrupted by mass extinctions. Although scholars estimate that over 99 percent of all species that ever lived on the planet are extinct, Earth is currently home to 10–14 million species of life, including over 7.3 billion humans who depend upon its biosphere and minerals. Earth’s human population is divided among about two hundred sovereign states.
According to evidence from radiometric dating and other sources, Earth was formed around four and a half billion years ago. Within its first billion years, life appeared in its oceans and began to affect its atmosphere and surface, promoting the proliferation of aerobic as well as anaerobic organisms and causing the formation of the atmosphere’s ozone layer. This layer and the geomagnetic field blocked the most life-threatening parts of the Sun’s radiation, so life was able to flourish on land as well as in water. Since then, the combination of Earth’s distance from the Sun, its physical properties and its geological history have allowed life to thrive and evolve.
Estimates on how much longer the planet will be able to continue to support life range from 500 million years (myr), to as long as 2.3 billion years (byr). The future of the planet is closely tied to that of the Sun. As a result of the steady accumulation of helium at the Sun’s core, the star’s total luminosity will slowly increase. The luminosity of the Sun will grow by 10% over the next 1.1 byr and by 40% over the next 3.5 byr. Climate models indicate that the rise in radiation reaching Earth is likely to have dire consequences, including the loss of the planet’s oceans.
Natural And Environmental Hazards
Earth’s volcanoes can inject gas and ash into the atmosphere. Large areas of Earth’s surface are subject to extreme weather such as tropical cyclones, hurricanes, or typhoons that dominate life in those areas. From 1980 to 2000, these events caused an average of 11,800 deaths per year. Many places are subject to earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, sinkholes, blizzards, floods, droughts, wildfires, and other calamities and disasters.
Many localized areas are subject to human-made pollution of the air and water, acid rain and toxic substances, loss of vegetation (overgrazing, deforestation, desertification), loss of wildlife, species extinction, soil degradation, soil depletion, erosion, and introduction of invasive species.
According to the United Nations, a scientific consensus exists linking human activities to global warming due to industrial carbon dioxide emissions. This is predicted to produce changes such as the melting of glaciers and ice sheets, more extreme temperature ranges, significant changes in weather and a global rise in average sea levels.
This year, it is Earth Day’s 45th anniversary. With every passing year, we must make conscience efforts towards economic growth with sustainability. We all live within the means of one Earth. Therefore, we need to take care of our planet to help it capacitate human life and biodiversity in healthier ways.
Scientists warn us that climate change could accelerate beyond our control, threatening our survival and everything we love. We need to rapidly shift our societies and economies to 100% clean energy. Our world is worth saving and now is our moment to act. But to change everything, we need everyone. Join us.
Join TEAM NEERANJALI to protect Our Home, Our Environment, Our World, Our Mother EARTH!