• factor4 solutions
  • Products
  • Parts Shop
  • Maintenance and Troubleshooting
  • Recruiting Data
  • What's New
  • About MATSUI
  • Global Network
  • Environmental Activities
  • Exhibitions
  • Contact Us

2.What exactly are Environmental Problems?

TOP > Environmental Activities > The President's Green Column >
2.What exactly are Environmental Problems?

The President's Green Column

Back number :

2.What exactly are Environmental Problems?

- War? Packed trains? Cutting of trees for fire? -

In my previous entry, I wrote that Global Warming is not our only environmental problem and that it is important for us to not be misled by the 'Fashion' of topics.

Then, what are environmental problems? There are many problems that lie between our environment and us. However, what are environmental problems and what are not? Are wars, packed trains or cutting of trees to make fire environmental problems? With many doubts, I checked up the meaning of 'Environmental Problems'.

From the online encyclopedia 'Wikipedia', environmental problems refer to 'the general wording for problems that are results of human activities on the environment'. (http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%92%B0%E5%A2%83%E5%95%8F%E9%A1%8C

Hence, environmental problems are problems caused by changes in the environment resulting from human activities? Since murder and war involves the direct damage to human, I believe that they can be excluded. However, this definition is far too broad.

According to the definition, causes of environmental problems are human activities that result in changes in the environment. However, any human activities (excluding mental activities) will in one way or another cause certain changes in our surroundings. At such, all problems that are results of human activities will become environmental problems. Isn't this too broad a definition?

For example, a packed train is the result of people traveling in a same direction at the same time. This unpleasant experience caused by acts of humans, under the above definition can be considered an environmental problem, can't it? For instance, a burglar steals furniture from a house. The owner is hence, troubled by the situation. Can burglary then be considered an environmental problem?

I bet we do not agree on that. The definition is too broad and I suggest the below.
『Problems caused by environmental changes due to human activities that greatly endangers the well-being of humans and the balance of our ecosystem』I personally feel that it is important to add that only problems that gravely endanger the well being of humans and our ecosystem should be considered environmental problems. Don't you think this definition meets our image of environmental problems better?

I hereby divide environmental problems into the following 2 categories. They are 'Jeopardy of humans' well-being' and 'Destruction of the Ecosystem'.

Until a few decades back, only the 'Jeopardy of humans' well-being' was treated with concern. Instead of environmental problems, 'Pollution' was the word then. Nevertheless, in recent years, people have grown to acknowledge that environmental problems do not only affects us but also endangers our ecosystem. This is a big change and time has come that we can no longer only think about ourselves.

Hence, only when a problem threatens animals and plants enough to destroy the balance of the ecosystem, it can be recognized as an environmental problem. Fishing, eating of meat or cutting some wood for fire, acts that only harm the well being of plants and animals but does not destroy the ecosystem are not considered environmental problems at this moment. As one may notice, our current acknowledgement of environmental problems is still very much human-oriented. However, as we are thinking from the point of view of a human, I think this is very much how far we can go at this moment.

Please refer to Graph 1 for the definition of environmental problems and its relationship with other problems.

Fig 1. The definition of Environmental Problems & its relationship with other problems.

In my next entry, I would like to write about the issues of environmental problems that can be classified under such a definition.

30 Jun 2008 Hironobu Matsui

Back number :