Why Does Waste Matter in the Gaia Theory?

Do you know where your food comes from and where the uneaten leftovers go after you’ve thrown them away?

Whether you’re thinking about it or not, every action you take has some effect on the world around you. A chemist named James Lovelock hypothesized that living organisms interact with their surroundings to maintain a livable environment.

Today, this is known as the Gaia Theory.

Why Waste Matter in the Gaia Theory

The Gaia Theory

One of the defining points of the gaia theory is that organisms live synergistically with the Earth. All plants, animals, and people contribute to a stable environment simply by living in it.

Unfortunately, wasteful habits by people do the opposite. Actions that harm entire populations of organisms will have a waterfall effect that harms the environment. An example of this is found in trees.

Wood is a necessary product in day-to-day life. However, harvesting too much wood without a replacement plan or not fully utilizing the wood harvested decimates the tree populations. Trees pull carbon, the most common greenhouse gas, from the air and replace it with oxygen. If the number of trees decreases, the mass of carbon increases, which encourages the onset of global warming.

Global warming then weakens populations of other organisms, which in turn further worsens the environment. Every living thing depends on one another.

Global Warming

The Earth is no stranger to mass extinction events. Throughout history, incredible incidents such as meteors, continent-wide wildfires, and volcanoes have directly caused global warming and cooling. Surviving plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms all contributed to the Earth’s recovery from such events.

Scientists are currently theorizing that we are in the middle of yet another mass extinction event, due to pollution, overdevelopment, and waste. During the worst-case scenario, the Earth will recover from this, but only after millions of years.

The more biodiversity is lost, the longer the environment will take to recover. More must be done to protect and preserve what is left to keep the Earth habitable for as long as possible.

Waste Not, Want Not

National Geographic outlines the harmful effects of plastic waste that hasn’t been properly disposed of or recycled. This plastic primarily ends up in the oceans, which impedes life even at the microscopic level.

Plastic takes centuries to decompose but will still break down into “microplastics” that have infected every water system in the world. This is not only toxic for animals, but people as well. Every creature can be harmed by the ingestion of plastic, contributing to mass extinctions, and further jeopardizing the livability of the Earth.

plastic waste

The main culprit is single-use plastic, which accounts for 40 percent of the plastics produced yearly. This includes plastic grocery bags and packaging.

Plastic production and use are increasing exponentially, with no real change in how plastics are disposed of. To protect our environment, this must change.

The Best Time to Start is Now

Waste may be an unavoidable part of life, but it can still be managed. The worse global warming gets, the more resources will be needed to combat it, and the more impact waste has on all of us. The complex system that is the Earth can only self-regulate if we allow it to.

You can do your part today to minimize your own waste. Taking the advice of professionals and being mindful of how you interact with the environment you live in are important steps.

Remember, we all live on this Earth together, and must do our best to take care of it.

The Top 7 Benefits of Composting

The impact of human activities on the environment is rapidly changing. One such activity gaining much attention is waste disposal. A lot of waste products go to landfills despite constituting a reasonable fraction of organic matter, such as paper materials, food wastes, and pet droppings.

The new preferred way to dispose of organic waste is composting. Composting refers to the process through which materials biodegrade. It is a means by which organic waste can be safely recycled. Composting can be effectively done with compost systems.

benefits-composting

Take note that this process of waste disposal is still in its early stages, especially when adopted in homes. Still, here are 7 benefits of composting:

1. Improved Soil Quality

Composted materials become humus, a known nutrient-rich constituent of soil. The newly formed humus replenishes soil nutrients and improves water retention in loose soil. Thus, soil quality considerably improves as a result of composting.

Composted materials are also rich in fungi and bacteria. These microbes prevent insect infestation and suppress weed growth. With these nutrient draining agents out of the way, your soil quality dramatically improves, too.

2. Saves Time and Money

It is a waste of time and money when a yard being cultivated does not experience normal growth, nor does it yield the expected harvest. Fortunately, you can save money and time in the long term with composting practices. This is possible because of the compost’s ability to fight insect infestation, weed growth, and to replenish the soil of lost nutrients.

The three nutrients that are sought in chemical fertilizers, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK), are made available by humus. This directly saves you the cost of purchasing fertilizers. Without the presence of compost, farmers need to spend a lot of money to buy pesticides and weed killers.

3. Environment Friendliness

Composting is an environmentally friendly option compared to landfills. Landfills are currently the most common destination for organic waste. In landfills, organic waste cannot decay properly, so they generate a specific greenhouse gas called methane.

landfills-methane-gas

Methane is known to cause harmful effects on the environment – similar to that of carbon dioxide but even more dangerous. The more organic waste ends up in landfills, the more methane gas that is produced.

Composting solves this problem in a whiff by reducing the amount of methane produced while organic matter decays. Composting allows carbon to be retained in the soil, which lowers the carbon footprint caused by decaying matter.

The ability of compost to bypass the incineration of yard waste also makes it a preferred option for organic waste in yards.

4. Improved Human Health

There are several ways for composting to indirectly enhance human health. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as mentioned above, by composting is not only good for the environment but also for people – a reduction of greenhouse gas means a healthier environment to live in.

Organic food production credited to composting also improves human health in significant ways. It reduces the number of chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides that end up in meals, translating to healthier humans.

5. Higher Agricultural Yield

A higher yield of crops is very important to farmers. Through its ability to increase soil quality, composting achieves a higher return in agricultural products. More plant yield accounts for more plants to be sold, which also means more money to be made.

Soil quality also translates to the quality of the food which is produced. Food produced from high-quality, organic soil is free from all toxins from chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

6. Reduced Erosion

Erosion is harmful to the soil because it makes soil matter and nutrients to be washed away. This is compounded by the fact that soils are loose.

Compost averts erosion by remedying the existing structure of the soil. It further prevents erosion by:

  • Aiding water infiltration in the soil structure.
  • Aiding water retention, thereby slowing runoff and loss of soil matter.
  • Allows for quicker vegetation growth.

7. Aids Biodiversity

Microorganisms present in the soil, such as bacteria, fungi, and protozoa, will cause the decay of organic material. Their presence is important because they aid soil aeration. Soil aeration on its own accelerates the composting process, making nutrients available in their usable state as quickly as possible.

Other organisms that are present in composted soil include worms and beneficial insects. All these aids the process of plant growth.

Conclusion

Composting is a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to dispose of organic waste. It is particularly important even now as the world struggles with creating solutions to waste disposal.

The application of compost results in better soil quality. It is also a process that saves them time and money of farmers. Humans can benefit from composting through improved health. There is a higher yield of farm produce as a result of composting. Erosion is significantly reduced, and biodiversity is achieved in the soil through composting.