Why is our environment important? We hear and read so much about protecting and saving the planet Earth. Why should we be concerned when we are also facing economic crises, wars and unending social problems as a society?
The ecosystem (all the communities of living organisms found in a specific place, their habitats and their interactions) in which we live provides natural services for humans and all other species that are essential to our health, quality of life and survival. For example, our forests remove carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the air we breathe and also cool our air temperatures, reducing the formation of ground-level ozone, a pollutant that can cause heart and lung problems to worsen; our wetlands store storm water, filter and make harmless storm water pollutants, and recharge our aquifers (where most of us get our drinking water) with these filtered waters; and the dune systems on our beaches form natural barriers to storm waves and provide important habitat and travel ways for wildlife.