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Human impacts on the environment

Review your understanding of human impacts on the environment in this free article aligned to NGSS standards.

Key points

  • Humans impact the environment through their activities. Examples of human activities include land and water use, deforestation, and the burning of fossil fuels.
  • In many cases, the impacts of human activities are negative. For example, when humans clear forests, it causes habitat loss and puts other species at risk.
  • Negative human impacts increase as the population grows. They also increase as the average person uses more natural resources.
  • Science can help identify solutions to reduce our impacts on the environment. However, it is up to us—as individuals and as a society—to put these solutions into action.
A deforested area of the Amazon rainforest.
Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Image credit: Ibama on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

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