The Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the 1700′s, and spread to the rest of the world, beginning with the United States. The use of machinery and factories led to mass production, which in turn led to the development of numerous environmental hazards. The effects on the environment would only be seen clearly years later.
The use of factories and mass production has led to a depletion of certain natural resources, leaving the environment permanently damaged. One example of this depletion is deforestation, which is the clearing of forest trees for use in production. When the trees are cleared, the wildlife in the forest also becomes uprooted.
The lack of trees is only compounded by the problem of carbon emissions. Whereas forests would help emit oxygen and refresh the levels of healthy gases in the air, factories are emitting poisonous emissions and eliminating the source of oxygen. The pollution that has resulted from factories involves not only airborne emissions but land and water pollution as well. The primary issue resulting from pollution and carbon emissions is that of global warming. As the temperature rises, the glaciers are melting and oceans are rising. More animal species are becoming endangered or extinct as a result of global warming.
The upside of the Industrial Revolution has certainly been the mass production of food for the world population. The population has grown by leaps and bounds due to the availability of food, yet at the same time the mass production of man-made and chemically altered food has also contributed to worldwide obesity and health problems. Obesity may also be linked to the sedentary lifestyle made possible by the use of factory-made home appliances which have made life easier for homemakers (i.e. washing machines, dishwashers) and recreational appliances (namely televisions).
While the Industrial Revolution was the cause of positive change for the industrial world, there is no question that it has wreaked havoc on the environment. The depletion of natural resources, the carbon emissions, pollution and human health problems that have resulted directly from the Industrial Revolution’s accomplishments have only been disastrous for the world environment.