The environment is susceptible to many man-made risks and hazards. Some of the most concerning are:
- Resource exhaustion – deforestation, fresh water depletion, unsustainable extraction of energy and mineral reserves.
- Pollution and contamination – poor air quality in overcrowded urban centres, rivers and catchments spoiled by rubbish/industrial waste/disease.
- Food insecurity – aridity, salinity and desertification of arable land, soil exhaustion, declining fish stocks.
- Loss of biodiversity – species endangerment and extinction, knock-on effects throughout the food chain.
- Global warming – sea level rise, atmospheric heat, altered seasons and migratory patterns, exacerbated extreme weather events and 'natural' disasters.
International treaties such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol have been set up to offset the adverse effects of human-induced climate change at the global level. However, carefully planned small-scale action taken at the community level form the basis for large-scale change.