Human activities and habitation are a major cause of environmental damage. While human industry and urban development have resulted in extensive damage to the natural world, events such as earthquakes, landslides and wildfires also have the ability to devastate regional environments and cause damage to ecosystems.
Environments may suffer harm from pollution, water contamination and damage to biodiversity. Human activities and settlements are the principal cause of environmental degradation. The extraction and refinement of natural resources, loss of plant and animal species, as well as industrial operations that result in soil, water and atmospheric pollution are all sources of environmental damage. Chemical agents including pesticides, industrial contaminants and greenhouse gases pose a serious threat to both regional ecosystems and the global environment.
Local and regional ecosystems and natural areas may also suffer damage through natural events. Hurricanes frequently cause damage to coral reefs and wetlands, while earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have the potential to devastate ecosystems to the point where they are no longer able to support native plant and animal life. Both naturally occurring and man-made events have the potential to cause environment harm when they result in environmental and conditional changes that occur too rapidly for plant and animal life to adapt effectively.