One of the primary examples of environmental degradation is the depletion of potable water. Over 97 percent of the water on Earth is salt water. Of the remaining fresh water, almost 70 percent is in the Earth's ice caps, leaving less than one-third of the fresh water. Currently one in three people face a water shortage.
Humans increase environmental degradation as they increase the levels of carbon dioxide in the air. Global warming may affect environmental factors, including the availability of water. Warming increases transpiration from plants. An earlier snow melt increases the chances of flooding as well as the chances of drought.
Global warming increases the annual precipitation. The additional rain causes an increase in the rate of soil erosion, which leads to a further decline in water quality. Even with the increased precipitation, warmer temperatures decrease the amount of moisture the soil holds.
From an agricultural standpoint, global degradation leads to the need for additional irrigation water. Adding water in this manner increases the salinity of the soil, eventually to the point that it is no longer able to support crops.
Reference.com says that this type of degradation leads to the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife. Environmental degradation leads to loss of natural resources as well as natural habitats.