The European Environmental Agency (EEA)
The European Environmental Agency (EEA) is an independent information service for all things related to environmental policy, development and evaluation. Their 33 member states across the continent are responsible for many of the structural and data-related developments in environmental improvement. This is an agency of the European Union (EU).
Air & Climate
Air pollution and climate change are huge points of focus in our current society, especially within Europe. As a governing entity the European Union is putting a huge effort into reducing air pollution and slowing, and eventually reversing, the effects of climate change. One of their enablers in this field is through the EEA.
According to European Policy, although greenhouse gases and air pollution generally come from the same sources, they are treated as separate issues to tackle. Air pollution is what affects our air quality and how we breathe, whereas greenhouse gases indirectly affect our lives by damaging the atmosphere and our environment.
Check area air qualityCheck your country or city air quality by using the following interactive map provided by the EEA. Interactive air quality application
The EU has developed an extensive legislation regarding air quality standards that is available through their website. You can click the link below to view to PDF:
Rising temperatures across the planet are causing widespread disruption and chaos, such as extreme weather patterns, sea levels rising and ice caps melting. This is causing droughts, floods and other natural disasters at a much more frequent rate. Not only is this affecting the human race, but many plant and animal ecosystems are being severely damaged or even destroyed as a result.
According to the EEA, the most vulnerable european areas in Europe to climate change are:
- Southern Europe and the Mediterranean basin
- Mountainous areas
- Coastal zones, deltas and floodplains
- Europe’s far north and the Arctic
Strategies are currently being put in place on a local, national, transnational and continental level that will help us adapt and limit the immediate and long term effects of climate change. You can read up on the legislature that has been created on this subject via the link presented below:
Many of the ecosystems that once thrived in diverse areas of the world are now being threatened by climate change and other such human-driven activities like deforestation and farming. In order for nature in Europe to flourish, plans are put into place to protect land use and maintain and develop all habitats and environments.
Biodiversity & Ecosystems
Europe has an extremely diverse landscape of animal life, many of which contribute to our everyday lives as humans, such as pollination, climate regulation, flood protection, soil fertility and the production of our food, fibre and medicines. According to the EEA website:
60% of species and 77% of habitats continue to be in unfavourable conservation status. Constant habitat loss, diffuse pollution, over-exploitation of resources, and growing impacts of invasive alien species and climate change contribute cumulatively.
Land is a finite resource worldwide, which means we need to plan exactly how we are going to use it in order to fully cater to the growing populations across our nations. Constant conflicts for land rights occur across Europe’s many countries, which are usually settled by European policy, designed to get the most out of our land, not just economically, but environmentally and culturally. There are a number of important factors when decided how land is allocated and assessed:
- Production of food and fibre
- Production of biomass for bioenergy
- Carbon storage in land and soil
- The increasing demand for housing and living space
You can read more about EU policy on land use by following the link provided below:
Water and Marine Environment
Water is vital to all parts of our ecosystems, society and economy, but can also cause rather heavy devastation in terms of flooding, acidity, food shortages and poor hygiene. Europe is situated in and amongst huge bodies of water, with many seas, oceans , lakes and rivers reaching its shores.
A rather large point of interest for many Europeans and those who want to travel to countries within its borders is whether or not the water is safe for drink or swim in etc. Below you can see a list of countries and whether or not they have safe drinking water:
|Safe to drink||Not safe to drink|
In terms of marine wellbeing, there is huge need for planning in terms of recycling and waste found within our oceans. This has become a huge problem for marine life, killing and poisoning many walks of marine life. You can read more about European Policy regarding marine wellbeing:
Sustainability & Wellbeing
All the above contribute more or less into our general wellbeing as a civilisation. A clean, sustainable environment is necessary for us to continue and develop the way we live today, but in order to do so, large changes are going to be necessary to reverse the negative effects we have made up until now. The framework that is being developed in Europe to combat this is extremely complex and long term, but the core principles can be adopted immediately by everyone.
The policies put in place to improve our environment and overall wellbeing as a continent are a determining factor when it comes to decision making. In the process of rapid population growth and increased demand in electricity, food, resources and other items, efficient steps must be put in place to ensure a continued development in our quality of life, including the life of other creatures. We also must move in line with other continents and governing bodies to ensure we are up to date and forward thinking. You can read more about the policies put in place by the EEA by clicking the link placed below: