People in every industrialized country have daily contact with pollution problems: Climate gas emissions are already almost certainly the cause of most extreme weather events. Between 80 and 90% of all cases of cancer are influenced by environmental factors and the prevalence of allergies is rapidly increasing. At the same time, the rate of extinction of animal and plant species is accelerating -between 1900 and 1950 one species each year disappeared, while in 1990 alone, between one and three species disappeared every hour. Species have always died out and new ones have appeared, but the rate of extinction today is 100 to 1000 times greater than the natural rate (Lawton and May, 1995).
The building industry is directly or indirectly responsible for a great deal of humankind's environmental pollution. This can be referred to in terms of energy pollution and material pollution.
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