(1) Description of the pattern
The environment; including but not limited to soil, water, air, flora, and fauna, is something that have a natural balance. Through pollution, over usage, environmental degradation and lack of stewardship, the balance is broken causing the living and non-living networks that sustain life on this planet to suffer.
(2) How it Works
With a growing population the needs to resources are rising, but in 1st world countries the amount of resources a single person can consume significantly out weighs the amount of resources a person living in the third world would. However, this is only part of a larger problem. The environment has also taken second place to human progress and when we really started to make "progress" our relationship with nature has been more of a conquest than of stewardship. When the depletion of resources cannot be replenished naturally we found ways to put a band-aid on the solution, chemistry. This has led to all sorts of problems, not that chemistry is bad, but chemicals like DDT, incidents like Bhopal remind us that we must remain vigilant. Our philosophy and paradigms when it comes to preserving the environment, respecting something that is shared by everything living on the planet will not change over night but we are starting to get there, we are exploring other sources of energy, our grasp of science is strong enough to understand our path and where, why, and who is taking us there.