Humans and the Environment We depend on the environment for food, water, air, shelter, fuel and many other resources. However, human actions can affect the quality and availability of these important resources. The study of the impact of humans on the environment is called environmental science
Humans and the Environment 10,000 years ago there was fewer than 10 million people and today there are over 6 billion people on the planet
Humans and the Environment As the human population increases our impact on the environment also increases Humans are a part of the environment and can strongly affect the resilience of the environment
Humans and the environment Humans are using more resources than our ancestors did and eventually we will run out Earth is an interconnected planet: we depend on the environment and the environment is affected by our actions. Learning about the connectedness helps us care about the environment and help ensure that the environment will continue to support us and other species on earth
Resources A resource is anything that can be used to take care of a need Resources are either: renewable or nonrenewable
Renewable Resources Renewable resources are natural resources that can be replaced at the same rate with which they are consumed.
Renewable Resources A renewable resource is either so large or so constantly renewed that it will never be used up. However a resource can be renewable but still used up if it is used faster than it can be replaced.
Renewable Resources Examples: Wind energy Solar power Fresh water Trees
Nonrenewable Resources Many resources we depend on are nonrenewable Nonrenewable resources are resources that form at a rate that is much slower than the rate at which they are consumed
Nonrenewable Resources Most of our energy comes from fossil fuels, which are a nonrenewable energy resource that formed from the remains of organisms that lived long ago and take millions of years to form Coal, oil and natural gas
The Environment and Health Pollution and habitat destruction destroy the resources we need to live, such as the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. Pollution can cause: headaches, sore throats, nausea, and respiratory infections
Environmental Issues Air Pollution Global Warming Water Pollution Soil Damage Ecosystem Disruption
Environmental Issues Air Pollution: causes respiratory problems for people, results in acid rain, damages the ozone layer and may affect global temperature
Environmental Issues Acid Rain: Caused by air pollution, it is precipitation that has an unusually high concentration of sulfuric or nitric acid. It ruins forests and lakes
Environmental Issues Global Warming: The gradual increase of the average global temperature Caused by pollution which damages the ozone layer and lets in more UV rays
Environmental Issues When it is hot outside, the inside of your car gets REALLY hot… why? The Greenhouse Effect The greenhouse effect is the warming of the surface and lower atmosphere of the earth that happens when greenhouse gases (CO2 and H2O) absorb and reradiate heat Burning of fossil fuels increases the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, which causes an increase in global temperatures
Environmental Issues Effects of Global Warming: Ice sheets over Antarctica and Greenland have already started to melt. Which can cause flooding on all the coasts around the world Global weather patterns are affected. More hurricanes and typhoons because of warmer weather Droughts will become more frequent with warmer weather destroying crops Equilibrium in ecosystems will be affected Migration patters of some birds are already starting to change
Environmental Issues Water Pollution can come from fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture, livestock farms, industrial waste, runoff from roads, septic tanks and unlined landfills
Environmental Issues When water is polluted it gets into the land and into rivers. Aquatic habitats and public water sources get contaminated It can also affect ecosystems and cause animals/people to get sick
Environmental Issues Soil is important for farming and making food Fertile (good) soil comes from a thousand or more years of breaking down rocks, remains of dead organisms and bacteria
Environmental Issues Soil Erosion: destroys fertile soil that we need in order to produce food Soil is eroded by transporting materials, wind and water. When vegetation is removed (like in clear cutting) the rain washes away all the good soil!
Environmental Issues Soil Conservation: sustainable agricultural practices help conserve fertile soil. The following practices help conserve soil: Cover crops Crop rotation Contour plowing
Environmental Issues Ecosystem Disruption can result in the loss of biodiversity, food supplies, potential cures for diseases and the balance of ecosystems that supports all life on earth
Environmental Issues Over the past 50 years about half of the world’s tropical rain forest have been cut down or burned for timber, pastureland or farmland, this is called deforestation Deforestation destroys those habitats
Environmental Issues Habitat destruction causes more animal death, extinction and loss of biodiversity than any other human activity
Environmental Issues Ecosystem disruption decreases the number of Earth’s species. Biodiversity affects the stability of ecosystems and the sustainability of populations. Biodiversity is the variety of organisms in a given area. Every species plays an important role in cycling of energy and nutrients in an ecosystem. Each species depends on or is depended on by at least one other species… When a single species disappears, a strand of the food web disappears… it causes catastrophic problems!
Environmental Issues Invasive Species Humans have affected ecosystems by introducing plants or animals to an area that is not that organisms natural place to be. This causes organisms that naturally live in that area to die out or to compete for resources
Environmental Issues Extinction: the death of every member of a species There are many species on the edge of extinction… this happens because of loss of habitat, pollution, deforestation…
Environmental SOLUTIONS!! CONSERVATION: Protecting existing natural habitats RESTORATION: Cleaning up and fixing damaged habitats
Environmental SOLUTIONS!! REDUCE: cutting back an the amount of energy you use and the amount of waster that you produce Turn off water when you brush your teeth Turn off the lights when you leave Walk or bike instead of driving Cloth napkins and glass plates instead of paper
Environmental SOLUTIONS!! REUSE: reusing goods saves both money and resources. Buy a water bottle instead of throwing away plastic bottles Bring your own silverware instead of using plastic forks Use garage sale and resale shops for clothes or home goods
Environmental SOLUTIONS!! RECYCLE: the process of recovering valuable or useful materials from waste or scrap Plastic Paper Batteries Glass Styrofoam Water Metal Technology: phones, computers…
Environmental SOLUTIONS!! Research and technology can help protect our environment by providing cleaner energy sources, better ways to deal with waste and improved methods for cleaning up pollution Education makes people more aware of environmental issues. Education also shows people how they can help address each issue. Expressing support or advocating for efforts to protect the environment can help get more people involved in these efforts Careful planning for the future can help us avoid damaging the environment and can help us solve the environmental issues that we face.
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