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Biology 3 project


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Biology 3 project

  1. 1. The Future of the Planet… Are We Destroying The Environment? Aliyah Raoof 09/10/13 Triple Science Biology Project Aliyah Raoof Page 1
  2. 2. Contents Introduction Page- 3 Waste from Human Activity Page- 4-6 Deforestation & the Destruction of Peat Page- 7-8 Bio fuels Page- 9-10 Food Production Page- 11 Conclusion Page- 12 Glossary Page- 13 Aliyah Raoof Page 2
  3. 3. Introduction In the following report I hope to explain in as much detail as possible the answers to the following questions: Why has human activity changed over time? What is the impact that certain human actions are having on the environment and what problems are these causing other organisms in the food chain? What will the future of the world be if these actions continue? How can technologies and peoples day to day habits change to prevent WORLDWIDE DESTRUCTION! Aliyah Raoof Page 3
  4. 4. Waste from Human Activity Most humans exploit what is around them, like their surroundings and resources. When humans first evolved there was no such thing as hygiene, medicines and people did not know about other basic needs which are taken for granted in current years. In those time peoples main priority was to find food to eat, as there was not much food available because farming and other food making ideas had not existed As time has developed people have understood and found ways to increase knowledge on healthcare/medicines and how to make different types of food with the help of factories and farmers etc. As this all developed the population accelerated because of the improvements. Currently in the world there is an overgrowing population of 7 billion people! Although it is a very happy time for humans when more humans are born, it is not a very happy time for the earth and our environment. If there are more people on earth, more land is being used and more resources are being used which is not very good. People living in the current world are used to a very high standard of living so are used to the luxuries of life. Advancements in the world mean people abuse the everyday things in life like the environment. Many of the things humans are used to are causing global warming for example: Nonrenewable energy resources (such as coal, oil and natural gas) are being used up rapidly, Raw materials are being used up, is being used for buildings, quarrying, farming and dumping waste this is reducing the amount of land available for other animals and plants, lots of waste is being produced which is causing more pollution. The three different types of waste: Water Land Air Aliyah Raoof Page 4
  5. 5. Air pollution Combustion of fossil fuels is the most common source of air pollution; there are two main sources of this, cars/vehicles and power stations. However there are other sources for atmospheric pollution as shown in the table below. Pollutant Source Effect Carbon Dioxide Combustion of hydrocarbon fuels More green house gases which increases global warming Methane Rice fields Cows Anaerobic decomposition of landfill waste Incomplete combustion of fossil fuels like coal More green house gases which increases global warming Combustion of fossil fuels with sulfur impurities like coal Acid rain(release toxic metals from soil & damage aquatic ecosystems) Smoke Sulfur Dioxide Deposits soot on buildings and trees, causing them damage. Permeates the air - which can cause breathing problems in living creatures. Water Pollution Water pollution is caused because harmful toxins and other substances are discharged into the seas, lakes and river. Due to farmers wanted their crops to be full of minerals, they spray their crops with fertilisers although this may be healthy for the crops it is not healthy for the water. This leads to a process called eutrophication. This causes algae to over grow which causes the death of invertebrates and fish. Due to this food chains within the eco-system collapse Sewages can also pollute water it contains high mineral levels and can promote the process of eutrophication, it may also contain harmful pathogens. Another way for water to become polluted is from toxic chemicals from mining and industries these chemical can gradually toxicate food chain levels. This pipe pollutes the water, this water… Land pollution … Causes this to happen to species Aliyah Raoof Page 5
  6. 6. Farmers spray their crops with chemicals to improve the yield on the land. The two chemicals include herbicides and pesticides. Herbicides kill the growth of weeds which decreases the amount of competition for things like: minerals, space and sunlight. Pesticides kill insects and plant pathogens which damage the crops. Pollute the land and can be washed in the sea, river and lakes. Although these chemicals are good for the farmer’s crops they are not very good for the environment. If they are left in the soil for too long they pollute the land, sea, lakes and rivers. This can also lead to problems in the food chain.Even everyday items used in homes that are dumped in landfill sites contain toxic chemicals which is discharged into the land Aliyah Raoof Page 6
  7. 7. Deforestation & the Destruction of Peat As the population of humans in the world has increased, the demand for important things like: food, energy sources and land has also increased. New land has been created by cutting down trees and rainforests. Although this may please human it is having a very negative impact on the environment, biodiversity and peat bogs. Deforestation Rainforests provide unique species a unique habitat. These also act as a carbon sink s o they trap away carbon in their biomass that was absorbed by photosynthesis. For many years humans have been being inconsiderate and have cut down trees for thousands of years however this act of inconsiderateness has accelerated considerably in recent decades, this is called deforestation. What is the cause for deforestation? To provide extra land for: houses because of the increase in population, fields and farm as the demand of food has increased, for bio fuel production as there is a big demand for energy, for buildings and to provide building material. What is the effect of this demand? Cattle are often reared on the land, which produces methane which adds up more to global warming then carbon dioxide. As timber is burnt it increases the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the remainder of the tree is decomposed by microorganisms which adds carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which contributes to global warming. It reduces the rate of the carbon sink in the plant by photosynthesis because there are fewer trees. Biodiversity is decreased as forest habitats are destroyed Aliyah Raoof Page 7
  8. 8. What is biodiversity? Biodiversity is the different amount of species in the world and the variation between the species, their habitats. As there is a decrease in the amount of forests this reduces the biodiversity and we risk losing unique organisms which may become useful for different things in the future. Peat Thousands of years ago moss and other plant grew. During photosynthesis these plants absorbed carbon dioxide. When the moss died the waterlogged bog provided anaerobic conditions which with the acidity of the bog prevent total decomposition of the moss. This builds up in the bogs in a partially decomposed state which forms peat. The amount of biomass means it can be burnt and dried as a fuel which makes it an important energy source. The important properties of peat when mixed in soil are: it can improve the structure of the soil, mineral and water preservation which makes it valuable in gardening and agricultural use. The use of peat restores all of the carbon that had been locked up. Also as peat is mixed with soil starts to decompose as it is exposed to anaerobic condition which causes more carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere. Therefore global warming is again contributed by peat bogs and deforestation Due to the benefits of peat bogs ever since 1950’s the best selling compost is peat based. However this has meant that there has been a rise in global warming and habitats so the government have supported composts without peat. Aliyah Raoof Page 8
  9. 9. Bio fuels The demand for energy is the same as the population in the world is rising very, very fast which means more and more fossil fuels are being burned to keep up with the demand. By burning fossil fuels the emission of carbon dioxide increases which again leads to green house gases and global warming which have very serious consequences for the world and environment. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable source of energy, as they cannot be restored so people are finding other sources like bio fuels. Global Warming Due to the presence of some greenhouse gases the atmosphere, results in the earth being warmer than it usually is and should be and as the gases trap some of the earth’s heat to prevent it escaping the atmosphere. This is what the greenhouse effect is. The earth’s temperature increases above the natural green house effect, the effect is caused by the release of greenhouse gases this is what global warming is. There are two main gases that cause greenhouse gases these are methane and carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gas levels increase because of many things like: The produce of waste from humans which produces methane Trees and forests are cut down which reduces the amount of carbon dioxide that is absorbed More cattle are being reared to supply food however during the digestion of cows lots of methane is produced Fossil fuels are burned to provide energy Peat bogs is being destroyed which releases carbon dioxide Plants rot which produce methane this is happening a lot as humans are making more fields to provide more food. The main question is what is going to happen to the earth in the next century if the increase in greenhouse gases emitted in the atmosphere does not stop. If it continues to rise many damages can be caused for example: Changes in the weather Biodiversity may decrease if habitats continue to be knocked down Birds and other animals may not be able to cope with the change in temperature and may distribute Ice caps can begin to melt which will increase sea levels which may lead to flooding Aliyah Raoof Page 9
  10. 10. Bio fuels As fossil fuels are non-renewable and are contributing to global warming an alternate to these are bio fuels. Bio fuels are produced from natural resources like plants this is why they are renewable. Some bio fuels are produced by microorganisms to anaerobically ferment carbohydrate in the plant material. Bio ethanol Petrol is often mixed with ethanol which is a type of alcohol. Ethanol can be fermented which means that it converts sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide in anaerobic conditions. In countries like Brazil sugar is taken from sugar cane which yeast can ferment into ethanol, however in other countries plants are used because they contain less starch. Bio Gas Bio gas is produced from the anaerobic fermentation of carbohydrates in waste, plant or vegetables by bacteria. Some oxygen is present during the process, as the bacteria respires it produces high proportions of Co2. They are made of simple materials in a biogas generator. Naturally biogases are produced on landfill sites as there are lots of bacteria here that can anaerobically break down the rubbish, but this means that methane will escape into the atmosphere which is increasing global warming. Although methane increases global warming it can be used as a fuel to generate electricity and heat buildings. Advantages Disadvantages Bio Ethanol Burns easier Renewable source of energy When burning doesn’t react with the sun Reduces biodiversity as land is needed to grow crops Lower energy content then petrol Fills the air with greenhouse gases Bio Gas Non-polluting Creates employment Is a renewable source Lowers the greenhouse effect Unattractive process Biogas contains impurities which are corrosive Difficult to enhance Bio Fuels Cheaper than gasoline and other fossil fuels Can be produced locally (employment) Lower carbon emission Less pollutant Lower energy output Food prices and demand may raise Food shortages Use of water Aliyah Raoof Page 10
  11. 11. Food Production Efficiency in the food Production As the population of humans increases so does the demand of food! The higher up the food chain you go the amount of biomass and energy within the chain decreases through wasting energy through movement, respiration and faeces. In food production the efficiency can always be improved, for example through reducing the number of food chains. Two ways to prevent loosing energy are: Animals don’t move around as much Keep surrounding warm to maintain their body temperature. Calculating energy efficiency Power = energy transferred / time taken Protein is one of the main foods that is in demand and this has led scientists to investigate other ways to obtain food from microorganisms. Mycoprotein is food that is high in protein which is produced by fungal biomass. These foods are high in fibre and low in fat which means it is healthy. The mycoprotein is fermented which is sterile as it is heated to 65oC to get rid of the harmful substances. Fish is in high demand as it is one of the most important part of the human diet. However more fish are being caught than can being reproduced. As more and more cod fish are being caught there are less fish in the sea to reproduce so will eventually run out. Finally the further the food has to travel in order to get to humans reach, the greater impact it has to contribute to global warming which is generated by cars emitting carbon dioxide. Aliyah Raoof Page 11
  12. 12. Conclusion Humans are causing many damages to the earth and the main reason is for energy. The most common points are global warming and greenhouse gases these seem like very minor thing but can cause either the earth as we know it to change drastically or for the earth to end! If we would like to enjoy life and its luxuries we must learn not to take advantage and cause the earth to change. Just by changes simple thing like: using the car less and not making too much rubbish and sending it to landfill sites we can produce a lot less greenhouse gases which will decrease the amount of global warming. This could help save our world! Aliyah Raoof Page 12
  13. 13. Glossary 1. Anaerobic- Relating to, involving, or requiring an absence of free oxygen. Global Warming- A gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth's atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants Herbicides- A substance that is toxic to plants and is used to destroy unwanted vegetation. Invertebrates- An animal lacking a backbone Non-Renewable- A source that cannot be replaced or renewed Pesticides- A substance used for destroying insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants or to animals. Photosynthesis- The process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. Pollution- Is the presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance or thing that has harmful or poisonous effects. Population-Is the total number of people inhabiting a country, city, or any district or area. Renewable- A source that can be replace or renewed Aliyah Raoof Page 13
  14. 14. Aliyah Raoof Triple Science Miss Hutchinson Biology 3 Aliyah Raoof Page 14