Environmental Science: Natural Resources sudeshrathod


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A resource is any physical or virtual entity of limited availability that needs to be consumed to obtain a benefit from it. Biological or ecological resources are required by organisms for normal maintenance, growth, and reproduction

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Environmental Science: Natural Resources sudeshrathod

  1. 1. T Y B Sc. Zoology Notes: Paper IV –Environmental Science Resource utilization and impact of technology:The natural resources are materials, which living organisms can take from nature for sustaining their lifeor any components of the natural environment that can be utilized by man to promote his welfare isconsidered to be natural resources. Ramade (1984) defined a resource as a form of energy and/or matter,which is essential for the fulfillment of physical, socio-economic and cultural needs, both at theindividual lands and that of the community level. Biological or ecological resources are required byorganisms for normal maintenance, growth, and reproduction. Whereas economic resources areobtained from the living and nonliving environment to meet human needs and wants. Computerresources such as processors and memory limit computing speed and data storage in informationmanagement systems. Commercial or even non-commercial resources which require resourcemanagement. All life as we know it, whether in plant or animal forms, can only be sustained by theconsumption of natural resources. It is not enough to think only in terms of human life since all livingthings depend on a constant supply of resources. Man can choose that what resources he can make useof and in what quantities and forms. For him what is useful or useless can change with the technology,economics and the environmental effects of getting and using resources. Something is useful as aresource only if it is made available at a reasonable cost. In some cases if the resource use is hazardousto uuman and other life forms then its use have to be stopped.Technology can solve the problem of a scarce resource by finding a suitable or replacement. Resourceuse is related A. History: 1. As years passed, technological advancement was no longer confined to the mere purpose of meeting man’s needs for food, clothing and shelter. Different forms of technological developments described the era of each civilization. It started from Stone Age and was elevated to the Bronze Age and finally reached the Iron Age, which brought technological advancements in weaponry. 2. Neighboring countries and regions came to wage war against each other and often the victor was the one with better technology as far as weapons were concerned. Even today, major countries spend billions of dollars for warfare technology to ensure that no foreign leader or ruler can invade and claim a country or territory as his own. Thus, the negative impact of technology on the environment began to surface as more of the Earth’s natural resources and ecological habitats were being depleted or disrupted. 3. Advancements in technology also brought the finer things in life, making it necessary for man to accelerate his economic growth. Natural ecosystems, while having a degree of inherent adaptability, are less able to adjust if the disturbance is large or rapid. 4. Increasing populations and associated demand for land for a variety of human activities including agriculture, human settlements, grazing and plantation forests, and for forest products (e.g., fuelwood, timber); and the use of inland and coastal waters for waste disposal haveBy Prof. S D RathodDept. of ZoologyB N Bandodkar College of Science, Thane, India
  2. 2. T Y B Sc. Zoology Notes: Paper IV –Environmental Science radically altered some natural ecosystems and made others more vulnerable in many parts of the world. 5. Technology was used to speed up production and manufacture of goods, to provide better transport and delivery as well as make the methods of communication not only faster but also, far reaching. 6. Trade and commerce flourished at faster rates due to technological advancements and brought about globalization. As trade and commerce grew, the more it heightened the impact of technology on natural environment wherein air, land and water reached certain degrees of pollution, degradation and contamination. B. Mining and its Technology 1. It is said that the end of the Bronze Age began in 1200 BC, when the use of iron or metal came into the foreground as a better material for weaponry. Since then, almost every nation found it necessary to harness their environment’s iron resources to produce weapons for their warfare technology. Hence, metals even then played an important role in order for a territory or region to survive. 2. Until mining methods were soon developed wherein mining technology had greater negative impact on the natural environment than the wood burning process that the cavemen discovered. 3. In the U.S., the mining industries brought acid mine drainage problems that led to a series of chemical reactions. It resulted into contamination of both surface and groundwater as natural sources of drinking water. The growth, development and propagation of fish and other aquatic life became disrupted. Waste water pipes, bridges and other metal structures submerged underwater resulted to corrosion and subsequently acid run-offs. C. Technology in Warfare – The Use of Chemicals and Microorganisms Continual advances in technology have caused other needs to appear I addition to the basic needs for the human survival. The development of science and technology have given rise to much more revolution in the human living style. It led to industrialization, urbanization, increase in transportation, electrification, electronification etc. the technological civilization release wastes into the environment. It has tended by the years that the wastes have accumulated in huge quantity on earth surface. Typical waste which is nonbiodegradable and toxic cause much impact on the environment, leading to biomagnifications and bio-accumulation and destroying the natural processes such as homeostasis mechanism of nature. 1. Technology that was used for warfare brought other detriments that emanated from the manufacture of chemical weapons for mass destruction. 2. Large amounts of Mercury waste material was said to have been released in the environment at the time when nuclear weapons were being manufactured. TNT or Tri-nitro-toluene is a known environmental hazard because of its ability and persistence to seep into the ground. The most frightening of all are the weapons of Biological Warfare which can be used even if there are noBy Prof. S D RathodDept. of ZoologyB N Bandodkar College of Science, Thane, India
  3. 3. T Y B Sc. Zoology Notes: Paper IV –Environmental Science wars being waged but simply to sow terror. Infectious microorganisms in some form or substance will be released to cause death by way of diseases that will affect all living things, man, animals and plants. 3. The Appalachian Coal Fields is the region where mining activities took place and where most of the mines produced different forms of metals. Some mines closed due to the advent of the Civil Wars in 1861-1865. Mines were abandoned and soon, the mine drainage problems surfaced with significant levels of toxic content. In fact, most of the mining industries in the Appalachian Coal Fields have since closed due to economic recession but not without leaving pollution problems. It is said that of all coal fields, Western Maryland has the most severe case of water pollution. The drainage run-offs carry acid, iron, aluminum, sulfur and other toxic substances into the nearby streams. 4. Inside these abandoned mines, mineral deposits became exposed to the Earth’s oxygen and resulted to chemical reactions which produced sulfide bearing mineral deposits. It later formed into a substance called pyrite (FeS2) and underwent another chemical reaction when it started to precipitate. The acid substance produced after precipitation is called "poisonous copper leachate" and it leaked into underground waterways reaching several miles and mixing with river water. 5. Based on this, the greater negative impact of technology, especially on land and water, all started when man discovered iron or metal as the best form of weaponry. The US may have eased down on metal mining but it relies on China for its supply of rare metal, since the latter country provides 97% of rare-earth metals bought in the world market. It can be surmised that the accumulation of negative technological impact can be remedied by green technological concepts and change of lifestyle. D. Industrial revolution: 1. In fact in China, wood burning is still prevalent among millions of the countrys households. The Asia Asthma Development Board ranks China as having the highest record of fatalities of its nations asthma sufferers. These accumulated impacts started as far back as 1.4 million years ago when cavemen discovered how to make fire and made use of wood as fuel. Today, as Chinas factories and communities continue to rely on coal as its main source of energy, it is expected that out of 100,000 Chinese citizens suffering from asthma, 36.7 are not expected to survive. E. Global Warming: Greenhouse gas emissions have brought us global warming, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, air pollution, ocean acidification, disrupted marine and wildlife biodiversity, groundwater contamination, soil depletion and a host of other adverse effects that stem from other technological innovations that were conceptualized without considering the consequences. All these effects are intertwined as a result of gas emissions that accumulated in the atmosphere. It eventually penetrated the ozone layer found in the Earths stratosphere. Temperature increase attributable to atmospheric composition change is expected to be larger at higher latitudes, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, there may be impacts onBy Prof. S D RathodDept. of ZoologyB N Bandodkar College of Science, Thane, India
  4. 4. T Y B Sc. Zoology Notes: Paper IV –Environmental Science agriculture in areas already suffering from environmental problems, e.g., soil degradation. For small island states, sea level rise will expose vulnerabilities. While some semiarid areas may be vulnerable, some in the north may, in fact, benefit, e.g., due to increases in agricultural productivity. F. Misuse of the resources: Many instances the resources are misused or wastefully used. It has estimated that the conventional heating method wastes about 15% percent of the fuel. 25 to 49% of the potable water is wasted in construction and other purposes like gardening, cleaning, washing, in urban system and some civil uses. With the advent of technology the resources have been used unprecedentedly through centuries. The chemicals like DDT, TNT, Hg, plastic, oil (oil-spill) etc. are the examples of excessive use. Urbanization and industrialization has gone beyond limit and have reached to uncontrolled limits. Urbanization has generated huge solid waste, domestic waste and storm waters. Industrialization has poured heavy effluents in nature polluting it by adding radioactive waste, toxins, excessive nutrients etc. Agriculture encouraged use of fertilizers, pesticides and developed land infertility, soil erosion and salinity. Civil activities like construction of dams, roads, slashing down of forests, transportation etc led to the extinction of many wild species. Many have brought to the brink of extinction and endangered status thus affecting the global biodiversity. Explosion in the human population has put a great pressure on natural resources with increase in the per capita consumption of land, water, food, space, manufactured goods etc. most of the non-renewable resources like fossil fuel and minerals are used taking no account of the real size of their availability. The space interstellar machine and satellites around the globe have led to space garbage which is difficult to get rid of. In addition lots of radiation due to ozone layer destruction, use of radioactive elements and equipment or even the mobile towers are putting adverse effect not only living organism but human also leading to ailments like anxiety, mental disorder, cancer etc. Over-consumption/excessive or unnecessary use of resources, overfishing, cascade effect Non-equitable distribution of resources Slash and burn agricultural practices, currently occurring in many developing countries Technological and industrial development Erosion, draught, deluge Irrigation, soil salinization Mining for oil and minerals Aquifier depletion, water pollution Deforestation Pollution or contamination of resources Species extinction, Loss of biodiversity, endangered species. G. Sustainable Development: 1. Thus the anthropogenic activities which have not only put lots of pressure on the ecosphere but also has challenged the survival of human beings in future. Such activities should be rectified, controlled or stopped. It is now right time for implementing a worldwide strategy for theBy Prof. S D RathodDept. of ZoologyB N Bandodkar College of Science, Thane, India
  5. 5. T Y B Sc. Zoology Notes: Paper IV –Environmental Science protection of nature so as to maintain a long-lasting and sustainable or homeostatic world in future. It is our utmost lookout for the development of rational management and conservation of resources and nature. The development of technology that enables us to use the exhaustible resources at its full efficiency without producing any toxicant or end product is needed. 2. Green Technology and the Aim to Reverse the Negative Impacts On a brighter side, new technology brought about what will be known in man’s history as the Computer Age. This era will become significant not only in greatly improving trade and commerce but also in bringing forth instruments that will lessen the accumulated negative effects of technology on the Earth’s natural resources. Green technology has come up with better solutions of generating heat and energy. The sun’s powerful UV rays are being harnessed through solar panels instead of the wood burning process. The kinetic powers of wind and water currents are being utilized to produce electricity that can lessen the demands for coal and fossil fuels. Present day Green technology is decisively geared at lessening if not reversing all the negative impacts of technology since millions of people especially children have come to develop respiratory diseases as chronic illness. Communities take extra effort to green their lifestyle and lessen the negative impacts of technology on natural environment. However, nations continue to increase the use of technology in warfare and they produce weapons that make use of metals, chemicals and microorganisms that have far greater negative effects. 3. In fact, everyone is encouraged to be patient and that the completion of environmental rehabilitation may take place not in our lifetime but of the future generations. Yet, whatever is being done to improve environmental conditions today can be easily wiped out with just one launch of warfare technology tomorrow, as man continues to engage in acts of war and terror. The more sophisticated the weapons, the more distressful the impact of technology on natural environment will take place. It can be surmised that the accumulation of negative technological impact can be remedied by green technological concepts and change of lifestyle. 4. A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) we emit individually in any one-year period. CO2 is produced from many sources and is the primary gas responsible for global warming. The carbon footprint is made up of two parts, the primary and the secondary. The primary footprint is a measure of our direct emissions of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels including domestic energy consumption and transportation. The secondary footprint is a measure of indirect CO2 emissions from the whole lifecycle of products we use.By Prof. S D RathodDept. of ZoologyB N Bandodkar College of Science, Thane, India