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Chapter 9: Earth’s Resources and Environmental Protection

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1 Chapter 9: Earth’s Resources and Environmental Protection
Introduction to Geography Chapter 9: Earth’s Resources and Environmental Protection

2 What Is a Natural Resource?
Something that is useful to people Defined by Cultural values What is used and valued by people Wood, mud or brick building Swamps become wetlands, cultural shifts Available technology Potential resources Ability to extract and use Economics Supply and demand Externalities

3 Natural Resources Substitutability Nonrenewable resources
Stabilizes prices Limits resource scarcity Nonrenewable resources Limited amounts Gas, oil, coal, metals Renewable resources Replaced continually Air, wind, water, solar Some can be depleted

4 Solid Waste Landfills Incineration Sanitary landfills Reduces volume
Receive about 55% of solid waste Reduce air & water pollution Many becoming full & closing Public objection to new landfills (“NIMBY”) Incineration Reduces volume Provides energy

5 Recycling Reduces need for landfills and incinerators
Reuses natural resources Barriers Waste separation Consumer resistance Lack of market Hidden costs Indirect losses New products & technologies Shared costs with consumers

6 Energy Resources Renewable energy
Solar energy from the sun Hydroelectric & wind power from movements of air & water Geothermal from heat within Earth Most energy from chemical energy stored in Wood Coal Oil Natural gas Alcohol Manure

7 Fossil Fuels Oil, natural gas, coal Nonrenewable
Created from plant & animal remains millions of years ago Nonrenewable Wood primary energy source until coal become dominant in 19th century Oil is most important energy resource today U.S. and Canadian industry Natural gas, oil, coal Distribution of fossil fuels Uneven Reserves

8 Renewable Energy Nuclear Fission vs. fusion Problems
Potential accidents Radioactive waste Public opposition High cost

9 Renewable Energy Biomass Hydroelectric Solar
Burning wood, plant material & animal waste Home heating & cooking in most of world Hydroelectric Flowing water ¼ of world’s electricity Opposition to dams Solar Energy from sun Thermal & photovoltaic Wind generation Transition to new energy sources

10 Air Pollution Human concentration of trace substances at greater-than-natural levels Predominately fossil fuels Acid deposition Acid rain - sulfur, nitrogen oxides Concentrated in Northeastern North America Central Europe Eastern China

11 Air Pollution Urban air pollution Components
Burning in power plants and vehicles CO2 Incomplete burning Photochemical smog Particles (dust, soot) Weather factors Wind or calm Air temperature inversions Sunlight

12 Water Pollution 400 billion gallons per day pumped in U.S.
Pollution sources Point Non–point Concentration & dilution Oxygen in water Oxygen levels indicate healthy water body Biochemical oxygen demand of decomposing waste Wastewater & disease Chemical & toxic pollutants

13 Controlling Pollution
Common strategy Removal before entering environment Sewage treatment Catalytic converters Smoke stack scrubbers

14 Preventing Pollution Paradigm shift in the 1990’s Incentives
Stop producing pollution Use of non-toxic substances Recycling potential pollutants Incentives Remaining pollution even with control measures Legal liability Cheaper Public relations value Preventing Pollution

15 Forests Cover 1/3 of Earth’s surface Uses Ecosystem
Renewable natural resource Timber, paper, wood products Recreational Ecosystem Habitat Carbon storage Biodiversity

16 End of Chapter 9

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