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Environmental Science Chapters 1 & 2

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1 Environmental Science Chapters 1 & 2
1-1 Understanding Our Environment

2 1-1 Objectives Define environmental science and compare environmental science with ecology. List the five major fields of study that contribute to environmental science. Describe the major environmental affects of hunter-gatherers, the agricultural revolution, and the industrial revolution. Distinguish between renewable and nonrenewable resources. Classify environmental problems into three major categories.

3 1. What is Environmental Science?
The study of the air, water, and land surrounding an organism or a community (could be a small area to Earth’s entire biosphere). It includes the study of the impact of humans on the environment.

4 2. What is one of the major goals of environmental science?
To understand and solve environmental problems.

5 3. How can this goal (of understanding and solving environmental problems) be solved?
Two main types of interactions between humans and their environment must be studied to achieve this goal: Humans use of natural resources. How humans actions alter their environment.

6 4. What does it mean to say that environmental science is an interdisciplinary science?
It means it involves many fields of study, such as ecology, biology, earth science, physics, chemistry and social sciences. Ecology is the foundation of environmental science. Ecology – the study of interactions of living organisms with one another and with their environment.

7 5. Other fields of study impacting environmental science:

8 6. How have the following “eras” had an impact on the environment?
Hunter-Gatherers? Burned prairies to prevent the growth of trees so they had grass for bison Overhunting species to extinction (giant sloths, giant bison, mastodons, cave bears, saber-toothed cats.)

9 Agricultural Revolution?
Allowed human population to grow very fast Plants and animals became domesticated Habitats were destroyed as grasslands, forests, and wetlands were replaced by farmland (this can cause erosion and floods and lead to soil that is no longer fertile)

10 Industrial Revolution?
Increased the efficiency of agriculture, industry, and transportation Pollution from industries was introduced Fossil fuels and motorized vehicles allowed food to be transported great distances so population continued to grow Artificial substances began to be used in place of raw animal and plant products (ex: plastics, pesticides)

11 7. How can our Earth be compared to a spaceship?
Neither can dispose of its waste or take on new supplies. They are “closed systems”. The only thing that enters the Earth’s atmosphere in large amounts is the energy from the sun, and the only thing that leaves in large amounts is heat.

12 8. What is the problem with our Earth being a “closed system”?
Some resources are limited and as the population grows the resources will be used more rapidly. There is also the possibility that we will produce wastes more quickly than we can dispose of them.

13 9. What does it mean to say that environmental problems can occur on a local, regional, or global scale? A local example would be your community discussing where to build a new landfill. A regional example would be a polluted river 1000 miles away affecting the region’s water. A global example would be the depletion of the ozone layer.

14 10. What are some factors that have led to our rapid increase in population growth in the last 100 years? Industrial revolution Modern medicine Improved sanitation

15 11. How does the rapid increase in population growth affect our environment?
Leads to an increased use of resources, more habitat destruction and increased pollution.

16 12. Can we expect our population to stop growing anytime soon?
Probably not Most scientist predict the human population to double in the 21st century before it begins to stabilize.

17 13. What are our main environmental problems?
Resource Depletion Pollution Loss of Biodiversity

18 14. What is a natural resource?
Any natural material that is used by humans

19 15. What are some examples of natural resources?
Water Petroleum Minerals Forests Animals

20 16. How are natural resources classified?
Renewable – resource can be replaced relatively quickly by natural processes Nonrenewable – resource cannot be replaced quickly by natural processes

21 17. When is a resource considered depleted?
When a large portion of the resource has been used up

22 18. Can renewable resources become depleted?
Yes, if they are used up faster than they are being replaced Ex: if we cut down trees faster than we replace them

23 19. What is pollution? An undesirable change in the natural environment that is caused by the introduction of substances that are harmful to living organisms or by excessive wastes, heat, noise, or radiation.

24 20. How can pollutants be classified?
Biodegradable – can be broken down by natural processes EX: newspaper Nonbiodegradable – cannot be broken down by natural processes EX: mercury

25 21. What is biodiversity? Refers to the number and variety of organisms in a given area.

26 22. Why is the biodiversity of an area important?
It is often used to measure the health of an ecosystem. The more biodiversity present, the healthier the ecosystem.

27 23. What is causing the loss of biodiversity we are experiencing today?
Extinction, mainly due to habitat destruction Only a fraction of the species that once roamed the Earth are alive today. Extinction is occurring much faster today than ever before. Baiji River Dolphin American Passenger Pigeon Golden Toad

28 24. Why should we care about the extinction of plants and animals?
They are natural resources that fill a role within the ecosystem. We depend on many of these organisms for food, oxygen, nitrogen, etc. They may have potential economic, scientific, aesthetic, and recreational value.

29 1-2 Objectives List three differences between developed and developing countries. Explain what sustainability is and describe why it is a goal of environmental science.

30 1. What are developed countries?
Countries that have higher incomes, slower population growth, diverse industrial economies and stronger social support. EX: US, Canada, Japan, Countries of Western Europe

31 Developed and Developing Countries

32 2. What are developing countries?
Countries that have lower average incomes, simple agriculture-based communities, and rapid population growth. EX: Mexico, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and the countries of Africa and South America,

33 Developed and Developing Countries

34 3. What do developed and developing countries have to do with environmental science?
The unequal distribution of wealth and resources around the world influence the environmental problems and solutions a society can make.

35 4. What are the root causes of most environmental problems?
Population crisis – the number of people is growing too fast for the environment to support. Consumption crisis – people are using up, wasting, or polluting natural resources faster than they can be renewed, replaced, or cleaned up.

36 5. Where is the population crisis most severe?
Developing countries Food production, education, and job creation cannot keep pace with the population growth, so each person gets fewer resources as time goes by. These countries are threatened by malnutrition, starvation, and disease

37 6. Where is the consumption crisis most severe?
Developed countries To support the higher quality of life, developed countries are using much more of Earth’s resources Developed nations use up about 75% of the resources every year even though they make up only about 20% of the world’s population

38 Consumption Trends and Population Growth

39 7. What is an ecological footprint?
A calculation that shows the area of Earth needed to support one person in a particular country. Calculate YOUR ecological footprint: It estimates the land used for crops, grazing, forest products, and housing. It includes the ocean area used to harvest seafood and the forest area needed to absorb the air pollution caused by fossil fuels.

40 8. Can ecological footprints be used to compare consumption in various nations?

41 9. What is another key goal of environmental science?
To create a sustainable world

42 10. What is a sustainable world?
A world in which human needs are met in such a way that a human population can survive indefinitely.

43 11. Do we currently have a sustainable world?

44 12. How can we achieve a sustainable world?
It would require everyone’s participation including citizens, industry and the government.

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