Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability
1.All life depends on energy from the sun, solar capital, and the resources and ecological services of the earth, natural capital, to survive. An environmentally sustainable society provides for the current needs of its people without undermining the ability of future generations to do the same.
2.The world’s population is growing about 1.2% per year, which adds about 77 million people per year. Economic growth increases a country’s capacity to provide goods and services to its people. Economic development uses economic growth to improve standards of living. Globalization is a process of increasingly interconnecting people through social, economic, and environmental global changes.
3.The earth’s main resources are perpetual resources like solar energy, renewable resources like forests and fresh water, and nonrenewable resources like oil and gas. The resources can be depleted or degraded by overuse, by waste, by pollution, and by man’s increasing “ecological footprint.”
4.The principle types of pollution are air, water, soil, and food pollutants. We can prevent pollution or clean up pollution. Prevention is far preferable because cleaning up pollution often causes additional pollutants in another part of the environment.
5.The basic causes of today’s environmental problems are population growth, wasteful use of resources, the tragedy of the commons, poverty, poor environment accounting, and ecological ignorance. They are interconnected because of political and economic practices that are not equitable for various populations, in resource consumption and in technological applications.
6.The world’s current course is not sustainable. Environmental sustainable development encourages environmentally beneficial forms of economic growth and discourages environmentally harmful growth.
Science, Systems, Matter, and Energy
1.Science is an attempt to discover the natural world’s order and use that in describing what is likely to happen in nature. Scientists ask a question or identify a problem to investigate. Then, they collect scientific data through observation and measurement. Experiments may be used to study specific phenomena.
2.The major components of complex systems are environmental inputs, flows within the system, and outputs to the environment.
3.The basic forms of matter are elements and compounds. Matter is useful to us as a resource because it makes up every material substance.
4.The major forms of energy are kinetic energy and potential energy. Energy is useful to us as a resource because it moves matter.
5.The Law of Conservation of Matter states that matter is neither created nor destroyed when a physical or chemical change occurs.
6.Matter can undergo three types of nuclear changes: natural radioactive decay, nuclear fission, and nuclear fusion.
7.The First Law of Thermodynamics states that in all physical and chemical changes, energy may be converted from one form to another but it is neither created nor destroyed. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that when energy is changed from one form to another, there is always less usable energy left.
8.These laws, then, show that energy goes from a more useful to a less useful form and that high-quality energy cannot be recycled. So, the quality as well as the quantity of our resources and our environment will be reduced.
Ecosystems: What Are They and How Do They Work
1.Ecology is the study of connections in nature.
2.Life on earth is sustained by the one-way flow of high-quality energy from the sun, by the cycling of matter, and by gravity.
3.Matter, energy, and life are the major components of an ecosystem.
4.Energy in an ecosystem decreases in amount to each succeeding organism in a food chair or web.
5.Soil is a complex mixture of eroded rock, mineral...