Enviornmental Studies Test 1

  Major themes of environmental Science
1. Human Population2. Sustainability3. Global Perspective4. Urbanization5. People and Nature6. Science and Values
Human Population
  • Pop more than doubled in last 40 yrs
  • 6.8 bil live today
  • by 2050 = 9.

    4 bil

John Eli Miller Family
  • Example of Family pop explosion
  • Emphasizs a major factor in modern pop explosion
    •   Technology
    • Medicine
    • All Decrease the death rate and increase growth rate
Exponential Curve
Famine and Food Crisis
  • Famine occurs when human pop exceeds env. resources
  • Sahel region of Africa in 1970s
    • 1/2 mill starved
  • Emerging global food crisis
    • due to rise in gas = high food cost
  • refers to resources and their env.
  • sustainable resource harvest
    • same quantity of that resource can be harvested each yr for unlimited amount of time
  • Sustainable ecosystem
    • ecosystem that can still maintain its fuctions even when we take things from it
2 Points to sustainability
1. Sustainability means for an unspecified long period of time2.

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Sustainable growth is an oxymoron

Sustainable GLobal Economy
– humans living in harmony w/natural support systems- an energy policy that doesn’t pollute, cause climate change or risk- provides a share for furture generations- social, legal, and political system
Carrying Capacity of the Earth
– the max # of people that can be sustained; by an env.- w/out decreasing the capacity of the env. to sustain that same amount in the future
A Global Perspective
– the actions of many groups at many locations affects the eng. of the entire world-Gaia Hypothesis*James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis* Env. has changed by life over the history of life on earth which have helped our chances of cont. life* The moon doens’t look the same b/c there’s no life there
– Urban areas with atleast 10 mil
Science and Values
– we must choose what we want the env. to be- *Knowledge*
Precautionary Principle
– Taking precautionary steps to prevent potential harm;**EXAMPLE**:-1992 Rio Earth SUmmit on Sustainable Development
Placing a Value on the Env.8 Justifications
  1. ;Utilitarian
  2. Ecological
  3. Aesthetic
  4. Recreational
  5. Inspirational
  6. Creative
  7. Moral
  8. Cultural


– The env.

has value b/c it benefits individuals economically or is necessary for human survival

-ecosystem is necessary for survival of some species of interest or that the system itself provides benefit
– has to do w/ our appreciation of the beauty of nature
– viewing organisms in a natural setting
– to benefit the inner self
– the belief that various aspects of the env. have the right to exist and it is our obligation to allow them to cont.
What defines Science
– Scientific understanding of life and its env is based on scientific method- Sceince is a process-begins w/ observations- deals only w/ statements that can be disproved
Scientific Method
– a set of systematic methods y which scientists investigate natural phenomena, including gathering data, formulating and testing hypothese, and developing scientific theories and laws
– Ideas that are claimed to be scientific but are untestable, lack support, or faulty reasoning
Measurements and Uncertainty
– When we add #’s to our analysis*make predictions, analyze strength or relat. & more under.- Measurements are limited unless accompanied by estimate of its uncertainty
Accuracy and Precision
– Accuracy= what we know(how close to true value a measure is)- Precision= how well we measure
Dependent Variable
– Responding variable – Response to change – Y-axis 
Independent Variable
– Manipulated Variable – Can be Changed – X-axis
Science & Technology
Science- search for understanding Technology- application of sceintific knowledge that benefits humans
Negaitve Feedback
 an increase in output leads to a later decrease  *self-regulating or stabilizing
Positive Feedback
an increase in output leads to a further increase in the output *destabilizing **Env.

damage can be especially serious with positive

System Stability
– Has a condition that it remains in unless disturbed- condition that it returns to if disturbed from it and the cause of the disturbance stops
Exponential Growth
– Growth occurring at a constant rate  **Exponential growth is Positive feedback and is  INCOMPATIBLE with SUSTAINABILITY
Enviornmental Unity
Everything affects everything else
Average Residence Time
– Average amount of time it takes for a given part of the toal reservoir of a particular material to be cycled through the system
– All living things within a given area
– region of Earth where life exists*also includes the system that sustains life
– community of organisms and its local nonliving environment in which matter cycles and energy flows- Can be natural or artificialEx:- Puddle in forest
Three Reasons why Solving Env. Problems is Often Difficult
1. Exponential Growth2.

Lag Time3. Irreversible Consequences

Three Reasons why Solving Env. Problems is Often DifficultExponential Growth
– can lead to incredible increases of what is being evaluated or measured
Three Reasons why Solving Env.

Problems is Often DifficultLag Time

– Time between stimulus and response of a system -may lead to overshot and collapse – going beyond the carry capacity can lead to a collapse of a pop
Three Reasons why Solving Env. Problems is Often DifficultIrreversible Consequences
– may not be easity rectified on a human scale of decades or a few hundred years
– Predicted people will have misery in the end b/c of human pop growth- wrong b/c we didn’t all die-technology saved us;
Group of individuals of the same species living in the same area
all individuals that are capable of interbreeding;* a species is made up of populations
Population Dynamics
The general study of pop changes
4 General Types of Age Structure Diagrams
1. Pyramid- pop with many young and high death rate (short life)2. Inverted Pyramid- top heavy3. Column- Birth rate and death rate are low and a high % of pop is old4. Column with a buldge- event in the paast caused a high birth or death rate for some age group
History of Human Pop Growth
1. Hunter ; gathers- total pop ;a few mil2. rise of agriculture- increase in pop density and inc in human pop3.

industrial rev.- improv. in health ; food supply. inc in pop4. today- rate of growth slow in indust. nations but high in less developed nations

Demographic Transition;;Stage 1
– Non industrial country;- Birth rate and death rate high, growth rate low
Demographic Transition;Stage 2
– Period of high growth rate;-w/ industrialization death rate declines but birth rate stays high
Demographic Transition;;Stage 3
– Birth rate drops toward death rate;-growth rate decreases;-Will take place if parents come to believe that having a small family is to their benifit
Demographic Transition
-3 stage patterns in birth and death rates;- occured during the process of industrial and economic development of western nations;-leads to decline in pop growth rate
IPAT equation
;;;Impact = population x affluence x technology
Acute or epidemic disease
appears rapidly in popluation, affects a large % and then declines
Chronic disease
always present in a population, typically occuring in small %
5 Unique Properties of water
1. High capacity to absorb and store heat2.Universal solvent3.

High service tension4. Solid form is lighter than its liquid form5. Sunlight penetrates water, permitting photosynthetic organisms to live below surface

Where is water?
97.25% = Ocean;2.05% =; Ice;Also in: Groudwater, lakes, soils, atmosphere, rivers, biosphere
Ogalla Aquifer
Where is it: Great Plains;Importance: About 27 percent of the irrigated land in the United States overlies this aquifer system, which yields about 30 percent of the nation’s ground water used for irrigation. What happend: b/c of irigation the storage has been depleted
Water Pollution
– refers to degradation of water quality*look at intended use of water*how far water departs from norm*its effects on public health*its ecological impacts EX: heavy metals, sediments, heat, nitrogen, sodium, phosphorus
Biochemical Oxygen DemandBOD
– amount of oxygen required for biochemical decomposition-used in water quality management*measres the amount of oxygen consumed by microorganisms as they break down organic matter*routinely measured*dissolved oxygen content of less than 5 mg/l of water
Fecal Coliform Bacteria
– diff.

to monitor disease carring organisms so we use this as a standard measre and indicator of disease *not allowed any for drinking water and a little for swimming pools

– a proccess by which a body of water develops a high concentration of nutrients- causes large growth in aquatic plants & photo. bacterica-bacteria and algae then die-as they decompose BOD increases-Oxygen content is sufficiently lower and fish and other organisms may die
Oligotrophic Lake
– Lake w/ relatively low concentration of chemical elements required by life -clear water -low abundance of life
Eutrophic Lake
– lake w/high concentration of chemical elements – often wmats of algae and murky water – abundance of life
Cultural Eutrophication(oligiotrophication)
– human proceccess that add nutrients to water
Acid Mine Drainage
– water w/ a high concentration of sulfuric acid that drains from mines-coal mines often assoc. w/ pyrite- when it comes into contact w/oxygen & water it weathers- a product of weathering is sulfuric acid- water runs through the mine tailings
Surface water PollutionPoint & nonpoint Sources
Point- pollution comes directly from a smokestack, pipe or something that is very clear – these are often easier to identify and mitigate than saynonpoint- which are more diffuse (agricultural field runoff) and difficult to measure/enforce