1081A: Human Connections with Geology
Geology: the science of the process related to the composition, structure and history of earth and its
life. Geology is also interdisciplinary science- chemistry, physics, biology.
Environmental Geology: a form of applied geology where geological information is used to solve land
use issues, minimize degradation, predict and possibly mitigate natural hazards, etc.
Human Impact on the Environment?
How do we asses it? It can be quite difficult.
Environmental issues may not become apparent for years.
I = P + A +T
P=Population -> the more people on earth, the more resources were using and consuming
A= Affluence (standard of living, disposable income) -> The more money we have the more stuff we can
buy, even though we might not necessarily need it
T= technology (for example how many computers or televisions in a household)
Fundamental Concepts in Resource, Environment and Sustainability
Human Population Growth
o Number one environmental problem
o Many human habits would not be harmful if there were fewer people
o Natural disasters would not be affecting as many people if our population was not as
o As population density increases, more and more people will be in harm’s way from that
standpoint of natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, flooding and volcanic
o Why are some nations growing more quickly?
o improving the quality of life while remaining within the carrying capacity of our support
o Two types of Resources
Renewable (e.g. Wood, air, water)
Non-Renewable (e.g. Fossil fuels)
o Increased population =
Increased urbanization, industrialization =
increased demand for resources
increased production of wastes
intensive agriculture; soil degradation (e.g. India)
deforestation; soil erosion, loss o2 CO sink (e.g. Brazil)
mining and the subsequent environmental damage( e.g. Sudbury)
ground and surface water loss and pollution( e.g. Walkerton, The Aral Sea)
Reduced soil quality
Loss of a carbon dioxide sink?
Systems and Change
o Open -> Matter can