Geo final Review
Distinguish between human impact on the environment and environmental impact
Human impact on the environment is our direct influence on how the environment
changes, through population growth, resource consumption, and advances in
technology. IPAT best describes this Impact= Population x Affluence x Technology.
Environmental impact on humans is when humans are directly affect by the way the
environment has changed our lives. Humans must adapt to climate change,
environmental changes like temperature, seasons, resources development and
depletion. The major way the environment impacts humans is variation in the way the
earth moves and wobbles on its axis. Secondly change in the earths tilt. Thirdly change
in the travel path around the sun.
Explain the human-environment interaction model
Resources can have positive feedback or negative feedback on population as well as
List several ways in which humans may be able to affect the components of the
model (e.g. population, resources, environment)
Population- size, distribution, density and growth rate effect the use of resources
Resources- supply, demand and use affect the change we have the environment
Environmental impact- is either affected by abiotic components or biotic components
Understand alternate definitions of a “resource” be aware of the challenges in
defining a resource (linked to personal scientific, technological, economic,
political and emotional knowledge and experiences)
Based on culture, and political and economic is based differently. “S.T.E.P” all affects
our view of the resources.
Bio centric- ecosystems and its organism is given more value then what we obtain
from the resources
Anthropathic view is based on the value and items we obtain from the resource
Techno centric- humans can suppress all environmental problems with technology
Eco centric- humans are part of the ecosystem and must follow their laws not our own
Identify characteristics of a functional resource
1) Resources are dynamic- means that use, stock and value will change over time and
in constant turnover
2) Resources may be depleted/degraded or obsolete- we can deplete or resource or
change to a new one making the resource obsolete
1 3) The life of a resource can be extended- develop more efficient ways of resource
use can extend the life we have of them
4) Resources can be hazards
A thing or something that can be used as a function or used to create functional items,
based on needs and wants of person and people.
Distinguish between the three classes of resources (flow, stock, continuous)
Stock- is the pile of reservoir of a resource we have collected (non-renewable). Tend
to outlive human lives and take a long time to reform, some can be recycled and
reused like metals
Flow- those that can be depleted and sustained and increased based on our human use
and conservation. We must use them at a rate that they can be replenished (potentially
Continuous- resources that are likely available forever and potentially renewable.
Understand the difficulties in defining “environmental impact” (linked to personal
scientific, technological, economic, political and emotional knowledge and
Define environmental sustainability
Environmental sustainability is defined as maintaining or restoring the quantity and
quality of the biophysical resources upon which human depend
List the rules guaranteed to lead to environmental sustainability
Rule 1: associated with the movement of natural resources from the environment to us.
Renewable resources- our consumption must be equal or less then their replacement.
Nonrenewable resources- depletion of these should be equal or less the advances in
alternative innovation for new renewable resources.
Rule 2: this rule is associated with the movement of “used” natural resources from us
back into the environment
All resources- emissions or waste should be within the limit the resource system can
handle and manage itself
List the types of human activities impairing environmental sustainability
1) We have acted to change the physical structure of the biosphere-converted areas
from wetlands to dry lands, fertile to no fertile etc.
2) We have acted to change the biodiversity of the environment
we can converted complex nature to fields of corn or sow, reduced biodiversity by
monocropping and introducing non-native species which out-compete the native
3) We have acted to change the chemical composition of the biophysical environment
dumping toxins and chemicals into rivers affected the ecosystem
2 4) We have acted to change the supply or storage of natural resources
overfishing, logging all of which effect the supply or stock we have of abundant
Recognize the decreasing link over time between humans and their ecological
Humans when we were hunter gathers depended on the environment for our needs,
preserved the ecosystem in order to survive, and followed migration of animals to there
new habitat. Our impact locally was little because we moved with our needs. As
agriculture grew and the industrial age came we development less need for ecosystems
and preserved less because we need more and more. Decreasing the link with them,
causing a separation between us and the animals resources we depend on.
Present a brief history of early hunter-gatherers; movement, tools and
99% of our human life was spent as hunter gathers; we lived life as an ecosystem with
animals and plants to survive. We created tools and had a much more larger brain to
develop better tools and ways to gather what we need to survive making us the
We developed tools to allow the harvest of resources must easy like hoe‟s and spears.
We advanced in our capability to hunt and gather to increase survival and once again
become the dominant species.
Knowledge is based on how we understood our prey and land. We determined was was
good and bad and development ecological knowledge to adapt to environment and be
Describe the history of human impact based on our knowledge of lower
Paleolithic, upper Paleolithic and Neolithic ancestors and bronze age societies
List specific human impacts associated with fire, hunting and gathering of early
Fire- used to clear land, and drive animals need to survive into ambush. Land clearing
was done to produce much easy land to hunt and allow lower vegetation to grow and
attract much easy animals as prey.
Hunting- 200 genera became extinct we hunted large easy prey which in turn declined
threw natural predators in further. Our impact affected the natural balance of
ecosystem by removing a lower level species effect the higher species as well.
Gathering- produced a much smaller impact because it was localized and not at an
impact as now with agriculture. We did however over harvest was we needed most and
declined the species that way. But impact was local.
3 Describe the origins of the agricultural revolution and the domestication of
plants and animals
The origin is believed to be in the Middle East in the once great land called the Fertile
Crescent, which spread through Europe and settlers made it to North and South
America and brought with them great tools and innovative ways to produce what was
Plants- found space and ability to grow funea and furnea (corn and wheat) and found it
to be easy and productive
Animals- Wolf and dog were first then sheep and goat, found it proactive and easy to
grow small herds on small space. Mostly open pasture and grazing
Distinguish between pastoral nomadism and shifting cultivation (swidden
agriculture) and list reasons why they are often no longer sustainable
Pastoral nomadism- rotational grazing of domesticated herbivores
Shifting cultivation- is where we clear land plot and use for few years and leave to
allow fallowing to replish soil nutrients
Pastoral nomadism impact was due to cultural impact, resource avaiblivilty and
population. All of these made it unsustainable
Shifting was bad due to soil erosion, burning and clearing all left the land dead and
sometimes regeneration would work leaving it gone forever or degraded to severe
Identify links between the industrial revolution and changes in agriculture
As population grew the demand did as well and agriculture could not keep up,
therefore the introduction of industrial agriculture lead to increase in production and
feeding capacity but also decrease in water, soil, and erosion build up
Present a brief history of the industrial revolution linked to increasing human
impact on the environment
1. There was a considerable migration of people from the countryside to towns and
cities. "Modern" tools/equipment and artificial fertilizer reduced the demand for
labor while considerably increasing agricultural output.
2. The development of larger towns and cities introduced the problems associated
with urban-industrial waste, sewage and domestic garbage. Rivers provided a
3. The "coal landscape" evolved: mining facilities, coal heaps, tramcars, coal dust... It
is estimated that over 60,000 ha of agricultural land was lost due to coal extraction
a. For a clear description of the impacts listed in 2) and 3) above, read any classic
1800s novel by Charles Dickens.
4. Industry as a health hazard became an issue. Air and water quality in cities were
degraded because of industry and the associated "unplanned" residential districts.
4 List the characteristics of an industrial society
1. A constantly increasing production and consumption of goods often stimulated by
mass advertising which may act to create artificial needs/wants.
2. An increasing dependence on non-renewable resources (oil, gas, metals)
3. A shift from use of natural materials/processes to synthetic materials/technological
processes. We create chairs out of plastic rather than wood. We use synthetic fibers
rather than cotton and wool. If we require more fresh water than nature can deliver,
we "create" fresh water. The technological "creation" of fresh water comes from
our ability to build dams and diversion channels or to build desalinization plants.
4. An increase in the amount of energy used per unit output for transportation,
manufacturing, agriculture and heating. You might argue that vehicles are
becoming more fuel-efficient as time passes, and this is generally true. But fewer
and fewer people (human labor) are involved in building those cars. The human
labor is replaced by machines and computers.
5. An interdependence of national economies and global production systems.
Link the transitions described in this unit to the human-environment interaction
model presented in Unit 1
Review the online section in unit 2
Recognize the interconnectivity of the Earth‟s systems
Every system in the world functions together in one way or another, therefore
impacting the hydrosphere can result in issues with the lithosphere and contribute to
Identify the types of energy playing a role at the earth‟s surface
Solar energy is the biggest contributor and a small portion of energy comes from
within the earth in the form of geothermal energy. Solar energy drive photosynthesis,
used to convert into heat and heat the planet, provide ways of evaporation of water on
Explain the basic processes responsible for the circulation of the atmosphere
Atmosphere controls how much solar energy rays enter our world; it also regulates
temperature by keeping the heat within our planet and not allowing it all to escape. It
also filters the sunrays and allows the penetration of only ¾ of it in. Atmosphere also
controls wind movement and heat movement. North winds and south winds as well as
costal all contribute to climate and temperature of locations and effect the distribution
of heat, cool, and precipitation.
5 Identify the basic relationships between the atmosphere and radiant energy
The atmosphere is what allows a certain amount of radiant energy into the world, and
filters out most harmful rays (UV). It keeps the planet at a temperature because it holds
the sun radiant energy within it and allows for it to maintain for our use and plants use.
Explain the formation of global and local scale pressure systems
Created by cells like Ferrel cells and Polar cells which control how the circulation of
wind and heat move on the equator and as well as the way warm air is rising and cool
Describe how humans have affected the chemical make-up of the atmosphere
Our day to day lives have increases the pollutants in the air greatly. Motorized vehicles
increase CO2 emission, agriculture increases the anomia, and methane gas, and we
have introduced to many pollutants into the air and haven‟t reduced or solved this
Describe how humans have affected the circulation of the atmosphere
In cities the vegetation is little and incoming radiant energy is converted almost to heat
which is trapped inn clouds and smog from cars and homes, the city temperature is
higher then the countryside
Explain the basic processes responsible for the circulation of the hydrosphere
The hydrological cycle is driven by circulation of the atmosphere. There are six key
processes responsible for the cycle. They include four drivers: 1) convection, 2)
advection, 3) precipitation, 4) runoff, and two converters: 1) evaporation and 2)
condensation. Convection generally reflects the movement aloft of moisture in ways
similar to that of water boiling in a pot and so may account for much of the movement of
water and water vapor aloft. Advection is the transfer of moisture within air or water
currents and thus may account for the movement of water or water vapor as seen, for
example in the movement of clouds (note that this important process is not included in
the diagram above). Precipitation is the transfer of water from the atmosphere to the earth
and runoff reflects the transfer of water from the land to sea (if it occurs below the
surface, it is considered groundwater flow). Evaporation is generally a necessary
precursor for the movement of moisture aloft by convection. Condensation is a necessary
precursor for precipitation as this process converts water vapor to liquid water.
List processes affecting circulation of the hydrosphere at local and global scales
Human movement to build arid and semi arid areas all result in the increase of
evaporation, our dams which hold water still effect the movement of nutrients etc.
through the hydrosphere resistricing what is circulated.
Describe how humans have affected the circulation of the hydrosphere
Humans can increase or decrease the affect of the hydrosphere by building dams ad
reservoirs of water, increases or decrease runoff and increase salt composition on
coasts. Acid builds up in water that evaporates and rains in a new location. Humans
affect all 6 processes. Arid and semi arid areas increase evaporation
6 Identify and explain the basic processes responsible for the circulation of the
The “circulation” of the lithosphere results in both constructive processes (i.e. those
which build up the landscape such as volcanic activity, folding and faulting, deposition)
and destructive processes (i.e. those which break down the landscape such as weathering
Identify ways in which humans have affected the circulation of the lithosphere
We have increased erosion, weathering, and also deposition, by agricultural process
and industrial process. The mining industry is a huger contributor to the increase of
lithosphere processes and this effect the other systems as well
List the sources and classes of contaminants measured in the Arctic
Persistent organic pollutants (industrial by products from DDT and chemicals), heavy
metals (power generations, smelting, burning of waste and internal