GGRC44H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Environmental Movement, Biochar, Agenda 21

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Human Impact on the Environment
Believed that humans dominate the earths transformation; examples:
1.50%+ of fresh water for humans, leaving 50% for all other species
2. Increase in toxic gasses in earths atmosphere
From factories, cars, industries, fossil fuel generation
Cows release methane (fart, burp) that destroy the ozone
3.Species extinction
Red lists: lists created around world to indicate species that are threatened
4.Desertification: land loses ability to support life
But there are still plants in deserts (cactus, xerophytes that contain water)
5.Alien species invasion
Moving species from their natural environment to a new ecosystem where they are
not natural
Is usually viewed as negative
Might disrupt the food chain, throw off balance of predator: prey ratio; may lead
to alien species outliving native species if come in as top of food chain
Competition for survival by taking others species resources
6.Biological consequences of global warming (article)
Changes in plant physiology (the plants biological composition and how those parts
work together), productivity and growth
Changes in species distribution (e.g., migrating birds in Canada will stay and not
move to Florida if Canadian climate stays warm in winter)
Changes in life cycle timing (e.g., flowering of plants depend on temperatures, global
warming may mess up timing; will affect bees and nectar gathering)
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Transforming Earth
Notice the increase in food packaging for small items:
Started for a generation obsessed with convenience, all ends up in landfills,
water systems
Cropping and livestock farming:
Means we must clear vegetation, technology to improve productivity
Genetic modification: alteration of organisms DNA to achieve desired goals
(ultimately $) like yield, defence against weather and pests
Industrial waste
Over-exploitation of natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable
Alteration of natural phenomena/processes
E.g., man-made lakes, or diverting rivers and changing its course
E.g., use of chemicals so fruit can ripen faster
Bottom line about Human Impact
Humans are drawing down the account
Comes from idea that we constantly use money from bank, but dont put
anymore in
Relates back to our environmental account; we take more than we put back
Loss of biodiversity
Biodiversity: the diversity of plants and animal life in a particular habitat; the
variation of life forms in a given ecosystem
It was there before, now lost as a result of human interference
Relation between loss of biodiversity and extinction, but not same
Humans are not alone on earth
Anthropocentrism: view that nature has value its useful being for human
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Eco-centrism: view that nature has value whether being used for humans or
not; need to be fed, protected
Survival vs. extras (luxury etc.)
Argued that we need nature to survive, but evolved over time from basic
needs to luxury items
E.g., we can survive eating raw lettuce for months, why not grass?
We grew up with notion that grass is for walking on, not to eat... we only
want whats nice
E.g., we can drive smallest, cheapest cars but we choose to buy the most
expensive vehicles... overconsumption
Destroying the environment because of our need for these luxuries
Are we in a crisis?
Were doing what we do best, we blame each other, nobody wants to take
Debate that poverty and industrialization/advances in technology are singled out
as the main culprits
Poor seen as bad for environment because they have nothing else so rely on
environment, rich destroyed the environment by having too much
Are we doomed? Depends on who you ask
Can something be done? Many believe so, but dont agree on the strategies and
paces thereof
Tutorial dates- check course
Mid-term- Oct 20, covers up to Oct 13
Human beings as responsible for all our environmental problems
Changes to the ecosystem to meet demands for food, fresh water, fiber,
energy, shelter, entertainment etc
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