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ES101 Study Guide - Pie Chart, Biome, Global Hectare

Environmental Studies
Course Code
Edmund Okoree

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Lab 1
Human Environmental Interactions
Part 1
1. How do you interact with and impact (positively or negatively)
common resources (water, fish, wildlife)? How does this relate
to the concept of the tragedy of the commons?
All of my interactions affect common resources. I negatively impact
the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels when I use and
heat my car, heat and light my house and play video games. I interact
with the atmosphere when I breathe as I breathe in oxygen and
exhale carbon dioxide as a natural function of life.
I negatively impact the land by contributing to the depletion of
resources such as plants and trees when I use paper and wear
clothing. I use resources on the land for food sources and basic
materials such as graphite in my pencil. When I purchase these items
on a regular basis, I contribute to the overall depletion of these
I affect the water supply by using extra water when I clean my house
and contaminating the water when I pour the dirty water with harmful

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cleaning agents back down my drain. I also affect the water supply
when I consume food and create waste that ends up in landfills and
sometimes the surrounding environment, harming nearby animals and
I negatively affect animals such as fish and pigs by eating the meat
produced by them because this creates a demand for more meat and
thereby reduces the population of these animals. I interact with
animals when I purchase clothing, as I use the products they create
such as sheep’s wool for my benefit. I do not wear clothing made of
anything that involved harming the animals to produce, so these
interactions do not harm the animals involved.
I interact with the sun on a day to day basis for my basic functioning
of life and I use the sun for leisure when I tan in the summer. I do not
affect the sun positively or negatively, nor do I use the power of solar
energy to fuel any of my activities.
When looking at this interaction, it is obvious that I am using at least
some common resources every day of my life. The tragedy of the
commons defines the idea that each individual uses common resources
with no limit because they assume someone else will or that their

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impact will be small. This thought process is a harmful one as every
person does not limit their use of common resources and the combined
impact of everyone doing this can take a great toll on these common
resources. My map is a great example of the tragedy of the commons
as it is obvious that I live my life in a way that has a negative impact
on many common resources. I am a typical teenager at university and
if this map was duplicated to represent our population, the effect on
common resources could be tremendous. I do not practice sustainable
living and I simply consume because I do not see my impact as great
compared to large companies and businesses that harm the
environment. This is a mindset that lines up with the tragedy of the
commons, as I assume that I am not harming the environment enough
to do any lasting damage. When looking at this map it becomes
apparent that I am contributing to the overuse and damage of
common resources because not only do I increase demand for
products that harm the environment, I will also continue these impacts
every day I live, that is quite a lot of days. Overall, all of my linkages
connected to a common resource and every linkage had a negative
impact on the environment, I am a fairly typical person of my age and
if we are all consuming this way there is a much larger impact than we
think. This is the tragedy of the commons.
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