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Chapter 1: An Introduction to Environmental Science
Environment: our environment consists of everything around us, including living and
nonliving things. Humans are a part of the environment and are not separate from it.
- Resources from nature are essential to human life and civilization
- Some resources are inexhaustible or perpetually renewable, others are
nonrenewable, and still others are renewable if we are careful no to exploit them at
too fast a rate
- Hardin articulated the concept of carrying capacity, the number of individuals that
can be sustained by a given area of productive land. Wackernagel and Rees
pioneered the idea of the ecological footprint, a measure of the amount of
productive land it would take to support an individual at a certain level of
The Interdisciplinary nature of environmental science:
- Environmental science used the approaches and insights of numerous disciplines
from the natural sciences and the social sciences
The Scientific Method and how it Operates:
- Science is a process of using observations to test ideas,
- The scientific method consists of a series of steps, including making observations,
formulating questions, stating a hypothesis, generating predictions, testing
predictions and analyzing the results obtained from the tests
- The scientific method has many variations, and there are many different ways to
test questions scientifically.
- Scientific research occurs within a larger process that includes peer review work,
journal publication and interaction with colleagues
Pressures of the Global Environment:
- The increasing human population and increasing per capita consumption
exacerbate human impacts on the environment
- Human activities, such as industrial agriculture and the use of fossil fuels fro energy,
are having diverse environmental impacts, including resource depletion, air an
water pollution, habitat destruction, and the diminishment of biodiversity
Articulate the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development:
- Sustainability means living within the planet’s means, such that Earth’s resources
can sustain us and other species for the foreseeable future
- Sustainable development means pursuing environmental, economic, and social
goals in a coordinated way, and it is the most important pursuit in our society today
Environmental Science: the study of how the natural world works with and how humans
and the environment interact
Environmentalism: a social movement dedicated to protecting the natural world
Ecology: The science that deals with the distribution and abundance of organisms, the
interactions among them and the interactions between organisms and their abiotic
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