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Chapter 1

textbook reading chapter 1

Environmental Science
Course Code
Jovan Stefanovic

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Human Health and Environment Lecture 1 (Textbook reading):
The Environmental Crisis
humans are altering the Earths atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere
to around ½ of the lands surface is affected by humans, carbon dioxide
concentration in the atmosphere has increased by 30% since the Industrial
Revolution, more atmospheric nitrogen is fixed by humanity compared to all
natural terrestrial sources combined , more than ½ of all accessible surface fresh
water is used by humans and approx ¼ of birds are extinct
Decline of animals is the biggest indicator of environmental threats on
human health
Decline of frogs around the world (even in isolated, pristine environments)
caused by:
a.increase in intensity of ultraviolet (UV) light (b/c of thinning of
stratospheric ozone)
b. traces of globally distributed toxic chemicals
c.competition from introduced predator species
d. infections caused by virulent fungi and bacteria
The driving forces of the increasing environmental degradation/
transformation are: population growth & industrialization
rate of industrialization has far outpaced the growth in population
a.e.g. from 1950-1999, manufacturing increased 7 times and fossil
fuels increased 4 times. Result on environment carbon dioxide
increased by 30% over the last 150 yrs, doubled the concentration of
methane (both potent greenhouse gases)
b. human made emissions of sulfur & nitrogen which create acid rain
now equal or exceed the natural flux of these elements
Human and Ecosystem Health
under a medical p.o.v., health is an attribute of an individual
concept of ecosystem health humans are participants in complex
ecosystems and that their potential for health is proportional to the health function
of those ecosystems
an ecosystem-based health perspective takes into account the health
related services that the natural environment provides (soil production, pollination
and water cleansing) and acknowledges the fundamental connection b/w an
intact environment and human health
economic health stance: nonanthropocentric, holistic worldview shared by
biological scientists
ANTHROPOCENTRIC VIEW: humans are the most important species
and should have dominion over nature. Many believe that human impact will have
subtle changes on the environment
earth is warming (global warming) and greenhouse gases are part of the
industrial carbon dioxide is an invisible, odourless, nontoxic pollutant and
a waste we release into the atmosphere
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