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Chapter Final

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Environmental Science
Carl Mitchell

Our environment is more than just our surroundingsEnvironment is more than water land and air it is the sum total of our surroundingsIt includes all of Earths biotic components or living things as well as the abiotic components or nonliving things with which we interact o Abiotic physical constituents the continents oceans clouds rivers and icecaps o Bioticconstituents the animals plants forests soils and people that occupy the landscapeHumans exist within the environment and are a part of the interactions that characterize it1970 created first environment legislation though people back in those days thought that it was connected to wilderness but no the term has broadened to link people in it tooMandate of Environment Canada is equally comprehensive to preserve and enhance the quality of Canadas natural environment conserve our renewable resources and protect our water resourcesAs a community we are constantly refining the knowledge of our environment airwaterland and ourinteraction to solve or unstand environmental problems Environmental science explores interactions between humans and the physical and biological worldEnvironmental scienceis the study of how the natural world works how our environment affect us and how we affect our environment Natural resources are vital to our survivalThere are limits to many of our natural resources the various substances and energy sources we need to surviveRenewability of natural resources as a continuum renewable to nonrenewable o Perpetually renewable or inexhaustible resources such as sunlight wind energy wave energy geothermal energy will always be there for us o Non renewable such as crude oil natural gas copper aluminum other metals and coal exist in limited amounts that cannot be renewed on a humanly accessible time scale and could one day be gone o Other resources such timber groundwater soils food crops renew themselves slowly and can be renewed if we are careful not to deplete them or damage themResource management is a strategic decision making and planning aimed at balancing the use of a resource with its protection and preservation o Stock is the harvestable portion of the resourceThe balance of this system is called stockandflow resourcesNonrenewable natural resources are in finite supply and are depletable because they are formed much more slowly than we use themMinerals are nonrenewable resources that are mined rather than harvested they have to be conserved by recyclereuseOther resources are truly nonrenewable and nonreplenishable once a species has become extinct it will never turn to lifeTaking a broad view can often help avoid damaging the system and can thereby help sustain the availability of the resource in the long term Human population growth has shaped our resource useFour significant periods of societal change appear triggered increase in population size associated withincreased environmental impacts1 25 million years ago during the paleolltillc or Old Stone Age period fire n stone tools 2 10 000 to 12 000 years ago known as the neolithic period Agricultural Revolution nomadic huntergatherer lifestyle to a settled agricultural life 3 Mid1700s Industrial Revolution agriculturemanufacturing to urban fossilfueled society Air quality water quality urban landscape workplace health and safety underwent a dramatic decline 4 Midst ofMedicalTechnological Revolutionmedicine communication technologies and shift to modern agricultural practicesknown as the Green Revolution have allowed more people to live longer healthier livesHowever facingenvironmental challenges ex Impacts of biotechnology on food productionon helathhunger envirinmentResource consumption exerts social and environmental impactsTotal impact I on the environment as the product of population P affluenceconsumption A and technology T IP AT Carrying capacity and the tragedy of the commonsCarrying capacity refers to the biological productivity of a system it is a measure of the ability of a system to support lifeHardins essay The Tragedy of the Commons resources that are open to unregulated exploitation inevitably become overused and as a result are damaged or depletedTragedy of the commons each individual withdraws whatever benefits are available from the common property as quickly as possible until the resource becomes overused and depletedHardins pasture exampleSome situations private ownership may be able to deal with this problemo In China private ownership have shown that landowners tend to be better environmental keepers than are shortterm tenants o People who share a common resource may voluntarily organize and cooperate in enforcing its responsible use o May require government regulation of the use of resources held in common by the public Calculating our ecological footprint 1990s WackernagelEcological footprint tool used to express the environmental impact of an individual or a population Calculated in terms of the amount of biologically productive land and water required to provide the raw materials that person or population consumes and to absorbgives the surface area used by a given person or population after all the direct and indirect impacts are totalledHumans using 39 more resources than are available on a sustainable basis from all the land Canadian ecofoot print is 76 hectres24 blocks of land if divide all land for humans each will get less then 1 block we need additional two earth to sustain whole populationFootprints vary dramatically because use of different componenets and methologies for surface area ocean vs land so there is the GFN that trying to standardized footprint worldwideEnvironmental science can help us avoid mistakes made in the pastCivilizations crumble when pressures from population and consumption overwhelm resource availability ie easter islandmiddle eastern use to be lush veggies now desertJared Diamond identified five critical factors that determine the survival of civilizations climate change hostile neighbours trade partners environmental problems and societys response to environmental problemsbenefitsdegradationThe Nature of Environmental Science Environmental science is an interdisciplinary pursuitinterdisciplinary field employs concepts and techniques from numerous disciplines and brings research results from these disciplines together into a broad synthesis People differ in their perception of environmental problems th Environmental science arose in the latter half of the 20 century o A persons age gender class race nationality employment and educational background can all affect whether heshe considers a given environmental change to be a problemEx Spraying of the pesticide DDT o People also vary in awareness of the problems Ex Women more likely to see environmental degradation Environmental science is not the same as environmentalismEnvironmentalismenvironmentalist is a social movement dedicated to protecting the natural world from undesirable changes brought about by human choices not obj The Nature of ScienceScienceis a systematic process for learning about the world and testing our understanding of itSaganthe most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technologyScience is essential if we hope to develop solutions to the problemsDemocratization of sciencemaking science accessible and understandable to as many as possible needs it to make informed decisions Scientists test ideas by critically examining evidenceScientific Method a technique for testing ideas with observations it involves several assumptions and a series of interrelated stepsScientists agree on fundamental elements of the process of scientific inquiryScientific method relies on following assumptions o Universe functions in accordance with fixed natural laws o All events arise from cause and in turn lead to other events o We can use our senses and reasoning abilities to detect and describe natural laws that underlie the causeandeffect relationships we observe in natureScientific method consists of following o Make observations o Ask questions Curiosity o Develop a hypothesis an educated guess that explains a phenomenon or answers a scientific questionNull hypothesis a statement that the scientist is expecting no relationship between variableso Make predictions uses hypothesis to generate predictionsspecific statements that can be directly and unequivocally testedNull hypothesis can also lead to prediction o Test the predictions tested by gathering evidence Strongest form of evidence comes from Experimentan activity designed to test the validity of hypothesisInvolves manipulating variables conditions that can change
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