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Environmental Science
Jovan Stefanovic

Chapter 1 – Environment, Health, and Risk  Today’s problems are persistent and global  Global warming, pop’n growth, habitat destruction, and resource depletion together produced well known environmental crises  Problems require profound social changes instead of immediate fixes The Environmental Crises  Human beings altering basic operations of earth’s atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere  Human alteration of earth substantial and growing o Btw 1/3 and ½ of land surface transformed by human action; o CO2 conc’n in atm increased to approx. 30% since beginning of Industrial Revolution; o more N is fixed by humanity than natural terrestrial sources combined o greater than ½ of accessible fresh water put to use by humanity o ¼ of bird species on earth driven to extinction  Biologists observed declines in frog pop’ns around world including isolated envns  No single factor responsible  Health and reproductive success of amphibians damaged via: o interactions btw increase in intensity of UV light (due to thinning of ozone layer) o Traces of globally distributed toxic chemicals o Competition from introduced predator species o Infections caused by virulent fungi and bacteria  Declining health of frogs, birds + other organisms indicates environmental threat to human health  Main driving forces to environmental degradation today is pop’n growth and industrialization o Other forces include: climate change, species extinction, deforestation  Rate of industrialization far outpaced growth in pop’n; a powerful determinant of envn transformation  In past 100yrs, world’s industrial production increased 100 fold Human and Ecosystem Health  Humans are participants in complex ecosystems; their potential for health is proportional to health functions of those ecosystems  Ecosystem-health based perspective takes into account health related services natural envn provides (e.g., soil production, pollination, and water cleansing) and takes into account connection btw intact envn and human health  Earth is warming and greenhouse gases are part of the cause  Industrial carbon dioxide, which is invisible, odorless, and nontoxic, is a pollutant and waste that is released into the atmosphere Health and the Environment  Health effects of global change often indirect and difficult to access  Quality of evidence for health-related outcomes of global environmental change varies widely o Ex://prevalence of malaria increased worldwide but no clear relation to climate change established o Ex:// exposure
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