GEOG030 Chapter 1 Notes.docx

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GEOG 030
Petra Tschakert

Chapter 1: Introduction What is Human Ecology? Ecology- the science of relationships between living organisms and their environment Human ecology- about relationships between people and their environment The environment is perceived as an ecosystem. Ecosystem- everything in a specified area Ex. the air, soil, water, living organisms and physical structures, including everything built by humans Biological community- The living parts of an ecosystem Ex. microorganisms, plants and animals (including humans) Can be any size Social system- everything about people, their population and the psychology and social organization that shape their behavior can be on any scale - from a family to the entire human population of the planet Ecosystem services- include water, fuel, food, materials for clothing, construction materials and recreation; are moved to meet people’s needs People affect ecosystems when they use resources such as water, fish, timber and livestock grazing land. After using materials from ecosystems, people return the materials to ecosystems as waste. People intentionally modify or reorganize existing ecosystems, or create new ones, to better serve their needs. Fisherman net/long line example India tree branches for fuel/biogas machine example Sustainable Development • Unintended consequences: o Many human activities impact the environment in ways that are subtle and slow- changing so people do not notice what is happening until the problem is serious. o Problems may appear suddenly, and sometimes at a considerable distance from the human actions that cause them. o Ex. Minamata disease- mercury was dumped into ocean, transformed into methane mercury, and was biologically concentrated as it passed along each step of the food chain from phytoplankton (microscopic plants) to zooplankton (tiny animals), small fish and finally fish large enough for people to eat.  Took 50 years for fish in that area to be safe to eat again (after already killing hundreds) o Deforestation  agricultural failure  starvation in North Korea  Forests capture rainwater and release it to
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