Chapter 1

Essential Environment: The Science behind the Stories (3rd Edition)

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1 An Introduction to Environmental Science Chapter Objectives This chapter will help students: Define the term environment Describe natural resources and explain their importance to human life Characterize the interdisciplinary nature of environmental science Understand the scientific method and how science operates Diagnose and illustrate some of the pressures on the global environment Evaluate the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development Lecture Outline 9. Our Island, Earth 1. Our environment is the sum total of our surroundings. 1. It includes both biotic factors and abiotic factors. 2. The fundamental insight of environmental science is that we are part of the natural world and we are dependent on a healthy, functioning planet. 2. Environmental science explores interactions between humans and our environment. 1. Environmental science is the study of how the natural world works, how our environment affects us, and how we affect our environment. 3. Natural resources are vital to our survival. 1. Natural resources are the various substances and forces we need in order to survive.
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2. Renewable natural resources are virtually unlimited or can be replenished by the environment over short periods of time. 3. Nonrenewable natural resources are in limited supply and are not replenished or are formed much more slowly than we use them. 4. Some renewable resources may turn nonrenewable if we deplete them too drastically. 4. Human population growth has shaped our relationship with natural resources. 1. The agricultural revolution occurred around 10,000 years ago as humans transitioned from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to an agricultural way of life. 2. The industrial revolution began in the mid- 1700s, shifting from a rural, agricultural life to an urban society powered by fossil fuels. 3. Thomas Malthus and population growth 1. Malthus claimed that unless population growth was controlled, the number of people would outgrow the food supply. 2. He argued that a growing population would eventually be checked by famine, disease, or war. 4. Paul Ehrlich and the “population bomb” 1. Ehrlich predicted that a rapidly increasing human population would bring widespread famine and civil strife. 2. He claimed that population control was the only way to avoid starvation and war. 3. Although his predictions have not come true yet, many who support his ideas predict a global food crisis in the near future. 5.
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Chapter 1 - 1 An Introduction to Environmental Science...

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