Study Guide for Unit #1
Chapters 1 – 5 & 17
1.) How old is our planet? How long have humans (homo sapiens) existed on earth?
Earth is approximately 4.55 billion years old
Homo sapiens first appeared nearly 1 billion years ago.
2.) What is the approximate size of the current human population on earth?
In 1999, it is 6 billion individuals.
3.) U.N. demographers have noted a decrease in global fertility rates. What are some limiting
factors that control the human population today? What are some of the natural limiting factors
that have historically controlled the human population?
Use of contraceptives, birth control; only three children per family (today).
Natural disaster and disease (years ago)
4.) Give some examples of countries that are experiencing zero/negative population growth and
some countries that are experiencing positive population growth.
Greenland and Russian are experiencing negative human population growth.
Mongolia, Brazil, Indonesia, and the U.S. are experiencing positive population growth.
5.) Give several examples of highly developed, moderately developed, and less developed
Highly developed countries
US, Canada, Japan
Moderately developed countries
Mexico, Turkey, S.Africa, Thailand
Less developed countries
Bangladesh, Mali, Ethiopia,Laos.
6.) What percentage of the world’s population make up the highly developed nations? What
Rich countries make up approximately 20 percent of the global human population, but consume
approximately 80percent of the world’s resources.
7.) What is meant by “ecological footprint”? What is the average amount of productive land and
water required to support a single human being living today? Explain why human consumption is
putting the planet in ecological deficit?
Ecological footprint (Mathis Wackernagel): help people visualize what they use from the
Each person has an ecological footprint, an amount of productive land, fresh
water, and ocean required on a continuous basis to supply that person food, wood, energy water,
housing, clothing, transportation, and waste disposal.
Each person can use 4.7 acres (1.9
However the average global ecological footprint of each person is about 5.7 acres (2.3
it is deficit by 1 acre for each person.
8.) Distinguish between people overpopulation and consumption overpopulation.
People overpopulation occurs when the environment is worsening because there are too many
people, even if those people consume few resources per person.
Consumption overpopulation results from the consumption-oriented lifestyles in highly
developed countries. Consumption overpopulation causes pollution and environmental
9.) Give examples of renewable resources and nonrenewable resources.