Chapter 36: Environmental Concerns

Topics: Fossil fuel, Water, Renewable energy Pages: 7 (1410 words) Published: July 17, 2013

36.1 Human Use of Resources
A resource is anything from the biotic or abiotic environment that helps meet certain basic human needs. Nonrenewable resources are limited in supply. Renewable resources are not limited in supply. A side effect of resource consumption can be pollution.

Land Use Change
People need a place to live.
Beaches and Human Habitation
At least 40% of the world population lives within 100 km of a coastline.
Beach Erosion
An estimated 70% of the world’s beaches are eroding. Humans carry on activities that contribute to the rising of the seas and erosion of beaches.
Coastal Pollution
The coast is particularly subject to pollution.
Semiarid Lands and Human Habitation
Desertification is the conversion of semiarid land to desertlike conditions.
Tropical Rain Forests and Human Habitation
Deforestation, the removal of trees, has long allowed humans to live in areas where forests once covered the land. Tropical rain forests are subject to desertification because soil in the tropics is thin and nutrient-poor.

Loss of Biodiversity
Development in tropical rain forests leads to loss of biodiversity.
In some areas of the world, people do not have ready access to drinking water, and if they do, the water may be impure.
Increasing Water Supplies
Certain areas of the world do not have a renewable supply of water.
Dams catch precipitation runoff, provide water for land irrigation, and generate electricity. They are not without drawbacks, however.
To meet their freshwater needs, people are pumping vast amounts of water from underground aquifers.
Environmental Consequences
Removal of water is causing land subsidence and saltwater intrusion into the aquifers.
Conservation of Water
Reusing water and adopting conservation measures could help the world’s industries cut their water demands.
Food comes from three activities: growing crops, raising animals, and fishing. The increase in the food supply has largely been possible because of modern farming methods, which unfortunately include some harmful practices.

Soil Loss and Degradation
When topsoil is lost, farmland loses its productivity. Salinization is the accumulation of mineral salts due to evaporation of excess irrigation water.
Green Revolution
The green revolution helped the world food supply keep pace with the rapid increase in world population but most of these plants required high levels of fertilizer, water, and pesticides.
Genetic Engineering
Genetic engineering can produce transgenic plants with new and different traits. Genetically engineered crops could result in still another green revolution.
Domestic Livestock
In more-developed countries, many people tend to have more than enough protein in their diet. Raising livestock uses up an excessive amount of fossil fuel, fertilizer, water, herbicides, and pesticides.

The result of an increased number and efficiency of fishing boats was a severe reduction in fish catch. Modern fishing practices negatively impact biodiversity.
Modern society runs on various sources of energy.
Nonrenewable Sources
Most of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels and nuclear power, both nonrenewable energy sources.
Fossil Fuels and Global Climate Change
The burning of fossil fuels results in an increase in greenhouse gases and global warming.
Renewable Energy Sources
Hydroelectric plants convert the energy of falling water into electricity.
Geothermal Energy
The Earth has an internal source of heat that can be harnessed.
Wind Power
Wind power is expected to account for a significant percentage of our energy needs in the future.
Energy and the Solar-Hydrogen Revolution
We now have...
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