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Science and the Environment


Science and the Environment Chapter 1 Understanding the Environment The environment is everything around us. Nature Man made things Complex relationships that connect ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Science and the Environment

Science and the Environment
  • Chapter 1

Understanding the Environment
  • The environment is everything around us.
  • Nature
  • Man made things
  • Complex relationships that connect the world and
  • Environmental Science is multidisciplinary.
  • Involves many fields of study.
  • Ecology
  • Chemistry
  • Geology
  • Zoology/botany
  • Paleontology
  • Social sciences (economics, law, politics, etc).

Scientists and Citizens
  • Many times, the science studied by professionals
    are the findings of everyday citizens.
  • Three legged frogs of lakes in Minnesota were
    first discovered by middle school students.

Our Environment through time
  • Environmental change is not a modern concept.
  • Wherever humans hunt, grow food, settle,
    environmental change occurs.
  • For most of human history, people were
  • Small groups, migrated. Even today, they still
    exist in remote parts of the world.
  • What are some ways that hunter-gatherers have
    impacted their environment?

  • Hunting bison and other grazers
  • May have lead to the disappearance of larger
  • Set fires to prevent tree growth
  • Helped to spread plants to areas where the plants
    didnt exist.

Agricultural Revolution
  • Following the hunter-gatherer period.
  • Collected seeds, domesticated animals.
  • People stopped migrating and built farms.
  • Population started to grow at an unprecedented
  • Grasslands, forests, and wetlands were replaced
    with farmland.
  • Destroyed natural habitats.

Industrial Revolution
  • Mid 1700s the use of human and animal muscle and
    water power changed over to use of fossil fuels
    (coal, oil and natural gas).
  • Greatly increased the efficiency of agriculture,
    industry, and transportation.
  • Increased sanitation, nutrition and medical
  • Populations grew
  • Pollution increased
  • Habitat loss increased
  • In the 1900s modern societies increased their
    use of artificial substances (plastics,
    fertilizers, pesticides)

The Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions
  • Both allowed the human population to grow at a
    much faster rate then ever before.
  • Development of modern medicine and sanitation
    systems perpetuated the problem of population
  • Before 1700 population stayed relatively
    constant. After 1700 human population grew at an
    exponential rate.

Human Population Growth
What are our main Environmental Problems?
  • Resource depletion
  • Renewable vs. nonrenewable resources.
  • When does a resource switch from being renewable
    to non?
  • Pollution
  • What types are there? Can everyday trash be
    considered pollution?
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Number and variety of species.
  • Where is the most/least biodiversity found on

The Environment and Society
  • Section two

Tragedy of the Commons
  • Discovered by Hardin
  • He found that when animals were left to graze on
    common land, people tended to graze as many as
    possible which degraded land.
  • He also found the opposite to be true When
    common land was fenced off to individual owners,
    they only grazed as many animals as the land
    could support.

How do we share common goods?
  • Hardin did not consider the point that humans are
    social beings.
  • Together, we can plan, organize, consider
    scientific evidence, and propose solutions.
  • What ever the solution, may override the needs of
    the individual, but will improve the environment
    for everyone in the long term.

  • Supply and demand
  • The greater the demand for a limited supply of
    something the more that something is worth.
  • What are some examples of supply and demand in
    todays society?
  • Cost-benefits analysis
  • Balances the cost of an action against the
    benefits one expects from it.
  • Risk assessment
  • Depending upon who is evaluating the risk, the
    results may be different.
  • Public views risk of nuclear power differently
    than the scientific communiy.

Developed vs. Developing
  • Higher average incomes
  • Slower population growth
  • Diverse industrial economies
  • Stronger social support systems
  • US, Japan, countries of Western Europe
  • Lower average incomes
  • Simple and agriculturally based incomes
  • Rapid population growth
  • Parts of Africa, India, middle East

Population and Consumption
  • Two root problems
  • Human population in some areas is growing too
    quickly for the local environment to support it.
  • People are using up, wasting, or polluting many
    natural resources faster than they can be
  • One way to express the differences in consumption
    between nations is an Ecological Footprint.

Sustainability and Stewardship
  • Sustainability human needs are met in such a way
    that a human population can survive indefinitely.
  • Stewardship The careful and responsible
    management of something entrusted to ones care
    (usually not at their own benefit).

Tools of Environmental Science
  • Chapter 2

The Scientific method
  • Observation
  • Hypothesis
  • Prediction (logical statement about
  • what will happen if the hypothesis
  • is correct)
  • Experiment
  • Organize and Analyze
  • Conclude
  • Repeat experiment
  • Communicate results

  • Independent this is the variable adjusted by
    the experimenter.
  • Dependent this is the variable that adjusts in
    response to the independent variable.
  • Example if we were to test miracle grow on plants
    we (the experimenter) would adjust the amount of
    miracle grow. In response to that, the plant
    would grow.
  • Amount of miracle growindependent variable
  • Amount of growth dependent variable (y-axis)

Dependent variable
Independent variable
  • Collection and classification of data that are in
    the form of numbers.
  • How do scientists use statistics?
  • Summarize
  • Characterize
  • Analyze
  • Compare data
  • In statistical terms an average is called a mean
  • Distribution is the total range of numbers (ie
    from 60-85 inches) .
  • A bell shaped curve represents a normal
  • Probability is the likelihood that an event will

Sample size
  • In statistics a sample is a group of individuals
    or events selected to represent the population.
  • Sample size is very important for accuracy of
    results, reliability and validity.

  • Representations of objects and systems.
  • Several types
  • Physical
  • Graphical
  • Conceptual
  • Mathematical

Physical Models
  • Three dimensional models you can touch.
  • Closely resemble the object or system they
    represent although they may be bigger or smaller.

Physical model of a sonogram/fetus
Graphical Model
  • Graphs and charts.

Star charts, maps of forest coverage, depth of
water, etc.
Conceptual models
  • A verbal or graphical explanation for how a
    system works or is organized.

Flow charts, verbal descriptions, drawings of how
something works or is put together.
Mathematical model
  • One or more equations that represent the way a
    system or process works.

Making informed decisions
  • Lesson 2.3

Decision making model
  • A systematic process for making a decision.