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APES Chapter 1: Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and

Sustainability
While reading the chapter, complete these guided notes on the student notes side. Then, during class discussion,
add to the teacher notes side. You should write complete answers to all this information, so that you have a more
complete understanding of the topic.
Student Notes
Case Study: Living in an Exponential Age
1. What type of growth has the human population
experienced over the last 200 years? Draw a
graph showing this growth.
Exponential

2. Describe how human population growth affects


the use and availability of resources.
People consume vast amounts of food. However food
is a limited resource yet renewable resource, but raw
materials arent. Unless people die faster there may be
a time where food is difficult to come by.

3. Describe how human population growth affects


the biodiversity (variety of animal and plant
species) of ecosystems.
As we continue to grow as a species, our growth is
going to cause an irreversible loss of a third to a half of
the known species of plants and animals in the world.

Section 1-1: What is an Environmentally Sustainable Society?


1. Describe environmental science and list the
different types of fields that are involved in its
application.
How humans interact with the environment around us.
Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Humanities.

2. Compare and contrast the terms environmental


science and environmentalism.
Similarities: both deal with the environment.
Differences: ES is the study. Environmentalism is how
we protect the environment.

Teacher Notes

3. Define sustainability.
The ability of the earths various natural systems and
human cultural systems and economies to survive and
adapt to changing environmental conditions indefinitely.

4. Explain the difference between the terms


natural capital, natural resources, and natural
services.
Natural Capital is what keeps us going by supporting
our economies while natural resources are what is
essential or useful to us while natural services are thing
that are done without any doing.

5. List some examples of natural services:


Purification of the air and water and nutrient cycling.

6. Describe nutrient cycling and provide two


examples. Why is this an important natural
service?
When something dies, the organic matter its made of is
replenished back into the soil. This allows the soil to
provide nutrients to the plants which are eaten by
animals; thus, restarting the cycle.

7. Describe an environmentally sustainable


society. Is this achievable? Why or why not?
Societies that are proactive and know what it is their
use of resources is doing to the environment. They
make sure they are meeting current needs and those of
the future. In some ways, however eventually the
resource will run out.

Section 1-2: How Can Environmentally Sustainable Societies Grow Economically?


1. Define GDP and per capita GDP. How does
this measure a countrys economy?
GDP is gross domestic product. It is the amount
produced within the country each year. Per Capita GDP
is the GDP divided by the total population per at
midyear. This measurement allow us to see how were

doing as a country, because it doesnt include anything


made outside of the US.
2. Define per capita GDP PPP. Why would this
measurement be useful?
A measure of the amount of goods and services that a
countrys average citizen could buy in the United
States. This allows us to see if the average citizen has
the ability to purchase whats available.

3. Compare and contrast developed and


developing countries. How do we measure the
two? List examples of both.
Developed counties: use a lot of resources and pollute
a lot. Our death rates are low and so are our birth rates.
The life expectance is high.
Developing countries: have birth rates and medium
death rates. Therefore, their populations are higher.

4. Describe how being environmentally


sustainable can help developed countries
economically.
This will challenge people to innovate new ways of
doing things that are not harmful to the environment.

Section 1-3: How are our Ecological Footprints Affecting the Earth?
1. Define renewable resource and list some
examples. Which one is a perpetual resource?
Resources that can be replenished fairly quickly
through natural process as long as it is not used up
faster than it is renewed. Forest, grasslands, fisheries,
freshwater, fresh air, and fertile soil.

2. Explain sustainable yield. What types of


resources can be used sustainably?
How much of a renewable resource you can use at a
certain speed without wiping it out. Forest, Air, aquifer,
fisheries.

3. Describe environmental degradation. List


some examples of natural resources that have

been degraded.
When a resource has been used passed it sustainable
yield. Forest, Air, aquifer, fisheries.

4. Describe the three types of property/resource


rights.
Private Property where someone owns the land (i.e.
your home) Common Property land owned by a large
group. Finally, open access renewable resources are
owned by no one and can be used by anyone with little
or no charge. Clean air, underground water, and the
ocean and its fish.

5. Describe tragedy of the commons. What can


be done to prevent this?
It is the degradation of common property or open
access property. We could used them well below their
known sustainable yield. OR we could convert these to
privately owned areas.

6. Define nonrenewable resources and list some


examples.
Exist in a fixed quantity, or stock, in the earths crust.
Coal, oil, copper, aluminum, salt, and sand.

7. Compare and contrast the terms: reuse and


recycling.
Both terms require that the original product be reused.
Reuse mean to make no changes to the product (i.e. a
reused phone will be a phone) recycling means it will
be broken down and made into something new (i.e.
recycled paper = newspaper, binders, pencils, etc)

8. What is an ecological footprint and how is it


calculated?
It is the amount of biologically productive land and
water needed to supply the people in a particular
country or area with resources and to absorb and

recycle the wastes and pollution produced by such


resource use.

9. What countries have the largest ecological


footprint? Does this surprise you? Why or why
not?
The United States, European Union, China, India,
Japan. Yes it is surprising to me that the US is first
because China and India makeup a large percent of the
Earths population. Even though they are developing
countries, the population of them are huge.

10. List and describe the three main cultural events


in history that have caused a change in
ecological footprints. Do you think there will be
further changes? Why or why not?
Agricultural revolution: We learned how to grow and
breed animals for food.
Industrial-medical revolution: when we began large
scale production
Information-globalization revolution: when new
technologies began to be produced.
There will definitely be further changes, because as we
grow, so do our needs.

Section 1-4: What is Pollution and what can we do about it?


1. Define pollution.
Anything in the environment that is harmful to the
health, survival, or activities of human or other
organisms.

2. Compare and contrast point source and nonpoint source pollution. List examples of each.
With point source we know where its coming from.
With non-point source there could be multiple different
hearths of the pollutant making it difficult to identify.
Point source examples include smoke stake of a coalburning power or industrial plant. Non-point source
include pesticides blown from the land into the air and
runoff of fertilizers from lawns gardens and golf
courses.

3. Compare and contrast biodegradable and

nondegradable pollutants. List examples of


each.
Biodegradable pollutants will breakdown and contribute
back to the soil for the better. Nondegradable
pollutants do not offer any thing to environment and are
ultimately harmful. Biodegradable pollutants: Orange
peel, apple core, or any other organic material.

4. Compare and contrast output pollution control


and input pollution control. Which method
appears to be more effective and efficient?
Why?
Output pollution control is when you clean up pollutants
after they have been produced while input pollution
control is where they try to reduce or eliminate pollution
before something is produced. Input pollution is more
effective and efficient because its easier to figure out a
way to reduce pollution beforehand versus after hand.

Section 1-5: Why do we have environmental problems?


1. List and describe the five basic causes of
environmental problems.
Population growth, wasteful and unsustainable
resource use, poverty, failure to include the harmful
environmental cost of goods and services in their
market prices and insufficient knowledge on how nature
works.

2. What is social capital and how can it be used to


solve environmental problems?
Results of getting people with different views and
values to talk and listen to one another, find common
ground based on understanding and trust, and work
together to solve environmental and other problems.
This allows people to compromise to meet the needs of
everyone while being environmentally friendly.
Section 1-6: What are the four scientific principles of sustainability?
1. Describe reliance on solar energy and explain
how it relates to sustainability.
Solar energy is what warms the planet and support
photosynthesis. Plants use photosynthesis to create
food for themselves. Without this we wouldnt have the
sustainability to live

2. Describe biodiversity and explain how it relates


to sustainability.
Biodiversity is the astounding variety of different
organism, the genes they contain, the ecosystems in
which they exist, and the natural services they provide.
Without the wide variety of organism some species
wouldnt be controlled.

3. Explain how population growth, particularly


exponential growth, relates to sustainability.
Exponential population growth is going to be very
difficult to sustain because the resources we have on
earth are limited and cant keep up with the growth of
the population

4. Explain how nutrient cycling relates to


sustainability.
Nutrient cycling is what allows the soil to be a
renewable resource. As organism die off the organic
matter in their bodies return back to the soil.