THE PROBLEM WITH PESTICIDES
Author: No authors were given
Date: No date was given
Chapter 10: Farming Conventional and Sustainable Practices
Content of the Article: http://www.toxicsaction.org/problems-and-solutions/pesticides
The problem in the article is the toxicity of the pesticides and their use to manage pest problems because human exposure to pesticides has been linked to various health problems. The humans and the environment are the ones being affected because pesticides can cause chronic health problems on humans and pesticides can be very damaging to the environment by accumulating in water systems, harming beneficial insect species and worms, polluting the air, and weakening the roots of plant systems and their immune systems. Pesticides can also reduce the amount of vital nutrients in the soil such as nitrogen and phosphorus which greatly affects the environment and the humans in turn. Solutions to this problem are to reduce pesticide use, pass laws forbidding the pollution of water systems, and to do further research on which pesticides have the most significant impact on a person's health with the most damaging pesticides be controlled or not used in the future. I feel that this article made me realize that the things we perceive as threats are nothing compared to our solutions because our perceived threats have more healthy alternatives available and our solutions don't. This article relates to AP Environmental Science because in chapter 10, the use of pesticides and their negative effects on the environment and the humans were discussed. Both the article and chapter 10 in the AP Environmental Science book agree that pesticides have the right motive behind them but unfortunately have ''unintended consequences on non-target species (Chapter 10 AP Environmental Science book).'' I have learned that we should consider alternatives to using pesticides. Some possible alternatives could be the use of beneficial insect species in controlling the pests.
Causes of Climate Change
Author: No authors were given
Date: No date was given
Chapter 15: Air, Weather, and Climate
Content of the Article: http://www.wmo.int/pages/themes/climate/causes_of_climate_change.php
The problem in the article is anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change because we have increased the amount of greenhouse gas emissions ever since the Industrial Revolution and we have increased the amount of atmospheric aerosols and we have decreased the amount of forests in order to create farm land. All of these human activities have led to warmer climates because 1) the increased amount of gases which ''absorb heat'' has lead to more heat being captured and not released, which increases the ''global average surface temperatures,'' 2) the high amounts of atmospheric aerosol ''scatter and absorb solar and infrared radiation'' which creates global cooling, and 3) the cutting down of forests results in changes in the amount of sunlight reflected from the ground back into space and it changes the evapotranspiration. The humans and the environment are the ones being affected because the humans will suffer from extreme climate changes and the environment will become too cold or too hot and the air polluted, which in turn will sicken plants and animals. The players are the humans because we have changed the natural climate change of the Earth by using harmful gas ingredients and messing with nature (such as cutting down the forests). Solutions to this problem would be to prevent further climate change by reducing and eventually stopping the use of harmful products such as aerosol hairsprays, gas-fueled cars, and by growing forests instead of cutting them down. I feel that this article made me realize that once again, humans are the ones destroying themselves. We are our own destroyers and if we do not act immediately to prevent future damage, we might as well kiss this Earth goodbye, unfortunately. This article relates to AP Environmental Science because in chapter 15, anthropogenic climate change was discussed and the changes in temperature from earlier years to present day were presented. Chapter 15 described the greenhouse effect as being ''the fact that gases in our atmosphere prevent long-wavelength (terrestrial) energy leaving the earth's surface from escaping to space'' and chapter 15 agrees that recent climate changes which started in the Industrial Revolution are man-made. I have learned that climate change not only refers to the warming of our planet, but also to the cooling of our planet. Different human activities serve to either change climate change by making our climate warmer or by cooling our climate.
Author: Tia Ghose
Date: December 24, 2014
Chapter 14: Geology and Earth Resources
Content of the Article: http://www.livescience.com/49247-chinese-civilization-disappearance-explained.html
The problem in the article is an earthquake that happened 3,000 years ago because it caused the disappearance of one of China's ancient civilizations. The humans and the environment are the ones that were affected by the earthquake because the humans were forced to relocate to a new river flow since the earthquake caused catastrophic landslides which dammed up the Sanxingdui culture's main water source (how the environment changed). There are no solutions to this problem because the Sanxingdui civilization has been lost. However, the Sanxingdui's resolved their nature-caused problem by relocating to Jinsha where water was available. I feel that this article made me realize that even though people can come up with solutions to survive in nature, nothing is ever guaranteed because nature will always win. This article relates to AP Environmental Science because geological hazards such as earthquakes were discussed in the book (Chapter 14). The book talks about how such catastrophic events have ''shaped the world around us'' which proves that the earthquake that happened 3,000 years or so ago did in fact change the Sanxingdui civilization by making them move to a new location with a water source (Chapter 14). I have learned that there are geological and historic clues that support the theory of an earthquake devastating the Sanxingdui. Geological clues include the finding of geological sediments suggesting massive flooding in the Jinsha area and the rerouting of the river.
Author: Margaret Badore
Date: August 1, 2014
Chapter 12: Biodiversity
Content of the Article: http://www.treehugger.com/climate-change/how-protecting-forest-community-rights-fights-global-climate-change.html
The problem in the article is deforestation because it is a major contributor to climate change. The humans are the players because we clear about 13 million hectares of forest each year, which increases the emission of greenhouse gases. The planet Earth and the humans are affected because the more greenhouse gas, the more the planet's temperature will increase, making it hard for some species to survive, and the greenhouse gases have major health risks for humans such as asthma and cancer. Solutions to this problem are to reduce the amount of forests being destroyed annually and planting new forests worldwide to reduce greenhouse gases and provide good air quality for the Earth's inhabitants (the ones that need oxygen anyway). I feel that this article made me realize that forests not only provide for thousands upon thousands of species, but that they also help prevent negative climate change (global warming). This article relates to AP Environmental Science because in chapter 12, efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation were discussed. In the article, the benefits of reducing logging operations are discussed and solutions to deforestation and its consequences are introduced just like in chapter 12 when Indonesia's president, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, committed to reducing the country's CO2 emissions by 26 (highest reduction pledge made by any developing country). I have learned that legally recognizing the right of the forest communities and the indigenous people is often overlooked but it may be the number one way to help prevent climate change caused by deforestation and forest degradation because it can completely stop the deforestation of the forests in which the people live on since they are dependent on the forests.
Shooting owls to save other owls
Author: Isabelle Groc
Date: July 17 , 2014
Chapter 11: Biodiversity
Content of the Article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140717-spotted-owls-barred-shooting-logging-endangered-species-science/
The problem in the article is the declining population of Northern Spotted Owls and the increasing population of Barred Owls, which have forced the Northern Spotted Owls out of their ecological systems. Another problem is also the failed government attempts at preserving the Northern Spotted Owl species and the unethical ways of trying to preserve and help the Northern Spotted Owl species. The players are the humans because logging operations have resulted in habitat destruction and a limited space for the owls to live in, which in turn results in increased competition between the two owl species (the Northern Spotted Owl and the Barred Owl). Both owl species are the ones being affected as well as the organisms that are prey to the owls. The Northern Spotted owl is being affected because the Barred Owls are driving them out of the ecosystems in which they live, and forcing the Northern Spotted Owls to live in smaller and smaller places, which limits their food supply and their ability to reproduce at rates needed to maintain the population. The Barred Owl population is being affected because their population is increasing as they slowly take over the lands the Northern Spotted Owls once inhabited. Finally, the smaller animals that the owls prey on are being affected because the Northern Owls are no longer balancing the populations of animals such as flying squirrels and red tree voles, and the high, Barred Owl population, is killing more and more animal species such as rodents and crayfish which decreases the species' number. Some solutions to the problem are to bring down the Barred Owl population to a stable size by shooting them in large quantities where the Northern Spotted Owls are known to live in, which is what the article talks about. I feel that this article made me question whether or not humans should intervene with nature and whether or not shooting animals to preserve other animals is ethical. The article relates to AP Environmental Science because chapter 11 talks about biodiversity and how to preserve species diversity. The book also mentions the Northern Spotted Owl and the causes and effects of the declining Norther Spotted Owl population, which the article talks about in detail by stating that logging and failed government policies are the culprits to the declining popultion, and that the effects are damaging ecosystems (the Barred Owl population is at an all-time high and the prey species are decreasing in size because of it). I learned that people need to be careful when getting resources from the earth (such as timber) because it affects the population of species and results in the endangerment (and eventual extinction) of species.
Author: Scott Johnson
Date: April 20, 2014
Chapter 9: Food and Hunger
Content of the Article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/04/140420-south-sudan-famine-africa-hunger-war-world/
The problem in the article is the possibility of South Sudan, the world's youngest country, experiencing one of the worst famines in history if farmers fail to plant a significant amount of crops before the annual rains. The players are the humans (more specifically, the government and its leaders) because after suspicions of a coup plot, the leadership of South Sudan split and caused violence that disrupted the planting season and forced people to relocate. The whole country is affected because the fighting is preventing farmers to plant the necessary crops needed to sustain South Sudan's population. Some solutions to the problem are for the country of South Sudan to stop the fighting with one another so people can once again, be able to plant crops without having to worry about bloodshed. Another solution would be for Western countries, like the United States, to donate enough money to reduce and maybe even end the food security in South Sudan. I feel that this article has opened my eyes to famines and the fact that not all famines are the results of nature-they can be man-made: famines can be caused by insurgency, wars, fighting, and chaotic situations in countries. This article is related to AP Environmental Science because in chapter 9, large-scale famines were discussed as well as the desperation of people that have been uprooted from their farms and villages as seen through their killing of livestock to sustain their families, which the article explained in detail: the people of South Sudan are greatly suffering, thousands are dying with an approximate 10,000 people dead and social disruption is only increasing the casualties due to a lack of food. I have learned that if South Sudan doesn't fix its internal problems, it may experience one of the worst famines ever to occur in 30 years, with as many as 50,000 fatalities in the children of South Sudan.
Author: Dennis Dimick
Date: September 20, 2014
Chapter 7: Human Populations
Content of the Article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/09/140920-population-11billion-demographics-anthropocene/
The problem in the article is the increasing human population in relation to the Earth's carrying capacity as well as the over consumption of resources and resulting waste products. The players are the humans because in most countries, a women can choose how many children she wants to bear during her reproductive years, and the current world-wide pattern is higher than the ideal number-2.1 children per household. The humans and thousands (if not all) of species are the ones being affected because humans are over hunting animals and over grazing or over cutting plants. As the human population grows, the more resources needed to maintain the human population, which ultimately results in humans exploiting resources and damaging ecosystems as a whole. Some solutions to the problem are to increase the availability of birth control options and educate women worldwide on the reproductive system and the costs of raising a family. Programs to help break cultural beliefs (i.e. gender discrimination) as well as family planning programs are another solution that can help slow and even stop population growth because it helps families realize how many children they can support while still living a decent lifestyle. Other solutions to this problem are stricter and are often seen as a disenfranchisement of women's rights, like China's One Child Policy, where the government decides the number of children bore to women. I feel that this article has made me realize that the Earth is not something we should take for granted because it follows the laws of nature and cannot support exceedingly high population sizes. This article is related to AP Environmental Science because Thomas Malthus's theory of population growth in relation to food supply explains how the population tends to increase at an exponential, or compound, rate while food production remains stable or slowly increases. I have learned that in the year 2100, the human population can reach 9.6 and 12.3 billion according to a United Nations research study.
Author: John Mathews and Hao Tan
Chapter 1: Understanding Our Environment
Video Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXz3ZfZDKYA
Content of the Article: http://www.energypost.eu/chinas-continuing-renewable-energy-revolution-global-implications/
What Was The Article About?
China has a high production of coal and is a strong emitter of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and as the use of coal for thermal power continues to increase, blackened skies and poisoned water and air are at an all-time high in China. Industrial companies have no restrictions on the use of the environmentally unfriendly resources and the laws of limiting air pollution are not enforced by the Chinese government, which only worsens the condition of the Chinese environment. Some Chinese scientists have even compared the critical state of the country as the resemblance of a nuclear winter, or a layer of smoke and dust in the atmosphere blocking the sun's rays. The expanding reliance on fossil fuels and the over-use of non-renewable resources in industrial China, is slowing down the process of photosynthesis in plants and ‘’wreaking havoc on the country’s food supply,’’ as well as the health of the people. Although the pollution is in an advanced stage, the Chinese country is undergoing what many call an ‘’Energy Revolution’’ by taking rigorous measures to replace hazardous energy resources (carbon, coal, etc.) with alternate, eco-friendly energy-producing resources like wind, water, and solar power, to prevent further pollution.
The problem in the article is the extensive use of nonrenewable, contaminants in energy production caused by humans,the players, for human consumption (specifically in China). The environment is the one being affected as well as the humans because the atmosphere is being polluted and becoming too toxic to breathe by humans (it may cause asthma, cancer, lung disease, and a variety of other respiratory problems) due to the use of the hazardous resources such as coal and carbon. The solution to this problem is to begin using safer resources for energy production like wind power, solar power, or water power, all of which are harmless to the environment and greatly reduce the toxicity of the air we breathe. The way I feel towards the article is that humans still have hope in preventing the complete destruction of our Earth. It showed me that humans are capable of living without the hazardous materials/resources we are currently using. The article relates to AP Environmental Science because in chapter 1, the act of burning fossil fuels and other human activities was shown to release ''greenhouse gases'' that trap heat in the atmosphere and create toxic oxygen (air pollution), which relates back to the energy-producing using resources that are bad for the environment (the atmosphere, in this case). Chapter 1 also introduced efforts to introduce and use renewable energy sources in China in order to safe and maintain the small amount of safe oxygen left in the Chinese atmosphere. I learned that if we do not stop and take action today, the Earth (not just China) will become uninhabitable because the oxygen (a vital part of our survival and of life on Earth) will be useless, as it will be too toxic for us to breathe and dangerous for our health- the world will experience what China is going through.
Author: No authors were given: Made by the Rainforest Conservation Fund website
Chapter 5: Biomes
Video Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQztfNel0Ao
Content of the Article: http://www.rainforestconservation.org/rainforest-primer/rainforest-primer-table-of-contents/g-rainforest-ecology/13-rainforest-stability-and-disturbance/
What Was The Article About?
Humans have drained, filled, polluted, or otherwise degraded rain forests over the past few hundred years and the human disturbances have had long-term consequences in the (tropical and temperate) rain forests biomes. Rain forests are naturally disturbed through fire, flooding, storms winds, alterations in rainfall, and other nature-made disturbances, but are also being damaged by humans through logging and clearing forest land for agriculture. The opening of the canopy increases the probability of fires from occurring and destroys thousands of animal habitats. As a result of the deforestation of rainforests, animal populations are removed from their natural biomes and are sometimes misplaced in different biomes, disturbing populations of the native species as well as decreasing the population of the animals living in the rain forests. Humans not only directly damage rain forests but the areas adjacent to where burning is taking place to clear land for agriculture is also damaged. The repetitive burning may cause the area to be completely treeless and be irreversibly reduced to grasslands or scrubs.
The problem in the article is the disturbance of the rain forest ecosystems by deforestation caused by humans, the players, for human consumption. The environment and the animals living in the rain forests are the ones being affected in a negative way because as forests are being cut down, it is hard for organisms to inhabit the area and for the forests to regrow or maintain stability, which makes it hard for animals and plant species to survive. The solutions to this problem are to either limit deforestation (in order to allow the forests to regrow and recuperate the lost nutrients and vegetation) or to completely stop deforestation. The way I feel towards the article is that it raised awareness of the amount of deforestation taking place in the world and it made me realize that humans do not really need to cut down trees because paper (and other materials made out of trees) is not necessary for our survival. This article relates to AP Environmental Science because in chapter 5, the importance of limiting human disturbances in biomes for the survival of a variety of plants and animals were discussed, which relates back to the importance of the trees in a rain forest for species to survive (it is all a system that needs every component to work as discussed in chapter 5). Table 5.1 in chapter 5 demonstrated how temperate rain forests are being human dominated by 46.1% and tropical rain forests are being human dominated by 24.9%, which is a growing problem that is endangering the rain forest biomes all over the world (in places in which they are found, like Brazil)! I learned that deforestation devastates ecosystems and humans do not really need to be cutting down trees to survive; instead, we should leave the natural world alone (because other animals and plants DO need trees for survival) and we should only take what we need.
Authors: Claussen, M., S. Bathiany, V. Brovkin, and T. Kleinen
Chapter 2: Principles of Science and Systems
Video Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KD_bmYk45c
Content of the Article: http://www.mpimet.mpg.de/nc/en/communication/news/single-news/article/plant-diversity-may-affect-climate-vegetation-interaction.html
What Was The Article About?
The vegetation and climate of an ecosystem correlates with one another; terrestrial biosphere and climate affect each other because in the same way that plants need sunlight and rain (which they get from the atmosphere), the atmosphere needs the vegetation to change heat fluxes between the soil and atmosphere. There have been studies on the idea that plant diversity affects the ''dynamics'' of climate-vegetation interaction, concluding that plant types are sensitive to changes in precipitation and abrupt changes in vegetation may occur if only the plants are prevalent. As a result, the relationship between climate and vegetation may experience instability if for example, a more drought-resistant and resilient plant (regarding minor changes in precipitation) are the only types of plants in an ecosystem. As a result, biome types would be affected/changed i.e. the Sahara is believed to have been greener several thousand years ago and must have ‘’expanded to its present size’’ after the vegetation-climate system was disturbed. If plants were removed or introduced in a tropical area, the land would incline towards a drier climate.
The problem in the article is plant diversity in some biomes because some plants are sensitive to abrupt changes in precipitation which leads to an unstable vegetation-climate system. The player is nature itself because it controls the type of plants in a biome (and animals help spread plant diversity through their eating and digesting seeds) and can either gradually turn into a drier or wetter climate (as the years pass) or can abruptly change climate (therefore changing the types of plants). The plants and climate are affected because the climate determines which plants live in the area and vice versa (''terrestrial biosphere and climate affect each other). This can be perceived in both a negative and positive way: a negative way at first until the plants or climate gets accustomed to one another, leading to a positive effect. The solutions to this problem are nonexistent, unless the climate or vegetation in an area are being determined through human interaction (humans are cutting down vegetation or our burning of fossil fuels is affecting climate), in which the solution would be to stop interfering with nature (and for humans to try not to place a natural, common plant species from one biome into a different biome or remove any plant from its original biome). The way I feel toward the article is that of awe because it demonstrated how nature is powerful and is in control-NOT human beings. The article relates to AP Environmental Science because in chapter 2, open systems and how the inputs from their surroundings and outputs affect one another were discussed, which relates back to the climate-vegetation relationship between one another. The article helped cover the concept of an open system introduced in chapter 2 through a more specific example (read What Was The Article About?) and helped explain how forests respond to global warming as discussed in chapter 2's case study. I learned that if humans do not disturb the environment, the natural system will take care of itself and all life forms and how an open system works in the real world.