Human Impacts on the Environment

" It's not if we are screwed, but when !!!! "

*Loss of biodiversity - Means that species are going extinct.

      Extinction rate - 50 species per day - Going into our 6th major extinction period.

      Domino effect - The loss of 1 species results in the losses of others that depend on that species.

              Habitat Loss - Humans developing native vegetation - Most native prairies are gone.

              Overexploitation - Poaching especially endangered species for horns, tusks, bones, gall bladder - Overfishing

              Introduced Species - Species that are not native to an area.

*Deforestation - where the tree cover is removed or destroyed. - 3,000 acres/hr of tropical rain forest.

          Soil erosion - Topsoil washing into streams and rivers.

*Hazardous waste disposal - We generate a lot of waste with nowhere to put it.

*Environmental Estrogens - BPA - Any chemical that breaks down into "Estrogen like" compounds.

*Water pollution - Dumping our wastes into streams and rivers.

          Biological magnification - "Fat soluble" poisons in the environment will increase in concentrations as they move up the Trophic Levels (a food web).

*Acid rain - Precipitation (rain) that contains dangerously high levels of sulfuric acid and nitric acid.

          Sulfur dioxide -> turns into Sulfuric Acid in the clouds.

          Nitric oxides -> turns into Nitric Acid in the clouds.

          Cuticle - The waxy coating on leaves. Gets dissolved.

*Climate Change - An increase in global temperatures (global warming). Decrease humidity, decrease biodiversity, increase drought, milder winters.

          Greenhouse gases - Come from burning fossil fuels, from coolants (freon gas), and from industrial by-products.

                    CO2, methane, nitrous oxides, CFC's - We release 30 billion tons of extra CO2/year into the atmosphere.

          Greenhouse effect - greenhouse gasses acts as a shield/barrier to trap excess heat in the atmosphere.

          Drought - It is a lack of rain - we are running out of drinking water and water to use in our households.

Check out an interactive deforestation map

Water use in the west


Return to Greg Sievert's GB 100 Syllabus
Last updated on 20 February 2018