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Environmental Studies

Lecture #1


What is the Environment? The environment is comprised of all the living and non-living external factors that affect an organism What is Environmental Science? It is the science of understanding how the world works at the level of the natural environment, i.e. how the natural environment regenerates natural resources and how this regenerative capacity is being affected by human activities. It can help us understand how the earth works, how we affect Earth’s life support systems and how we can help solve current environmental problems. Environmental scientists:  Monitor the quality of the environment;  Interpret the impacts of human activities on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems;  Develop strategies for restoring ecosystems; and  Help planners develop and construct buildings, transportation corridors and utilities Natural Capital / Natural Resources These are the goods and services provided by the Earth through natural processes. The two main types of natural resources are: Renewable – resources that can be replenished rapidly (hours to several decades) through natural processes as long as it is not used up faster than it is replaced. Examples include trees in forests, grasses in grasslands, wild animals, fresh surface water in lakes and streams, most groundwater, fresh air, and fertile soil. If such a resource is used faster than it is replenished, it can be depleted. Non-renewable resource – resources that exist in a fixed amount in the earth’s crusts and has the potential for renewal by geological, physical, and chemical processes taking place over hundreds o f millions to billions of years. Examples include copper, aluminum, coal and oil. We classify these resources as exhaustible because we are extracting and using them at a much faster rate than they are formed. Environmental Sustainability Environmental sustainability...