AP Environmental Science Vocabulary

A list of important vocabulary presented in AP Environmental Science. Based on the course offered by FLVS.

Terms in this set (...)

air pollution
presence of unwanted substances in air
noise pollution
presence of unwanted noise
Water pollution
presence of unwanted substance in water
Point Source
pollution that can be traced to specific source
Non-point Source
source of pollution is many or specific, but can't be traced
Sustainable Yield
amount of resources that can be removed/harvested w/o compromising ecosystem/initial natural capital
sustainable society
society whose processes/function can continue forever
ability to maintain function, state of being, processes
marketing term for practices that suggest sustainability when its not
small, mobile bands of humans that survive on whatever resources they have in territory
herding of animals that have been domesticated/partly domesticated
process of raising crops & livestock in single, sml area
Resources that can be replenished at rate =/> rate at which used
Resources that cannot be replenished at rate they are used
Potentially Renewable
Resources that are generally renewable, but can become nonrenewable if not used wisely
Limiting the consumption of products, decreases amount of trash & resources needed overall
Includes producing and buying fewer goods and services, buying long-lasting products that do not need to be replaced frequently, and buying smaller sizes of items
Taking old products and using them again, keep waste out of landfills
•Reusing goods in the way they were intended to be used and repurposing them
processing used materials into new materials
Breaking down the original product by some physical or chemical means, retrieving the materials, and using them as raw materials to make new products
Resources that break down over shorter amts of time & include biodegradable waste that originates from plants/animals
Slowly Degradable
Resources that break down over long periods of time
Resources that virtually never break down & have indefinite life spans
# & variety of species living in area
Public Land
any areas controlled by gov (in city, county, state, federal), funded by taxpayers
lobby to preserve/maintain land & natural resources so that they may be cont to be used by humans
lobby to preserve lands & resources so they can't be used by humans
explanation that has been tested & supported by wide variety of observations & that new info in unlikely to discredit
points that are measurable = quantitative or observations w/o numbers = qualitative
organic way of testing hypotheses
Environmental Science
interdisciplinary field of study of interactions in the environment
Peer Review
scientific research is evaluated by experts in same field
application of science to human problems/needs
Representation of process or object
Scientific Law
statement/math relationship that describes single concept & is widely accepted by science community, but is not modified over time
First Law of Thermodynamics
In physical & chemical changes, energy cannot be created/destroyed, only transformed
Boyle's Law
PV = k where P = pressure, V = volume, K = constant
process in which countries all over world are related in terms of global market in goods
Natural Resources
resources existing in nature
Manufactured Capital
resources such as tools/factories
Human Capital
human beings w/ skills, talents, abilities
Marginal Cost
Cost of producing 1 additional unit of product
External costs / externalities
Costs that are incurred in the process but not reflected in cost of product
External benefits
benefits that are received by those not immediately involved in economic transaction
Cost-benefit analysis
analysis compares potential cost/benefits of product or process
Full-cost pricing
products that include external costs, especially negative externalities
system that produces, distributes, & consumes goods/services
Centrally Planned
Economy that relies on gov/another central authority to determine allocation of goods & services & to set prices
Economy that relies on marketplace where buyers & sellers interact to determine allocation of goods/services & to set prices
Economy that relies on blend of gov & markets to determine allocation of goods/services & to set prices
Able to be used for agriculture
Gross Domestic Product
Value of final goods/services produced over time period in county
Gross National Product
value of everything produced by nation's residents, no matter where they live
Sustainable Development
concept that sustainable methods for meeting humans needs & wants are possible
organism at risk for extinction in signif # of habitats
organism at risk of being endangered in future
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
Required by NEPA (National Environment Policy Act)
Is complex prediction of environmental changes filed for proposed federal action
Second Law of Thermodynamics
when energy is transformed, some useful energy is degraded into a less useful form, like heat
Converting the energy in sunlight into food;
Producers take in carbon dioxide, water and light energy to yield glucose and oxygen
Cellular Respiration
process in which cells release energy stored in food
Done by ALL organisms
6CO2 + 6H20 + light energy -> C6H12O6 + 6O2
Chemical Equation for Photosynthesis
C6H12O6 + 6O2 -> 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy
Chemical Equation for Cellular Respiration
Gross Primary Productivity (GPP)
All energy absorbed by Producers
Net Primary Productivity (NPP)
Energy available to the next trophic level
Is difference b/t gross primary productivity & cellular respiration
Producer / Autotroph
Organisms that preform photosynthesis
First level of food chain / web
Heterotroph / Consumer
Organisms that must eat other organisms for energy
Primary Consumer
Eats producers
Secondary Consumer
Eats Primary consumers
Tertiary Consumer
Eats Secondary consumers
Eats both plants and animals
Ten Percent Rule
relates to energy flow in food webs and food chains
only about 10% of useful energy is transferred from one trophic level to the next
Primary Succession
development of communities in a previously lifeless area without soil
Smallest level of organization of living things;
A single organism
Collection of individuals of same species
Group of populations
Organization of living things that consists of all living and nonliving things in the area as well as interactions b/t them
Combination of all biomes, highest level of organization of living things
Organisms that eat other organisms
Producers that convert sunlight into own food
Bacteria that have developed the ability to make their own food at deep ocean vents by turning carbon into organic matter using energy from inorganic compounds
CO2 + O2 + 4H2S → CH2O + 4S + 3H2O
Organism that eat dead matter
Organism that breaks down remains of organisms into simpler, inorganic substances
Aerobic Respiration
cellular respiration that uses oxygen to release energy
C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O
Anaerobic Respiration
process where kinds of organisms that can break down dead matter w/o oxygen
C6H12O6 + 3NO3 + 3H2O -> 6HCO3 + 3NH4
Drainage basin for water
Ecosystem Services
services we get from functioning ecosystems like clean water, soil, air, habitat, timber
buildup of chemical within bodies of organisms
occurs when toxic substances that are present in small amounts in organisms low in food chain are concentrated in larger amounts in organisms high in the chain
Algal Bloom
growing mass of algae within an aquatic ecosystem; sign of pollution in water; will cont to grow until it covers the stream
Zone that includes all waters on Earth (including oceans, lakes, rivers, stream, water vapor)
zone includes all gases (mostly nitrogen & oxygen) that exists above Earth's surface
zone includes Earth's crust & upper mantle
Trophic Level
Feeding position in food chain
Dry weight of all living things on earth
Uncertainty or randomness
Hydrologic Cycle
cont cycle that moves water through atmosphere, on surface of earth, below surface
Evaporation & transpiration (evotranspiration) & sublimation -> Condensation -> Precipitation -> Runoff & infiltration
Closed system
system that cannot exchange matter w/ environment
Open System
system that can exchange matter w/ environment
liquid changes to gas at temp below boiling
process through which plants give off water through leaves
combo of transpiration & evaporation
solid changes directly to gas; water moves from solid form (ice) on surface to gaseous form in atmosphere
process where gas changes to liquid
water that falls from clouds in form of rain, snow, sleet, hail
water that falls as precipitation on surface & flows over surface to water bodies; surface movement of water
movement of water through soil
Law of Conservation of Matter
matter cannot be created or destroyed during chemical/physical processes
Carbon Cycle
pathway through which carbon travels b/t living things & nonliving environment
Environmental Phase
parts of nutrient cycle in which nutrients exist in soil, water, air
Organismic Phase
parts of nutrient cycle in which nutrients are found in organisms
physical, chemical, biological processes through which Earth materials are exposed to atmosphere & change in color, texture, composition, form
physical movement of materials that are weathered
process & location that acts to remove/absorb substance in system
process in which organic substance (fuels) combines with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water
Deoxyribonucleic acid; found in nucleus of cell, and essential for transmission of genetic info
Ribonucleic acid; found mostly in cytoplasm of cell & responsible for transmitting generic information w/ DNA to cytoplasm
Amino Acids
essential component of proteins
Nitrogen Cycle
Cycling of nitrogen through the biosphere
Nitrogen fixation -> nitrificaiton -> assimilation -> ammonification or denitrification
Nitrogen Fixation
process that converts nitrogen gas to usable form through lightning fixation or biological fixation;
Most converts N2 to ammonia (NH3) at plant nodules of legumes
2N2 + 6H2O → 4NH3 + 3O2
Plants with seed pods
process of which bacteria convert ammonia to nitrites & nitrates
o 2NH3 + 3O2 → 2NO2- + 2H+ + 2 H2O
o 2NO2- + O2 → 2NO3-
process through which plants absorb nitrate/ammonium ions from soil
process through which bacteria/fungi convert nitrogen within dead organisms into ammonium (NH4)
process by which anaerobic bacteria turn nitrate ions into nitrogen gas
4NO3 + 2H20 -> 2N2 + 5O2 + 4OH
Rapid algal growth (algal bloom) caused by an excess of nitrogen & phosphorus, blocks sunlight, causing the death/decomposition of aquatic plants, decreasing dissolved oxygen (DO), suffocating fish
Condition in which bodies of water contain excess nutrients, usually as result of sewage/fertilizers
Primary source of energy in cellular reactions
Acid Precipitation
rain, snow, fog that has low pH (acidic) due to presence of transformed sulfur & nitrogen compounds
Amount of Water vapor in air
Biological Community
group of populations living in certain area, which consists of plants, animals, fungi, microorganisms, other living things
areas that are completely saturated w/ water during at least part of the year; may have standing water or saturated soil
Includes: marshes, swamps, bogs, fens
Ecosystem Services: Habitat, Filters water, recharge aquifers, provide flood & erosion control
roll organism play in environment
Fundamental Niche
Theoretical role that organism can occupy w/o limiting factors
Realized Niche
actual niche that organism occupies
Competitive Exclusion Principle
biological principle that states that specific niche in environment can be occupied by only 1 species at time
Trophic Cascade
relationship b/t populations of predators & resources consumed by predators' prey
relationship b/t 2 species in which one hunts other for food
Symbiotic Relationship
close, long term interaction b/t species
one species benefits, other is harmed
one species benefits & other is unaffected
Both species benefit
Neither species benefits
Neither species benefits or is harmed
changes in community over time in terms of numbers & distribution of species
1st community in succession
natural & stable community that is the endpoint of succession
Carrying capacity
community that given ecosystem can sustain over long term; can be calculated by averaging high & low of population
Primary Succession
changes in community beginning with new/barren habitat; must begin with bare rock
Secondary Succession
changes in community begging w/ disturbance; soil is already present in the beginning
Invasive species
Species not native to ecosystem, but can thrive & displace native species
change in allele frequencies (genetic material) over time
Natural selection
The process in which organisms with adaptive characteristics are more likely to survive and pass on their traits to their offspring; a primary mechanism of evolution
The process in which changes in the traits of one population lead to changes in another species
Biological Species Concept
organisms are members of same species if they can mate & produce fertile offspring
process in which new species arise from other species
Gene flow
addition/subtraction of genetic info from group b/c of movements of breeding individuals b/t groups
Reproductively isolated
unable to interbreed under normal circumstances to produce fertile offspring
Different versions of genes
Genetic drift
Change in allele frequency in pop due to chance event
Genetic bottleneck
Extreme reduction in genetic variation in pop due to breeding of closely related individuals
Death of all members of species and speciation
Background extinction
normal, low-level rate of extinction of species b/c of naturally changing environment conditions
area of high levels of biodiversity that is threatened by human activities
Endemic species
native species found in 1 particular place
transitional areas b/t ecosystems
Species richness
total number of species in area
Species evenness
relative abundance of each species
Current, daily conditions of atmosphere
Weather averaged over long term (usually 30 years)
Surface features
Orographic Effect
result of air ascending 1 side of mountain, cooling, condensing, & bringing precipitation to other side of mountain as it descends
dry region on side of mountain that is sheltered from wind
Karst Topography
landscape influenced by dissolution of underlying carbonate rocks w/ water, results in caves & sinkholes
Distance from equator
How high something is
Made of hot air that rises and cold air that cools and descends;
Control the flow of air, which contributes to overall climate
Hadley Cell
Cell that drives air around tropical regions
Ferrel Cell
Cell that moves air form 30 degrees to 60 degrees latitude
Coriolis Effect
Deflection on moving objects due to Earth's rotation
In Northern Hemisphere, objects are deflected to the right
In Southern Hemisphere, objects are deflected to the left
Large area with specific climate and characteristic plants/animals that have adaptations for conditions
rate at which new biomass is produced
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)
estimate of radiation absorbed by photosynthesis in plants
another way of measuring productivity
Climatic diagram in which average precipitation and average temperature can be viewed together
Proportion of salt in solution
Thermohaline Circulation
global circulation of water, shaped by differences in temp & salinity
rise of cold, nutrient rich water to the surface of the ocean
Surface Ocean Currents
Continuous movement of ocean water; driven by winds
El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
Trade winds weaken & warm surface water moves toward South America. Diminished fisheries off South America, drought in western Pacific, increased precipitation in southwestern North America, fewer Atlantic hurricanes
change in climate patterns in the Pacific region every 3 to 8 years
Ocean surface waters are warmer than usual in Dec/Jan due to changes in wind
Pressure rises in Western Pacific (Indian Ocean, Indonesia, Australia), lowers in Central & Eastern Pacific
Trade winds in South Pacific weaken
Upwellings in Eastern Pacific are disrupted, as warm water is not pulled west; instead, warm water from the Western Pacific is pulled east
Wet summers in N.W. South American
Droughts in Australia (brush fires) and S.E. Asia.
La Nina-Southern Oscillation (LASO)
"Normal" year, easterly trade winds and ocean currents pool warm water in the western Pacific, allowing upwelling of nutrient rich water off the West coast of South America
Change in climate patterns in the Pacific where waters are colder than usual
Southern Oscillation
variation in air pressure b/t tropical eastern & western Pacific ocean
A fishing method in which a heavy frame with mesh bag is dragged on the ocean floor
Not sustainable, as this practice damages ocean floor habitat substantially
A fishing method in which a net hangs in the water suspended by floats; size of netting determines size of fish caught
Not sustainable, as this practice results in significant amount of bycatch
A fishing method in which a fisherman stabs a fish with an aluminum or wood pole
This practice can be considered sustainable because only individual fish are targeted, limiting bycatch.
Hook and Line
A fishing method in which fisherman uses a hook and line (and sometimes not even a pole)
This is considered sustainable because can easily release bycatch and is done on a small scale.
Traps and Pots
A fishing method in which wire or wood traps are submerged and hold fish until fishers retrieve them
Possibly sustainable, but often catches juveniles or bycatch
Trawling and dragging
A fishing method in which a cone-shaped net is dragged at various depths by a boat
Not sustainable, as nets damage the sea floor and result in bycatch
A fishing hook-and-line method in which fishing lines with lures and bait are towed by a boat
Generally sustainable practice that allows for release of bycatch
organisms caught while fishing for something else
Region where temperature changes drastically
Cultural Eutrophication
human-induced increase in nutrients & productivity, often resulting in from nitrate or phosphate pollution
Human induced
Particle matter suspended in water
Deposition of sediment in water
Recovery Levels
sufficient # of organisms needed to regenerate pop; numbers below may collapse & become locally extinct
renewable resource owned by no one and used by all
Rigid Surface of earth
Rigid and consists of continental crust, composed of lighter granitic rocks, and oceanic crust, which is composed of denser basaltic rocks
Layer of earth b/t crust & core
Dense; hot; solid rock; iron-magnesium-calcium composition;
Layer of earth at center, composed of outer liquid layer and inner solid layer
Twice as dense as mantle; hot; iron-nickel composition
Tectonic Plates
giant slabs on rock that sit on asthenosphere
Solid but flowing mantle underneath lithosphere
Continental Drift
Idea that continents were joined as 1 large land called Pangaea & moved over time to current position
Evidence: fit of continents, similar rock types, similar fossils, glacial deposits
Hypothesized by Wegener
Magnetic Reversals
reversals in magnetic field of earth
Subduction zone
location sat which 1 tectonic plate descends beneath another plate into Earth's interior
Tectonic plate boundary type where tectonic plates slowly collide (oceanic-continental, oceanic-oceanic, continental-continental)
Tectonic plate boundary type where tectonic plates slowly move apart from one another at spreading centers and new crusts form
Tectonic plate boundary type where tectonic plates slide horizontally past one another
release of energy in Earth's crust that causes seismic waves
amount of seismic energy released by earthquake
Where quake begins within earth's crust (hypocenter)
Location on Earth's crust directly above focus
tool consisting of fixed mass and a base; during quake, earth moves base but mass doesn't move
break in earth's crust through which magma, gases, and ash escape
Usually occur at plate boundaries, but can occur at non-plate boundaries where crust is thin and hot spot exists
Hot spot
Exceptionally hot regions in mantle
Rock Cycle
A cycle through which rocks change and are remade into other rocks by external processes such as weathering, erosion, deposition, lithification, and internal processes, such as melting, cooling, and crystallization
Volcanic Eruption → Cooling → Igneous Rock → Weathering/Erosion/Deposition → Sediment → Pushed into earth (high pressure) → Sedimentary Rock → Pushed into earth (high heat/pressure) → Metamorphic Rock → Pushed deeper into mantle through tectonic activity, melting → Magma → Volcanic Eruption
naturally occurring, inorganic solid w/ specific chemical & crystalline structure
Two ways to form: crystallization in magma or evaporation from supersaturated solution
Rock that contains a large enough concentration of a mineral making it profitable to mine
Rock that contain 1+ desired metals that could be extracted affordably & w/ current technologies
Organic Material
substances made of chains of carbon atoms w/ hydrogen atoms attached & other elements like oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur
Strip Mining
Mining technique using heavy machinery to strip away soils/rock and then cut away mineral resources
Open-Pit Mining
Mining technique using heavy machinery to dig holes to remove ores as well as materials like sand, gravel, stone
Mining technique using draglines & chain buckets to scrap underwater mineral deposits
Returning mined land as closely as possible to its original topography and vegetation cover
Acid Mine Drainage
Result of rainwater seeping through waste materials called tailings, which creates strong acids & dissolved toxic metals that move into nearby soil & water
the low pH (acidic) liquid that flows out of coal or metal mines
waste material remaining after smelting, which can be up to 80 percent of the original substance
process that attempts to clean up damage done to land; correcting environmental problem
Two major types of sites that can be remediated: Superfund sites and brownfields
Hydraulic Mining
Mining process where land is blasted w/ water to remove soil & leave minerals
Heap Leaching
Mining process where cyanide solution is sprayed on piles to dissolve gold
Mining process of melting ore to remove desired substances from associated water materials called tailings
Produces air pollution by emitting gases like hydrogen fluoride, sulfur dioxide, & nitrogen oxides; can release toxic metals like arsenic & lead; can release heavy metal like lead, chromium, cadmium, etc.
Mineral Resources
A concentration of minerals in Earth's crust that can be extracted and processed relatively easily and affordably; includes both identified and unidentified resources
Mineral Reserves
Identified deposits of minerals currently profitable to extract
Identified resources that can be mined profitably under current economic conditions and with current technologies
Derelict Land
Land degraded by mining operations & not reclaimed
Ecological Benefits of Forests
o Producing oxygen & sequestering (storing) carbon
o Developing soil
o Providing habitat for many species
o Reducing surface water runoff in watersheds, which prevents erosion
o Creating shade & windbreaks
o Reducing severity of floods
o Aiding in recharge of aquifers
Forest in which trees are all same age, generally same height
Tree plantations
Areas that trees are planted in specifically to be harvested; provide 25 percent of the world's industrial wood fiber
Forest that has trees of all different ages and heights
Old-growth Forests
Forests that have not been logged in recent history
Characterized by variety of ages, trees in various stages of decay, woody debris, shade-tolerant species under uneven canopy, minimal anthropogenic effects
Tree harvesting technique where loggers cut down all trees in a plot and burn the remaining material
Strip cutting
Tree harvesting technique where loggers cut down trees in narrow strips that are left to reseed
Selective cutting
Tree harvesting technique where loggers remove selected trees
Shelter wood cutting
Tree harvesting technique where loggers remove poor-quality trees, and remaining (healthy) trees reseed
Sustainable forest management
type of forest management that attempts to meet needs of today & anticipate needs/availability of forest resources for tomorrow
Population dynamics
study of how populations change over time
invasive species
species intro to ecosystem accidentally or purposefully that disrupt native pop & ecosystems
Population Density
# of individuals in pop per unit area
Carrying capacity
size of particular pop that given ecosystem can sustain over long term
Birth rate
number of live births per 1000 organisms
Death rate
number of deaths per 1000 organisms
Fertility Rate
number of children avg woman in pop would have in her lifetime
Reproductive strategy
way a species uses its energy to produce offspring, helps determine fertility rates
Species that can produce many offspring, each of which has sml chance of surviving to maturity
Species that produce fewer offspring, each of which has a relatively high probability of surviving to maturity
Linear Growth Model
Model is arithmetic, w/ constant rate of change
Geometric Growth Model
Model's rate of change increases at an increased rate
Exponential Growth Model
Model's rate of change increases exponentially
Logistic Growth Model
Model that increases initially very slowing during lag phase, begins to increase exponentially until pop reaches carrying capacity during the stationary phase when birth rates = death rates
amt of time it take pop to double in size
Rule of 70
to find doubling time of pop, divide 70 by the percent of growth
probability of individuals in pop surviving to particular ages
Life Table
data table arranged by individual's current age that shows probability of surviving until next birthday
Survivorship curve
graphical rep of organism's probability of surviving until current age
Type I
Survivorship curve
Younger organisms have high probability of survival & almost all individuals reach middle age, but after middle age there is an increasing probability of death
Type II
Survivorship curve
probability of death is equally likely in all age groups
Type III
Survivorship curve
Likelihood of death is very high at young ages, & most of individuals in pop die off quickly within 1st part of life
The few that survive to adulthood have high probability of surviving for some time
Capable of mating and reproducing with each other
examines how human pops change & the factors that lead to change (specifically in terms of birth rate, fertility, immigration, emigration, mortality rate)
Demographic determinism
Hypothesis in demography that states that human population dynamics are inevitably disastrous
Age-structure diagram (population pyramid)
a diagram that breaks down the divisions of age into cohorts and according to sex
Demographic Transition Model
Model shows how countries can transition from high birth/death rates to low ones through industrialization
1st stage in Demographic Transition Model
• Birth rates are higher due to infant & maternal mortality, lack of family planning, religious beliefs
• Death rates are higher b/c disease, famine, drought, lack of health care & edu
Early developing / Transitional
2nd stage in Demographic Transition Model
• Birth rates still high for same reasons, but death rates have dropped b/c increased (kinda stable) food supply & increased hygiene/sanitation/health care
Late developing / Industrial
3rd stage in Demographic Transition Model
• Urbanization moves families from rural to urban
• Status/edu of women improves, health care = more available, birth rates decrease, pop growth levels off
Developed / PostIndustrial
4th stage in Demographic Transition Model
• Low birth rates & low death rates
• Widespread use of birth control & health care
Planned development
neighborhood or commercial center that is planned and built by a single entity.
Suburban sprawl
unplanned development by many different entities, often as part of urban outgrowth
movement of human beings to cities
Units of sound volume
Heat Island
an urban area that is significantly warmer than surrounding non-urban areas
Dust dome
dome-like structure of air around a heat island that traps pollutants
Site contaminated form industrial or business use
energy to increase temperature of 1g of water by 1 degree C
Food Calorie = 1000 calories
British Thermal Unit (BTU)
energy to increase temp of 1lb of water by one degree F
100,000 BTU
kilowatts x hours
Energy divided by time
Rate at which work is done
unit of power = joule/second
= Amps x Volts
Capacity to do work
The capacity to move an object over a distance
Potential Energy
Stored energy or energy due to position
Kinetic Energy
energy of motion
Potential Energy
Stored in atomic & molecular bonds
Potential Energy
Stored by tension
Potential Energy
Stored in nuclei of atoms
Potential Energy
"Stored" in object's position
Kinetic Energy
Energy in electromagnetic radiation
Kinetic Energy
Energy in atomic & molecular vibration
Kinetic Energy
Energy in motion of objects
Kinetic Energy
Energy in longitudinal waves
Kinetic Energy
Energy of moving electrons
Flow of electrons
Unit of measure of electric current
Amount of electricity passing by given point per unit in time
potential difference, or difference in energy per unit charge as a charge moves between two paths in a current
= Watts/Amps
ability of a substance to prevent electrical flow
Materials with less resistance
Materials with greater resistance
Ohm's Law
a law that relates electric current, voltage, and resistance
Total current (in amps shown as I) that will flow in circuit can be calculated by dividing voltage (V) applied to circuit by total resistance (R)
I = V/R
compounds made up of chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen bonded to them
Crude Oil
thick, viscous liquid that can be pumped from the ground and purified into a variety of useful fuels
Surface retort
critical process in oil shale mining;
involves crushing & heating the shale, which generates solid & hazardous waste from crushed shale & water that can wash toxic organic substances into soil
sinking of land due to removal of subsurface material, including water, oil, or gas
Porous rock that stores oil
Cap rock
barrier of impermeable rock to prevent oil from seeping out
acid deposition
falling of acids from the atmosphere to Earth; includes but is not limited to acid rain
Is wet deposition (rain, snow, fog) or dry deposition (particulate matter or gas), all of which must have pH of less than 5
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
The region within 200 miles of U.S. shores
permanent frozen ground
Liquid fuel created from fossil fuels such as coal or methane
Coal Gasification
A synfuel of combustible gas made from coal
Coal liquefaction
A synfuel made from coal that can be refined to gasoline
Peak oil
Point at which global oil extraction is maximized
Nuclear Energy
Energy released from a nuclear reaction, including emission of radioactivity, fission, and fusion
Nuclear Fission
Nuclear process in which energy is released when heavy atomic nuclei are split into lighter atomic nuclei
Nuclear Fusion
Nuclear process in which energy is released as light atomic nuclei fuse to form heavier atomic nuclei
Atom of the same element that differ in their number of neutrons
Nuclear reactor
The location within a nuclear power plant where nuclear chain reactions occur
Decontamination type of decommissioning of nuclear plants
All parts of plant that are radioactive are cleaned & taken apart then shipped to low-level nuclear waste disposal site or stored on original site
Safe Storage type of decommissioning of nuclear plants, plant is locked up for 60 years while radioactive components decay to stable elements
After 60 years, plant is taken apart in process similar to DECON
Type of decommissioning of nuclear plants where plant is encased in concrete or another substance until radioactive components decay to stable elements
Energy from plants and animals
Municipal Solid Waste
Waste from residences and businesses that includes durable good, non-durable goods, containers and packaging, food wastes and yard trimmings, and miscellaneous inorganic wastes
gas released from biological materials like rotting organic matter
Type of biomass energy
Animal fat / vegetable oil that is refine to remove glycerin; meant to replace diesel
Energy from the heat of the Earth
Ring of Fire
Extensive subduction zones in the Pacific Ocean basin, resulting in a ring of active volcanoes
energy from sunlight
Photovoltaic Cells
Cells in solar energy that convert energy from the sun directly into electricity
When exposed to sunlight, electrons flow from the p-layer to the n-layer and form an electrical current
Parabolic Trough
Solar Plant that uses shape of parabola to focus sun 30 - 100 times its normal intensity along focus of trough, which heats water to power steam turbine
Solar Dish
Solar Plant that tracks the sun, pointing straight at it during the day, sometimes receiving 2000+ times normal intensity of sun
Solar Power Tower
Solar Plant that focuses solar energy on receiver using sun-tracking mirrors, which can concentrate solar energy as must as 1500 times normal intensity of sun
Passive Solar Home
A home designed and constructed to maximize south-facing exposure without moving parts
Active Solar Home
A home including special technologies to collect and store sunlight energy using moving parts
Steam Reforming
Process in which steam is used to separate molecules of methane (CH4) into their component carbon and hydrogen atoms
Separates hydrogen from carbon in methane
CH4(g) + H2O → CO +3H2(g) + energy
A process in which electric current is used to separate water molecules into their component hydrogen and oxygen atoms
Separates hydrogen from oxygen in water through 2H2O(l) → 2H2(g) + 02(g)
dam constructed near the mouth of a tidal body of water affected by tides; as the tide rises and falls, water moves through tunnels in the dam
Sluice gate
gate used in a channel used to control rates of water flow
pipe at a hydroelectric dam that directs water to a turbine
Energy Conservation
any practice that involves using less energy
Energy Efficiency
employing technology to use less energy
production of two forms of energy from one source
Energy Intensity
measure of how much energy it takes to produce one unit of economic activity
= Total energy consumption divided by gross domestic product (GDP)
Affected by:
Fuel economy of vehicles, commuting distances & transportation networks, climate, & energy efficiencies of structures & appliances
High Energy Intensity
there's high cost in converting energy into GDP
Low Energy Intensity
there's low cost in converting energy into GDP
Primary Pollutants
pollutants that come directly from the source without reacting in the atmosphere
Include: SO2, CO, NO, CO2, NO2
Secondary Pollutants
pollutants that begin as primary pollutants and change form in the atmosphere;
Change in a chemical reaction
Include: SO3, H2SO4, HNO3, O3, H2O2, Most NO3s and SO4s
Mobile sources
moving sources of pollution
EX: Cars, planes
Stationary Sources
Non-moving sources of pollution
EX: power plants, commercial facilities
Ozone (O3)
Air Pollution Composed of 3 atoms of oxygen;
created when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) from emissions from cars and factories react with sunlight
Secondary Pollutant
Particulate Matter
Complex type of air pollution, consisting of small solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in the atmosphere, with variable size generally measured in microns
Both primary and secondary pollutant
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Air pollution that is a product of combustion of fossil fuels.
It is colorless and odorless (and can be poisonous in large amounts)
Motor vehicle exhaust contributes 56% of all emissions in the United States
Primary Pollutant
Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
Air pollution that includes Nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, nitrous acid, and nitric acid
Nitrogen dioxide holds the greatest interest, and it forms from automobile emissions as well as other forms of transportation. It can contribute to ozone development and particulate matter pollution.
Both primary and secondary pollution
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
Air pollution Formed when fossil fuels, which contain sulfur, are burned
Has the ability to dissolve in water vapor to form sulfuric acid and interact with the particulate matter and gases in the air to form other products
Primary Pollution
Lead (Pb)
Air pollution was found in emissions from motor vehicles, but has been reduced substantially (95% from 1980 to 1999).
Now found near lead smelters, waste incinerators, utilities, and lead battery manufacturers
Primary Pollution
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
potentially toxic gases emitted by certain organic solids and liquids
organic compounds that can evaporate readily from solid or liquid form
Peroxyacyl Nitrates (PANs)
products of a reaction between peroxyacyl radicals and nitrogen dioxide that uses UV light as a catalyst
Photochemical Smog
Brown or orange-brown smog
Exists in major cities that are in warm, sunny climates & generally newer in terms of development
Requires sunlight
Created by reactions b/t unburned hydrocarbons & nitrogen oxides from fossil fuel-burning automobiles, creating secondary pollutants like ozone, formaldehyde, PAN
Hydrocarbons (or VOCs) + O2 + NO2 + UV light → CH3COOONO2 (PAN)
Sulfurous Smog
Gray smog
Exists in cities that use coal for heat; they are located in cold, moist climates & generally older in terms of development
Does not need sunlight
Thermal Inversion
phenomenon in which a warm air mass moves over and traps a cool air mass, disrupting normal air convection
The motion of air stops
large, tall chimney through which combustion gases and smoke are released
log of the reciprocal of the hydrogen ion concentration in a substance
Episodic acidification
type of acid deposition that occurs over a short period of time
Chronic acidification
type of acid deposition that occurs over a long period of time
benthic macroinvertebrates
animals that lack backbones, are large enough to be seen unaided, and live in or on top of substrate
Indoor Pollutant
a mineral used for insulation in homes and businesses
Human effects:
lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other ailments concerned with the respiratory system
Indoor Pollutant
Colorless, odorless, radioactive gas, which breaks down in uranium under homes and becomes trapped in the home
Human effects:
lung cancer
Environmental Tobacco Smoke
Indoor Pollutant
Includes smoke from cigarettes, tobacco, or pipes and the exhaled smoke from the smoker (often called secondhand smoke)
Human effects:
Eye, nose, and throat irritation, Aggravation of asthma symptoms in children, Reduced lung function, Lung cancer, Lower respiratory tract infections
Biological Contaminants
Indoor Pollutant
Includes anything living or associated with life, including bacteria, mold, mildew, pollen, dust mites, rats, mice, cat and dog saliva and dander, and cockroaches, and associated feces
Human effects:
Allergic reactions, Asthma, Sneezing, Watery eyes, Coughing, Shortness of breath, Dizziness, Lethargy, Fever, Digestive problems
Heating Systems
Indoor Pollutant
Includes stoves, heaters, fireplaces, and chimneys that release carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter
Household chemicals
Indoor Pollutant
Includes cleaning, disinfecting, degreasing, and hobby products
Indoor Pollutant
Colorless, pungent gas that is used in building materials and dry cleaning (for permanent press) and is a byproduct of combustion
Indoor Pollutant
products that kills, repel, control pests
Includes insecticides, termiticides, rodenticides, fungicides, and disinfectants sold as sprays, liquids, sticks, powders crystals, balls, and foggers
Sick building syndrome
condition in which the occupants or residents of a building become acutely sick because of the building, but no specific illness or cause can be found
Building-related illness
condition in which the occupants or residents of a building become acutely sick with a diagnosable illness attributed to indoor air pollutants in the building
Subslab suction
Radon Reduction Technique
• Active method reduces radon by inserting suction pipes in the floor slab to remove gas from under the house and put it in the outside air
• Passive method uses pressure differentials and air currents to remove radon from under a house to vent to the outside
Drain tile suction
Radon Reduction Technique
• If a house has drain tiles, suction can be applied to these tiles to draw radon-containing water away from the home.
Sump hole suction
Radon Reduction Technique
Removes water from a basement and caps the sump pump so radon cannot enter the basement
Block wall suction
Radon Reduction Technique
Reduces radon by depressurizing the block wall.
sub-membrane suction system
Radon Reduction Technique
Used if home has crawl space and involves covering soil underneath home w/ high-density plastic & using vent pipe/fan to guide radon from under plastic sheet to outdoors
Younger Dryas
Period of global cooling that occurred 12,000 years ago
Little Ice Age
300-year mini-ice age from 1550 to 1850
Milankovitch Theory
a theory to explain variations in climate are a result of
1) eccentricity, shape of Earth's orbit around the sun;
2) obliquity, the angle that Earth's axis makes in the plane of Earth's orbit;
3) precession, the change in the direction of Earth's axis of rotation
Developed by Milutin Milankovitch
shape of Earth's orbit around the sun
Angle b/t Earth's axis and plane of Earth's orbit
The angle that Earth's axis makes in the plane of Earth's orbit
direction of the Earth's axis of rotation
Greenhouse Effect
effect that is produced as a result of greenhouse gases allowing radiation from the sun to enter the atmosphere, but not to leave
Greenhouse Gases
water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons
These absorb infrared radiation emitted by Earth's surface & re-radiate some of infrared energy in all directions
45% minerals, 5% organic matter, and 50% pore space for air and water
soil particles that are very small (less than 0.002 mm in diameter)
particles are negatively electrically charged, and help retain positive ions such as potassium (crucial for plant growth).
Does not allow water to pass through easily (smallest particle size), so it holds water (has highest water-holding capacities of soil)
medium-size soil particles (0.002 - 0.05 mm in diameter)
larger soil particles (0.05 - 2.0 mm)
Removal of dissolved materials from soil by water moving downwards through soil
When traveling water can carry substances with it
As water passes through soil, the water dissolves and carries with it materials that may be mixed with the soil
degradation of once-fertile land into nonproductive desert;
turning semi-arid and arid lands into desert-like areas
When A Horizon (or topsoil) is lost
Methods to conserve and improve soil
• Add organic matter (improves fertility, reduces erosion, increases water retention)
• Cover crop (reduces erosion)
• Avoid tilling (reduces erosion)
• Rotate crops (legumes add nitrogen, reduce pests)
• Avoid compaction (limit traffic)
• Alley cropping (crops grown b/t rows of trees)
• Buffer strips, wind breaks, shelter belts (reduce wind erosion)
• Contour strips & strip cropping (reduce water erosion)
• Minimize broad spectrum commercial pesticide application (many kill needed soil organisms)
farm focuses on just one organism; all resources are focused on producing it efficiently
a type of undernutrition resulting from a lack of protein
Accompanied by:
• Thin legs & arms
• Swollen abdomen
• Weak & passive demeanor
starvation from lack of calories
another form of malnutrition resulting from continued food shortages and illness
type of undernutrition resulting from lack of protein and calories
accompanied by thinness & gnawing hunger; active & alert
Agriculture that subscribes to a spiritual world view in which the farm is a unified organism and must be treated holistically
Manure and compost are key ingredients in biodynamic agriculture, as well as natural pest control
agriculture that allows shareholders to buy a share of the farm and provide cash up front for the farmer, who, in turn, grows food for the shareholders
These farms may be other types of agriculture as well
agriculture that focuses on minimizing disturbances to the soil, adding organic matter to the topsoil, and rotating crops
agriculture that focuses on the health of the ecosystem and of the human population with natural pest control and fertilizers, and typically not using seeds that were genetically modified
agriculture that includes farming of crops as well as livestock, poultry, and fish using methods of economies of scale, genetically modified organisms, vast amounts of fossil fuels and heavy machinery
This is how much food in developed countries is produced
agriculture that uses technology, such as global positioning software (GPS) and remote sensing, to customize crop selection and chemical inputs to the system
agriculture that involves burning a forest or field of vegetation and using the resulting ash as fertilizer—this is an ancient technique that pre-dates modern fertilizers
agriculture that focuses on the long-term needs of the land, in terms of soil health, as well as sociological needs and health of the workers, including labor and wages, with the overall goal of
Green Revolution
series of research and technology advances related to agriculture, occurring between World War II and the 1970's, which increased crop yields, crop nutrition, and pesticide effectiveness
responsible for developing high-yield strains of wheat/rice, nitrogen-based fertilizers, & effective pesticides
farming of aquatic organisms (fish, shrimp, etc.) for human consumption
Chlorinated hydrocarbons
pesticide including DDT (illegal in US), chlordane, lindane endosulfan, and mirex
are broad-spectrum insecticides that have been banned or restricted in many countries because they cause cancer and birth defects
Biomagnifies and bioaccumulates
Suspected carcinogen & endocrine disruptor
Does not break down easily in the environment
Endocrine Disruptor
substance that mimics hormones in the body, causes changes to reproductive cycles and growth patterns and metabolism and development
Organic phosphates
Pesticide including malathion and parathion
Derived from nerve gas (German research during WW2)
Breaks down in environment (water soluble) but greater acute toxicity than in chlorinated hydrocarbons
broad-spectrum pesticide, including carbaryl (Sevin)
widely used and are less persistent than chlorinated hydrocarbons, but still can affect the nervous system and cause birth defects
Derived from nerve gas, but less toxic
herbicides that include melamine and benzoguanamine and atrazine, are also widely used and are less persistent in the environment, but can irritate the skin and eyes
Atrazine: banned in UN but not US; suspected endocrine disruptor, possible carcinogen, considered "moderately" toxic
pesticide includes natural and synthetic insecticides, some of which are toxic to the nervous system, and some of which are persistent in the environment
Break down quickly, no bioaccumulation
Possible endocrine disruptor
Pesticide Pros
saves lives from insect-transmitted disease
increases food supply and safety of food
increases profits for farmers
Pesticide Cons
genetic resistance, ecosystem imbalance, pesticide treadmill, persistence, bioaccumulation and biomagnifications, can runoff, can kill unintended species
Pesticide treadmill
process through which a farmer uses more pesticides, with increasing costs, as the effectiveness of pesticides decreases
pesticides that kill a wide variety of pests
pesticides that kill only a few pests
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
combines the use of a variety of biological, cultivation, and natural pesticide controls specifically managed to address the needs of an individual farm and/or crop
GOAL: to learn more about pests and to decrease amount of pesticides
Method of land conservation
land is kept in an undisturbed, natural state
Method of land conservation
Cleaning up or correcting an environmental problem with the land, to clean up human-caused pollution problems
Method of land conservation
Limiting the impact of land pollution; limiting the ability of a problem to occur on land
To lessen/prevent problem (law)
Method of land conservation
To return land to its natural state
Get ride of invasive species of other natural/human-made problem (NOT pollution)
Method of land conservation
Refers to minded or drained/flooded lands, and includes stabilization and re-vegetation of land
Parent Material
the material from which soil forms
Soil Horizons
Layers of soil
Soil profile
vertical cross-section of soil from the surface of Earth to the parent material underneath
O Horizon
Soil horizon where organic matter from animals & plant roots & leaves is located; often dark colored
A Horizon
Soil horizon that's considered the topsoil & contains inorganic/organic material called humus
Layer that supports agriculture (thicker = healthier = better for agriculture)
B Horizon
Soil horizon that's considered the subsoil or zone of accumulation where minerals/nutrients leach into from O & A horizons
C Horizon
Soil horizon that's area of transition b/t parent material below & soil above
D Horizon
Soil horizon that's bedrock; is parent material from which soil is made
Soil order Prevalent in US
Found in grasslands & tend to be in climates that are semi-humid to semi-arid
Youngest of all soil types & have dark surface horizon
Soil order important in SE US
Contains clay minerals (most often kaolinite) & known for red color, but can also appear purple & orange
soil order in semi-arid to humid regions, often in hardwood forests
Very fertile & imp to food production
Typically have not been heavily leached unlike ultisols
soil order that is limited geographically to poles & to mountainous regions where permafrost is close to surface
Decomposition occurs very slowly, so there is a high amount of organic matter
Soil order that forms on hillsides and deltas
New & poorly developed
Many soils that do not fit well into other soil orders are classified as this
Soil order found in subtropical & tropical rain forest
Heavily weathered by water that leaches minerals out of soil & are not fertile
Few minerals remain after leaching
Have nonexistent soil horizons
the rate at which water passes through soil
Higher the value, the more rapidly water flows through an aquifer or other layer of soil
Nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium
3 macronutrients that all plants need to survive
Removal of trees from forests by logging or burning
Wave action
process through which waves break on the shore
Erosion occurs naturally through this
Soil conservation
preserving soil from being eroded & degraded by pollution
Dust Bowl
a prolonged agriculture disaster in the United States due to improper agricultural practices and natural drought cycles
the process through which too much water is applied to soil from irrigation or because the water table is close to the surface of the land, and the land becomes supersaturated, waterlogging occurs, and subsequent evaporation of water results in salts on the surface
Crop Rotation
A crop conservation technique that includes cycling through different crops on the same land
introduce different root structures, plant residues, nutrients like nitrogen, produced by legumes, into soil
Buffer strips
A narrow zone or strip of land, trees or vegetation bordering an area, that prevents wind erosion
Also increases diversity in planting (as short grasses, shrubs, and tall trees are often used)
Types includes shelterbelts and wind breaks, which both reduce wind erosion
Contour strips
Runs perpendicular to the slope of the land to prevent erosion
Traps soil and slows erosion by water
imbalance in the amount of nutrients a body needs and nutrients a body gets
Malnutrition consisting of consumption of too few calories or too few of one specific nutrient
Consumption of too many calories or too many of one specific nutrient
Stunted growth
Growth that's not in keeping with average rates for height, weight, and head size
Results from chronic undernutrition
Economies of scale
the advantages of mass production in terms of reducing costs
Genetically Modified organisms (GMO)
Plants & animals that have had their traits modified by scientists
Agriculture that focuses on producing, processing, and distributing food in and around cities, which increases availability of fresh food to urban dwellers and increases the food supply
Partial or full financial aid from the government
Pesticide that kills, repels, controls plants
Pesticide that kills, repels, controls fungi
Pesticide that kills, repels, controls rodents
To accumulate, as a substance in an individual organism
increase in strength of a substance as it's absorbed by organisms further up the food chain
Boric Acid
Powder prevalent in ant control products, which has a low toxicity
One of the least toxic pesticides
Diatomaceous Earth
Powder made up of ground shells of diatoms, which can cause insects to dehydrate
One of the least toxic pesticides
Silica Gel
gel made out of silica, which can cause insects to dehydrate
One of the least toxic pesticides
Beneficial insects
insects that are natural predators and parasites that control other pests
Land preservation
process in which an area of land is protected and kept in its current (usually undeveloped) state
Superfund Sites
abandoned sites w/ hazardous waste
polluted sites that can be developed
ratio of reflected to incident light
Drinking Water Treatment Process
Mixing of water frees dissolved gases
Drinking Water Treatment Process
Adding to water coagulating compounds, such as alum or iron salts, allows particles to attach to coagulator and be removed
Drinking Water Treatment Process
Allowing water to stand undisturbed encouraging large particles to settle out of water and be removed
Drinking Water Treatment Process
Sending water through beds of sand or charcoal filters out additional particles
Ion Exchange
Drinking Water Treatment Process
Exposes water to processes to exchange irons
Removes metals
Can be used to hard water
Drinking Water Treatment Process
Using an absorptive surface, like charcoal, can remove additional organic compounds that may cause odors
Drinking Water Treatment Process
Adding chlorine (UV light, ozone) to remove pathogens
Stabilization Ponds
Sustainable Waste Water Practice
Series of ponds that are easy to operate & require little energy
Moderately effective in removing solids
Series Includes: Anaerobic pond, Primary facultative pond, Maturation Pond
Use lrg area of land, attract mosquitoes, require regular removal of sludge
Covalent bonds
strong bonds between atoms in which the atoms share one or more electron pairs
having areas of greater positive and negative charge
Hydrogen bonds
type of molecular attraction in which a hydrogen atom covalently bonded to an electronegative atom (e.g., O, N, F) in one molecule is attracted to an electronegative atom in a different molecule or in another part of the same molecule
Specific Heat
amt of heat that must be gained/lost from 1g sample to change temp of substance by 1C
underground layer of porous rock in which water collects
Unconfined Aquifer
Aquifer free and open to surface of land; water can flow into it from surface of the land
Confined Aquifer
Aquifer under several layers of rock/clay; usually above bedrock
Confining layer at the top—such as clay, which is impermeable—overlays the aquifer
Artisan Aquifer
Aquifer under a layer of rocks/clay that causes it to build up pressure;
Water will be forced up through well
Public Supply
water that's used in homes & public uses, like fighting fires, watering public parks, supply public swimming pools w/ water
43.3 bill gallons/day
Rural Domestic and Livestock
water that is used for livestock
9.05 bill gallons/day
Water that is used for farm crops
137 bill gallons/day
Thermoelectric Power
Water used in electric power plants, primarily for cooling
195 bill gallons/day
Other Industry
Water used in mining & production of steel/paper products
23.2 bill gallons/day
process of making salt water drinkable by removing the salts
Gray Water
wastewater from sinks, showers, and laundry, which can be treated and reused for landscape water
landscaping using native plants, which minimize the need for additional water
Dissolved Oxygen
Water Quality Indicator
the volume of oxygen gas (O2) that dissolves in water
Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)
Water Quality Indicator
the amount of oxygen used by microorganisms in aerobic oxidation
Fecal Coliform
Water Quality Indicator
present in mammal and bird feces
Water Quality Indicator
A type of nutrient
Fertilizer runoff from farms, lawn fertilizer, leaky septic tanks, animal waste
Water Quality Indicator
A type of nutrient
Fertilizer, organic pesticides, and detergents
Water Quality Indicator
the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution
Water Quality Indicator
Measurement in degrees Celsius
controlled mainly by sunlight and temperature of surrounding land
Water Quality Indicator
the amount of suspended material in water; used to measure cloudiness of water
Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTUs)
A measure of turbidity
Aquatic Worm
Biological Indicator of Water Quality
Benthic Macroinvertebrate
live in substrate of streams
Lrg numbers of aquatic worms may indicate poor water quality
Caddis fly
Biological Indicator of Water Quality
Benthic Macroinvertebrate
Not one of best indicator species, but serve key role in environment by consuming algae and being food for number of species of fish
Black Fly
Biological Indicator of Water Quality
Benthic Macroinvertebrate
Found in range of water qualities, but often indicate too many nutrients in aquatic environment (including nitrates & phosphate pollution)
Biological Indicator of Water Quality
Benthic Macroinvertebrate
generally indicate good water quality
Food for trout & found in fast moving waters at stream riffles
Water Pollutant
Colorless gas with strong smell
Originates at pig & poultry farms, where it can run off the land into surface water
Water Pollutant
Mineral that exists along fault lines & used in industrial processes
Linked to number of forms of cancer (bladder, lung, skin, kidney, liver, prostate cancer)
Also has non-cancerous side effects (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
Water Pollutant
Ingredient in herbicides & can run off crops & enter water supply
Can cause cardiovascular problems & reproductive problems
Water Pollutant
Exists naturally in environment & dissolves easily in water
Water treatment systems & effluent from sewage also contribute to this
1 long-term effect of exposure is high blood pressure
Water Pollutant
Exists naturally in environment & can enter water supply from natural deposits Erodes/older plumbing corrodes
Can delay physical & mental development in kids, and can cause kidney problems & high blood pressure
No safe level in water
Water Pollutant
Liquid metal that exists naturally in environment
Enter water from natural deposits, discharge from factories, runoff from landfills & agricultural lands
1 long term effect of exposure = kidney damage
Water Pollutant
Radioactive mineral that exists naturally in environment & can erode from natural deposits to enter water supply
Raises risks of cancer & creates toxicity in liver
Hard Water
Water that has a high concentration of dissolved minerals
Black Water
Any water containing human waste
Free Water Wetland
Sustainable Waste Water Practice
Water flows through free water wetland from inlet to outlet over surface w/ vegetation & water
Passive manner, do not require large inputs of energy and it can be done in most climates; Can be created on undeveloped / under construction land
Do take up lrg areas of land; can attract mosquitoes
Probability that hazard will lead to injury
Something that can cause harm
Perceived Harm
damage that human beings think may occur from an action or an activity
Perceived benefit
rewards that human beings think may occur from an action or activity
Risk Analysis
Broad field of study that incorporates risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication
Dose-response relationship
Relationship between an administered dose and the effect on an organism
Threshold Level
level below which there are no visible or noticeable effects
Risk Assessment
to determine how risky activities are
o Estimating risk
o Determining exposure methods
o Measure the lethal dose
o Experiments on organisms
Risk Management
have idea about risks and try to find ways to reduce the risk
o Economic consequences of reducing risk
o Political consequences of reducing risk
o Limiting impact of risk
o Ethical considerations
Precautionary Principle
If there is a link b/t hazard and potential cause, even if scientific data cannot indicate the cause, action must be taken to prevent the hazard
Responds to perceived correlations
Risk Communication
Stage in risk analysis when policy makers find ways to address the hazard and risk with the public
abnormal condition or impairment of health
Impairment of functioning
Transmissible Disease
These types of disease can be passed from organism to organism and are typically caused by bacteria, viruses, protists, fungi, or other pathogenic organisms
Also called infectious or communicable diseases
Non-transmissible Disease
These types of disease cannot be passed from organism to organism
Also called noncommunicable diseases
Vertical Transmission
describes disease transfer between generations, particularly mother to offspring, including transmission through breast milk
Horizontal Transmission
describes disease transfer independent of a parental or generational relationship and occurring among members of the same generation
Place where the pathogen enters the body
Droplet Contact
One way transmissible disease can be passed from infected to uninfected
Respiratory Route
Locus: Respiratory system
An uninfected person breathes in droplet nucleus (travels through air as droplet nucleus covered by coating of mucus) through mouth/nose, & virus enters lungs
Direct Physical Contact
One way transmissible disease can be passed from infected to uninfected
Includes sexual contact, locus is cut in skin or through mucous membranes
Transmission involves bodily fluids (like semen that carry disease)
Indirect Contact
One way transmissible disease can be passed from infected to uninfected
Includes touching contaminated surface, locus is also cut in skin or through mucous membrane
Diseases can be spread indirectly by fomites (objects that carry agent of infection) including needles, clippers, clothing, food, water
Fecal-Oral Contact
One way transmissible disease can be passed from infected to uninfected
Includes indirectly through contaminated water & food
Locus: mouth
Vector-borne Transmission
One way transmissible disease can be passed from infected to uninfected
Includes insects
Locus: bit of vector
organism that transmits disease but does not cause disease
Organism that causes disease directly
study of the nature and effects/treatments of poisons, particularly on people
Acute Effects
short-term results of exposure to a hazard
Chronic effects
long-term results of exposure to a hazard
poison that is harmful to an organism
substances that contain toxins
Substance that causes cancer
Substance that causes a genetic mutation
Substance that causes a malformation in embryonic development
Synergistic Relationship
relationship in which there is greater effect of two toxicants when exposed to both at the same time than when exposed separately
Antagonistic Relationship
relationship in which there is less effect of two toxicants when exposed to both at the same time than when exposed separately
Cancer Cluster
greater occurrence of cancer in a geographic area over time
acne-like condition that develops within months of exposure to dioxin
capable of causing adverse health effects
amount and type of damage caused by the exposure
Lethal Dose-50% (LD50)
The dose that is lethal to 50 percent of the population
Effective Dose-50% (ED50)
The dose that affects 50 percent of the population (with a response other than death)
as trash decomposes, liquid that is formed that seeps out of garbage
Municipal Solid Waste Landfill
landfill that receive household waste as well as nonhazardous materials
device that burns or combusts garbage to reduce volume
device that spray liquid onto particulate matter in the air, which can neutralize acids in gas form
Used to control particulate matter generated by combustion
devices that filter particulate matter from the air
Used to control particulate matter generated by combustion
Hazardous Waste
solid waste that is toxic, carcinogenic, or mutagenic
Have at least ¼ characteristics:
• Are ignitable under certain conditions (waste oil and solvents)
• Are corrosive (battery acids)
• Are reactive (lithium-sulfur batteries)
• Are toxins (mercury or lead)
Solid Waste
Discarded, recycled, or abandoned material
Listed Waste
Hazardous wastes that appear on the F-List (from manufacturing & industrial process), K-list (specific industries), P- and U-lists (from commercial chemical products)
Universal Waste
Includes batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing thermostats & thermometers, and fluorescent bulbs
Mixed Waste
radioactive & hazardous substances that are housed together
Characteristic Waste
Wastes that can ignite, corrode, react, or are toxic
Wastes that don't fit into other categories
Green Remediation
Remediation techniques that follow best practices, including minimizing total energy use (and maximizing use of renewable energy); minimizing air pollutants, including greenhouse gas emissions; minimizing water use; reducing, reusing, and recycling materials; and protecting the land and ecosystems
Green Remediation type
Process of using bacteria, fungi, microbes, or plants to break down hazardous wastes into nonhazardous wastes
Bacteria/enzymes help destroy toxic & hazardous waste or convert them to more benign substances
Can be used on: Hydrocarbon products, crude oil compounds, some pesticides, some industrial solvents
Green Remediation type
Process of using plants to break down hazardous wastes into nonhazardous wastes
Can be used on: Some pesticides, lead, some heavy metals
Electrokinetic remediation
Green Remediation type
Process in which electrical current is passed through a contaminated site attracting heavy metals, which can then be removed
Can be used on: lead, chromium, nickel, mercury, copper, zinc
Ultraviolet remediation
Green Remediation type
Process in which pollutants are exposed to ultraviolet radiation, which can break down toxins; most effective in liquids
Can be used on: water with pollutants
Ultrasound remediation
Green Remediation type
Process through which pollutants in groundwater break down from exposure to ultrasound
Can be used on: heavy metals
Waste from electronics
Cadmium (used in batteries), Mercury (used in electric thermostats), Lead (used in glass monitors), PCBs (widely used until 1970s in electrical equipment of all kinds)
The process in which fewer materials are used in the creation of a product
Source separation
Type of Recycling
Separation of products from MSW for recycling at their source of generation, often a household)
Centralized Resource Recovery Plant
Type of Recycling Plant
Location at which MSW can be separated at a principal location
Capital-intensive process in which separation occurs at one location, reducing need for cooperation
Open loop recycling
Recycling process in which a product is recycled and becomes a different type of product
The properties of the product may be degraded during this process
Closed loop recycling
Recycling process in which a product is recycled to become the same type of product
Little degradation in the properties of the product
process of gathering wastes, including kitchen and yard waste, in a manner that encourages decomposition
movement that emphasizes avoiding the consumer economy through using wasted products and services
Dumpster Diving
practice of reducing consumption of goods through taking goods that have been disposed of by others
movement that rebels against consumerism or the equation of happiness with consumption of goods and services)
exchange of goods without currency
Gift economy
economy in which goods and services are regularly given without a promise of monetary payment
collection of movements, some of which are anti-consumerist, that fight global inequities in terms of distribution of wealth and environmental problems
Ecological footprint
measure of sustainability in which the amount of land and water used (and the amount of pollution produced) by an individual or group is measured
Surface Mining
Mining that is safer, cheaper, and less hazardous to works compared to subsurface mining
Perfect agricultural soil with equal portions of sand, silt, and clay
Organic, dark material remaining after decomposition by microorganisms
Two things that work together
The study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water throughout the Earth
Pertaining to water cycling in the environment