19 terms

Biology - Chapter 24 - Sustainability

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sustainability
The use of the earth's resources in a way that will not permanently destroy or deplete them; living within the limits of the earth's biocapacity.
ecological footprint
A measure of how much land and water area is required to supply the resources a person or population consumes and to absorb the wastes it produces
natural resources
Raw materials that are obtained from the earth and are considered valuable even in their relatively unmodified, natural form.
global hectare
The unit of measurement of the ecological footprint, representing the biological productivity of an average hectare of land.
biocapacity
The amount of the earth's biologically productive area - cropland, pasture, forest, and fisheries - that is available to provide resources to support life.
nonrenewable resources
Natural resources that cannot be replaced.
renewable resources
Natural resources that are replenished after use as long as the rate of consumption does not exceed the rate of replacement.
aquifer
Underground layers of porous rock from which water can be drawn for use.
How many people are in the world?
How ___? As of 2010, the human population totaled 6.8 billion people. Some demographers say the number could hit 9 billion by 2050.
What grows as the human population does?
What ___? As the human population grows, so does our ecological footprint, a measure of our demand on nature. Ecological footprint is measured in units called global hectares of land it takes to supply us with resources and to absorb our wastes.
How does our current ecological footprint compare to the earth's biocapacity?
How ___? The ecological footprint of the current human population is greater than the earth's biocapacity, its total natural resources and ability to absorb our wastes.
What are our natural resources?
What ___? Natural resources include renewable resources, such as sunlight, wind, and water, and nonrenewable resources, such as fossil fuels (oil, coal, and gas).
What does burning fossil fuels generate?
What ___? Burning fossil fuels generates harmful wastes (for example, greenhouse gases and pollutants) and increases our ecological footprint.
What does sustainability mean?
What ___? Sustainability refers to the ability of humans to live within earth's biocapacity, without depleting nonrenewable resources by using renewable resources like wind and solar power instead of fossil fuels to generate electricity and heat.
Can we rely on renewable energy technologies yet to replace our dependency on fossil fuels?
At their current level of development, technologies to harvest renewable energy cannot meet our total energy demands. Fossil fuels cannot yet be taken out of our energy mix.
Is water distributed equally?
Although freshwater is a renewable resource, the world's supply is not distributed equally, and many people around the world suffer from water scarcity, a problem exacerbated by a rising population and the demands of agriculture.
Compare city dwellers versus rural living in regards to their ecological footprint.
City dwellers have a high per capita ecological footprint compared to people living in rural areas, in large part because of more intensive fossil fuel energy use linked to driving cars and rising consumption.
Which is more efficient, cities or non-urban areas?
Cities can be more efficient than nonurban areas and can reduce their ecological footprint by limited care use and incorporating sustainable technologies such as green roofs, public transportation, and renewable energy sources.
How can we help?
Individually, we can decrease our ecological footprint by driving less, reducing water use, eating less meat, and recycling.