Human behavior refers to the array of every physical action and observable emotion associated with individuals, as well as the human race as a whole. While specific traits of one's personality and temperament may be more consistent, other behaviors will change as one moves from birth through adulthood. In addition to being dictated by age andgenetics, behavior, driven in part by thoughts and feelings, is an insight into individual psyche, revealing among other things attitudes and values. Social behavior, a subset of human behavior, study the considerable influence of social interaction and culture. Additional influences include ethics, encircling, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion andcoercion.
The behavior of humans (and other organisms or even mechanisms) falls within a range with some behavior being common, some unusual, some acceptable, and some outside acceptable limits. In sociology, behavior in general includes actions having no meaning, being not directed at other people, and thus all basic human actions. Behavior in this general sense should not be mistaken with social behavior, which is a more advanced social action, specifically directed at other people. The acceptability of behavior depends heavily upon social norms and is regulated by various means of social control. Human behavior is studied by the specialized academi disciplines of psychiatry, psychology, social work, sociology, economics, and anthropology.
Human behavior is experienced throughout an individual’s entire lifetime. It includes the way they act based on different factors such as genetics, social norms, core faith, and attitude. Behavior is impacted by certain traits each individual has. The traits vary from person to person and can produce different actions or behavior from each person. Social norms also impact behavior. Due to the inherently conformist nature of human society in general, humans are pressured into following certain rules and displaying certain behaviors in society, which conditions the way people behave. Different behaviors are deemed to be either acceptable or unacceptable in different societies and cultures. Core faith can be perceived through the religion and philosophy of that individual. It shapes the way a person thinks and this in turn results in different human behaviors. Attitude can be defined as "the degree to which the person has a favorable or unfavorable evaluation of the behavior in question." One's attitude is essentially a reflection of the behavior he or she will portray in specific situations. Thus, human behavior is greatly influenced by the attitudes we use on a daily basis.
Global Warming Light from the Sun passes through the atmosphere and warms Earth's surface. The energy associated with heating is re-radiated as infrared light absorbed in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor, methane (CH4), ozone, nitrous oxide (N2O), and the human-madechlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). This atmospheric warming is called the greenhouse effect and is both natural and essential for life on Earth. Without the greenhouse effect, Earth's average global temperature would be too cold to support most forms of animal and plant life. However, an overabundance of greenhouse gases can increase the greenhouse effect and force abnormal global warming.
Carbon dioxide--a by-product of burning fossil fuels and modern forests--is the most abundant greenhouse gas. Depending on the specific measurements, in the early twenty-first century, there is at least 30 to 40 percent more CO2 in the atmosphere than in 1850. There have also been significant increases in methane, a more potent greenhouse gas.
In some ways, adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere is like throwing another blanket on Earth; the consequent rise in global temperature is known as global warming. Despite the fact that climate is a complex system and climate models are difficult to construct, scientists must use climate models to predict the impacts of various concentrations of greenhouse gases on global warming, and in turn, on global climate. Some models show average global temperature increasing as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) by 2100. Because ocean water absorbs more heat than land, the Southern Hemisphere (which has more water) will warm less than the Northern Hemisphere, hence, any temperature increase will not be uniform. Atmospheric circulationpatterns will bring the greatest warming, as much as 14 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit (8 to 10 degrees Celsius), to Earth's poles.
Since the IPCC's 2007 report, new scientific findings have tended to worsen the climate change picture. In early 2009, scientists at two major gatherings--one at the University of Copenhagen, the other at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science--presented evidence that climate change was occurring more quickly than the IPCC had conservatively forecasted in 2007. In addition, carbon dioxideemissions increased faster than the IPCC's most pessimistic forecasts.
Climate change skeptics often cite Berkley professor of physics Richard A. Muller's (1944-) past criticisms of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. In 2010, Muller founded the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study to analyze climate data. In 2012, Muller recanted his skepticism over anthropogenic climate change, titling his op-ed in the New York Times "The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic." Muller states that his work at Berkeley Earth provides the most convincing evidence to date that human activity over the last 250 years has altered Earth's climate. Muller notes that his findings go even further than the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report, which only attributed temperature rises since the mid-twentieth century as "very likely" due to human activity.
Climate History In addition to concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, other factors affecting global climate include Earth's orbital behavior, the positions and topography of the continents, the temperature structure of the oceans, and the amount and types of life on Earth. During much of Earth's history, the climate was warm and humid with ice-free poles. Global average temperatures were about 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) higher than today. Glaciers covered the higher latitudes several times in the past, most recently during the Pleistocene Era (about 1.8 million to 10,000 years ago), when up to 30 percent of the land was covered by ice. During the four glacial advances of the Pleistocene Era, average global temperature was 18 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) lower than the ancient global average. During the three interglacial periods, global temperature was a degree or two warmer than today.
Climate Change According to the IPPC and the vast majority of global leaders and climate experts, climate change driven by AGW will fundamentally impact the security, health, and global economy of nations for generations. Hundreds of millions of people and scores of societies, economies, and cultures are already threatened by rising sea levels, disrupted food production, extreme weather, and emergent diseases. While such irreversible losses as speciesextinctions and lost lives cannot be calculated in monetary terms, the most conservative estimates of the costs of climate change over the next century range in the trillions of dollars. Moreover, the most severe effects of climate change are predicted to most strongly impact the world's poorest and most vulnerable human populations.
Since the peak of the last glacial advance 18,000 years ago, average global temperature has risen approximately 7 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), including 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The recent increases in temperature since the Industrial Revolution, however, are unprecedented and not accounted for by natural cycles. In fact, recent global warming has taken place during a cycle in which many other factors favor global cooling. Although regions vary, according to the IPCC, between 1905 and 2005, the overall average global surface temperature on Earth increased by approximately 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit (0.74 degrees Celsius).
Predicted Impacts of Global Warming
In addition to ecological impacts, a rapid increase in global average temperature will have profound effects on economic infrastructure as well as cultural and political systems.
Warmer average temperatures
According to most climate change models, not all regions will experience warmer temperatures. In fact, due to increasing humidity and cloud cover, some regions might experience (at least initially) cooler temperatures and increased snowfall. There also might be intervals during which temperature increases stop and perhaps modestly decline (especially after significant increases or sharp spikes in temperature, such as recorded in 1998). However, average global atmospheric, land, and sea temperatures are expected to rise over the next century.
Warmer temperatures would allow tropical and subtropical insects to expand their ranges, bringing tropical diseases such as malaria, encephalitis, yellow fever, and dengue fever to more human populations. There would be an increase in heat-related diseases and deaths. Agricultural regions might become too dry to support crops, and food production all over the world would be forced to move northward. This would result in a loss of current cropland of 10 to 50 percent and a decline in the global yield of key food crops of 10 to 70 percent.
Most computer models of global climate predict that high latitudes will experience the greatest intensity of climatic warming. Ecologists have suggested that the warming of northern ecosystems could induce a positive feedback to climate change. For example, the huge expanse of boreal forest and arctic tundra normally forms sinks, or reservoirs, that store atmospheric CO2. If the climate continues to warm, these typically frozen carbon sinks would begin to thaw. Eventually, the depth of annual thawing of frozen soils would expose large quantities of carbon-rich organic materials in the permafrost to microbial decomposition, thereby releasing vast quantities of methane into the atmosphere.
Sea level rise Sea levels have risen and fallen due to natural causes many times over Earth's history. However, during what should be a cooling period, warmer ocean temperatures are already causing ocean water to expand and polarice caps to melt. Forecasts as to the amount and timing of sea level rises are scientifically contentious, but all forecasts predict potentially devastating increases over the next decades and centuries. In 2007, the IPCC predicted a rise between 18 and 59 centimeters (7 and 23 inches) by 2100. However, a number of scientists have argued in leading scientific journals that the future sea level rise may be greater than the IPCC's 2007 forecast and is unlikely to be less.
In 2009, new data on glacial melting and sea level rise forced scientists to dramatically increase estimates of potential sea level rise and/or accelerate the rate of rise. The new data predict a sea level rise of at least 1 meter (a little more than 3 feet) by 2100. Such an increase in sea level will flood coastal regions, where about one-third of the world's population lives and where an enormous amount of economic infrastructure is concentrated. It would destroy coral reefs, accelerate coastal erosion, and increase the salinity of coastal groundwater aquifers. Some low-lying tropical Pacific islands are already losing land to rising seas, and on some, residents are planning to leave as the sea engulfs their island homes.
Changes in precipitation amounts and patterns As globally averaged temperatures rise, scientists predict moderate to severe alterations in precipitation regimes in various parts of the world. According to some climate models, at the current rate of warming, precipitation patterns will change so that one-third of the planet will be considered desert by 2100. The percentage of the globe that is now prone to moderate drought will increase from 25 percent to nearly 50 percent by century's end. The 8 percent of the land now prone to severe drought will increase to 40 percent of the land.
In any region where the climate becomes drier, forested areas also are likely to shrink, with possible expansion of savanna, prairie, or even desert. A landscape change of this magnitude is believed to have occurred in the New World tropics during the Pleistocene glaciations. Due to the relatively dry climate at that time, what are today continuous rainforests may have been constricted into relatively small, isolated patches (refugia). These forest remnants may have existed within a landscape matrix of savanna and grassland. Such an enormous restructuring of the character of the tropical landscape must have had a tremendous effect on the multitude of rare species that live in rainforests. Further, as forests shrink, precipitation decreases. Trees transpire enormous quantities of water vapor into the air; without the forests, entire regions experience dramatic declines in rainfall.
Climate change will also likely cause important changes in the ability of the land to support crops. This would be particularly true of lands cultivated in regions that are marginal in terms of rainfall and are vulnerable to drought and desertification. For example, important crops such as wheat are grown in regions of the western interior of North America that formerly supported natural shortgrass prairie. It has been estimated that about 40 percent of this semiarid region, measuring 400 million hectares (988 million acres), has already been desertified by agricultural activities and overgrazing, and crop-limiting droughts occur there sporadically. This climatic handicap can be partially managed by irrigation. However, there is a shortage of water for irrigation, and this practice can cause its own environmental problems, such as salinization of the soil. Clearly, substantial changes in climate would place the present agricultural systems at great risk in many areas.
Patterns of wildfire would also be influenced by changes in precipitation regimes. Based on climate model predictions, it has been suggested that there could be a 50 percent increase in the area of forest annually burned in Canada, presently about 1-2 million hectares (2.5-4.9 million acres) in typical years.
Shallow marine ecosystems also are affected by increases in sea surface temperature. Corals are vulnerable to even very small rises in water temperature, which deprives them of their symbiotic algae (called zooxanthellae). Depending on the degree of warming, corals may be bleached or, if the warm-water regime is long lasting, the corals may die. Widespread coral bleaching is increasingly observed as oceans warm. Coral reefs are crucial in the life cycle of numerous fish species, including fish many people use for food. The demise of coral reefs as sea surface temperatures warm could devastate fisheries worldwide. A potentially more severe problem for corals arises directly from increased atmospheric CO2, which increases the acidity of the oceans as it dissolves. Increased acidity diminishes the ability of corals and many other sea creatures with shells to make their hard parts of calcium carbonate.
Extreme weather Storms result from a complex number of factors, and it remains impossible to attribute any single storm to climate change. However, the long-range prediction of a number of climate models is for an increased frequency and severity of storms as global temperatures rise. In August 2007, scientists at the World Meteorological Organization, an agency of the United Nations, announced that during recent periods, several regions of Earth showed significant increases above long term global averages in both high temperatures and frequency of extreme weather events including heavy rainfalls, cyclones, and wind storms.
A decrease in the temperature difference between the poles and the equator would alter global wind patterns and storm tracks. Regions with marginal rainfall levels could experience drought, making them uninhabitable. Overall, since warmer air holds more moisture, an increase in global air and sea temperatures is expected to increase the number of storms. Many climate models predict that higher sea surface temperatures would increase the frequency and duration of hurricanes and El Niño events.
Species migration and biodiversity loss Studies of changes in vegetation during the warming climate that followed the most recent Pleistocene glaciationsuggest that plant species responded in unique, individualistic ways. These differences result from the varying tolerances of species to changes in climate and other aspects of the environment, and their different abilities to colonize newly available habitats.
Some models predict that wild plant and animal species would need to move poleward 100 to 150 kilometers (60 to 90 miles) or up in altitude 150 meters (500 feet) for each 1 degree Celsius rise in global temperature. As most species could not migrate that rapidly, and as development would stop them from colonizing many new areas, much biodiversity would be lost.
Modern drastic climate alterations could have more devastating effects on ecosystems, and the plant communities at their base, because of the rapidity with which these changes are occurring. The temperature and precipitation changes will likely have an enormous impact on vegetation, as soil moisture drops in many parts of the world. It is reasonable to predict that any large changes in patterns of precipitation would result in fundamental reorganizations of vegetation in the terrestrial landscape. However, unlike previous naturally induced changes in climate, which usually occur over millennia, current climate changes may occur in a matter of decades. Such abrupt changes leave plants, and the animals that depend on them, too little time to adapt to the new conditions or to adapt enough to be able to survive in other biomes.
Human populations also are predicted to shift due to climate change. Some estimates suggest that the number of environmental refugees could rise to 150 million by 2050.
Observable Climate Change Impacts Studies conducted annually since 2000 have shown yearly decreases in both the thickness and cover of Arctic sea ice. A study released in 2006 revealed that perennial sea ice in the Arctic, normally 3 meters (10 feet) thick or greater, has thinned to 0.3-2 meters (1-7 feet) thick. This thinner ice is far more vulnerable to melting. Perennial ice cover also is declining rapidly, with a sharp 14 percent loss between 2004 and 2005. This decrease represents an overall loss of 730,000 square kilometers (280,000 square miles). Other studies conducted in 2006 considered the extent of summer, or non-perennial, sea ice cover in the Arctic, which has been monitored by satellite since 1979. The data show that sea ice extent reached record lows in 2007 and 2012. The summer extent of sea ice was 39 percent lower in 2007 than the 1978-2001 average. The Northwest Passage, which is the sea route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean along the northern edge of North America, was ice-free for the first time in recorded history. Some scientists predict that large, navigable swaths of the Arctic Sea will be ice-free in summer by 2030.
One of the most dramatic signs of global warming is the rapid melting of most of the world's mountain glaciers. In early 2008, scientists with the United Nations Environment Programme announced that mountain glaciers were melting faster than ever as a result of global climate change. The rate of melting more than doubled from 2004-2005 to 2005-2006 at thirty closely monitored reference glaciers around the world. The melting rate for 2005-2006 was four times greater than that for 1980-1999. Globally, not all glaciers thinned during 2005-2006, but the overall trend was strongly toward accelerated melting.
The year 2012 was the ninth warmest on record globally and the hottest year on record in the United States. Despite the fact that part of the decade was spent at a solar minimum, nine of the last thirteen years since 2000 have ranked in the top ten for hottest average temperatures. In addition to 1998, every year after 2001 appears at top of the warmest year record list.
In May 2013, carbon dioxide monitoring stations at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded CO2 levels of 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time. Although CO2 monitors recorded CO2 levels of 400 ppm in the Arctic in 2012, the May 2013 results at Mauna Loa marked the first recording of CO2 of 400 ppm or higher in a temperate zone.
Scope Green Chemistry provides a unique forum for the publication of innovative research on the development of alternative sustainable technologies.
The scope of Green Chemistry is based on, but not limited to, the definition proposed by Anastas and Warner (Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, P T Anastas and J C Warner, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998). Green chemistry is the utilisation of a set of principles that reduces or eliminates the use or generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture and application of chemical products.
Green Chemistry is at the frontiers of this interdisciplinary science and publishes research that attempts to reduce the environmental impact of the chemical enterprise by developing a technology base that is inherently non-toxic to living things and the environment. Submissions on all aspects of research relating to the endeavor are welcome.
The journal publishes original and significant cutting-edge research that is likely to be of wide general appeal. Coverageincludes the following, butis not limited to:
the application of innovative technology to establish industrial procedures
the development of environmentally improved routes, synthetic methods and processes to important products
the design of new, greener and safer chemicals and materials
the use of sustainable resources
the use of biotechnology alternatives to chemistry-based solutions
methodologies and tools for measuring environmental impact and application to real world examples
chemical aspects of renewable energy
Substance Substance [sub'-stuns] is the material, or matter, of which something is made. Substances are physical things that can be seen, touched, or measured. They are made up of one or more elemental parts. Iron, aluminium, water and air are examples of substances.
Steam and liquid water are two different forms of the same chemical substance, water.
The Latin word substantia - a translation of the Greek word for the essence (ousia), and in Latin to describe the essence of using the word essentia.
Did you know when you are breathing you are actually inhaling elements? The air you breathe is made up of many elements like oxygen, nitrogen, and argon. Elements are everywhere. They are the building blocks of everything on Earth: your dog, the mountains, your car, your eyes, and, yes, even beer. In this lesson, we will discuss what an element is, how elements are written as symbols, and how they are the building blocks of all matter.
Substances Substances are distinguished by their properties – colour, smell, taste, specific gravity, greater or lesser hardness, melting and boiling points, volatility, etc.
For example, in describing the properties of sugar, one can state that sugar is a hard, brittle substance, white in colour, sweet to the taste, without odour, easily soluble in water, heavier than water and it turns brown when it is heated, etc.
In order to learn the properties of a substance one must have it in its pure form. Even small admixtures of foreign substances may change the properties of a substance. For example: pure water is both colourless and transparent, but if a drop of milk is added to a glass of water, the water becomes clouded; if a drop of ink is added, the water becomes coloured. All the enumerated properties are not those of water but they are the properties of the admixtures.
In some cases, one may see at once that a substance is heterogeneous, that is, a mixture of different substances.
Granite, cement, petroleum are examples of non-homogeneous materials; they consist of mixtures of substances. Thus, granite is a mixture of varying quantities of silica, feldspar, and mica, each of which possesses its own set of properties. Coal is not a substances too because different samples contain different relatives amounts of ash, water, carbon, and other components.
Every materials, therefore, consists of a single (pure) substance, or it is a mixture of two or more substances, each of which retains in the mixture its own characteristic properties.
Atomic structure What Is an Element?
An element is a pure substance that cannot be broken down by chemical methods into simpler components. For example, the element gold cannot be broken down into anything other than gold. If you kept hitting gold with a hammer, the pieces would get smaller, but each piece will always be gold. You can think of each kind of element having its own unique fingerprint making it different than other elements. Elements consist of only one type of atom. An atom is the smallest particle of an element that still has the same properties of that element. All atoms of a specific element have exactly the same chemical makeup, size, and mass. There are a total of 118 elements, with the most abundant elements on Earth being helium and hydrogen. Many elements occur naturally on Earth; however, some are created in a laboratory by scientists by nuclear processes. Elements Are Written as Symbols Instead of writing the whole elemental name, elements are often written as a symbol. For example, O is the symbol for oxygen, C is the symbol for carbon, and H is the symbol for hydrogen. Not all elements have just one letter as the symbol, but have two letters - like Al is the symbol for aluminum and Ni is the symbol for nickel. The first letter is always capitalized, but the second letter is not. Symbol names do not always match the letters in the elemental name. For example, Fe is the symbol for iron and Au is the symbol for gold. These symbol names are derived from the Latin names for those elements.
Radioactivity. Nuclear reactions Radioactivity was discovered in 1896 by the French scientist Henri Becquerel, while working with phosphorescent materials. These materials glow in the dark after exposure to light, and he suspected that the glow produced in cathode ray tubes by X-rays might be associated with phosphorescence. He wrapped a photographic plate in black paper and placed various phosphorescent salts on it. All results were negative until he used uranium salts. The uranium salts caused a blackening of the plate in spite of the plate being wrapped in black paper. These radiations were given the name "Becquerel Rays".
It soon became clear that the blackening of the plate had nothing to do with phosphorescence, as the blackening was also produced by non-phosphorescent salts of uranium and metallic uranium. It became clear from these experiments that there was a form of invisible radiation that could pass through paper and was causing the plate to react as if exposed to light.
At first, it seemed as though the new radiation was similar, then recently discovered X-rays. Further research by Becquerel, Ernest Rutherford, Paul Villard, Pierre Curie, Marie Curie, and others showed that this form of radioactivity was significantly more complicated. Rutherford was the first to realize that all such elements decay in accordance with the same mathematical exponential formula. Rutherford and his student Frederick Soddy were the first to realize that many decay processes resulted in the transmutation of one element to another. Subsequently, the radioactive displacement law of Fajans and Soddy was formulated to describe the products of alpha and beta decay.
The early researchers also discovered that many other chemical elements, besides uranium, have radioactive isotopes. A systematic search for the total radioactivity in uranium ores also guided Pierre and Marie Curie to isolate two new elements: polonium and radium. Except for the radioactivity of radium, the chemical similarity of radium to bariummade these two elements difficult to distinguish.
Marie and Pierre Curie’s study of radioactivity is an important factor in science and medicine. After their research on Becquerel's rays led them to the discovery on both radium and polonium, they coined the term "radioactivity." Their research on the penetrating rays in uranium and discovery of radium launched an era of using radium for treatment of cancer. Their exploration of radium could be seen as the first peaceful use of nuclear energy and the start of modern nuclear medicine.
A nuclear reaction is considered to be the process in which two nuclear particles (two nuclei or a nucleus and a nucleon) interact to produce two or more nuclear particles or X-rays (gamma rays). Thus, a nuclear reaction must cause a transformation of at least one nuclide to another. Sometimes if a nucleus interacts with another nucleus or particle without changing the nature of any nuclide, the process is referred to a nuclear scattering, rather than a nuclear reaction. Perhaps the most notable nuclear reactions are the nuclear fusion reactions of light elements that power the energy production of stars and the Sun. Natural nuclear reactions occur also in the interaction between cosmic rays and matter.
The most notable man-controlled nuclear reaction is the fission reaction which occurs in nuclear reactors. Nuclear reactors are devices to initiate and control a nuclear chain reaction, but there are not only manmade devices. The world’s first nuclear reactor operated about two billion years ago. The natural nuclear reactor formed at Oklo in Gabon, Africa, when a uranium-rich mineral deposit became flooded with groundwater that acted as a neutron moderator, and a nuclear chain reaction started. These fission reactions were sustained for hundreds of thousands of years, until a chain reaction could no longer be supported. This was confirmed by existence of isotopes of the fission-product gas xenon and by different ratio of U-235/U-238 (enrichment of natural uranium).
Natural resources and power
Natural resources Natural resources are resources that exist without the actions of humankind. This includes all valued characteristics such as magnetic, gravitational, and electrical properties and forces. On earth we include sunlight, atmosphere, water, land, air (includes all minerals) along with all vegetation and animal life that naturally subsists upon or within therefore identified characteristics and substances.
Natural resources may be further classified in different ways. Natural resources are materials and components (something that can be used) that can be found within the environment. Every man-made product is composed of natural resources (at its fundamental level). A natural resource may exist as a separate entity such as fresh water, and air, as well as a living organism such as a fish, or it may exist in an alternate form which must be processed to obtain the resource such as metal ores, mineral oil, and most forms of energy.
There is much debate worldwide over natural resource allocations; this is particularly true during periods of increasing scarcity and shortages (depletion and overconsumption of resources) but also because the exportation of natural resources is the basis for many economies (particularly for developed countries).
Some natural resources such as sunlight and air can be found everywhere, and are known as ubiquitous resources. However, most resources only occur in small sporadic areas, and are referred to as localized resources. There are very few resources that are considered inexhaustible (will not run out in foreseeable future) – these are solar radiation, geothermal energy, and air (though access to clean air may not be). The vast majority of resources are theoretically exhaustible, which means they have a finite quantity and can be depleted if managed improperly.
In recent years, the depletion of natural resources has become a major focus of governments and organizations such as the United Nations. This is evident in the UN's Agenda 21 Section Two, which outlines the necessary steps to be taken by countries to sustain their natural resources. The depletion of natural resources is considered to be a sustainable development issue. The term sustainable development has many interpretations, most notably the Brundtland Commission's 'to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs', however in broad terms it is balancing the needs of the planet's people and species now and in the future. In regards to natural resources, depletion is of concern for sustainable development as it has the ability to degrade current environments and potential to impact the needs of future generations.
The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem, it will avail us little to solve all others.
Natural resources can be consumed directly or indirectly. For instance, humans depend directly on forests for food, biomass, health, recreation and increased living comfort. Indirectly forests act as climate control, flood control, storm protection and nutrient cycling.
Raw materials Sometimes, natural resources can be used as raw materials to produce something. For instance, we can use a tree from the forest to produce timber. The timber is then used to produce wood for furniture or pulp for paper and paper products. In this scenario, the tree is the raw material.
Every item in your home was made from a raw material that came from a natural resource. The tea mug, electricity at home, bread, clothes, you name them: each of them came from a natural resource.
Natural resources come in many forms. It may be a solid, liquid or gas. It may also be organic or inorganic. It may also be metallic or non-metallic. It may be renewable or non-renewable.
Renewable and Non-renewable Resources
All natural resources fall under two main categories: renewable and non-renewable resources. The table below will help us understand this better.
Renewable resources are those that are constantly available (like water) or can be reasonably replaced or recovered, like vegetative lands. Animals are also renewable because with a bit of care, they can reproduce off springs to replace adult animals. Even though some renewable resources can be replaced, they may take many years and that does not make them renewable.
If renewable resources come from living things, (such as trees and animals) they can be called organic renewable resources.
If renewable resources come from non-living things, (such as water, sun and wind) they can be called inorganic renewable resources.
Non-renewable resources are those that cannot easily be replaced once they are destroyed. Examples include fossil fuels. Minerals are also non-renewable because even though they form naturally in a process called the rock cycle, it can take thousands of years, making it non-renewable. Some animals can also be considered non-renewable, because if people hunt for a particular species without ensuring their reproduction, they will be extinct. This is why we must ensure that we protect resources that are endangered.
Non-renewable resources can be called inorganic resources if they come from non-living things. Examples include include, minerals, wind, land, soil and rocks.
Some non-renewable resources come from living things — such as fossil fuels. They can be called organic non-renewable resources.
Metallic and Non-metallic Resources
Inorganic resources may be metallic or non-metallic. Metallic minerals are those that have metals in them. They are harder, shiny, and can be melted to form new products. Examples are iron, copper and tin. Non-metallic minerals have no metals in them. They are softer and do not shine. Examples include clay and coal.
Why are Natural Resources so important?
Natural resources are available to sustain the very complex interaction between living things and non-living things. Humans also benefit immensely from this interaction. All over the world, people consume resources directly or indirectly. Developed countries consume resources more than under-developed countries.
In what form do people consume natural resources? The three major forms include
food and drink, housing and infrastructure, and mobility. These three make up more than 60% of resource use.
Power resources Since 1933 the World Energy Council has published a report presenting statistics for reserves, and production of various resources at the global level. The World Energy Resources study group and its working groups collect and evaluate data on resources. It focuses on proven reserves, examines the evolving nature of the energy mix in countries worldwide and highlights emerging energy sources and technologies.
The World Energy Resources report is a strategic publication of the World Energy Council prepared triennially and timed for release at each World Energy Congress. It offers a uniquely global perspective on twelve major resources. This highly regarded publication is an essential tool for governments, industry, investors, NGOs and academia.
As energy is the main ‘fuel’ for social and economic development, and since energy-related activities have significant environmental impacts, it is important for decision-makers to have access to reliable and accurate data in a user-friendly format. The World Energy Council has for decades been a pioneer in the field of energy resources and every three years publishes its World Energy Resources report (WER) [formerly Survey of Energy Resources (SER)], which is released during the World Energy Congress.
The energy sector has long lead times and therefore any long-term strategy should be based on sound information and data. Detailed resource data, selected cost data and a technology overview in the main WER report provide an excellent foundation for assessing different energy options based on factual information supplied by the WEC members from all over the world.
The work is divided into twelve resource-specific work groups, called Knowledge Networks; complemented by a further three groups investigating the cross-cutting issues of, carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency and energy storage. These Knowledge Networks provide updated data for the website and publications, as well as working on timely deep-dives with a resource focus.
An example of a magnetic force is the pull that attracts metals to the magnet. Now, the electrical field induced causes waves, called electromagnetic waves, and they can travel through a vacuum (air), particles or solids. These waves resemble the ripple (mechanical) waves you see when you drop a rock into a swimming pool, but with electromagnetic waves, you do not see them, but you often can see the effect of it. The energy in the electromagnetic waves is what we call radiant energy. There are different kinds of electromagnetic waves and all of them have different wavelengths, properties, frequencies and power, and all interact with matter differently. The entire wave system from the lowest frequency to the highest frequency is known as the electromagnetic spectrum. The shorter the wavelength, the higher its frequency and vice versa. White light, for example, is a form of radiant energy, and its frequency forms a tiny bit of the entire electromagnetic spectrum. What is radiant energy?
When radiant energy comes into contact with matter, it changes the properties of that matter. For example, when micro-waves (which form part of the entire spectrum) are set off in a microwave oven, the water molecules in the food are charged and caused to vibrate billions of times per second, generating heat, that causes the food to cook. The microwave oven works with the concept of radiant energy (electromagnetic waves).
Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be saved in various forms. One way to store it is in the form of chemical energy in a battery. When connected in a circuit, energy stored in the battery is released to produce electricity.
If you look at a battery, it will have two ends: a positive terminal and a negative terminal. If you connect the two terminals with wire, a circuit is formed. Electrons will flow through the wire and a current of electricity is produced. Energy can also be stored in many other ways. Batteries, gasoline, natural gas, food, water towers, a wound up alarm clock, a Thermos flask with hot water and even pooh are all stores of energy. They can be transferred into other kinds of energy.
Ecosystems and sustainable development
Ecosystems and populations The term ecosystem (or ecological system) refers to communities of organisms and their environment. Ecosystems can vary greatly in size. Small ecosystems occur in tidal pools, in a back yard compost pile, or in the rumen of an individual cow. Larger ecosystems can include a lake or forest. Landscape-scale ecosystems comprise still-larger regions. Ultimately, all of Earth's life and its physical environment represents an ecosystem known as the biosphere.
With so much variation in what constitutes an ecosystem, it is useful to define the barrier of the system that is being studied. Depending on the specific interests of an ecologist, an ecosystem might be delineated as the shoreline vegetation around a lake, or perhaps the entire water body, or maybe the lake plus all the land that drains into the lake (a watershed).Ecosystems take various forms of energy and simple inorganic materials, and create relatively focused combinations of these, occurring as the total amount of biological material (the biomass) of plants, animals, and microorganisms. Solar electromagnetic energy, captured by the chlorophyll of green plants, is a common energy source of many ecosystems. The most important of the simple inorganic materials are carbon dioxide, water, and ions or small molecules containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and some other nutrients. Virtually all ecosystems (and life itself) rely on inputs of solar energy to drive the physiological processes by which biomass is synthesized from simple molecules. To carry out their various functions, ecosystems also need access to nutrients. Unlike energy, which can only flow through an ecosystem, nutrients can be utilized repeatedly. Through biogeochemical cycles, nutrients are recycled from dead biomass back into living organisms. One of the greatest challenges facing humans and their civilization is understanding the fundamentals of ecosystem organization—how they function and how they are structured. This knowledge is absolutely necessary if humans are to design systems that allow a sustainable utilization of the products and services of ecosystems. An example of a disastrous influence of humans on an ecosystem is the collapse of the cod fishery on the Grand Banks. This expanse of the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Coast of Maine and Atlantic Canada was once home to seemingly unlimited numbers of cod. However, over centuries destructive fishing practices and overfishing decimated the cod stock to the point where the species became nearly extinct. As of 2013, cod stocks have not recovered to sustainable levels.
A population comprises all the individuals of a given species in a specific area or region at a certain time. Its significance is more than that of a number of individuals because not all individuals are identical. Populations contain genetic variation within themselves and between other populations. Even fundamental genetic characteristics such as hair color or size may differ slightly from individual to individual. More importantly, not all members of the population are equal in their ability to survive and reproduce.
Community refers to all the populations in a specific area or region at a certain time. Its structure involves many types of interactions among species. Some of these involve the acquisition and use of food, space, or other environmental resources. Others involve nutrient cycling through all members of the community and mutual regulation of population sizes. In all of these cases, the structured interactions of populations lead to situations in which individuals are thrown into life or death struggles. In general, ecologists believe that a community that has a high diversity is more complex and stable than a community that has a low diversity. This theory is founded on the observation that the food webs of communities of high diversity are more interconnected. Greater interconnectivity causes these systems to be more resilient to disturbance. If a species is removed, those species that relied on it for food have the option to switch to many other species that occupy a similar role in that ecosystem. In a low diversity ecosystem, possible substitutes for food may be non-existent or limited in abundance.
Ecosystems are dynamic entities composed of the biological community and the a biotic environment. An ecosystem's a biotic and biotic composition and structure is determined by the state of a number of interrelated environmental factors. Changes in any of these factors (for example: nutrient availability, temperature, light intensity, grazing intensity, and species population density) will result in dynamic changes to the nature of these systems. For example, a fire in the temperate deciduous forest completely changes the structure of that system. There are no longer any large trees, most of the mosses, herbs, and shrubs that occupy the forest floor are gone, and the nutrients that were stored in the biomass are quickly released into the soil, atmosphere and hydrologic system. After a short time of recovery, the community that was once large mature trees now becomes a community of grasses, herbaceous species, and tree seedlings.
What is an Ecosystem?
An ecosystem includes all of the living things (plants, animals and organisms) in a given area, interacting with each other, and also with their non-living environments (weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, and atmosphere). In an ecosystem, each organism has its' own niche or role to play.
Consider a small puddle at the back of your home. In it, you may find all sorts of living things, from microorganisms to insects and plants. These may depend on non-living things like water, sunlight, turbulence in the puddle, temperature, atmospheric pressure and even nutrients in the water for life. (Click here to see the five basic needs of living things)
This is very complex, wonderful interaction of living things and their environment has been the foundations of energy flow and recycle of carbon and nitrogen.
Anytime a ‘stranger’ (living thing(s) or external factor such as rise in temperature) is introduced to an ecosystem, it can be disastrous to that ecosystem. This is because the new organism (or factor) can distort the natural balance of the interaction and potentially harm or destroy the ecosystem. Click to read on ecosystem threats (opens in new page).
Usually, biotic members of an ecosystem, together with their biotic factors depend on each other. This means the absence of one member or one biotic factor can affect all parties of the ecosystem.
Unfortunately, ecosystems have been disrupted, and even destroyed by natural disasters such as fires, floods, storms and volcanic eruptions. Human activities have also contributed to the disturbance of many ecosystems and biomes.
Scales of Ecosystems Ecosystems come in indefinite sizes. It can exist in a small area such as underneath a rock, a decaying tree trunk, or a pond in your village, or it can exist in large forms such as an entire rain forest. Technically, the Earth can be called a huge ecosystem.
The illustration above shows an example of a small (decaying tree trunk) ecosystem
To make things simple, let us classify ecosystems into three main scales.
A small scale ecosystem such as a pond, puddle, tree trunk, under a rock etc.
A medium scale ecosystem such as a forest or a large lake.
A very large ecosystem or collection of ecosystems with similar biotic and a biotic factors such as an entire rainforest with millions of animals and trees, with many different water bodies running through them.
Sustainable development. Nature protection Sustainable development is a process for meeting human development goals while sustaining the ability of natural systems to continue to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depends. While the modern concept of sustainable development is derived most strongly from the 1987 Brundtland Report, it is rooted in earlier ideas about sustainable forest management and twentieth century environmental concerns. As the concept developed, it has shifted to focus more on economic development, social development and environmental protection.
Sustainable development is the organizing principle for sustaining finite resources necessary to provide for the needs of future generations of life on the planet. It is a process that envisions a desirable future state for human societies in which living conditions and resource-use continue to meet human needs without undermining the "integrity, stability and beauty" of natural biotic systems.
The Blue Marble, photographed from Apollo 17 in 1972, quickly became an icon of environmental conservation.
Sustainability can be defined as the practice of maintaining processes of productivity indefinitely—natural or human made—by replacing resources used with resources of equal or greater value without degrading or endangering natural biotic systems. Sustainable development ties together concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems with the social, political, and economic challenges faced by humanity. Sustainability science is the study of the concepts of sustainable development and environmental science. There is an additional focus on the present generations' responsibility to regenerate, maintain and improve planetary resources for use by future generations.