Flashcards in Unit 1 Deck (116):
An Isolated system exchanges
No matter or energy, they also do not exist naturally
In a closed system
Everything is recycled
A closed system exchanges
Only energy can move within the system and no matter
A boundary is something that separates a system from its surroundings
When energy or matter flows and changes location, but not state
An open system exchanges
Both matter and energy can move as inputs or outputs
open systems that exchange matter and energy with their environment
When energy or matter flows and changes its state (chemical nature, state, energy)
1st law of thermodynamics
Principle of conservation (no energy lost or gained)
Strengths of models
Easier to work with than reality, Can be used to predict the effect of a change of input, Can be applied to other similar situations, Helps observe patterns on a much smaller scale, Can be used to visualise really small things
Weaknesses of models
Accuracy can be argued as it is only a simplified version of the model, If the assumptions we make are wrong, the model will then be wrong, Predictions may be inaccurate due to the argument in the first point
What is feedback?
The return of part of the output of a system as an input, so as to affect succeeding outputs
The 2nd law of thermodynamics
- "the total entropy of an isolated system always increases over time."
- when two systems are combined the sum of their entropies will not be more than their final combined entropy
- the second law of thermodynamics "places constraints" on the transfer of heat energy and efficiencies of heat engines
- when two systems come together, they will reach a balance
The use and management of resources that allows for full natural replacement of the resources exploited and full recovery of the ecosystems affected by their extraction and use
Millenium ecosystem experiment
Funded by the UN in 2001, The MEA is a research experiment with the focus on the way in which ecosystems have changed over the last decades and predicts the changes that will occur.
An ecological overshoot is when humanity has ‘overshot’ its sustainable level of resource exploitation
The produce/goods/services created by the environment to provide humans in order to produce natural capital
Sustainable development has been defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”
Energy that is not used
3rd law of thermodynamics
Entropy of a system approaches a constant as temperature approaches 0
What is an environmental impact assessment ?
A report which discusses environmental factors considering a range of parties while analysing a potential project and predicting the ultimate environmental impacts as a result of the project
A term used for natural resources that can produce a sustainable natural income of goods or services
Environmental impact assesment
Strategic environmental assessment (SEAs)
Measure social and environmental costs of a development - this may be subjective on an inaccurate prediction
To explain what an EIA is ,Identification of the environmental impacts, how these could be developed, Put forward a plan to manage the surrounding environment, Make clients aware of any urgent problems that must be aware of
description of the pre-project environment, A description of the process of the project taking place throughout construction elements and the many processes it will insure once completed, Display a list of environmental laws that may need consideration
Weaknesses of EIAs
Different countries have different standards - makes each assessment hard to compare by country, no boundaries to determine how detailed the assessments have to be
It is difficult to consider every individual (some might be missed)
What does an EIA include
The background and reasoning for the project,
The overall effects of the environment as a result of the , project being carried out, Outlines a range of policies, Summarises causes and solutions, Suggests an action plan to be carried out before during and after proposed adaptations/construction
When were EIAs introduced?
They were introduced by the US government when the national environment policy act was passed - since then may other countries are now using
Are models used to estimate the demands that the human population places on the environment
Strengths of EIAs
They are able to offer insight into the realistic effects that a project may have
They show both positives and negatives and allow for options
Good way to plan ahead and understand the potential impacts on many different groups (government, environment, humans)
Identification of impacts (scoping)
Predicting the scale of potential impacts
Limiting the effect of impacts to acceptable limits (mitigation)
A non technical summary for those who will not understand the terms of the official report
Why are EIAs used?
Creates a plan for a project to be carried out yet to protect the environmental area around it, They make sure that it is taking place in a practical location, and look at how things can be ru an eco-friendly way, they look at the technological aspects of the potential project and if they have an overall impact on the environment, They provide a report addressing the ways that a plan could be changed to have impacts become more environmentally friendly, Notes how the project will impact others within the area. EG: local residents, and businesses
What could an EIA be used for?
Airport and port developments
Large scale housing
Your environmental worldview is formed by:
are models used to estimate the demands that the human population places on the environment
An ecocentric worldview....
places ecology and nature as central to humanity
Characteristics of an ecocentric world view
Greater self-sufficiency of societies
Respects the rights of nature and the dependence of humans on nature
Holistic view of life which is earth centred
Extreme ecocentrists are deep ecologists
An anthropocentric world view....
believes that humans must sustainably manage the global system
Characteristics of an anthropocentric world view
For the use of taxes, environmental regulations, and legislations, is more human centred, Believes humans are not dependent upon nature but nature is there to benefit humankind
believe that the global technological developments will provide solutions to the world’s environmental issues
The characteristics of a technocentric world view
Environmental managers are technocentrics, Extreme technocentrics are also known as cornucopians
Something that has a negative effect on the human environment or ecosystem. Examples of pollution include: light pollution, sound pollution, energy pollution, heat pollution, and air pollution.
Organic pollution, contains carbon, tends to be living and has the same negative effect on the environment examples include: Invasive species, sewage, soil erosion, the Kudzu
Non organic pollution
This includes plastics or heavy metals
Point source pollution
A point source describes a source of pollution that is easy to locate and manage
Non point source pollution
When pollution is harder to stop as it may be caused by multiple sources
A being that is unnatural to an ecosystem and ends up likely to harm or harming the environment
Pollutants can be released in the form of:
- Matter (gases, liquids, solids) organic (contains carbon atoms) or inorganic
- Energy (sound, light heat)
- Living organisms (invasive species or biological agents)
Active on emission (eg: carbon monoxide from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels) which causes headaches and fatigue and can kill
undergoing physical or chemical changes (eg sulphuric acid forms when sulphur trioxide reacts with water), as humans have been on earth we have polluted to a greater or lesser extent
POPs (Persistent organic pollutants)
Man made pesticides s
Not soluble in water
High molecular weight
Highly soluble in fats and liquids (can pass through cell membranes)
Halogenated molecules, often with chloride
is when large amounts of a pollutant are released causing mass harm
results from the long term release of a pollutant but in small amounts, it is serious because:
It is often undetected for a significant amount of time
It is more difficult to clean up
It spreads widely
is often chronic causing non-specific respiratory diseases
Pollution can be managed in 3 main ways
By changing the human activity which produces it
By regulating or preventing the release of the pollutant
By working to clean up or resolve damaged ecosystems
Record changes in an abiotic or biotic factor which are the result of pollutants
Indirect measurements of pollutants include:
Measuring abiotic factors that change (eg: the oxygen content of water)
Recording the presence or absence of indicator species are species that are only found if the conditions are polluted (maggot in water) or unpolluted (leads lichens on trees)
Chronic pollution results
from the long term release of a pollutant but in small amounts
Chronic pollution is highly serious because
It is often undetected for a significant amount of time
It is more difficult to clean up
It spreads widely
POPs.... (Persistent organic pollutants)
break down and remain in the environment for a long time causing potential effects on it
When pollution was a lot lower
the environment could cope with these pollutants
an inevitable side effect of the economic development that gives humans a better standard of living than what we had
Increased since the industrial revolution
What is the Gaia hypothesis?
That the earth is a plant sized organism and the atmosphere is its organ that regulates it and connect all its parts
Direction and monitoring of air pollution
Direct measurements record the amount of a pollutant in water, air or soil
Who was involved in the environmental movement
Influential individuals, independent pressure groups, businesses, governments, intergovernmental bodies
Individuals that often use media publications to raise issues and/or start debate
Do not persist in the environment or break down quickly
They may be broken down by decomposed organisms or physical processes (light or heat)
Examples: soap, plastic bags, glyphosate (used to kill weeds, and is degraded and broken down by soil organisms
Independent pressure groups
IPGs use awareness campaigns to reflect change. They influence the public who then influence the government, businesses, and organisations. They are often called Non government organisations or NGOs
Corporate businesses (Including multinational or transnational coperations)
They are involved as they are supplying consumer demand, using resources and creating environmental impact.
Make policy decisions including environmental ones (eg: permission for land use), apply laws/legislations to manage the country, meet with other governments to consider international agreements
(UN) IGs have recelo become influential by holding earth summits to bring together governments, NGOs, and other operations to consider environmental and world development
The environmental movement originated in
What is an environmental value system? (EVS)
An EVS is a worldview or paradigm that shapes the way and individual or group of people perceive and evaluate environmental issues.
That the world has infinite resources to benefit humanity and that we will be able to solve any problem with our inventiveness and technology
Direct measurements of water + soil pollution include
Nitrates or phosphates
Amount of organic matter or bacteria
Heavy metal concentrations
Environmental managers believe....
The world is a garden that needs tending to - (The stewardship worldview) how we have an ethical duty to protect and nurture the earth, and the government need to protect from human exploitation of resources
The Ecocentric worldview....
Believes that the other views are too simple when we are unaware of how every element of the planet works. "We shall either fall of the treadmill of growth or find it stops beneath us"
Biocentrics believe that....
We are just one species, no more important than others on the planet
Summary of the ecocentric view:
Earth is here for all species, resources are limited, we should manage growth so it's only beneficial, we must work with the earth, we need earth more than it needs us
Place more value on nature than humanity
A system can be....
Living or non living
What is the biosphere
A fragile skin on planet earth including the air (atmosphere), rocks (lithosphere), and water (hydrosphere)
What is a system?
A set of inter-related parts working together to make a complex whole
Both inputs and outputs....
Can be stored within the ecosystem
Closed systems are....
Extremely rare in nature, and mostly constructed for experimental purposes
Do not exist naturally although it is possible to think of the entire universe as an isolated system
The work or output produced by a process divided by the amount of energy consumed being the input to the process
Negative feedback loops
When stabilising occurs and when the output of a process reverses the operation of the same process to reduce change
Steady state equilibrium
A characteristic of open systems where there are continuous inputs/outputs of energy and matter but the system remains in a constant state
The tendency if a system to return to its original state following a disturbance
A measure of the amount of disorder in a system
A complex system has
Many feedback links, flows, and storages
When there is no change in state overtime. When it is disturbed, it will adopt a new equilibrium
In an unstable equilibrium ....
The system returns to a new equilibrium after disturbance
In a stable equilibrium ....
The system returns to the same equilibrium after disturbance
Stabilises steady state equilibria
A positive feedback loop....
Changes a system to a new state, destabilises as they increase change
A negative feedback loop....
Returns to its original state, stabilises as it reduces change
A feedback loop is....
When information that starts a reaction may input more information starting another reaction
Results in an increase or decrease which Amplifies changes driving the system to a tipping point where a new equilibrium can be adopted
Resilience of a system mesures how it responds as a result of a disturbance. High resilience is good, maintaining stability
An ecological tipping point is reached....
When an ecosystem experiences a shift to a new state in which there is significant changes to biodiversity and provided services
Tipping point characteristics:
Positive feedback, Long lasting changes which are hard to reverse, the threshold point can't be predicted, a fast shift in ecological state
What effects ecosystem resilience?
The more diverse an ecosystem, the more resilient it tends to be as there are more interactions
A society that supports itself by depicting essential forms of natural capital is....
An unsustainable society
Cost benefit analysis
measures impacts of a development or change of land use into monetary values
The more disordered the system, the higher the entropy
Entropy in thermodynamics
When heat flows between systems, their entropy increases
Entropy is related to heatflow
Entropy within systems....
Entropy is the inherent disorder of a system
Heat will flow....
From something hotter to something colder, not the other way around