Environmental Systems and Sustainability First Partial Study Guide Please note that this is only a guide intended to HELP you study, but it is not intended to cover every specific detail of the topics we saw during the partial. You need to consider the explanations in class, the presentations and videos in Blackboard, your notes and the following chapters from your textbook: 1, 3, 5, 7 and the “Systems and Models” document found in Blackboard. Unit 1: Sustainable Systems and Environment What is sustainability?

Sustainability is the ability of the earth’s various natural systems and human cultural yester and economies to survive and adapt to changing environmental conditions indefinitely. It is about being able to do more with less. Describe the three basic principles of sustainability Solar energy Warms earth Provides energy for plants to make food for other organisms Powers winds Powers the hydrological cycle – which includes flowing water Provides energy: wind and moving water can be turned into electricity Biodiversity Large variety of species Many ecosystems Species and systems renew soil and purify air and water.

Chemical cycling Natural processes recycle nutrients Recycling is necessary because there is a fixed supply of these nutrients on earth Nutrients cycle from living organisms to the nonliving environment and back Chemical cycles are necessary to sustain life Describe the concept of ecological footprint. Ecological footprint is the amount of biologically productive land and water needed to supply a person or country with renewable resources and to recycle the waste and pollution produced by such resource use.

Discuss human ‘s use of resources and production of wastes wealth results In Nell levels AT consumption Ana waste AT resources. Average American consumes 30 times as much as the average consumer in India. “Shop-until- you-drop” affluent consumers are afflicted with a disorder called affluence. Affluence has provided better education, scientific research, and technological solutions, which result in improvements in environmental quality (e. G. , safe drinking water). What is a system and give its characteristics A system is an assemblage of parts and their relationships between them which together constitute an entity or whole.

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The interdependent components are connected through the transfer of energy and matter with all parts linked together ND affecting each other. Identify the components of a system, and use them in examples Systems consist of Storages (of matter or energy) Flows (inputs into the system, outputs from the system) Processes (which transfer or transform energy or matter) Feedback mechanisms that maintain stability and equilibrium System diagrams consist of boxes which show storages and arrows which show flows. 1. Explain positive and negative feedback Positive feedback occurs when a change in the state of a system leads to an additional and increased change. Thus an increase in the size of one or more of the yeast’s outputs feeds back into the system and results in self-sustained change that alters the state of a system away from its original equilibrium towards instability. Negative feedback mechanisms work by reducing the effect of one of the system’s components. This is a self-regulating method of control leading to the maintenance of a steady-state equilibrium. 1. 8 Distinguish between open, closed and isolated systems.

Open systems – Both matter and energy are exchanged across the boundaries of the system Closed systems – Energy but not matter is exchanged across the boundaries f the system. Isolated system – Neither energy nor matter is exchanged across the boundaries of the system. 1. 9 Distinguish between biotic and biotic components Biotic Water Nutrients Rocks Heat Biotic Plants Animals Microbes 1. 10 Understand nutrient cycling and the flow of energy Elements and compounds move through air, water, soil, rock and living organisms in biochemical, or nutrient, cycles. . 11 Describe the cycles of Water, and Carbon Water cycle Solar energy evaporates water; the water returns as precipitation (rain or snow), goes wrought organisms, goes into bodies of water, and evaporates again. Water is filtered and partly purified as it moves through the hydrological cycle. Water can be stored as ice in glaciers or in underground aquifers. Humans alter the water cycle in 3 ways: Withdrawing freshwater at faster rates than nature can replenish it. Clearing vegetation which increases runoff and decreases replenishment of groundwater supplies.

Draining wetlands which interferes with flood control. Carbon cycle Carbon is the basic building block of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, DNA, and other compounds. Carbon circulates through the biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. Producers, consumers and decomposer circulate carbon in the biosphere. Fossil fuels contain carbon. Humans are altering atmospheric carbon dioxide mostly by our use of fossil fuels and our destruction of the carbon-absorbing vegetation. 1. 12 Define the term atrophic level. The atrophic level of an organism is the position it occupies in the food chain.


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