what is environmental science? webquest environmental science

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  • Slide 1
  • What is Environmental Science? Webquest Environmental Science
  • Slide 2
  • Webquest Learning Targets (What you will learn) (Hopefully) Define environmental science and compare environmental science with ecology. List and Define the five major fields of study that contribute to environmental science. Classify environmental problems into three major categories. Increase your environmental science swag.
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  • What Is Environmental Science? Environmental Science: Study of how humans affect their BIOTIC and ABIOTIC surroundings.
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  • What does that really mean? Our biotic surroundings include all of the living organisms on Earth. Our abiotic surroundings include the non-living aspects of Earth like rocks, soil, atmosphere, water, climate, energy, and our atmosphere. Together, our biotic and abiotic surroundings make up the BIOSPHERE. The biosphere contains the combined portions of the Earth in which all life exists, including land, water, and the atmosphere. The biosphere extends from 11 kilometers below the oceans all the way up to 8 kilometers about the Earths surface.
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  • Environmental Science vs. Ecology Environmental science involves many fields of study, including ecology. Ecology is the study of interactions of living organisms with one another and their environment.
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  • Goals of Environmental Science Major goal of environmental science is to understand and solve environmental problems. Environmental scientists study 2 main types of interactions between humans and the environment: 1)How our actions change the environment. 2)How we use natural resources.
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  • Fields of Study Used by Environmental Scientists
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  • Scientists as Citizens, Citizens as Scientists Who is usually the first person to recognize an environmental problem? The observations of nonscientists (regular, everyday people!) are the first steps toward addressing an environmental problem. Why do you think this is???
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  • Environmental Problems Earth is a closed system. Some resources are limited and as populations grow, they are used more rapidly. We may also produce wastes faster than they can be disposed. Environmental problems on different scales: local, regional, or global. A local example would be your community discussing where to build a new landfill. A regional example would be a polluted river 1000 miles away affecting the regions water. A global example would be the depletion of the ozone layer.
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  • Comprehension Check 1. Give an example of a global environmental problem. 2. Give an example of a local environmental problem. 3. Could the local problem be a part of the global problem? If so, how?
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  • What are our Main Environmental Problems? Environmental problems can generally be grouped into three categories: 1)Resource Depletion 2)Pollution 3)Loss of Biodiversity
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  • Resource Depletion Natural Resources: any natural materials used by humans, such as, water, petroleum, minerals, forests, and animals. Classified as either a renewable or nonrenewable. Renewable resources can be replaced relatively quickly by natural process. Nonrenewable resources form at a much slower rate than they are consumed. Recyclable vs. Renewable
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  • Pollution Pollution: negative change in natural environment caused by introduction of substances harmful to living organisms or by excessive wastes, heat, noise, or radiation
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  • Pollution Two main types of pollutants: Biodegradable pollutants Can be broken down by natural processes and include materials such as newspaper Are a problem only when they accumulate faster than they can be broken down Nonbiodegradable pollutants Cannot be broken down by natural processes and include materials such as mercury They can build up to dangerous levels in the environment
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  • Loss of Biodiversity Biodiversity: variety of organisms in a given area or the genetic variation within a population These organisms can be considered natural resources. Loss of Biodiversity Video
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  • Comprehension Check 1.How do scientists define a nonrenewable resource? A.a resource that is used by humans B.a resource that can never be replaced C.a resource that can be replaced relatively quickly D.a resource that takes more time to replace than to deplete
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  • Comprehension Check 2.Which of the following is an important field for environmental science? A.ecology B.economics C.meteorology D. political science
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  • Comprehension Check 3.Which of the following phrases describes the term biodiversity? A.species that have become extinct B.the animals that live in an area C.species that look different from one another D.the number and variety of species that live in an area
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  • Comprehension Check 4.Energy from the sun, water, air, wood, and soil are all examples of what kind of energy? F.ecological energy G.organic energy H.renewable energy I.solar energy
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  • Lets reflect on what weve learned! 1.What were the learning targets of this webquest? 2.Can you complete the learning targets? (Try to answer them now!) 3.What are 3 things you have learned while doing this webquest?


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