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Geology and Human Affairs – Week 1The Science of Geology Geology: Science that peruses an understanding of the Earth1. Compositions (aspect of chemistry) 2. Structure (aspects of physics, natural laws)3. History of earth and its life (aspects of biology, understanding of life forms)Environmental Geology: Use geological information to solve conflicts in land use, degradation, resource utilization, etc.Components of Environmental GeologyThe application of geology to these problems includes the study of: 1. Earth materials: minerals, rocks, soil2. Hazards: floods, earthquakes, coastal erosion, landslides, volcanic activity 3. Landuse planning and environmental impact4. Hydrologic processes: surface rivers, groundwater, water pollutionEarths Place in Space Earth: Geospatially isolated in the universeOrigin of earths system: Lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere Facing limited resources: Energy, soil, freshwater, forests, ocean fisheries, rangelandsEnvironmental ScienceEnvironment: A complex system with physical, biological, geological, ecological, and geopolitical aspects. Requires multidisciplinary research: Environmental geology, environmental chemistry, global climate change, biological diversity and ecosystems, environmental economics, environmental ethics, environmental law, etc.
Geology and Human Affairs – Week 1Environmental crisis: Population, environmental hazards, resource limitations and contaminations, environment ownership (both in space and over time)Environmental GeologyEnvironmental geology: Applied geology Environmental geology knowledge: To better understand environmental problems Geologic knowledge for problem solving Minimize environmental degradation Optimize the use of resources to maximize environmental benefits for the societyEarth: Source for habitats and resources, waste disposal, environment and health issues Better understand the natural hazardsLand and water resources: Use, planning, and management Geologic aspect in every environmental conditionFundamental Concepts Five fundamental concepts: 1. Population growth 2. Sustainability3. Earth as a system 4. Hazardous Earth processes 5. Scientific knowledge and values
Geology and Human Affairs – Week 1Other important concepts are related to environmental geologyFinite resources, obligation to futureHuman Population GrowthThe number one environmental problem: increasing in human population, nearly 7 billion by the year 2010 Exponential growth: (Population bomb?) a. Growth rate (G): Measured as a percentage b. Doubling time (D): the time it takes for whatever is growing to double, D=70/G Population is already above a comfortable “carrying capacity” for the planet: using more resources, need more land space, generate more waste Earth is our only suitable habitat: resources are limited, some are renewable like water, but many, such as fuels and minerals, are not.SustainabilityThe developments that are economically viable, not destructive to the environment which ensures that future generation will have equal access to the resources that our planet offers. Sustainability is an environmental objective: A. Expectation and reality
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