Environmental Science Notes (08/29/16- 09/02/16)
Environmental Science Notes (08/29/16- 09/02/16) Env 1301
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hannah Fretheim on Sunday September 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Env 1301 at Baylor University taught by Trey Brown in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 63 views.
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Date Created: 09/04/16
Environmental Science 1301 08/29/16- 09/02/16: Chapter 1 and class notes Environment- Includes all of the physical, chemical and biological things that impact an organism - Biotic- things in an environment that are living (biological) - Abiotic- things in an environment that are non-living (chemical and physical) - Humans also have a cultural aspect to their environments Environmental Science studies how humans and their environments interact with each other and attempts to minimize the negative effects of humans on their environments. The Scientific Method: - Observation- Includes gathering and recording information about the natural world, can be quantitative or qualitative - Hypothesis- a proposed explanation to a research question which is often based on observations and tested through experimentation - Experimentation- controlled testing of hypotheses o A typical experiment contains one or more variables which are manipulated by the researcher (independent variables) while the change in non-manipulated (dependent) variables is recorded. o Laboratory experiments- experiments that take place in a very controlled environment o Field experiments- experiments that take place outside of the lab, usually the researcher will control one variable while others vary as they normally do o Control group- a group that remains unaffected by the experiment and is used for comparison - Models- representations of phenomena which are hard to study until they are put on a scale that is easier to understand and work with o Models can be used in studies which involve things that are too large or small to work with directly Theory- an explanation of things occurring in nature that has been repeatedly supported by scientific studies, a hypothesis can become a theory once it has been repeatedly supported Stratosphere- the part of the earth’s atmosphere between 10km and 50km above sea level There are many things that can lead to scientific uncertainty: - Measurement error- could be a problem with the tools used to measure and record data or a human error - There will always be some uncertainty, but it can be reduced through continued study Precautionary principle- deals with uncertainty by taking precautions whenever there is potential harm to humans or the environment Ethics in research: - Researchers must be careful to report data as accurately as possible - Data must never be falsified (alter outcome of results), fabricated (results are made up), or plagiarized - Importance of peer review- before they are published, studies are reviewed by other scientists in the field to ensure that the studies were done well and honestly - Avoid conflicts of interest- other interests a researcher may have that could affect their ability to be objective Important people throughout history concerned with human-environmental relationship: - Plato and Aristotle both wrote about how to avoid unnecessary environmental damage. - Mencius in China wrote about the deforestation that he witnessed. - Benjamin Franklin wanted to reduce pollution in Philadelphia and petitioned for tanneries to move so they could not dump waste into Dock Creek. He also wrote about the negative effect that environmental damage in general was having on large groups of people. - Thomas Malthus predicted that at a certain point the environment would run out of resources to serve the human population. - George Perkins Marsh was the first American to write an environmental science book. Due to his observations, he claimed that human influence could turn good lands into deserts. - John Muir worked to preserve Yosemite Valley and other areas in California. He supported the preservation ethic which seeks to preserve ecosystems in the state they are currently in. - Gifford Pinchot was the chief of the U.S. Forest Service and supported the conservation ethic. The conservation ethic states that resources should be used in the most efficient way they can be so as to benefit as many people as possible. - U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt believed in conserving natural resources and preserved large amounts of U.S. land. - Rachel Carson warned people about the use of pesticides, particularly DDT, because of the harm done to wildlife and potentially to humans. She wrote about this in her book Silent Spring. Conservation- includes preserving and restoring species and ecosystems as well as finding efficient ways to use resources As the human population grows, our impact on the environment becomes more global. Ecological footprint- The effect of a human population on its environment as calculated by 6 factors. 1. Area of forest required to absorb the carbon dioxide in the air. 2. Area of cropland needed to provide for human and animal needs. 3. Area of grazing land needed to support livestock used for human food and products. 4. Area of forest used to make wood products. 5. Area of built-up land covered by man-made infrastructures. 6. Area of underwater ecosystems used as fishing grounds. - The ecological footprint only considers our use of renewable resources. - The human population’s ecological footprint requires significantly more land and resources than the earth has available. Renewable resources- Natural resources which are replaced naturally and relatively quickly which makes them unlimited (at least theoretically) if used carefully. Nonrenewable resources- Natural resources that do not replace themselves quickly and are therefore limited, includes fossil fuels Environmental ethics- deals with moral issues related to human-environmental interaction - 3 main perspectives of environmental ethics: o Anthropocentric- only concerned with environmental impact on humans o Biocentric- concerned about all things that are living o Ecocentric- considers all parts of an ecosystem, concerned about all living and non-living parts of nature, Land ethic- Aldo Leopold’s ecocentric view Environmental justice- seeks to equally involve all people in environmental decision-making - Those of lower socioeconomic status and other disadvantaged groups are often the most negatively affected by environmental issues such as waste dumps. - Movement is considered to have begun after an incident in North Carolina involving where toxic waste was to be dumped. People protested the dumping which was in an area where the population was poor and majority African-American. Religious and cultural beliefs may also impact how people treat the environment. However, many belief systems agree that the environment should be taken care of. Sustainability- using resources in a way that will preserve them for people of all generations Environmentalism- movement that uses education and political action to protect the environment How to recognize Pseudoscience: - Psychobabble- things that sound scientific but are really not (or are used in a way that is inaccurate) - Majority of evidence is based on people’s personal anecdotes - Big, unrealistic claims are made without much evidence - Claims are made which cannot possibly be falsified - Does not line up with findings from other research studies - Research was not peer reviewed - Claims will not change even if there is evidence to the contrary (no self-correction) Important points about Science: - Scientists do not seek to prove or disprove anything. Instead, data gathered from experiments is said to support or not support a hypothesis. - Science only deals with things in the natural world which can be measured and tested. - It is important to acknowledge our own bias and try to be as objective as possible. - Experiments must be repeated and conducted by more than one scientist. - Scientists must be willing to self-correct by updating or changing their theories in response to new evidence. - Data should be gathered and organized in a way that other people can understand and use.
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