Chapter 1 Book Answers Answers to Thinking About the Environment End of Chapter Questions: 1. Why does a single child born in the United States have a greater effect on the environment than 12 or more children born in a developing country? Ans

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Nov 9, 2013 (3 years and 5 months ago)

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Chapter 1 Book Answers


Answers to Thinking About the Environment End of Chapter Questions:

1. Why does a single child born in the United States have a greater effect on the environment
than 12 or more children born in a developing country?

Ans
: A single child born in a highly developed country such as the United States causes a greater impact on
the environment and on resource depletion than do 12 or more children born in a developing country. Many
natural resources are used to provide the auto
mobiles, air conditioners, disposable diapers, cell phones,
DVD players, computers, clothes, newspapers, athletic shoes, furniture, boats, and other “comforts” of life
in highly developed nations. Yet such consumer goods represent a small fraction of the t
otal materials and
energy required to produce and distribute these goods. The disproportionately large consumption of
resources by the United States affects natural resources and the environment as much as or more than the
population explosion in the devel
oping world.


2. Do you think it is possible for the world to sustain its present population of more than 6
billion indefinitely? Why or why not?

Ans
: The current global ecological footprint of each person is about 2.3 hectares (5.7 acres), which means
we
humans have overshot our allotment. We can see the short
-
term results around us

forest destruction,
degradation of croplands, loss of biological diversity, declining ocean fisheries, and local water shortages.
The long
-
term outlook, if we do not seriously
address our consumption of natural resources, is potentially
disastrous. Therefore, it is not likely that we can maintain 6 billion people indefinitely.


3. In this chapter we said the current global ecological footprint is 1.9 hectares. Do you think it
wi
ll be higher, lower, or the same in 15 years? Explain your answer.

Ans
: Answers will vary


4. How are the concepts of ecological footprint and the IPAT model similar? Which concept do
you think is easier for people to grasp?

Ans
: An
ecological footprint is

an average amount of productive land, fresh water, and ocean required on a
continuous basis to supply that person food, wood, energy, water, housing, clothing, transportation, and
waste disposal. The IPAT model, shows the mathematical relationship between

environmental impacts and
the forces driving them.


5. Explain the following ancient proverb as it relates to the concept of environmental
sustainability: We have not inherited the world from our ancestors; we have borrowed it from
our children.

Ans
: Envi
ronmental sustainability is the ability to meet the current human need for natural resources
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability implies that
humans can manage natural resources indefinitely without th
e environment going into a decline from the
stresses imposed by human society on natural systems that maintain life. When the environment is used
sustainably, humanity's present needs are met without endangering the welfare of future generations.


6. Name
an additional example of a global commons other than those mentioned
in this chapter.

Ans
: Answers will vary





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7. The currents at a beach community remove and bring in sand so that, over an extended
period, the beach does not appear to change. How is
this an example of a dynamic
equilibrium? Is it an example of a negative feedback mechanism? Why or why not?

Ans
: Dynamic equilibrium means the system (the beach) has a rate of change in one direction that is the
same as the rate of change in the opposite
direction. Sand comes in and out of the beach at the same rate.
It is an example of a negative feedback mechanism. In a negative feedback mechanism, a change in some
condition triggers a response that counteracts, or reverses, the changed condition; a nega
tive feedback
mechanism works to keep an undisturbed system in dynamic equilibrium.


8. Thomas Henry Huxley once wrote, “The great tragedy of science

the slaying of a beautiful
hypothesis by an ugly fact.” Explain what he meant, based on what you have lear
ned about
the nature of science.

Ans
: An hypothesis is an educated guess to explain a problem. A good hypothesis will make predictions
about how the natural world works. These prediction can then be tested and possibly disproved. Sometimes
a seemingly sou
nd hypothesis is disproved by experimental data. Some people have strong beliefs about
how the world should work but the scientific facts don’t always support those beliefs.


9. In the chapter, the term model is defined as a formal statement that describes

a situation
and that can be used to predict the future course of events. On the basis of this definition, is a
model the same thing as a hypothesis? Explain your answer.

Ans
: A model is not the some thing as a hypothesis. A hypothesis is an educated guess

that tries to explain
the natural world. It breaks down complex systems into testable processes in order to explain the bigger
picture. Many of models are computer simulations that represent the overall effect of competing factors to
describe an environme
ntal situation in numerical terms. Models help us understand how the present
situation developed from the past or how to predict the future course of events.


10. People want scientists to give them precise, definitive answers to environmental problems.
E
xplain why this is not possible.

Ans
: Science is a dynamic process, a systematic way to investigate the natural world. Science seeks to
reduce the apparent complexity of our world to general scientific laws. Scientific laws are then used to
make prediction
s, solve problems, or provide new insights. There is no absolute certainty or universal
agreement about anything in science. Science is an ongoing enterprise, and generally accepted ideas must
be reevaluated in light of newly discovered data. Scientists ne
ver claim to know the “final answer” about
anything because scientific understanding changes. However, this must not prevent us from using current
knowledge in environmental science to make environmental decisions.


11. When Sherlock Holmes amazed his frie
nd Watson by determining the general habits of a
stranger on the basis of isolated observations, what kind of reasoning was he using? Explain.


Ans
: Science makes use of deductive reasoning, which proceeds from generalities to specifics. Deductive
reasonin
g adds nothing new to knowledge, but it makes relationships among data more apparent. Scientists
use deductive reasoning to determine the type of experiment or observations necessary to test a
hypothesis. Holmes used deductive reasoning to solve mysteries.





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12. Place the following stages in addressing environmental problems in order and briefly
explain each: evaluation, public education and involvement, risk analysis, scientific
assessment, political action.

Ans
:

1. Scientific assessment involves identi
fying a potential environmental problem and collecting data
to construct a model.

2. Risk analysis evaluates the potential effects of intervention.

3. Public education and involvement occur when the results of scientific assessment and risk
analysis are pl
aced in the public arena.

4. Political action is the implementation of a particular risk
-
management strategy by elected or
appointed officials.

5. Evaluation monitors the effects of the action taken.


13. Although the Lake Washington case demonstrates the five components of addressing an
environmental problem, the final outcome

dumping treated sewage into Puget Sound

is not
an ideal, long
-
term solution. Explain why.

Ans
: While stopping the dumping of se
wage into Lake Washington has cleared up the lake the Puget
Sound is at risk for adverse environmental effects. The population in Seattle and around Lake Washington
continues to grow (Seattle’s population reached 3 million in 2005) which means increased du
mping in the
sound. We do not know how much dumping the sound can tolerate before it is adversely affected. Every
environmental intervention is an experiment, and continued monitoring is necessary because environmental
scientists work with imperfect tools.

There is a great deal we do not know, and every added bit of
information increases our ability to deal with future problems. The unanticipated always lurks just beneath
the surface of any experiment carried out in nature.


14. What does the term
system

me
an in environmental science?

Ans
: A system is set of components that interact and function as a whole. A natural system consisting of a
community of organisms and its physical environment is known as an ecosystem. Ecosystems are organized
into larger and l
arger systems that interact with one another. Natural ecosystems are the foundation for our
concept of environmental sustainability.


15. What is an Earth system?

Ans
: At a global level are Earth systems, which include Earth’s climate, atmosphere, land, co
astal zones,
and the ocean. Environmental scientists use a systems approach to try to understand how human activities
are altering global environmental parameters such as temperature, carbon dioxide concentration in the
atmosphere, land cover, changes in n
itrogen levels in coastal waters, and declining fisheries in the ocean.














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Answers to Review Questions

Human Impacts on the Environment (p. 5)

1. What is poverty?

Ans
: Poverty is a condition in which people cannot meet their basic needs for adeq
uate food, clothing,
shelter, education, or health.


2. What is a highly developed country? A moderately developed country? A less developed
country?

Ans
: Highly developed countries have complex industrialized bases, low rates of population growth, and
high per capita incomes. Moderately developed countries are developing countries with a medium level of
industrialization and average per capita incomes lower than those of highly developed countries. Less
developed countries are developing countries with
a low level of industrialization, a very high fertility rate, a
very high infant mortality rate, and a very low per capita income.



Population, Resources, and the Environment (p. 9)

1. How is human population growth related to natural resource depletion?

Ans
: As human population increase it take more natural resource to support them.


2. What is the difference between people overpopulation and consumption overpopulation?

Ans
: People overpopulation is a situation in which there are too many people in a give
n geographic area.
Consumption overpopulation occurs when each individual in a population consumes too large a share of
resources.


3. What does the IPAT model demonstrate?

Ans
: The IPAT model is a measure of environmental impact. It shows the mathematica
l relationship
between environmental impacts and the forces that drive them.



Environmental Sustainability (p. 12)

1. What is environmental sustainability?

Ans
: Environmental sustainability is the ability to meet the current human need for natural resourc
es
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.


2. What is the “tragedy of the commons”?

Ans
: The tragedy of the commons contends that our inability to solve many environmental problems is the
result of a struggle between sh
ort
-
term individual welfare and long
-
term environmental sustainability and
societal welfare.


3. How does sustainable development incorporate the principles of environmental
sustainability?

Ans
: Sustainable development is economic development that meets th
e needs of the present generation
with out compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Three factors are utilizes
to incorporate this idea
-
environmentally sound decisions, economically viable decisions, and socially
equitable de
cisions.

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Environmental Science (p. 17)

1. What is environmental science? What are some of the disciplines involved in environmental
science?

Ans
: Environmental science is the interdisciplinary study of humanity’s relationship with other organisms
and the n
onliving physical environment. It incorporates knowledge from many disciplines, including,
biology, geography, chemistry, geology, physics, economics, sociology, demography, cultural anthropology,
natural resources management, agriculture, engineering, law
, politics, and ethics.


2. Why is a system perspective so important in environmental science?

Ans
: Systems are sets of components that interact and function as a whole. Systems and ecosystems are
organized into larger and larger systems that interact with

one another. In order to understand the global
or large scale systems we must have basic knowledge of smaller systems.


3. What are the steps of the scientific method? Why is each important?

Ans
:

1. State the problem or unanswered question.

2. Design a h
ypothesis.

3. Design and perform an experiment to test the hypothesis.

4. Analyse and interpret the data.

5. Share the conclusion with other scientists.

Each step is important because science is an ongoing enterprise, and generally accepted ideas must be
r
eevaluated in light of newly discovered data. Scientists never claim to know the “final answer” about
anything because scientific understanding changes


4. What is the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning?

Ans
: Inductive reasoning begins wi
th specific examples and seeks to draw a conclusion or discover a
unifying rule on the basis of those examples. Inductive reasoning provides new knowledge but is error
-
prone. Deductive reasoning operates from generalities to specifics and adds nothing new
to knowledge, but
it makes relationships among data more apparent.



Addressing Environmental Problems (p. 17)

1. What are the steps used to solve an environmental problem?

Ans
:

1. Scientific assessment involves identifying a potential environmental probl
em and collecting data
to construct a model.

2. Risk analysis evaluates the potential effects of intervention.

3. Public education and involvement occur when the results of scientific assessment and risk
analysis are placed in the public arena.

4. Politica
l action is the implementation of a particular risk
-
management strategy by elected or
appointed officials.

5. Evaluation monitors the effects of the action taken


2. What was the Lake Washington pollution problem of the 1950s? How was it addressed?

Ans
: The pouring of treated sewage into Lake Washington had raised its level of nutrients to the point
where the lake supported the growth of filamentous cyanobacteria. Disposal of the sewage in another way
solved the lake's pollution problem.


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