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Environmental Problem Causes And Sustainability Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2143 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Exponential growth is the growth in which some quantity, such as population size or economic output, increases at a constant rate per unit of time. The connection between these two is that exponential growth plays a key role in five important and interconnected environmental problems and issues by having population growth, resource use and waste, poverty, loss of biological diversity, and global climate change. But the great news is that we have solutions to these problems that we could implement within a few decades.

Distinguish between solar capital and natural capital. Evaluate the significance of these forms of capital in the development of human societies.

By analogy, we can think of energy from the sun as solar capital. Solar energy or capital includes direct sunlight and indirect forms of renewable solar energy such as wind power, hydropower, and biomass. Similarly, we can think of the planet’s air, water, soil, wildlife, forest, rangeland, fishery, mineral, and energy resources and the processes of natural purification, recycling, and pest control as natural resources or natural capital. Natural capital consists of resources that support and sustain the earth’s life and economies. This priceless natural capital that nature provides at no cost to us plus the natural biological income it supplies can sustain the planet and our economies indefinitely as long as we do not deplete them.

Distinguish between living on principal and living on interest. Analyze which of these behaviors humans are currently illustrating. Evaluate the possibility of continuing to live in our current style.

If you have something of value such as an amount of money, that is the principle. If you take from that amount to live on, you are living on the interest. The basic item you own is decreasing in value. You may be living well now. If you continue using up the item, you won’t be able to use it in the future. You will need other sources of money in the future. Some items gain in value, such as a bank savings account that provides interest. If you draw off the interest, the basic amount in the account stays the same. But you are living on the interest. Currently I believe that humans are living on interest. They don’t have enough money to support them so they would just spend first and pay the amount back slowly as interest builds up though.

Define globalization.

Globalization is the broad process of global social, economic, and environmental change that leads to an increasingly integrated world.

What factors affect globalization?

Factors accelerating globalization include information and communication technologies, human mobility, and international trade and investment.

Summarize the advantages and disadvantages of globalization.

Pros Of Globalization


With globalization, there is a global market for companies to trade their products and a wider range of options for people, to choose from among the products of different nations.  

Developing countries benefit a lot from globalization, as there is a sound flow of money and thus, a decrease in the currency difference.

To meet the increasing demands that follow globalization, there is an increase in the production sector. This gives loads of options to the manufacturers as well.

Competition keeps prices relatively low, and as a result, inflation is less likely to occur.

The focus is diverted and segregated among all the nations. No country remains the single power head; instead there are compartmentalized power sectors. The decisions at higher levels are meant for the people at large.  

Communication among the countries is on the rise, which allows for better understanding and broader vision.

As communication increases amongst two countries, there is interchange of cultures as well. We get to know more about the other’s cultural preferences.

As we feed to each other’s financial needs, the ecological imbalance is also meted out. Governments of countries show concern about each other.

  Cons Of Globalization

Globalization is causing Europeans to lose their jobs as work is being outsourced to the Asian countries. The cost of labor in the Asian countries is low as compared to other countries.

The high rate of profit for the companies, in Asia, has resulted in a pressure on the employed Europeans, who are always under the threat of the business being outsourced.

Companies are as opening their counterparts in other countries. This results in transferring the quality of their product to other countries, thereby increasing the chances of depreciation in terms of quality.

There are experts who believe that globalization is the cause for the invasion of communicable diseases and social degeneration in countries.

The threat that the corporates would rule the world is on high, as there is a lot of money invested by them.

It is often argued that poor countries are exploited by the richer countries where the work force is taken advantage of and low wages are implemented.

Distinguish between developed countries and developing countries. Describe changes in the wealth gap between these groups of countries.

Developed country is highly industrialized already and has a high per capita GNP while developing countries have low to moderate industrialization and low to moderate per capita GNP. Most of its location is in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The developed countries are wealthier in economy wise while the developing countries are barely surviving.

Distinguish between the following terms: physically depleted and economically depleted resources; nonrenewable, renewable, and potentially renewable resources; reuse and recycle.

Economically depleted: When 80% of resource is extracted and used up therefore the cost to extract the 20% exceeds its economic value. Physically depleted: When 100% of resource is extracted and used up.

Nonrenewable: Resource that exists in a fixed amount (stock) in various places in the earth’s crust and has the potential for renewal by geological, physical, and chemical processes taking place over hundreds of millions to billions of years. Examples are copper, aluminum, coal, and oil. We classify these resources as exhaustible because we are extracting and using them at a much faster rate than they were formed. Renewable: Resource that can be replenished rapidly (hours to several decades) through natural processes. Examples are trees in forests, grasses in grasslands, wild animals, fresh surface water in lakes and streams, most groundwater, fresh air, and fertile soil. If such a resource is used faster than it is replenished, it can be depleted and converted into a nonrenewable resource. Potentially renewable resources: something that can be replaced.

Reuse: Using a product over and over again in the same form. An example is collecting, washing, and refilling glass beverage bottles. Recycle: Collecting and reprocessing a resource so that it can be made into new products. An example is collecting aluminum cans, melting them down, and using the aluminum to make new cans or other aluminum products. 

Draw a depletion curve. Explain how recycling and reuse affect depletion time.

It affects depletion time because as we recycle and reuse the products over time it saves much more of that product and overtime it increases.

Define sustainable yield.

Sustainable yield is when the highest rate at which a potentially renewable resource can be used without reducing its available supply throughout the world or in a particular area.

Describe the relationship between sustainable yield and environmental degradation.

Renewable resources can be depleted or degraded. The highest rate at which a renewable resource can be used indefinitely without reducing its available supply is called its sustainable yield. When we exceed a renewable resource’s natural replacement rate, the available supply begins to shrink, a process known as environmental degradation.

Describe the tragedy of the commons. Summarize how most environmentalists alleviate this type of tragedy.

“The Tragedy of the Commons” is a term used to describe what happens to common resources as a result of human greed. It was first coined in an article in Science in 1968 by Garrett Hardin. The commons dilemma was seen long before Hardin, but he brought widespread attention to it and described it in a common-sense fashion that made it easily accessible. The Tragedy of the Commons can also be used when describing national parks, river use, air quality, oil, forests, and even things such as radio frequencies. The Tragedy of the Commons is an important theory for designing resource usage plans, as its fundamental assumption about how rational humans can act in a way to bring about destruction of their resource gives a reason to set artificial limitations on usage through governmental policy.

Distinguish between the following terms: point source of pollution and nonpoint source of pollution; nonpersistent, persistent, and nondegradable pollutants.

Point source: Single identifiable source that discharges pollutants into the environment. Examples are the smokestack of a power plant or an industrial plant, drainpipe of a meatpacking plant, chimney of a house, or exhaust pipe of an automobile. Nonpoint source: Large or dispersed land areas such as crop fields, streets, and lawns that discharge pollutants into the environment over a large area. 

Nonpersistent: breaking down rapidly. Persistent pollution–human created pollution that doesn’t break down naturally and is stored in the fats of animals. Nondegradable pollution–pollution that does not break down at all.

Distinguish between pollution prevention and pollution cleanup. Evaluate the effectiveness of these two approaches in decreasing pollution.

Pollution prevention is when we reduce or eliminate the production of pollutants. Pollution cleanup is when it involves cleaning up or diluting pollutants after they have been produced. Both of these help the Earth stay cleaner because with these two preventions its helping the Earth do something better as in cleaning up or preventing it from happening. It can either be recycling or putting a stop to the harmful products or cutting back on the object.

Summarize underlying causes of environmental problems.

The major causes of environmental problems are population growth, wasteful resource use, poverty, poor environmental accounting, and ecological ignorance.

Describe a simple model of relationships among population, resource use, technology, environmental degradation, and pollution.

According to this simple method, the environmental impact (I) of a population on a given area depends on three factors: the number of people (P), the average resource use per person (affluence, A), and the beneficial and harmful environmental effects of the technologies (T) used to provide and consume each unit of resource and to control or prevent the resulting pollution and environmental degradation. Some factors of technology, such as polluting factories and motor vehicles and energy- wasting devices, increase environmental impact by raising the T factor in the equation. But other technologies, such as pollution control and prevention, solar cells, and energy-saving devices, lower environmental impact by decreasing the T factor. In other words, some forms of technology are environmentally harmful and some are environmentally beneficial.

Evaluate which model is most useful to you. Assess which model would be most useful in explaining these relationships to young children and which more closely resembles reality.

The technology model is very useful because today in the current world, everyone uses technology such as cars to get around and internet and the computer, and cell phones. Without technology, I don’t think people would live as successful as today. In reality, no matter how old you are your family should own a cell phone and a computer at least. Without these, I don’t think people would function as successful as they are today.

Summarize strategies humans can use to work closely with the earth.

To help the Earth function, I believe that people should do their best to conserve what they can, reuse what they can, and recycle from time to time to help out the environment. They should also care about the air we inhale and exhale to prevent any lung diseases that can harm us, and cut back on smoking.


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