Chapter 1.What is ecology? 4
Chapter 2. Role of man in ecology 5
Chapter 3. Environmental problems 6
3.1. Carbon dioxide 6
3.2. Acid rain 6
3.3. Ozone destruction 6
3.4. Nuclear pollution 7
3.5. Deforestation 7
3.6. Water and air pollution 8
3.7. Global warming 8
Chapter 4. Prospects 9
4.1. The WWF mission 9
4.2. Ways of removal and utilization of the rubbish. 9
4.3. First commercial hydrogen cars 9
Chapter. 5. Research 11
Since ancient times Nature has served Man, being the source of his life. For thousands of years people lived in harmony with environment and it seemed to them that natural riches were unlimited. But with the development of civilization man’s interference in nature began to increase.
Large cities with thousands of smoky industrial enterprises appear all over the world today. The by-products of their activity pollute the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we grow grain and vegetables. Every year world industry pollutes the atmosphere with about 1000 million tons of dust and other harmful substances. Many cities suffer from smog. Vast forests are cut and burned. As a result some rare species of animals, birds, fish and plants disappear forever, a number of lakes and rivers dry up.
The protection of the environment is a universal concern. We must take serious measures to create a system of ecological security.
Some progress has been already made in this direction. As many as 159 countries, members of the United Nations Organization, have set up environmental protection agencies.
But these are only the initial steps that must be done to protect Nature, to save life of the planet for the sake of the present and the future generations.
The aim of my research work is to introduce global environmental problems and show ways to help the Earth.
Tasks of my research work are:
to determine the main problems;
to give some advice to keep our environment clean;
to show different ways to solve the ecological problems
to tell about progressive decisions nowadays
to find out an attitude of students to environmental problems.
CHAPTER 1. WHAT IS ECOLOGY?
The term ecology emerged at the end of the 20th century as one of the most popular and most important aspects of biology. Urgent problems in the affairs of men – growth of populations, food scarcities, environmental pollution, and all the sociological and political problems – are to a great degree ecological.
The word ecology was brought in by a German zoologist. Ernst Haeckel, who applied the term oecologie to the «relation of the animal both to its organic as well as well as its inorganic environment». The word comes from a Greek oikos, meaning “household, home, or place to live”. Thus ecology deals with the organism and its environment. The word environment includes both other organisms and physical surroundings. It involves relationships between individuals within a population and between individuals of different populations. These interactions between individuals, between populations, and between organisms and the environment form ecological systems, or ecosystems.
CHAPTER 2. ROLE OF MAN IN ECOLOGY
The man appeared late in the Earth’s history, but was able to change the earth’s environment by its actions. Humans first appeared in Africa and they quickly spread throughout the world. Having unique mental and physical abilities, humans were able to change the environment to meet their needs.
Early humans obviously lived in harmony with the environment but they began the first prehistoric revolution. The ability to control and use natural resources led to the destruction of natural vegetation to and exhausting forests. Wild animals were killed for food and destroyed as pests and predators.
While human populations remained small and human technology modest, their impact on the environment wasn’t very defective. As population increased and technology improved and expanded, \ more significant and widespread problems appeared. Rapid technological advances after the Middle Ages culminated in the Industrial revolution, which involved the discovery, use, and exploitation of fossil fuels, as well as extensive exploitation of the earth’s mineral resources. With the industrial Revolution, humans began in earnest to change the face of the earth, the nature of its atmosphere, and the quality of its water. So while our life is becoming modernized, new and new encironmenyal problems are appearing.
CHAPTER 3.TYPES OF ENVORONMENTAL PROBLEMS
3.1. Carbon dioxide
One impact that the burning of fossil fuels has had on the earth’s environment has been the increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the earth’s atmosphere. The amount of atmospheric CO2 apparently remained stable for centuries, at about 260 ppm (parts per million), but over the past 100 years it has increased to 350 pm. The significance of this change is its potential for raising the temperature of the earth through the process known as the greenhouse effect.
A significant global warming of the atmosphere would have profound environmental effects. It would speed the melting of polar ice caps, raise sea levels, change the climate regionally and globally, These changes would, in turn, have an enormous impact on human civilization.
3.2. Acid rain
Also associated with the burning of fossil fuels is acid deposition. These chemicals interact with sunlight, moisture, and oxidants to produce sulphuric and nitric acids, which are carried with the atmospheric circulation and come to earth in rainfall and snowfall, commonly referred to as acid rain, and as dry deposits in the form of dry particles and atmospheric gases.
Acid rain is a major global problem. The acidity of some precipitation in northern North America and Europe is equivalent to that of vinegar. Acid rain corrodes metals, weather stone buildings and monuments, injures and kills vegetation, and acidifies lakes, streams, and soils, especially in the poorly buffered regions of north-eastern North America and northern Europe. It is also now a problem in the south-eastern United States and in central North Africa. Acid rain can also slow forest growth.
3.3. Ozone destruction
In the 1970s and 1980s, scientists began to find that human activity was having a detrimental effect on the global ozone layer, a region of the atmosphere that shields the earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Without this gaseous layer, which is found at about 40 km (25 mi) above sea level, no life could survive on the planet. Studies showed the ozone layer was being damaged by the increasing use of industrial chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs, compounds of fluorine), which are used in refrigeration, air conditioning, cleaning solvents, packing materials, and aerosol sprays. Chlorine, a chemical by-product of CFCs, attacks ozone, which consists of three molecules of oxygen, by taking one molecule away to form chlorine monoxide. Chlorine monoxide then reacts with oxygen atoms to form oxygen molecules, releasing chlorine molecules that break up other molecules of ozone.
It was initially thought that the ozone layer was being reduced gradually all over the globe. In 1985, however, further research revealed a growing ozone hole concentrated above Antarctica; 50 per cent or more of the ozone above this area of the earth was being depleted seasonally (beginning each October). A thinning of the ozone layer exposes life on earth to excessive ultraviolet radiation, which can increase skin cancer and cataracts, reduce immune system responses, interfere with the photosynthetic process of plants, and affect the growth of oceanic phytoplankton. Because of the growing threat of these dangerous environmental effects, many nations are working towards eliminating the manufacture and use of CFCs at least by the year 2000. However,1 CFCs can remain in the atmosphere for more than 100 years, so ozone destruction will continue to pose a threat for decades to come.
3.4. Nuclear pollution
Although atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons has been banned by most countries, eliminating a large source of radioactive fallout, nuclear radiation still remains an environmental problem. Power plants always release some amount of radioactive waste into the air and water, but the main is the possibility of nuclear accidents. In which massive amounts of radiation are released into the environment – as happened at Chernobyl’, Ukraine, in 1986. In fact, since the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the world has learned that contamination of that region from nuclear accidents and nuclear wastes is far more extensive than had been realized. A greater problem facing the nuclear industry is the storage of nuclear wastes, which remain toxic for 700 to 1 million years, depending on the type, Safe storage for geological periods of time is problematic; meanwhile nuclear wastes accumulate, threatening the integrity of the environment.
Increasing numbers of humans are encroaching on remaining wild lands - even in tjose areas once considered relatively safe from exploitation. Insatiable demands for energy are forcing the development of Arctic regions for oil and gas and threatening the delicate ecological balance of tundra ecosystems and their wildlife. Tropical forests, especially in South-east Asia and the Amazon river Basin, are being destroyed at an alarming rate for timber, conversion to crop and grazing lands. Pine plantations, and settlements. It was estimated at one point in the 1980s that such forest lands were being cleared at the rate of 20 hectares a minute; another estimate put the rate at more than 200,000 sq km a year. In 1993, satellite data provided a rate of about 15,000 sq km a year in Amazon Basin area alone. This tropical deforestation coal result in the extinction of as many as 750,000 species, which would mean the loss of multiplicity of products: food, fibres, medical drugs, dyes, gums, and resin. In addition, the expansion of croplands and grazing areas for domestic livestock in Africa, and illegal trade in endangered species and wildlife products, could mean the end of Africa’s large mammals. In North America, logging of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest, surface mining, and encroaching urban and recreational development threaten the future of wilderness areas.
3.6. Water and air pollution
The erosion problems described above are aggravating a growing world water problem. Most water problems are in the semiarid and coastal regions of the world. Expanding human populations need irrigation systems and water for industry; this is so depleting underground aquifers that salt water is intruding into them along coastal areas of the United States, Israel, Syria, and the Arabian Gulf states. In island areas, porous rocks and sediments are compacting when drained of water, causing surface subsisdence problems; this subsisdence is already a serious problem in Texas, Florida, and California.
The world is also experiencing a steady decline in water quality and availability. About 75 per cent of the world’s rural population and 20 per cent of its urban population have no ready access to contaminated water. In many regions, water supplies are contaminated with toxic chemicals and nitrates. Water-borne disease debilitates one-third of humanity and kills 10 million people a year.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, some industrialized countries improved air quality by reducing particulate matter and toxic chemicals, such as lead, but emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides, the precursors of acid deposition, still remain. Massive air pollution occurs over much of Eastern Europe.
3.7. Global warming
Each time we burn gasoline, oil, coal, or natural gas, more carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere. The greenhouse effect is what causes the temperate of the Earth to rise, and creates many problems for the environment.
● droughts in some areas and floods in others;
● the rising temperatures of oceans and the sea levels;
● extreme weather events such as tornadoes and hurricanes;
● melting of mountain glaciers and reduction of snow cover;
● dying of coral reefs;
● costal erosion and loss of costal ecosystem.
Argentina’s Upsala Glacier was once the biggest in South America, but it is now disappearing at a rate of 200 metres per year.
Other parts of the world could face even more drastic change. It is predicted by the scientists that sea levels could rise by between 9 and 88 cm in the next century
CHAPTER 4. PROSPECTS
To reduce environmental degradation and for humanity to save its habitat, societies must recognize that the environment is finite. Environmentalists believe that, as populations and their demands increase, the idea of continuous growth must give way to a more rational use of the environment, but that this can be accomplished only by a dramatic change in the attitude of the human species. The human attack on the environment has been compared to the dramatic upheavals of the Earth in the geological past; whatever a society’s attitude may be towards continuous growth, humanity should recognize that this attack threatens human survival.
4.1. The WWF mission
The WWF was founded in 1961. At first it was a small group of people who wanted to save animals and plants. Today the WWF was raised over 35 million for conservation projects and has created or given support to National parks in 5 continents. It has helped 30 mammals and birds to survive. There are a lot of nature centres in all the
countries of the world, such as: “Friends of the Earth”, “Green peace”, “Trust” and many others. (Supplement)
4.2. Ways of removal and utilization of the rubbish
Since 2003 residents of Kamikatsu, a small town in Japan, separate household waste into 40 categories before taking it to recycling centre where volunteers administer firm, but polite, reprimands to anyone who forgets to remove the lid from a plastic bottle or rinse out an empty beer can.
Kamikatsu’s community promised to end its dependence on incineration and landfill by 2020 and claim the title of Japan’s first zero waste community.
4.3. First commercial hydrogen cars
Honda has begun the first commercial production ever of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered car. The Japanese auto manufacturer ceremoniously launched production of its first hydrogen-powered vehicles on Sunday in Tochigi, Japan, and announced its first customers. The four-door sedan, called the FCX Clarity, runs on electricity from a fuel cell battery that is powered by hydrogen fuel. Steam is the car's only byproduct. The car can get a combined (city and highway driving) fuel efficiency of about 72 miles per kg of H2 which, according to Honda's own estimates, is the equivalent of getting about 74 mpg on a gas-powered car. The car can be driven for about 280 miles before needing to be refueled.
Honda CEO Takeo Fukui drives some of the first people who will lease the Honda's FCX Clarity hydrogen car: actress Laura Harris, Southland Industries CFO Jon Spallino, and film producer Ron Yerxa.
While many automakers and researchers have prototypes and pilot projects using hydrogen fuel to power fuel cells on electric hybrids, or as a direct fuel source for vehicles with converted engines, there are no hydrogen-powered cars yet available for lease or purchase to the average consumer.
Honda claims it is the first company to have a hydrogen car certified for regular commercial use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"This is an important day in the history of fuel cell vehicle technology and a monumental step closer to the day when fuel cell cars will be part of the mainstream," John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, said in a statement.
The car was first introduced as a concept vehicle in 2005 at the Tokyo Motor Show. Starting in July, Honda plans to offer the hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity through a lease program at three dealerships in California: Power Honda Costa Mesa, Honda of Santa Monica, and Scott Robinson Honda in Torrance. Honda also plans to make the cars available in Japan. The cars will be leased on a three-year basis for about $600 per month, according to Honda.
Among the first owners will be actor/author Jamie-Lee Curtis and her husband, filmmaker Christopher Guest of This is Spinal Tap fame.
Of course, hydrogen cars are not going to be widely driven anytime soon. Honda estimates it will lease only about 200 FCX Clarity vehicles over the next three years. In order to qualify for the lease program, would-be owners will have to meet a set of criteria that includes living within range of a hydrogen filling station, according to Honda. As part of the lease, Honda will provide any necessary service or maintenance on the vehicle.
CHAPTER 5. RESEARCH
We made opinion poll in our gymnasium:
Do you worry about the environment?
Imagine you are on holiday abroad. You eat loads of chocolate-covered sweets but there aren’t any rubbish bins to put their wrappers in. What do you do?
keep the wrappers in your pocket until you see a bin.
Throw them on the ground. It’s not your fault there aren’t enough rubbish bins.
It depends If there’s a lot of rubbish on the floor, you might ‘drop them accidentally’.
On the way home you are very thirsty. What do you buy?
Something in a non recyclable plastic bottle.
Something in a glass bottle or aluminium can.
Something in a carton.
Your personal stereo always needs new batteries. What do you do?
Buy re-chargeable batteries.
Put the old batteries in the bin and buy new ones.
Buy new ones and take the old ones to a recycling center.
If you lived near a beach, how would you react if a fast food restaurant opened near the beach?
Be pleased but also worried about more rubbish on the beach.
Be pleased. Now you can eat burgers on the beach.
You never eat at fast food places because there is too much packaging.
You buy a couple of things in a shop. When do you pay, the cashier is about to put the things in a plastic bag. What do you say?
“No thank you”. (You have brought your own bag from home).
Nothing. You let him/her put the things in the bag.
It depends if you can carry the things easily without a bag.
There are a couple of flies in your bedroom. They are annoying you. What do you do?
Try to kill them with a newspaper.
Try to kill them with a horrible-smelling aerosol.
Hit the air with a newspaper so they leave you alone.
You are writing a letter to a good friend. You have made several mistakes and need to cross things out. What do you do?
Start the letter again on another piece of paper.
Continue writing; your friend will excuse your mistakes.
Continue to write but if you make any more mistakes, start again.
Now add up your score:
1. a=3 b=1 c=2
2. a=1 b=3 c=2
3. a=3 b=1 c=2
4. a=2 b=1 c=3
5. a=3 b=1 c=2
6. a=2 b=1 c=3
7. a=1 b=3 c=2
7-10 – You do not worry about the environment at all! You think pollution is someone else’s problem, not yours.
11-17 – You care about the environment and you have some good habits which help save it. However, there are probably a few other things you could do.
18-21 – You definitely care about the environment. You think about it when you make everyday decisions. If more people in the world were as good as you, the planet would have fewer problems.
The survey of 60 pupils of the 9th form showed:
70% of respondents definitely care about the environment;
25% of respondents have some good habits which help save it;
5% of respondents do not worry about the environment.
The most serious environmental problems in scientist’s opinions
The most serious environmental problems in opinion of pupils of 9 A
The most popular answer:
Full coincidence with scientist’s opinion: 0 out of 6 pupils
The most serious environmental problems in opinion of pupils of 9 B
The most popular answer:
Full coincidence with scientist’s opinion: 2 out of 11 pupils
The most serious environmental problems in opinion of pupils of 9 D
The most popular answer
Full coincidence with scientist’s opinion: 1 out of 9 pupils
The most serious environmental problems in opinion of pupils of 9 E
The most popular answer:
Full coincidence with scientist’s opinion: 3 out of 20 pupils
In conclusion, just 6 people out of 55 are aware of reality in a right way. Another part of pupils consider in the other way. But in spite of this student’s opinions are not so different to scientist’s opinions. So all participants of our opinion poll understand the importance of solution of environmental problems.
One of the most popular sources of information and good ways to express your opinion and discuss different problems is Internet. So I decided to research different sites of Internet where discussing of environmental problems is allowed. I found lots of sites dedicated to ecological problems, but just on three of them I found a few notes of visitors. So just a few people are worried about the environment.
Here that three sites. And just four of five people are taken part in discussing environmental problems.
The environmental outlook for the future is mixed. In spite of economic and political changes, interest in and concern about the environment remains high. Air quality has improved, but problems of acid deposition, chlorofluorocarbons and ozone depletion, and heavy air pollution in Eastern Europe still seek solutions and concerted action. Until acid deposition is diminished, loss of aquatic life in northern lakes and streams will continue, and forest growth may be affected.
Water pollution will remain a growing problem as increasing human populations put additional stress on the environment.
Infiltration of toxic wastes into underground aquifers and intrusion of saline waters into coastal freshwater aquifers have not been stopped.
Depletion of aquifers in many parts of the world and growing demand for water will bring agricultural, industrial, and urban use of water into conflict. This shortage will force water usage restrictions and will increase the cost of water consumption. Water could become the “energy crisis” of the early 2000s. Pollution of coastal and fresh water along with over harvesting has so depleted fishery resources that five to ten years of little or no fishing will be required for stocks to recover. Without concerted efforts to save habitats and reduce poaching and the illegal world-wide wildlife trade, many wildlife species will become extinct.
In spite of our knowledge of how to reduce soil erosion, it continues to be a worldwide problem, largely because too many agriculturalists and developers show little interest in controlling in.
Finally, the destruction of wild lands, in both temperate and tropical regions, could result in massive extinctions of animal and plant life.
Each one of us is a cause of global warming, but each of us can become part of the solution: in the decisions we make on what we buy, the amount o electricity we use, the car our family drives, and how we live our lives.
We can make choices so that no unnecessary carbon is released because of our own individual actions.
Here are a few examples of actions you can take to make a difference:
Avoid overpacked food and other products with extra wrappers and layers of unnecessary plastic. For instance, use a refillable water bottle instead of buying single-used plastic bottles.
Ride your bike or walk instead of riding in a car.
When you’re at home, remember to turn off any lights that you are aren’t using. And don’t stand in front of an open refrigerator door – leaving it opened for just a few seconds waste a lot of energy.
Fortunately, it is not too late to solve these problems. We can plant trees and create parks for endangered animals. We can recycle our wastes and persuade enterprises to stop polluting activities.
Al Gore. An inconvenient truth. London, 2007.
David Turnley. Technical progress. London 2003
Dictionary of English Language and Culture. England, 2005.
Penelope York. Earth. London, 2006
Simon Holland. Rivers and lakes. London, 2006
William Thomas. Environment. London, 2004
■ Don’t buy drinks in plastic bottles.
■ Save your family newspapers. Find out how to recycle paper in your area.
■ Save water. If there is the leaky tap in your house, get someone to fix them.
■ Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
■ Turn off the TV or stereo when you are not watching or listening.
■ Unplug things that glow in the dark.
■ Don’t cut wild flowers.
■ Don’t kill wild animals.
■ Use energy saving products.
■ Use public transport instead of a car.
■ Buy or make reusable bags to go shopping with.
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