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Human Population Growth – Cause and Effect

With the global human population soon growing to an amazing 7 billion people, one must ask himself, how much more can the population grow? How much can the Earth hold until there is no more place for anymore people?

Rather Worrying

As this graph clearly shows, population has recently skyrocketed in an almost vertical line – meaning that during a very short time, the population increased very rapidly. However, I do not like that map too much. It is a bit misleading, as all of these maps that go too far into history, can be a bit distracting. So let us take a similar graph, only showing population growth from lets say… the 1950s, up until 2050s (projected values of course).

In my opinion, the graph would look much more down-to-earth, as it would “normalise” the growth curve at least a little bit.

Allrighty then...

I was wrong. According to the graph from the US Census, even if the population growth line does not seem as steep, it is still a very large increase in population in such a small amount of time. Clearly going from 2.5 to almost 9.5 billion people in only 100 years is a lot. The population is quadrupled in a century, while coming up to the point of 2.5 billion people took about 10000 years.

The question remains, what was the reason for this major increase in population? Is it just one factor or more that contribute to this growth?

In fact there are a couple of factors that contribute to this recent population boom. First of all, industrial and agricultural developments lead to more efficient food and goods production, which lead to a better longer life, meaning that new humans were born, while people started living long lives. After all, during the 19th century life expectancy wasn’t higher than 40 years, while nowadays it is around 80. As such, new generations replaced old generations, while nowadays, old generations live up to see several new generations. Similarly, improvement in the medical fields have allowed humanity to beat many diseases that were fatal just a century ago.

Life Expectancy

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Cassandras VS Cornucopias

The debate between these groups has been going on for a while. As such, anyone is free to choose what to believe. The Cassandran view is that if human population goes unchecked, and we do not take measures against overspending resources, the whole system will collapse as we reach Earth’s capacity. On the other hand, the Cornucopias believe that human ingenuity will prevail, and that if we run out of resources, it will only drive people to look for new sources, ration it, and ultimately find a substitute. As Julian Lincoln Simon wrote in his book “The Ultimate Resource”, if resources are growing scarce, prices will rise which will lead to the aforementioned looking for new sources, rationing and finding a substitute. In his book, the “Ultimate Resource” isn’t a physical resource, but humans and their nature are this Ultimate Resource.

In this matter, I am a complete Cornucopian. I believe in the Human race, and its capability to escape “inevitable doom” by finding a way out of any situation. Yes, there are many problems with the human race, but I think in a matter of such importance, certain individuals will be able to redeem humanity by providing a way out of the crisis.

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Paul Ehrlich
Paul Ralph Ehrlich is an American biologist who is the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford’s Center for Conservation Biology. He is most famous for his work as an ecologist in the field of population studies, and his books “The Population Boom” and “The Population Explosion”. His books alert the human race that the population is growing too fast, and is using too many resources, saying that this will lead to an inevitable fall of humanity. His idea of three major factors (population, affluence and technology) which can be used to determine human impact, has been put into practice in the IPAT formula which states I = P × A × T.

The variable P represents the population of an area, such as the world. The variable A, in the I=PAT equation stands for affluence. It represents the average consumption of each person in the population.The T variable in the I=PAT equation represents how resource intensive the production of affluence is; how much environmental impact is involved in creating, transporting and disposing of the goods, services and amenities used.

I PAT Model used in different countries:

USA (307,006,550+)

The US will have a high IPAT score due to technology and affluence. It is a highly developed rich country, and as such the population has grown accustomed to many goods being available. As such, the environmental awareness isn’t as high as it is supposed to be, thus raising the IPAT score high. For a country that doesn’t have the biggest population on Earth, it surely has the biggest impact on the environment.

China (1,331,460,000+)

China has been recently developing at an extremely high rate. Technology has been spreading through the country, however, affluence isn’t a problem as most people aren’t rich, and as such they aren’t accustomed to a luxurious life that an American might live. On the other hand, China has the biggest population on earth, and as such it has a major impact. Similarly, it has an enormous impact on the environment, just like the US.

Macedonia (2,114,550+)

Macedonia has only recently started to develop. As an independent country for 20 years, with the first years having difficulties with adapting, the affluence has just started rising as living conditions are getting better. However, affluence is still low, as the unemployment rate is high. Technologically, Macedonia is still developing, although it is trying to stay on trend with industrial standards and customer goods (such as having high speed bandwidth internet, cellular 3G internet, having sophisticated machinery etc). The population is only a fraction of the Chinese or the US population, and as such the human impact is much much smaller.

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References:

1. World Population in Billions – Graph –  www.popin.org/pop1998/4.htm

2. World Population 1950-2050 – Graph – http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/idb/worldpopgraph.php

3. Life Expectancy Graphs – http://pages.uoregon.edu/maphist/english/US/US39-01.html

4. I PAT Model – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_PAT

5. Paul Ehrlich & Anne Ehrlich – The Population Explosion – http://www.2think.org/tpe.shtml

6. Paul Ehrlich – http://www.stanford.edu/group/CCB/Staff/Ehrlich.html

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Mid-Term Exam Questions

With the brief introduction to environmental studies, thus far, we have understood the different concepts presented through the material of the book “Essential Environment: The Science Behind the Stories”. We have learned that all living and non-living things are interconnected and depend upon each other. Humans, as the most developed species, also have the biggest responsibility for their actions and their effects on nature. Furthermore, humans have the largest impact on the environment, transforming the environment in accordance to their own needs. This impact is positive when humans work in regard to the environment, while, when they choose to prioritize their needs, they cause negative impact.

The purpose of this assignment is to reflect on our knowledge of the material covered so far. Also, this assignment presents an opportunity to check whether we have understood the material enough, as to be able to generate our own questions.

 

Chapter 1 – “An Introduction to Environmental Science”

Environmental science helps us discover our environments and binds us closer to it. Moreover, through environmental science we see the impact and the problems that humans cause to the environment. After identifying the problems, we try to find adequate solutions for them in order to protect and improve our living space. Furthermore, humans engage in interactions between all living and non-living things and try to understand this interaction through hypothesis and experiments.

Multiple questions:

1. Environment is

a)      The interaction between humans and the build environment
b)      The interaction between humans and all living and non-living things
c)      The interaction between humans and animals
d)      The interaction between humans and insects

2.      The Triple Bottom Line is a representational chart which includes which fields of value and criteria:

a)      Sociological, environmental and economic
b)      Sociological, political and biological
c)      Biological, environmental and economic
d)      Biological, sociological and environmental

3.      Eco-centrism describes what kind of view of the environment

a)      Human-centered view
b)      Biotic view
c)      General, ecological view
d)      Forest-centered view

4.      Sustainability and triple bottom line demand:

a)      Limit our environmental impact
b)      Increase our environmental impact
c)      Maintain our environmental impact
d)      Decrease our environmental impact

5.      Ecological Footprint is:

a)      The environmental impact of a person or a population
b)      The environmental impact of animals
c)      The environmental impact of plants
d)      None of the above

True/False

6. Natural resources that are replaced over time are called nonrenewable resources.
a) True
b) False

7. An experiment tests the validity of a prediction or a hypothesis.
a) True
b) False

Matching:

8. Match the following terms with their appropriate explanations:
a) Ecology                                  1) the study how the natural world works and interaction
b) Environmentalism                    2) the interaction between all living and non-living things
c) Environmental science             3) social movement dedicated to protect the environment
d) Sustainability                          4) the study of interactins of living and non-living env.
e) Environment                            5) having minimal long-term effect on the environment

Essay Questions:

9. Distinguish the difference (if any) between Thomas Malthus’ theory of over population and the current situation of population growth

10. Using the images below, explain how and why the world is facing a sustainability crisis due to large ecological footprints

Countries are shown in proportion to the amount of natural resources they consume. (1)

countries are defined as consuming their own natural resources, or resources from elsewhere, more quickly than they can recover, or they may be releasing more CO2 than they can absorb themselves. (2)

 

Chapter 2 – “Chemistry of Life”

From single cell organisms, life developed into complex communities of different organisms. Composed of molecular blocks such as carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, organisms undergo chemical processes to transform energy, used by all living things. Moreover chemistry helps us understand the world around us, and helps us lower our impact on the environment or find solutions for existing problems.

Multiple choice:

1.      The number of protons and electrons is always:

a)      Equal
b)      More protons than electrons
c)      More electrons that protons
d)      None of the above

2.      Basic solutions have a pH value:

a)      Greater than 7
b)      Less than 7
c)      Between 3 and 10
d)      Equal to 7

3.      Hydrocarbons contain:

a)      Only hydrogen
b)      Hydrogen and carbon
c)      Hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen
d)      Oxygen and carbon

4.      Long chains of repeated molecules are:

a)      Lipids
b)      Proteins
c)      Carbohydrates
d)      Polymers

5 The following picture presents what type of energy (3):

a)      Potential Energy
b)      Kinetic Energy
c)      Chemical Energy
d)      Solar Energy

True or False:

6. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can change forms and be created or destroyed.
a) True
b) False

7. No oxygen existed in the atmosphere until microbes developed photosynthesis.
a) True
b) False

Matching:

8. Match the following terms with their appropriate explanations:
a) Physical Exericse                                                      1. Fossils
b) Create their own food                                                  2. Heterotrophs
c) Eat other organisms for food                                        3. Kinetic Energy
d) Use inorganic energy sources, such as hydrogen sulfide,
elemental sulfur, ferrous iron                                            4, Autotrophs
e) Imprints of organisms conserved in stones                    5. Chemoautotrophs

Essay Questions:

9. Identify the three states of energy, and give an example of each one.

10. Generalize how bacteria can be used for sewage treatment

 

Chapter 3 – “Evolution”

The idea of evolution states that species change over time. Species, most commonly, live organized in populations and communities.  As such, evolution occurs when an organism needs to adapt to an environment so that it can survive. Moreover, species adaptation sometimes leads to extinction, due to drastic change of the environment caused naturally or by humans.

Multiple choice:

1. Which of these species would be least vulnerable to extinction:

a)      An endemic species that only live in a certain forest with a high chance of wildfires every summer
b)      A species that lives near the Nile river
c)      A species that is present in Europe and Asia
d)      A species that eats only small insects

2.  Which of the following are K-selected species traits:

a)      Reproduction Early in Life
b)      Many small Offspring
c)      Parental care
d)      All of the above

3. Darwin’s theory of evolution states that:

a)      Individuals of a species vary only due to their genes, and are not affected by environment
b)      Every individual of a species has the exact same chances of survival as the next one
c)      Organisms tend to produce more offspring that can survive
d)      None of the above

4. The following picture can be described as (4):

a)      Clumped Distribution
b)      Uniform Distribution
c)      Random Distribution
d)      Not enough info is given

5. The first living organisms were:

a)      Eukaryotic
b)      Prokaryotic
c)      Both eukaryots and prokaryots were present when the first living cells emerged
d)      None of the above

True or False:

6. Allopatric speciation occurs when species form due to physical separation of a population
a) True
b) False

7. Paleontologists estimate that only a small number of all species that ever lived are now extinct
a) True
b) False

Matching:

8. Match the following terms with their appropriate explanations:
a) Accidental changes in DNA that may be passed on the next gen. 1. Extinction
b) Trait that promotes reproductive success                                    2. Extirpation
c) The disappearance of a species from the planet                           3. Niche
d) The disappearance of a particular population from a given area      4. Adaptation
e) The organism’s use of resources and its role in a community        5. Mutation

Essay Questions:

9. Describe Darwin’s idea of natural selection, and how it explains the extinction of species

10. Develop a scenario to explain how allopatric and sympatric speciation might occur at a given area

 

Chapter 4 – “Biomes and Communities”

The world is interconnected web where living and non-living things are in constant interaction. Thus, certain locations on the globe share common climate and vegetation structure due to the same latitudinal position. The difference among the climate and vegetation increases as one location distances from the equator. The more distant the location is, the colder and the less vegetated the location appears.

Multiple questions:

1. Which of these factors affect a biome:

a)      Temperature
b)      Precipitation
c)      Soil
d)      All of the above

2. The following position of the Earth would mean that the northern hemisphere experiences (5):

a)      Summer
b)      Spring’s Equinox
c)      Winter
d)      Fall’s Equinox

3. The Biome found on the Equator distinguished by lots of rain and high temperature, but low soil fertility is:

a)      Tropical Savanna
b)      Tundra
c)      Tropical Rain Forest
d)      Boreal Forest

4. The following picture is an example of (6):

1.      A food web
2.      A food pyramid
3.      Both a food web and a pyramid
4.      None of the above

5. Two species that work together to achieve a better life for both species is an example of:

a)      Predation
b)      Competition
c)      Mutualism
d)      Parasitism

True or False:

6. Deserts always have high temperatures
a) True
b) False

7. The soil in tropical forests is very fertile
a) True
b) False

Matching:

8. Match the following terms with their appropriate explanations:
a) Soil at or below freezing point of water                           1. Pioneer Species
b) High temperatures, lots of rain, present on the equator    2. Desert Biome
c) Can be found in only one place                                     3. Permafrost
d) Little to no rain, either very hot or very cold temperature  4. Tropical Rain Forest Biome
e) First species to arrive in a primary succession area        5. Endemic Species

Essay Questions:

9.Select one keystone species in any biome and explain why it is considered to be a keystone species and what might happen if its absent

10. Classify the relation between a whale and doctor fish (Garra rufa / Cyprinion macrostomus) and consider how it affects both species

 

Chapter 6 – “Environmental Ethics and Economics: Values and Choices”

Humans are facing a catastrophic consequence if they don’t use nature’s resources sustainably. Most of the time we take nature for granted and abuse her. The usage of natural resources, in free market capitalist systems, guided by classical and neoclassical economic theories, is dependently related to the economic market, which creates a monetary value on natures’ treasures and a clash between a monetary and moral interest. However, there are many national and international policies which contribute to conscious usage of natural resources and protection of the environment.

Multiple questions:

1.      Difference between desirable and undesirable economic activity is expressed by:

a)      GDP
b)      GPI
c)      NEW
d)      ISEW

2.      Contingent valuations use ___ to determine how much people are willing to pay to protect or restore a resource:

a)      Experiments
b)      Surveys
c)      Hypothesis
d)      Researches

3.      Market prices, in neoclassical economics, are explained in terms of:

a)      Buyer preferences
b)      Consumer preferences
c)      Environmental preferences
d)      Production and consumer preferences

4.      Renewable resources:

a)      Can be depleted if overused
b)      Can never be depleted
c)      Can never be depleted, even if overused
d)      None of the above

5.      Biocentrism states that:

a)      Only humans have rights
b)      Humans are inseparable from nature
c)      Whole ecological systems have value
d)      Certain living things also have value

True/False

6. Environmental economics focuses on production and consumption.
a) True
b) False

7. Environmental ethics is the application of ethical standards to relationships between humans and non-human entities.
a) True
b) False

Matching:

8. Match the following terms with their appropriate explanations:
a) Whole ecological systems have value                                    1. Eco-labeling
b) Taxes based on pollution generated                                       2. Externalities
c) How people use resources to provide goods and services        3. Green Taxes
d) Tells consumers which brands use sustainable processes       4. Ecocentrism
e) Costs or benefits involving people other than the buyer or         5. Economics
seller

Essay Questions:

9.  Explain how corporations are responding to sustainable development and discuss how they are abusing the eco-labeling process

10.  See the following video and demonstrate why ‘Western’ thought of environmental ethics differs from the North American Natives (7).

 
 

After finishing this assignment, we confirmed our knowledge of the chapters covered so far, and we further understood the concepts presented in the same chapters. Creating questions is a great way of gaining critical insight on complex topics, sustainable development, the beginning of life, natural preservation, etc. In conclusion, we believe that humans should be more responsible for their actions, decrease their environmental footprint and be cautious for future generations.

References:

(1) (2)”BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | The Living Planet: Facts and Figures.” BBC News – Home. Web. 25 Mar. 2011. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6080074.stm

Withgott, Jay, and Scott Brennan. Essential Environment: the Science behind the Stories. San Francisco: Pearson, 2009. Print.

(3)Strogilis, Chris. “ΜΑΘΕΤΕ ΝΑ ΓΥΜΝΑΖΕΣΘΕ ΣΩΣΤΑ!” Total Fitness. 27 Nov. 2009. Web. 26 Mar. 2011. <http://totalfitness-christos.blogspot.com/2009_11_01_archive.html&gt;.

(4) “Pictures 2-1” UCLA DMA Class Websites. Web. 26 Mar. 2011.                 <http://classes.dma.ucla.edu/Winter06/161B/projects/tonyau/ps2/1/index.html&gt;.

(5) “Winter Solstice 2008.” Wiccanweb. 18 Aug. 2008. Web. 26 Mar. 2011.     <http://www.wiccanweb.ca/article-21957.html&gt;.

(6) “Fluctuation in Population Size.” ETap ELearning. Web. 26 Mar. 2011.                 <https://www.etap.org/demo/biology_files/lesson6/instruction3tutor.html&gt;.

(7) “Environmental Ethics – All Things Are Connected.” YouTube. Ethics Online, 20 Apr. 2010. Web. 26 Mar. 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NE_ZSfb6O4&feature=related&gt;.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2011 in Ecology

 

Our Ecological Footprint

The Concept of an Ecological Footprint

Your choice

Different people use up different amounts of resources and have a different impact on our ecosystem. While a person that uses recyclable goods, or goods that have been made using recycled materials, another person might use goods that are not recyclable nor biodegradable.

Also, while one person might drive an economical hybrid car, another might drive a gas guzzling SUV. The concept of an ecological footprint tries to explain just how big or small our impact on nature is. As I stated before, different people have different ecological footprints, and as such these “footprints” can be examined closely and compared.

Overshoot and Carrying Capacity

Another important term in ecology is “overshoot”. If our ecological footprint is so huge, and we use so much resources so that we exceed the long term carrying capacity of the environment, overshoot occurs. In short, if any population exceeds the carrying capacity of its environment, this is called overshoot.

There is a limit after all...

To be able to completely understand the concept of “Overshoot” one must also know what the “Carrying Capacity” is. In short, “Carrying Capacity” is the maximum size of a population that a certain environment can sustain indefinitely. Usually if a population is below the carrying capacity of the environment, it will grow, while if the carrying capacity has been surpassed (overshot), the population would decrease due to higher pressure caused by lack of resources, food etc., This “equation” is not so simple regarding humans, as we have many other needs beyond our basic needs for food and clean water.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Ecological Footprint in Global Perspective

 

Ecological Footprint per Country Information compiled from Nationmaster, World Bank Database and the CIA World Factbook

Big and Small

As portrayed in the table, some countries have a rather small ecological footprint, while other have a much much larger one. We can see that Bangladesh has the smallest EF on the list (only 0.6). Why? Well, the answer is simple. It can be derived from several factors. First, to understand why the EF is so big or small, one must always have the country’s development in mind. Bangladesh isn’t a major industrial country, mostly due to geographic position (frequent monsoons, floods etc). If we also take the GDP in mind (only 640$), it is not hard to deduce that the population of Bangladesh does not use many luxury goods like expensive cars, equipment etc and as such the EF is small. On the other hand, Australia and the UAE are both extremely modernized countries in which people take luxury goods such as expensive electronic systems that might or might not be recyclable for granted. The UAE tries to impress the world by building technological marvels which unfortunately leave a large impact on the environment.

GDP vs Ecological Footprint

It is not hard to assume that the higher the GDP, the higher the ecological footprint would be. If people have more money to spend on goods that have a big impact on the environment (either during their production period – pollution or high resource cost, or goods that are not recyclable), then the footprint of the country would be larger.

My Ecological Footprint

If you are interested in finding your own ecological footprint, you could find out by going to this website: http://www.myfootprint.org/. However, a word of caution first – the result might surprise you. I did not expect that my footprint would differ so much from my country’s footprint. As a matter of fact, my EF is quite high – higher than most European averages.

Scary...

According to my EF, if everyone lived as I am, we would require 2.29 Earths to sustain the current human population. I find this a bit disturbing, since I didn’t expect this to be this severe.

If I compare my ecological footprint to the average Bangladeshi footprint, the Bangladeshi footprint is a lot smaller than mine. As I said, this is due to factors like GDP and the country’s development. Of course my footprint isnt as large as that of the UAE, but rather similar to an Australian footprint. In my opinion, UAE’s footprint per person is artificially enlarged due to the extreme projects the royal family undertakes, and a lot less due to people using up so many resources. I was quite intrigued by the fact that Germany has such a footprint – I expected a bigger one, but I guess that Germany is a bit more conscientious lately regarding the environment and tries to influence industries to go green and such.

Carbon, Food, Housing and Goods Footprint

The Four Categories

It seems that my footprint is that high due to “Goods and Services Footprint” being a bit high. In fact, its twice the average of my country. My carbon footprint is also higher due to me using a car to travel every weekend, so I use more fuel than average. The food footprint is a bit higher than my country’s average, while my housing footprint is lower probably because I turn off lights after exiting a room, switch off monitors to conserve energy etc. I can imagine the Bangladeshi carbon footprint is pretty smaller. The food footprint should be around the same since most of the vegetables and fruit I eat is organic, which is what I expect from Bangladesh as it is quite agricultural. The housing footprint should be lower than mine, aswell as the “Goods and Services” footprint.

On the other hand, the UAE footprint is probably so high due to a high carbon footprint and a high “Goods and Services” footprint. However, even though there are many “Mega Projects” (as they are named) currently under way, I believe that the UAE footprint will become smaller, as the engineers try to incorporate green technologies in their buildings. For example, the highest building in the world (recently finished in the UAE) is said to incorporate solar panels in the design so that the residents can get a bit of free solar energy that would make the need for other type of electricity lower.

 

Self-Sufficient Buldings - The Future?

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2011 in Ecology

 

The dangers of uncontrolled use of resources

 

Easter Island

If we take the Easter Island catastrophe into account, it is clear what might be in stock for humanity due to high overexploitation. If humanity does not pay any attention to try and reach a sustainable rate of development, resources would get scarcer and scarcer until there are no more left. The once advanced culture that populated the Easter Island was reduced to mere cannibalism just to survive. The people used up every available resource, so they started using other human beings as food (resource). After reaching a peak of about 10,000 inhabitants, there was no more food, nor other resources so that such a large population can survive. It plummeted down to around 2000, and currently it is estimated that there are around 2400 inhabitants living on the island. The island is also devoid of any native resources and animals due to the overexploitation that occurred.

On the other hand, Tikopia, a similar small island has been a prime example of how a truly sustainable system works.

Currently, Tikopia is inhabited by around 1200 people divided into several tribes. Due to strict reproductive policy, this number has been stable for a longer period of time, as the Tikopians believe they shouldn’t overpopulate due to available food and other resources. Unlike the people of Easter Island, the Tikopians also use a complex system of agriculture, which allows for enough food to be gathered at a sustainable rate, such that the ground doesn’t become infertile due to overfarming and such. For example, the Tikopians rely on apple orchards, as they have proven to be a good, yet sustainable source of food.

Yes, it is great to think that it is possible to live using a sustainable system, but can this really be applied to our current level of development? There are close to 7 billion people, relying on technology that uses a lot of resources.

In my opinion, it is a bit late to think on such a small scale like the Tikopian society, and I believe that we should use our current resources to find other sources of energy to drive our technology and everyday needs. Ultimately, I believe that technology is our only way in a better future for both mankind and the environment around us.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2011 in Ecology

 

Hypothesis

In a certain geographic area, there is a suspicious absence of trees – only grass grows on the plains. Our hypothesis might be that periodic fires may prevent tree seedlings from becoming established in the grasslands. This can be a suitable hypothesis, but we need to check for more information. First, we need to check whether it is a zone of high fire risk – meaning that during specific times each year, there is a high risk of wildfire. If there are noted cases of wildfire, it would be safe to assume that the area lacks trees due to wildfires burning the tree seedlings.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Environmental Science – An interdisciplinary academic field

Environmental science is defined as an interdisciplinary academic field that focuses on the environment and tries to find solutions to environmental problems. Environmental science is defined as an interdisciplinary field due to the fact that many other sciences are integrated together to find solutions to present problems – physics, chemistry, geology, biology etc – all these different sciences are integrated in environmental science.

Computer science isn’t defined as either natural or social science, yet it can be applied in many environmental science cases, especially due to technological breakthroughs. Advancement in computer science would bring more advanced technologies that could be used to solve many environmental problems by providing new cleaner energy sources, or making current technologies be more efficient through software or hardware upgrades.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Ecology

 

Introduction

Hello.

My country is mainly mountainous, and as such, there are many high mountain peaks. The highest mountain peak iscalled “Голем Кораб” (Golem Korab, “Big”/”Large” Korab),  and is 2,764 m high. When the snow melts, various streams are formed, and thus during these periods a waterfall is formed (the Korab Waterfall)

Korab Waterfall

The famous Шар Планина (Sar Planina) is adjacent to the Korab Mountain. It is of great significance due to it being a theme in many national works of literature and music – notably the song “Raspukala Sar Planina” performed originally by the now deceased singer Aleksandar Sarievski (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l652zwyS-cU) and by modern jazz-fusion group Leb i Sol (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO8M2squkb8).

Шар Планина

Another interesting mountain is Mount Јакупица (Jakupica). The highest peak is called Солунска Глава (2540m). It is said that if the weather is clear, one can see the city of Thessaloniki (Солун), thus the name – Solunska Glava. There are countless other notable mountain ranges like Mount Bistra (where Mavrovo Lake can be found), Baba Mountain (famous for the two mountain lakes called Pelister’s Eyes) etc,.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Ohrid Lake is the most famous lake due to its tourist value, and biological value. It was declared World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1979 and recently NASA named one of the lakes on Titan after Lake Ohrid. As such, it is the deepest lake on the Balkan Peninsula, and it holds hundreds of endemic life forms.

Охрид

Another famous lake is Lake Matka. It is famous for its interesting position in a canyon, as well as the several medieval monasteries present. There are 10 caves at Matka Canyon, with the shortest in length being 20 meters and the longest being 176 meters. The Vrelo Cave is the most famous cave – there are two lakes at the end of the cave. Even though the depth of the lakes isn’t known, some scientists and divers consider it to be the deepest cave in the world.

Матка

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As I previously mentioned, I now reside in Panorama, Thessaloniki. In my opinion, it is the cleanest district of Thessaloniki, and the air quality is quite different from the one in the center of the city. The purpose of this blog is to raise and answer important questions regarding our environment and ecology as a whole. Ultimately, I hope that each post I make will be an interesting and informative for my readers.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Ecology