Effects of Human Activities & Sustainability

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  • Effects of Human Activities & Sustainability
    • Carbon Cycle
      • CO2 is added to the atmosphere by respiration in animals, plants and micro-organisms and the combustion of fossil fuels
      • Burning fossil fuels leads to more CO2 being added to the atmosphere
      • Deforestation is a main reason why CO2 in the atmosphere has increased
        • Less trees to take in CO2 so more CO2 remains in the air
      • Combustion is the other main reason why CO2 in the atmosphere has increased
        • Burning fossil fuels releases CO2 (and SO2) into the air
    • Greenhouse Effect / Global Warming
      • Sunlight cannot penetrate the 'blanket' of greenhouse gases surrounding the planet
      • Caused by changes in sea levels and rainfall patterns etc.
        • Impacts on plants, wildlife and humans
    • Scarcity of water may become a major problem for food production creating a need to create drought resistant crops
      • Genetically modified crops
    • Biofuels
      • Examples
        • Wood
        • Straw
        • Rape seed oil
        • Waste oil
      • Advantages
        • Biofuels release CO2 when being processed etc. but absorb it when growing so are considered as 'carbon neutral'
      • Disadvantages
        • Areas of land have to be cleared to grow crops purely for the purpose of biofuels
        • Not necessarily carbon neutral when you take into account the energy used in farming, transporting and processing the crops
        • Only certain parts of the plants are used which increases waste
          • Cellulose is tough and requires pre-treating
      • Any fuel that is biological in origin


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