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Environmental Issues

Environmental Issues

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Environmental Issues

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  1. Environmental Issues Humanities GCSE

  2. CONTENTS • Types of energy • Environmental problems • Groups • Direct & Indirect action • Pollution & tourism • Coral reefs & the rainforest • Quiz

  3. TYPES OF ENERGY Click a bubble to reveal the type of energy, or click next! NUCLEAR BIOFUELS TIDAL WIND SOLAR H.E.P. GEOTHERMAL FOSSIL FUELS NEXT

  4. Biofuels are mostly wood, which is renewable if it can be grown faster than it is chopped down. They can also be made from crops, like sugar and corn, and can be used as 385 for cars. A problem is that you need lots of land to grow and make it. Landfill waste and animal dung can also provide this type of energy, and can provide methane, which can be burned for energy. BACK

  5. Nuclear energy is made in nuclear power plants. In 2007, nuclear power provided around 18% of the UK’s electricity. In 1956, the first nuclear power station was built. The fuel is a mineral called uranium, which is mined, so it is not a renewable resource. It is seen as a replacement for fossil fuels, although some people have fears over its safety, especially since the recent nuclear emergency in Japan. Its production does not produce carbon dioxide. BACK

  6. Fixed wave generators use the power of the waves to force air up a column which turns a turbine. These generators are relatively easy to build, and are small, so there is little impact on the landscape. It is suitable for the UK in certain areas where there are lots of waves – in Scotland, the biggest wave farm in the world will be built. The River Severn would be ideal, but there would be problems with the local environment. BACK

  7. Wind power is the fastest-growing alternative energy source in the UK. A wind farm is full of wind turbines which can turn the wind into energy. They must be placed somewhere with lots of wind, like a shoreline. They can make lots of noise pollution, and might ruin the landscape for some local residents. The pressure of the blades can also affect bats. BACK

  8. Solar power is best suited on a small scale, for homes and small buildings. It can be generated using solar panels, which can be inserted on to most roofs. Sunlight is free, infinite, and produces no pollution, so it is an ideal alternative source of light for sunny places. However, it can be expensive to convert the sunlight into energy, and works best in a very sunny country. In the future, it might be used on car tops or on aeroplanes. BACK

  9. H.E.P. stands for hydro-electro power, and is highly suited to the UK because of its high annual rainfall. It is very efficient, as 90% of the water collected is turned into energy. It can be created when water is stored in a large dam, and, using electricity, is turned into energy. It requires steep valleys in which to build the dams, and large areas of land to use, but the UK can provide that. It does damage fish and local ecosystems. BACK

  10. Geothermal energy uses heat from the earth to generate energy, and can only be used where the Earth’s crust is thinnest. There are low running costs, but it might not be ideal for England since the Earth’s crust here is quite thick. Some offices in Southampton are heated by water pumped from 1,800m below the ground. BACK

  11. Coal, oil and gas are all fossil fuels. They were formed millions of years ago from dead plants and animals, and provide the majority of the energy from the UK, although many people are trying to cut down on the use of fossil fuels. In power stations, the fuels are used to heat water – this steam is used to drive turbines which then turn an electrical generator which produces energy. BACK

  12. Environmental Problems These are five of the most important environmental problems to consider. Click on one of the issues, or press next to go on to the next topic. urbanisation + industrialisation pollution + humans biodiversity NEXT pollution tourism

  13. Urbanisation + industrialisation Urbanisation is the process of more people moving to the towns and cities rather than living in the country, and industrialisation is the process of human workers being replaced by machinery. As countries develop, people demand more goods, which requires more factories to develop more products. With urbanisation, more houses have to be built in the cities, which means more of the environment has to be destroyed. As more people move to the city, they find themselves unable or unwilling to do more environmentally things – like growing their own food on an allotment, or cycling to work because of traffic difficulties. BACK

  14. Pollution The air, water and land become polluted in many ways. The land becomes polluted by radioactive waste being dumped in it – the village of Drigg, Cumbria, will be paid £75 million in compensation to have radioactive waste stored under the village, which could have an impact on human life and local ecosystems. Also, landfills produce methane, which can produce greenhouse gases and harm the Ozone layer. When rubbish and sewage are tipped into water supplies, they can pollute it, and make it harmful to local organisms. 4 billion tonnes of waste are tipped into the Yellow River, China, every year, making the Shandong province the “cancer capital of the world”. The main cause of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels. In Mexico City, smog can cause health problems. Harmful gases destroy the Ozone layer, letting in UV rays. BACK

  15. Pollution + humans Pollution can harm in many ways – in China, 750,000 people die every year from pollution-related health problems. UV rays let in by holes in the Ozone layer can cause skin cancer, and smog, caused by pollution, can cause asthma. Dirty air looks and feels disgusting to everyone, so can affect the quality of life of animals and humans. Living around nuclear waste can be an eyesore, and can cause health problems. It can affect water supplies and soil, and in LEDCs, children can get lead poisoning and asthma from living on rubbish dumps. Pollution can also cause acid rain. BACK

  16. Biodiversity Habitats like coral reefs and rainforests are home to many species, and include a variety of ecosystems which are vital to the life of the environment and the species in it. Many endangered species could provide cures for deadly diseases, like cancer or AIDS, and could lead to important scientific discoveries in the future. Without biodiversity, ecosystems could collapse, which could be deadly for all animals and plants involved. Forest tribes depend on some of the animals and plants for their survival, and loss of biodiversity could seriously threaten those tribes. The five main causes of loss of biodiversity are: habitat destruction (habitats of some species being destroyed for land), climate change (species cannot adapt fast enough), pollution (sewage and pesticides can hurt animals), exploitation (deforestation, poaching and over-fishing), and invasive alien species (from other countries that come here and compete with the native species.) BACK

  17. Tourism Tourism affects both MEDCs and LEDCs, which can be bad for the environment. Visitor numbers can be greater than the environment can handle, and ‘honey pots’ like Malkham in Yorkshire have suffered from people using the footpaths too much, which can erode them, and traffic congestion on the local roads. Mombasa, Kenya, has also suffered: sewage pumped from the local hotels have polluted coral reefs, which damages the ecosystem. Areas can be ruined by leisure activities, like snorkelling. Off-road safaris can ruin the rocks of the desert, and make the animals behave strangely – they can desert their young due to the intrusive public. Pressure is put on local resources to provide for tourists, and even big landmarks like Mount Everest can suffer. BACK

  18. Groups These are the groups involved in environmental issues – and how they respond to those issues. Click on a group to see their profile, or click next to go on! scientists religion pressure groups political groups businesses NEXT sceptics government

  19. Scientists Sometimes, scientists are referred to as ‘bright green environmentalists’, and often try to solve and respond to environmental problems. They respond by using science and technology to solve problems. Some scientists try to improve efficiency of motor vehicles and power stations, to see what they can do to achieve a better future for the world. BACK

  20. Religion Some religious people believe in stewardship, which is looking after something so it can be passed down. Hindus have Ahisma, which means a no-violence respect policy. The Muslim prophet Mohammed taught about animal rights before politics, and Christians have organisations which give out awards to environmentally-friendly churches. BACK

  21. Political groups Some political groups, like the Green Party, see environmental issues as political issues, and try to get laws passed to protect the environment. They campaign for green issues, and for things like more public transport and restricted air travel. They also want to educate people more on the environment, and how to protect it. In recent years, support for the Green Party has been growing. BACK

  22. Sceptics Sceptics don’t believe in the manmade effects of global warming, but think it is a natural situation. They deny global warming exists – some do not believe the evidence, whilst others simply do not want to change their lifestyle and habits to suit the environment. BACK

  23. Government The government may respond to environmental issues by passing new laws – for example, they stopped the sale of leaded petrol in 2000. They can also set up important environmental initiatives, like Agenda 21, for world leaders to sign. They have a substantial interest in the future of the UK and the state of the environment. BACK

  24. Businesses Many businesses are more concerned about profits than the environment, but some do pay for more environmentally friendly aspects for their offices, such as solar panels for the roof. Power stations may increase pollution, but they give people jobs and money, and Trade Unions have to protect peoples’ jobs – getting rid of factories would get rid of jobs. BACK

  25. Pressure groups These groups pressure the government and community into doing something about the environment – they take direct or indirect action on a variety of issues, which can involve protests, sit-ins and campaigns. An example of a pressure group is Greenpeace, who organise many campaigns and protests to raise awareness about the environment. BACK

  26. Direct & Indirect Action protests boycott sit-ins lobbying civil disobedience Direct Action Indirect campaigns research press release petitions

  27. Pollution and tourism

  28. Ecosystems: Coral Reefs pollution globalwarming tourism Threats to Coral Reefs mining fishing nuclear testing

  29. Ecosystems: Rainforests extraction of minerals small-scale farming Threats to Rainforests logging cattle ranching major engineering projects

  30. CONTENTS QUIZ Can you make your way through the rainforest alive? Answer the questions on environmental issues to get safely through the rainforest – press GO to start the quiz! GO

  31. Which of these is not a direct action taken by pressure groups? Protests Petitions Lobbying


  33. Which of these energy sources requires large valleys to work? H.E.P. Tidal Solar


  35. Out of these three, what are most businesses most concerned about? Profit Workers Environment

  36. WELL DONE! CONTENTS You made it out of the jungle! Click one of the buttons to go back to the contents, or restart the quiz! QUIZ

  37. OOPS! Whoops! Maybe you should go back to the start of the quiz to try that question again – or go back to the contents if you like! CONTENTS QUIZ