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Resource Issues Chapter 14. Melony Espaillat Ap Human Geography. Key Terms Acid deposition: Sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, emitted by burning fossil fuels, enter the atmosphere-where they combine with oxygen and water to form sulfuric acid and nitric acid-and return to Earth’s surface

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resource issues chapter 14

Resource IssuesChapter 14

Melony Espaillat

Ap Human Geography


Key Terms

  • Acid deposition:Sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, emitted by burning fossil fuels, enter the atmosphere-where they combine with oxygen and water to form sulfuric acid and nitric acid-and return to Earth’s surface
  • Acid precipitation:Conversion of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides to acids that return to Earth as rain, snow, or fog.
  • Active solar energy systems:Solar energy system that collects energy through the use of mechanical devices like photovoltaic cells or flat-plate collectors.
  • Air pollution:Concentration of trace substances, such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and solid particulates, at a greater level than occurs in average air.
  • Animate power:Power supplied by people or animals.
  • Biochemical Oxygen demand (BOD):Amount of oxygen required by aquatic bacteria to decompose a given load of organic waste; a measure of water pollution.
  • Biodiversity:The number of species within a specific habitat.

Biomass fuel:fuel that derives from plant material and animal waste.

  • Breeder reactor:A nuclear power plant that creates its own fuel from plutonium.
  • Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC):A gas used as a solvent, a propellant in aerosols, a refrigerant, and in plastic foams and fire extinguishers.
  • Conservation:The sustainable use and management of a natural resource, through consuming at a less rapid rate than it can be replaced.
  • Ferrous:Metals including iron ore, that are utilized in the production of iron and steel.
  • Fission:The splitting of an atomic nucleus to release energy.
  • Fossil fuel:Energy source formed from the residue of plants and animals buried millions of years ago.
  • Fusion:Creation of energy by joining the nuclei of two hydrogen atoms to form helium.
  • Geothermal energy:Energy from steam or hot water produced from hot or molten underground rocks.
  • Greenhouse effect:Anticipated increase in Earth’s temperature, caused by carbon dioxide (emitted by burning fossil fuels) trapping some of the radiation emitted by the surface.
  • Hydroelectric power:Power generated from moving water.
  • Inanimate power:Power supplied by machines.
  • Nonferrous:metals utilized to make products other than iron and steel.
  • Nonrenewable energy:A source of energy that is a finite supply capable of being exhausted.

Ozone:gas that absorbs ultraviolet solar radiation, found in the stratosphere, a zone between 15 and 50 kilometers (9 to 30 miles) above Earth’s surface.

  • Passive solar energy systems:Solar energy system that collects energy without the use of mechanical devices.
  • Photochemical smog:An atmospheric condition formed through a combination of weather conditions and pollution, especially from motor vehicle emissions.
  • Photovoltaic cell:Solar energy cells, usually made from silicon, that collect solar rays to generate electricity.
  • Pollution:Addition of more waste than a resource can accommodate.
  • Potential reserve:The amount of energy in deposits not yet identified but thought to exist.
  • Preservation:Maintenance of a resource in its present condition, with as little human impact as possible.
  • Proven reserve:The amount of a resource remaining in discovered deposits.
  • Radioactive waste:Particles from a nuclear reaction that emit radiation; contact with such particles may be harmful or lethal to people and must therefore be safely stored for thousands of years.

Renewable energy:A resource that has a theoretically unlimited supply and is not depleted when used by humans.

  • Resource:A substance in the environment that is useful to people, is economically and technologically feasible to access, and is socially acceptable to use
  • Sanitary landfill:A place to deposit solid waste, where a layer of earth is bulldozed over garbage each day to reduce emissions of gases and odors from the decaying trash, to minimize fires, and to discourage vermin.
  • Sustainable development:The level of development that can be maintained in a country without depleting resources to the extent that future generations will be unable to achieve a comparable level of development.

Why are resources being depleted?

The problem is that most resources are limited, and Earth has tremendous number of consumers

  • We deplete scarce resources, especially petroleum, natural gas, coal, for energy production
  • We destroy resources through pollution of air, water, and soil
  • We depend on abundant, low-cost energy and minerals to run our industries, transport ourselves, and keep our homes comfortable.
  • MDCs want to preserve current standard of living, and LDCs are struggling to attain a better stand.

Three of Earth’s substances provide five-sixths of the world’s energy

  • Coal: supplanted world as the leading energy source in North America and Europe in the late 1800s.
  • Petroleum: first pumped in 1859, but not an important resource until the diffusion of motor vehicles in the twentieth century
  • Natural Gas: originally burned off a a waste product of oil drilling, but now used to heat homes.
  • Energy is used in three principal places in the Unites States:
  • Businesses
  • Homes
  • Transportation

Mineral Resources

Earth has 92 natural elements, but about 99 percent of the crust is composed of 8 elements –oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

They are either metallic or nonmetallic.


-In weight, more than 90 percent of the minerals that humans use are nonmetallic, but metallic minerals are especially important for economic activities and so carry relatively high value.


Nonmetallic Minerals:

  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Sulfur

-these minerals are fashioned into structures, roads, monuments, tools, and many other objects of daily use

-also used for fertilizer


Metallic Minerals-have properties that are especially valuable for fashioning machinery, vehicles, and other essential components of an industrialized society

Ferrous Metals: refers to iron

Nonferrous: utilized to make products other than iron and steal





  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Nickel
  • Tin
  • titanium

Why are resources being polluted?

All of the resources we use are eventually returned to the atmosphere, bodies of water, or land surface, through burning, rinsing, or discarding.

We rely on air, water, and land to remove and disperse our waste.


Air Pollution

  • Air pollution concerns geographers at three scales-global, regional, and local. At the global scale, air pollution may contribute to global warming. It also may be damaging the atmosphere's ozone layer.
  • Human actions, especially the burning of fossil fuels, may be causing Earth’s temperature to rise. When fossil fuels are burned, one of the trace gases, carbon dioxide, is discharged into the atmosphere.
  • Global warming of only a few degrees could melt the polar ice caps and raise the level of the oceans many meters.
  • At a regional scale, air pollution may damage regions vegetation and water supply through acid deposition.
  • -Acid precipitation damages lakes, killing fish and plants.
  • At a local scale, air pollution is especially severe in places where emission sources are concentrated, such as in urban areas.
  • -Urban air pollution has three basic components: carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and particulates.

Water Pollution

  • Water serves many human purposes:
  • It must be drunk to survive
  • It is used for cooking
  • It is used for bathing
  • It provides a location for boating, swimming, fishing, and other recreation activities.
  • It is home to fish and other edible aquatic life.
  • People also use water for purposed that pollute it, therefore clean water is not always available.
  • Three main sources generate most water pollution:
  • Water-using industries
  • Municipal sewage
  • agriculture

Land Pollution

  • When we consume a product precious we also consume and unwanted by-product- a glass, metal, paper, or plastic box, wrapper, or container in which the product is packaged.
  • Solid-Waste Disposal
  • -more than one half of the country’s waste is trucked to landfills and buried under soil.
  • Hazardous Waste
  • -includes heavy metals, PCB oils from electrical equipment cyanides, strong solvents, acids, and caustics.
  • -if not places in protective containers, the chemicals may leach into the soil and contaminate groundwater or escape into the atmosphere.
  • -breathing air or consuming water contaminated with toxic wastes can cause cancer, mutations, chronic ailments, and even immediate death.

Why are resources reusable?

Depletion and destruction of resources can be reduced through reuse.

Renewable resources can be substituted for nonrenewable ones. Recycling unwanted by-products into resources can replace the discharging of these products into the environment.

The leading source of renewable energy currently are biomass and hydroelectric. Geothermal, wind, and solar are also currently used but are less common.


Recycling involves two main series of activities.

  • Material that would be thrown away are collected and sorted. Then the materials are manufactured into new products for which a market exist.
  • Pick up and processing
  • -curbside programs
  • -drop-off centers
  • -buy back centers
  • -deposit programs
  • Manufacturing
  • -paper
  • -plastic
  • -glass
  • -aluminum
  • Pollution reduction strategies:
  • Reducing the amount of waste discharged into the environment
  • Expanding the capacity of the environment to accept discharged

Why should resources be used?

Because it is one part natural science and one part social science, geography is especially sensitive to the important of protecting the natural environment while meeting human needs. “Conservation” is a concept that reflects balance between nature and society.

Through sustainable development, human can improve their quality of life while protecting Earth’s resources for the benefit of future generations.


Conservations, Preservations, and Sustainability

  • -the sustainable use and management of natural resources such as wildlife water, air, and Earth’s resources to meet human needs, including food, medicine, and recreation
  • -preservation takes the view that the value of nature does not derive from human needs and interests but from the fact that every plant and animal living on earth has the right to exist and should be preserved regardless of the cost
  • Sustainability and Economic growth
  • -Environmental protection, economic growth, and social equity are linked because economic development aimed at reducing poverty can at the same time threaten the environment.
  • Sustainability’s Critics
  • -Critics and defenders of sustainable development agree that one important recommendation of the UN report has not been implemented- increased international cooperation to reduce the gap between more developed and less developed countries.
  • -only if resourced are distributed in a more equitable manner can LDCs reduce the development gap with MDCs.

Biodiversity is an important concept because it is a way of summing the total value of Earth’s resources available for human us. Sustainable development is promoted when the biodiversity of a particular place or Earth as a whole is protected.