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Global Environmental Concerns. Galloway June 2005. Deforestation . Process of cutting down, burning or damaging of forests This has been going on on a large scale basis for centuries Why Farmers do this to create land for growth Ranchers do it to make room for livestock. Rainforest.

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  • Process of cutting down, burning or damaging of forests
  • This has been going on on a large scale basis for centuries
  • Why
    • Farmers do this to create land for growth
    • Ranchers do it to make room for livestock
  • At the current rate, the world’s rainforest will dissappear in appx. 100 years.
  • A tropical area the size of North Carolina is deforested each year.
  • Rainforests contain the majority of their nutrients in the plants – not the soil
rainforests ii
Rainforests (II)
  • When farmers cut the forests for farm land, they usually burn the trees to transfer the nutrients to the soil
  • These nutrients are usually washed away in 3 years, and the soil becomes unusable. They then need to move on to more fertile land again.
nuclear waste
Nuclear Waste
  • There is short term and long term waste disposal
  • Short term needs to wait appx. 10 – 50 years to break down so it can be disposed of in a ‘regular’ manner.
  • Long term waste has a half-life of as long as 100,000 years, and need different disposal techniques
nuclear waste long term ii
Nuclear Waste-Long Term (II)
  • Space
    • Ideally, we could send it to space and not have to worry about it again. Problem: How do we get it there? What happens if there is a problem?
  • Sea
    • It would be burried deep under the sea bed where there are little geographic changes. Once again: What if? Comes to mind.
nuclear waste long term iii
Nuclear Waste-Long Term (III)
  • Land
    • It would be buried in large underground caverns and then would be sealed in with stone.
    • This is very expensive, but technologically possible for us today.
    • The Yucca Mountain site in the US today
why yucca
No close population (appx. 100 mi NW of Las Vegas)

Dry climate

Low rain fall

Deep water table

Stable geology

Previous nuclear testing in the area


Why Yucca?
water pollution
Water Pollution
  • There are many different types
  • Natural – too much of a bacteria caused by man or nature changes can cause all the fish to die
  • Chemical – run off from local factories, streets, businesses, etc
  • Oil – pipeline cracks, ship spills, run off, etc.
natural groundwater
Natural Groundwater
  • Aquifers are naturally occurring groundwater
  • This is caused by the overdrawing of the groundwater w/o replacing it through rainwater
  • Replacement becomes near to impossible as we cement over more and more of the earth – the dirt cannot absorb as much water as it should and it becomes runoff
aquifer ii
The Ogallala aquifer is one of the US’ oldest water supplies

This area does not get enough rain to sustain the farming.

Should they deplete the aquifer now, or conserve it for the future? It is already happening.

Aquifer (II)
mono lake
Mono Lake
  • Los Angeles purchased large amounts of land bordering the lake to gain rights to the water.
  • The lake was diverted to bring water to Los Angeles by William Mulholland who built the world’s longest aqueduct at 233 miles which opened up in 1913. (Cadillac Desert)
  • The draining of the lake has created an ecological emergency in the region.
mono lake ii
Mono Lake (II)
  • The lake is diverted faster than it fills
  • The salt level of the lake as risen so much that the fish cannot survive.
  • With the level of the lake so low, it is endangering seagulls (they fly there to lay their eggs on formations in the middle of the lake) because predators can reach the eggs for lunch.
  • This is the thin layer in the atmosphere that protects the earth from UV rays.
  • Each year the ‘hole’ fluxuates in size. We know it to be over the south pole, but recently it has appeared in the northern hemisphere as well.
  • This depletion has been attributed to CFC’s which interact with the natural ozone, breaking it apart and causing it to break down.
a global problem
A Global Problem
  • The environment doesn’t know international borders. What happens in one country eventually happens to us all.
  • Air pollution crosses borders, radiation seeps into ground water across borders, etc.
  • The world needs to work together to fight this.
  • The nations of the world met and signed the KYOTO protocal. This is supposed to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses that are produced by each country, and institute international legislation to protect our earth
  • But, countries have found a way to get around the protocol by ‘trading’ emissions.
kyoto ii
  • The US is seen internationally as snubbing its nose at the protocal. Many international figures think this is because of intense lobbying from groups within the US. I will post an interesting article from India regarding this. (I always recommend reading international news articles. It provides a better view of the world)
your homework
Your homework:
  • The shrinking global community: technology.
  • Earth Observatory:
  • Univ. Rochester:
  • OCRWM:
  • Univ. Michigan:
cited ii
Cited (II)
  • Beyond Discovery