• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Mankind's Effect upon the Environment.

Extracts from this document...


Mankind's Effect upon the Environment "The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives." Native American Proverb Around 500,000 years ago the very first Homo sapiens walked upon planet earth. How they exactly got there is still heavily debated amongst society today. What the very first Homo sapiens were presented with was a lushes green environment full of animals, some of which do not exist today, and a huge variety of plant life. The very first humans were quite obviously nowhere near as intelligent as the average human being today, but still had a great deal of intelligence. They realised that they had to eat food in order to stay alive, although perhaps not why or what it did to them. They therefore ate plant life, and hunted animals using wooden tools made from tree branches. Wood was a big fuel for them; they used it to make shelter, to burn for warmth and also for weapons. Yet this did not affect the environment nowhere near as much as it has been polluted in the present day. This is because there was a lot, lot fewer humans than there are today, so equilibrium between the environment and human survival was sustained. This introduction surely tells us that the very first primitive humans were not aware of the impact they were causing on the environment, the small increases in the Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming they were causing. So, as time has proceeded 500,000 years forward to the present day surely modern civilisation has built technology to overcome this massive problem. Well in fact no, it is rather a lot worse. "There's so much pollution in the air now that if it weren't for our lungs there'd be no place to put it all." Robert Orben There are not that many things on earth that are classed as vital to the human population. Obviously there is oxygen, food, water, but perhaps one thing that is never thought of is fossil fuels. ...read more.


As I just mentioned plant organism will decrease so therefore there will be less photosynthesis and so more CO2 will remain in the atmosphere. So following on from leaching and into Eutrophication, ions (primarily phosphates, Nitrates and Potassium) find their way into streams and lakes in various ways. As a result of these excessive elements, growth is encouraged and there is an algae "bloom." Dead algae plants rise to the surface of the water where aerobic micro-organisms decompose the algae. Both the rapid algae growth and aerobic micro-organisms demand a lot of oxygen from the water. With no oxygen all organisms in this part of the river die, because they cannot respire. Also the algae bloom prevents light getting through to the plants below the surface of the water so they die because they are unable to photosynthesise. This reduces the levels of oxygen even more. So, because of the use of fertilisers to make a crop yield slightly better, an ecosystem, within a river, is completely destroyed. Acid rain is a widespread term used to describe all forms of acid precipitation (rain, snow, hail, fog, etc.). Atmospheric pollutants, particularly oxides of sulphur and nitrogen, can cause precipitation to become more acidic when converted to sulphuric and nitric acids, hence the term acid rain. The problem of acid rain is not a new one but the nature of the problem has changed from being a local problem for towns and cities to being an international problem. Again it is important to remember that humans did not create acid rain, they enhanced it. Precipitation is naturally acidic because of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) produces sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides which can increase the acidity of rain or other precipitation. Sources of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen may be natural such as volcanoes, oceans, biological decay and forest fires, or may arise from combustion sources. ...read more.


Nuclear power has a significant part to play in maintaining a balanced energy policy. It currently contributes to 26% of the UK's electricity generation and a great deal more in countries like France and Germany. Nuclear power generation does not contribute to air pollution and can therefore help to reduce acid rain and global warming. Nuclear power generation uses the fuel uranium to produce electricity. Uranium is a highly concentrated energy source that is available throughout the world in large quantities. 1 tonne of uranium can produce as much electricity as 2000 tonnes of coal. Once uranium has been used, it can be reprocessed and recycled to make more fuel. During the reprocessing, plutonium is given off as a by-product. The plutonium can then be used to generate power in fast reactors. Electricity is generated in a nuclear power plant when an extra neutron is added to the nucleus of a uranium atom. This causes it to split apart and release heat energy. As the nucleus splits apart, several neutrons are released, which can then collide with another nucleus and cause further fission of uranium atoms. This leads to a chain of reactions. The heat produced during fission converts water to steam, which then turns a turbine and generates electricity. In a power station, the amount of energy release is controlled to provide an even heat supply. Unfortunately, waste generated by the nuclear industry is radioactive and must therefore be disposed of with extreme care. As I said the radioactive material must be managed, to present no hazard to humans or the environment. The radioactivity of waste however, will decay over time. So with an overview of all the alternative energy sources, does nuclear power look like mankind's best way alternative energy source, to prevent further destruction of the environment? Written and researched by Peter J Webster Mr. J. Stott Peter. J. Webster - 1 - ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Environmental Management section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Environmental Management essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How do humans affect the environment?

    3 star(s)

    By doing so we reduce the pollution usually caused by factories, by using wind turbines, which cause no pollution at all. By reducing use of non-renewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), we are reducing the amount of dangerous gases, polluting the air.

  2. Deforestation and its impact on the environment

    A loss of trees also emits a higher concentration of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that in effect increase the temperature. Deforestation also leads to a drier atmosphere that increases the risk of forest fires. As trees continue to get cut down, the watershed protection of the forest diminishes, leading to excess flooding and billions of dollars worth of damage.

  1. What are the effects of Deforestation?

    4.95 0.45 0.05 C (bedrock) 5.11 0.32 0.03 Negreiros, G. H. de; Nepstad, D. C. 1994. Mapping deeply rooting forests of Brazilian Amazonia with GIS. Proceedings of ISPRS Commission VII Symposium - Resource and Environmental Monitoring. Rio de Janeiro. 7(a):334-338. Negreiros, G. H. de; Nepstad, D.

  2. How has the stakeholder environment of the child support Agency changed over the period ...

    This argument is definitely applicable to CSA. The organisation is expected to progress further in this direction with better technological, environmental and legal support. It is expected to deliver its services based on the redefined goals Experienced staff With the past experience of over 8 years, the staff have

  1. Enviromental Health - how humans can damage the environment

    Therefore, it is like a never ending cycle where farmers have to keep using more and more pesticides to keep away the ever growing number of pests. Also, Monocultures also increase the amount of pesticides that are used. Normal conventional farming helps replace nutrients back into the ground by using crop rotation.

  2. I am researching about four organisations energy policies which are: McDonalds, Tescos, EDF Energy ...

    McDonalds are putting their targets into practice, one of the energy saving practice that they have done is to fit all burger grills with an alarm that sounds when unused for a set period and this alarm would remind the employees to switch them to standby mode.

  1. Global Warming: Should We Care? Analysis of two sceptical articles.

    A counter argument would?ve been very effective in this essay but he chose not to have one. Sowell uses the conference as the focal point of the essay in order to make people skeptical about global warming. He thinks that people will supposedly learn the truth which is that there is no scientific evidence to support global warming.

  2. Alternative Energy. One answer to global warming is to replace and retrofit current ...

    Run-of-the-river Run-of-the-river hydroelectric stations are those with small or no reservoir capacity, so that the water coming from upstream must be used for generation at that moment, or must be allowed to bypass the dam. Tide A tidal power plant makes use of the daily rise and fall of ocean

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work