Unit 1: Challenges for the Planet

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Unit 1: Challenges for the Planet
  1. Effects of resource extraction on Tropical Rainforests
    1. Oil extraction in Ecuador
      1. Miscarriages are common and stomach cancer is five times more frequent in the Orient region because of hydrocarbons in the water.
        1. Many plants such as periwinkle, which is used to cure childhood leukaemia, are becoming extinct
        2. Mining in Indonesia
          1. Everyday, 285,000 tonnes of mining waste is dumped into the River Aghawaghon. This pollutes the fish in the river and also results in shortages of water for local people as their usual water source is contaminated.
            1. Crocodiles in the area of Teluk Etna are currently on the brink of extinction.
            2. Logging in Cameroon
              1. Roads built by the logging companies have opened up the rainforest to hunters. This has lead to elephants and chimpanzees being killed and their meat being sold for high prices to restaurants.
                1. The local Baka people work in the sawmills without any protective clothing. This leads to them breathing in the toxic products that are used to treat the woods.
              2. Tropical Rainforest Management
                1. Costa Rica
                  1. Costa Rica is developing its rainforest in a sustainable way. One of the ways is through ecotourism. Many areas of the country, including the famous Cloud Forest area, have developed tourist facilities such as zip wiring and trails through the forest, which are very popular with tourists.
                  2. Madagascar
                    1. In 2001, Givaudan, a Swiss company, sent a team to Madagascar to survey for new fragrances. It developed 40 aromas that were then sold. The company shared the profits with local communities through conservation and development strategies.
                    2. Malaysia
                      1. In Malaysia, the government has rejected plans to build a coal fired power plant at Silam, on the Island of Borneo. The government decided that they didn't want to pollute the area and more environmentally friendly forms of energy would need to be found.
                        1. The country has vast amounts of coal and other minerals such as gold. The government will not develop these resources at the expense of the rainforest which has many endangered species such as the orang-utan. Instead, it is going to develop ecotourism, emphasising the natural attractions, such as world-class diving and the biologically diverse tropical rainforest.
                    3. Sustainable Transport Schemes
                      1. Car sharing - if half of UK motorists received a lift one day a week, vehicle congestion and pollution would be reduced by an estimated 10%
                        1. Road lanes which give priority to buses, ensuring they get an easy passage through congested areas - there is a designated bus lane from the A329M right into the centre of Reading.
                        2. Designated cycle and walking paths in urban areas - Milton Keynes has 274 km of cycle paths.
                          1. Road lanes that only allow cars with at least 2 passengers in them.
                          2. London Congestion Charge
                            1. It costs £8 to enter the central areas of London between 7:00am and 6:00pm, Monday to Friday.
                              1. By 2008 there had been the following improvements:
                                1. Traffic levels reduced by 21%
                                  1. 65,000 fewer car journeys a day
                                    1. 12% increase in cycle journeys within the zone
                                      1. 12% reduction in the emission of nitrous oxide and fine particles
                                  2. How are companies being sustainable?
                                    1. General Electric - This is a large transnational corporation (TNC) which operates in many different countries. It is trying to produce its products in a more sustainable way. By 2012, it hoped to reduce its fresh water usage by 20%. This is expected to save 7.4 million cubic meters of water, which is enough to fill 3000 Olympic sized swimming pool. This will be achieved by monitoring their water usage and improving their water recycling. Much of the water in their boilers and cooling towers will be recycled water.
                                      1. NOKIA - Nokia are concerned that people are not recycling their old phones. If every mobile phone user recycled one phone, it would save 240,000 tonnes of raw materials. Nokia gives information on its website on where to find recycling points and the address to send the phone to if there is not a centre nearby.
                                        1. Asda/Walmart - Asda's distribution centre in Didcot, Oxfordshire, now recycles all of its plastic packaging. Asda benefits as it is paid for the plastic which is recycled. The environment benefits because plastic is stopped from being sent to landfill sites.
                                        2. Local and Global responses to climate change
                                          1. GLOBAL - JUNE 1992 - THE EARTH SUMMIT, RIO DE JANEIRO This was a meeting organised by the United Nations to discuss climate change. The result of the meeting was the signing of the world's first international environment treaty, which aimed to stabilise the world's greenhouse gases.
                                            1. GLOBAL - DECEMBER 1997 - KYOTO CONFERENCE At this meeting, the Kyoto Protocol was signed, which came into force in February 2005. By 2008, 181 countries had signed the Kyoto Protocol. The agreement stated the following:
                                              1. Greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by 5.2% compared to 1990 levels globally.
                                                1. Each country agreed to a national limit on emissions, which range from 8% for the EU, 7% for the USA, 6% for Japan and 0% for Russia.
                                                  1. It allowed increases of 10% for Iceland and 8% for Australia because they were not using all of their carbon allowance.
                                                    1. In order to achieve their targets, countries could either cut their emissions or trade with other countries in carbon. This means that a country could by carbon credits from another country. For example, Iceland could sell 2% of its carbon credits to the EU to enable the EU to meet its target of 8%.
                                                      1. By Local Interest Groups - One such group is 'Manchester is my planet'. This group is running a 'pledge campaign' to encourage individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. One of the initiatives is the Green Badge Parking Permit. People who own cars which have been recognised as having low carbon emissions, can apply for a Green Badge Parking Permit, which allows car owners to buy an annual parking permit for NCP car parks within Greater Manchester at a 25% discount. The permit is valid for 12 months.
                                                      2. 'Live Simply' is a campaign which ran throughout the whole of 2007. It was initiated by the Catholic Church to encourage students to consider how they make choices in life. It provided a number of resources for schools, which made students think about their impact on the world and sustainability.
                                                      3. Causes of Climate Change (Human & Natural)
                                                        1. NATURAL - SOLAR OUTPUT - Research and measurements has shown that the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth has decreased by an estimated 0.1%
                                                          1. NATURAL - Volcanic eruptions release sulphur dioxide which stops solar energy from reaching the Earth's surface. Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, which caused a massive drop in global temperatures, hence it being called the 'little ice age'.
                                                            1. NATURAL - The Earth's orbit around the Sun varies from nearly circular to elliptical and back to circular again every 95,000 years. Colder temperatures are recorded in circular orbits and warmer temperatures are recorded in elliptical orbits.
                                                            2. HUMAN - When fossil fuels are burnt, they produce carbon dioxide, which contributes to the greenhouse effect, which, in turn, causes the climate to change.
                                                              1. There has been an increase in the burning of fossil fuels for producing energy in countries such as China, where 75% of energy is produced from coal. China is developing rapidly and is using coal to fuel this development.
                                                                1. Methane makes up 20% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The amount of methane in the atmosphere has risen by 1.5% a year in the last decade.
                                                                  1. There has been an increase in the number of cattle for meat, reflecting an increase in Western-style diets. Cattle produce methane when they ruminate their food.
                                                                  2. Drilling for oil releases methane in the form of natural gas.
                                                                  3. Negative effects of Climate Change
                                                                    1. CROP YIELDS
                                                                      1. Tanzania is experiencing longer periods of drought. Farmers will lose almost a third of their maize crop.
                                                                        1. In India, there will be a 50% decrease in the amount of land available to grow wheat. This is due to hotter and drier weather.
                                                                          1. In Kenya, droughts now happen every 3 years instead of every 10. In 2006, Kenya suffered its worst drought for 80 years. Many farmers lost all their cattle.
                                                                          2. SEA LEVELS AND MARINE ENVIRONMENTS
                                                                            1. Experts say, if the sea level goes up by 1 m, Bangladesh will lose 17.5% of its land.
                                                                              1. Sea levels rising will threaten large areas of low-lying coastal land, including major cities such as London.
                                                                                1. Due to rising sea levels, Tuvalu has started to evacuate its population to New Zealand, with 75 people moving away each year. Bangladesh suffers from oastal flooding.
                                                                                  1. Many of the world's coral reefs, such as the Great Barrier Reef, are dying because of an increase in global sea temperatures, due to global warming.
                                                                                2. GLACIERS
                                                                                  1. Glacier National Park, Montana, USA, was created in 1910 with around 150 glaciers. It's now estimated that there is about 30 left, with all of them predicted to disappear within 30 years.
                                                                                    1. Melting ice in Antarctica, would divert the Gulf Stream south, which would result in cooler summer of 8-10 degrees and extremely cold winters of below 0 degrees in western Europe.
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