ESRM tests 1 & 3

planned obsolescence

what is the most significant contributor to a throw-away society?


municipal solid waste: AKA waste collected from households, small businesses, schools, prisons, hospitals, etc (1/3 of which is recycled)


how much of E-waste is recycled?

it produces methane gas (uh oh)

what happens if stuff decomposes without oxygen?


water that becomes contaminated by traveling through solid waste and picking up various chemical compounds

requires hiring tipping fees than landfills, releases air pollutants, and creates concentrated ash that is toxic and must be landfilled

negatives of incineration

40,000 million tons per year

how much hazardous waste does the US produce

hazardous waste

more expensive to handle, requires specially trained personnel, must be treated before disposal, and theres no solution for it except to create less

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

enacted to reduce or eliminate hazardous waste, provides cradle-to-grave tracking, and ensures proper disposal of hazza

CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act)

also called a "superfund" because it taxes chemical petroleum industries and uses the money to clean up abandoned and non-operating hazardous waste sites (New Jersey has the most)


contaminated industrial or commercial sites that may require cleanup before they can be redeveloped or expanded

life-cycle analysis

part of IWM (integrated waste management) that determines how waste can be eliminated or reduced

high in clay

The best soil in which to engineer a sanitary landfill is

high blood pressure

One of the ten leading health risks in high-income countries is


A historical pandemic disease caused by a bacterium and carried by rodents is


Most insecticides are highly effective due to their ability to impair nerve transmission in insects. This category of chemicals is known as


when nonlethal effects of chemicals are studied; it is the effective dose that causes 50% of the animals to display harmful but non lethal effects


the lethal dose of a substance that kills 50% of animals exposed


increased concentration of a chemical within an organism over time


the increase in a chemical concentration in animal tissues as the chemical moves up the food chain


how long a chemical remains in the environment; depends on temp, ph, environment, and how it is broken down; measured in terms of half life


the probability of exposure x the probability of being harmed if exposed

stockholm convention

tried to restrict global use of certain chemicals; 12 were either banned, phased out, or reduced

inbreeding depression

the idea that inbred animals are more likely to express harmful mutations and are therefore less likely to survive and reproduce

DDT and the decline of fish-eating birds

A most famous case of biomagnification is

the majority of known species have not been assessed for current population trends

Evaluating the overall status of different plant and animal groups is difficult mostly because

habitat alteration

River barriers such as dams are an example of which of the following factors that can lead to species endangerment?

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

In the United States, which agency is responsible for monitoring the import of threatened species as well as administering the Endangered Species Act?

Habitat corridors

If habitat is in need of management to connect separate populations, the best way to promote gene flow is to implement

Australia, US, and Canada

Which of the following choices represents the top three nations for per capita emission of carbon dioxide?

an increasing global population which is also become more affluent

Which of the following phenomena is a major cause of increasing greenhouse gas production?

Carbon sequestration


compensating for the mass migration of coastal people

Which of the following is likely to be the most difficult hurdle to overcome from current and future sea level rise?

melting of the Greenland ice sheets

which would be most likely to disrupt the thermohaline cycling of ocean currents, causing much of Europe to experience much colder temperatures?

Lacey Act

one of the earliest laws in US enacted to control trade in wildlife; it prohibited the transport of illegally harvested game animals and plants

CITES (convention on international trade and endangered species of wild fauna and flora)

developed in 1973 to control intl' trade of threatened plants and animals (175 countries involved in the agreement)

Red list

made by the IUCN, this contains the threatened species list

Endangered Species Act

Act that authorizes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which species are threatened or endangered, while also authorizing the govt to purchase habitat that is crucial to a given species

edge habitat

area where two diff communities come together, typically forming an abrupt transition (like grassy field meeting a forest); some species specialize at living in this area

biosphere reserves

protected areas consisting of zones that vary in the amount of permitted human impact

greenhouse effect

infrared radiation from the sun is absorbed by gases which then warm the planet

greenhouse gases

water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone

pos feedback system of greenhouse effect

warmer earth = more Co2 = warmer oceans which can't contain as much Co2 = more Co2 = warm earth = faster decomposition = more Co2

neg feedback system of greenhouse effect

more Co2 = more plant growth = less Co2

Kyoto Protocol

mandated the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from industrialized countries to 5.2% below their 1990 levels; excluded developing nations like china and india

North American Free Trade Agreement

designed to increase economic development, but may have partially sacrificed social well-being and environmental health

ecological economics

Relating the goals and needs of human society with the preservation and sustainable usage of resources that provide the means to meet those goals

Montreal Protocol

International agreement to reduce production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances like CFCs

command-and-control approach

sets regulations for emissions, for example, and then controls them with fines or other punishments

incentive-based approach

constructs financial and other incentives for lowering emissions based on profits and benefits

relationship of price and demand

as price rises, demand declines

relationship of price and supply

as price rises, quantity supplied rises

true cost

the cost of a good including externalities

GPI (genuine progress indicator)

attempts to address the shortcomings of the GDP by including externalities; has stayed stable while GDP has risen

Kuznets curve

suggests that as per capita income in a country increases, environmental degradation first increases, then decreases


the practice of loaning small amounts of money to people who intend to start a small business in less-developed countries; allows reinvestments to benefit society and encourages people to care for environment

o Cradle-to-grave approach

to produce a good that can be easily reused when it has reached the end of its life


human-centered; considers that human beings have intrinsic value and nature should provide for our needs


life-centered; says humans are just one of many species on earth, all of which have equal value


earth-centered; places equal value on all living organisms and demands that we consider nature free of any associations with our own existence

triple bottom line

theory that sustainability is achievable at the intersection of these three factors: social, economic, and environmental concerns

environmental indicators

biological diversity, food production, average temp and carbon dioxide concentrations, human population, and resource depletion

sustainable development

balances current human well being and economic advancement with resource management

natural law

a theory that has been tested multiple times and there are no known exceptions

energy quality

the ease with which an energy source can be used for work (gasoline is high, wood is low)


the idea that all systems move toward randomness rather than order (unless outside energy source is added to create order)

open system

exchanges of matter and energy occur across the system boundaries (earth for energy)

closed system

no exchange of matter or energy across boundaries (earth for matter)

cellular respiration

process by which other organisms gain energy from eating the tissues of producers

producers (autotrophs)

the bottom of the food chain, these organisms use the sun's energy to produce usable energy

consumers (heterotrophs)

these organisms obtain energy by consuming other organisms

primary consumers (herbivores)

organisms that eat producers (zebras, cows)

secondary consumers (carnivores)

organisms that eat primary consumers

tertiary consumers (carnivores)

organisms that eat secondary consumers (bald eagles)

food web

a more realistic type of food chain that takes into account the complexity of nature by recognizing that some organisms operate at several trophic levels

gross primary productivity (GPP)

total amount of solar energy that the producers of an ecosystem capture via photosynthesis over a given time

net primary productivity (NPP)

the energy captured minus the energy respired by producers

standing crop

the amount of biomass present in an ecosystem at a particular time

ecological efficiency

proportion of consumed energy that can be passed from one trophic level to another (only about 10%)

trophic pyramid

representation of the distribution of biomass among trophic levels


a combination of all ecosystems on earth

biogeochemical cycles

the movement of matter within and between ecosystems due to various processes

hydrologic cycle

movement of water through the biosphere


plants putting water in the atmosphere from their leaves


combined amount of evaporation and transpiration

nitrogen fixation

process by which bacteria use nitrogen to make ammonia


the presence of similar plant growth forms in areas possessing similar temp and precipitation patterns


an aquatic biome characterized by non woody vegetation


an aquatic biome that has trees


an aquatic biome that is very acidic and has moss and spruce trees

photic zone

zone of the ocean that receives enough sunlight to allow photosynthesis

aphotic zone

zone of the ocean that does not receive enough sunlight for photosynthesis

benthic zone

the ocean floor


process that occurs in the photic zone of the ocean when bacteria make energy

coral bleaching

when algae inside coral dies due to a combination of disease and environmental change

intertidal zones

narrow bands of coastline that exist between the levels of high and low tide; harsh conditions for organisms to live in


evolution of a given species into different types (like apples)


large scale evolution of a new species (humans from monkeys)

species richness

measures the number of species in an area; decreases as you move away from equator

species evenness

measures whether a particular species dominates an area

genetic drift

change in genetic composition as a result of random mating

bottleneck effect

reduction in genetic diversity caused by a reduction in the number of organisms

founder effect

change in a population that is descended from a small number of colonizers

realized niche

range of abiotic and biotic conditions under which a species lives; determines where a species can live

niche generalist

species that live under a wide range of conditions

density dependent factors

circumstances when the size of a population influences a person's chance of survival

intrinsic growth rate

under ideal conditions, with unlimited resources, it is the max potential for growth

logistic growth model

when a population whose growth is initially exponential but slows as the population reaches carrying capacity (K) of the environment; this makes an S shaped curve

K species

species that grow until it reaches the carrying capacity; usually larger animals whose offspring require substantial prenatal care

R species

species that have high intrinsic growth rates; usually they have many offspring that mature quickly and require little to no prenatal care

exclusion principle

idea that two species competing for the same resource cannot coexist


when two species coevolve to divide a limiting resource through differences in behavior or form


organisms that live on or in the organism they consume


organisms that lay eggs inside other organisms


type of relationship in which one species benefits and the other is neither harmed nor helped


relationship that benefits two interacting species by increasing both of their chances of survival or reproduction (pollinators and plants)

keystone species

species that plays a role in its community that is far more important than its relative abundance might suggest

ecological succession

the predictable replacement of one group of species by another

primary succession

succession that occurs on surfaces without devoid of soil (volcanic eruption)

secondary succession

succession that occurs in areas that have been disturbed but not lost their soil (forest fires)


the study of human populations and trends

crude birth rate

the number of births per 1000 individuals per year

global population growth rate

the crude birth rate minus the crude death rate divided by 10

doubling time

the number of years it takes a population to double (70 divided by the percent growth rate

replacement level fertility

the total fertility rate required to offset the average number of deaths in a population to keep it stable; in developed countries it's usually 2, but its higher in undeveloped countries

theory of demographic transition

theory that as a country becomes more developed, its birth rates level off and population growth becomes more stable


the sum of all the conditions surrounding us that influence life


location on earth that includes both living and nonliving components

maintaining a constant temp at earth's surface

greenhouse gases are responsible for