ESS3C - Human Impacts on Earth Systems

ESS3C – Human Impacts on Earth Systems

hi it's paul andersen and this is disciplinary core idea ESS 3c it's on human impacts on earth systems when the Apollo 17 astronauts were leaving the earth they took the most famous image that was ever taken it's called the Blue Marble and when people view this in the 1970s it changed them fundamentally they they finally had seen a picture of the earth and they saw that it wasn't Infinite that changes we make to our earth are going to be passed forward in time and on to future generations and so humans have impacted and continue to impact the earth we're impacting all four of the spheres on our planet so we're impacting the earth itself for the geosphere and so agriculture is incredibly important to us it's how we grow our food but if we're not taking care of the soil we can get soil loss if we're not rotating our crops we can see soil loss like we saw during the Dust Bowl also as we're mining is we're digging up the metals the minerals that we need we're changing the surface of the planet and it just doesn't come back on its own we're also changing the water of the hydrosphere so when we dam a river and change it into a reservoir we're changing that natural path of the water and we're also causing greater evaporation on that surface of the reservoir so we're upsetting this whole water cycle and as we move water to where we need it so as we irrigate we're changing the flow of those natural rivers and lots of times we're bringing unintended consequences we're bringing salt into areas and that salt eventually can cause salination of the soil and we're going to have less crops we're also changing the atmosphere or the air itself and so smog is caused by particles that we're moving into the air but we're also putting invisible particles we're putting greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and that's increasing the temperature over time and we're also changing the biosphere we're changing the life on our planet as we DeForest the the rain forests that that life is not going to come back as we overfish an area the fish aren't going to come back and so now we've created a non-renewable resource and likewise when we change our environment or changing areas like coral reefs we're causing them as we increase temperature to bleach and as they do that the whole food chain that's built upon that is going to fall down as well and once a species goes extinct it doesn't come back so another thing we need to address is this idea of development over time we have certain countries that are developed in certain countries that are developing we have wealthy nations and the United States happens to be one of those we have the high GDP per capita and that's just a measure of the wealth but in a lot of countries like in Africa we're going to have lower wealth now one thing that's interesting between this is that if you are a wealthy nation like we are you're going to be consuming more of those natural resources so this map almost looks identical what it is is oil consumption per capita and so the United States is consuming a lot of that oil we're increasing the amount of fossil fuels we put into the atmosphere but other countries are going to become developed as well and so as China and India become developed and they have way more people than we do it's going to put more stress on our planet it's not all bad news if we use our resources wisely if we manage our resources we're going to do okay and so an example of that could be water pollution our water sources used to be awful and that's because we were getting water from the rivers and then dumping sewer back into it and so as we treat that sewer as we treat that water as it flows out we're going to decrease that water pollution as we start to recycle a lot of our resources as we recycle our aluminum and metals and plastic and all of that then we don't have to dig it out of the the earth again and so now we've got a renewable resource what a great example of this is when I was young ozone depletion was a really big deal and so we've been using chlorofluorocarbons and what they reducing doing was reducing this protective ozone layer and so we as a country in other countries started to reduce the amount of the use of these CFCs and the ozone is starting to rebuild and it's not going to be the threat that it was at one point and so this idea is important the idea of sustainability if we look at the human population over the last 10,000 years we see an exponential growth we see an explosion of people on our planet we now exceed 7 billion people on our planet so we're going to have to make that sustainable we're going to have to make sure that the resources we have on our planet will last through future generations and the scientists are able to see what's happening into the future and the engineers are going to be able to design sustainable systems over time so how do you teach this well in the lower elementary grades you want students to understand that our life if we want to have to a comfortable life we are going to affect the world we're going to infect the environment and if we don't want to affect it in a negative way we can do things like reduce reuse and recycle and if we do that we're still going to impact the world All Humans impact the world but we're going to reduce that effect as we move into the upper elementary grades we want to start talking about the impacts humans are having on our planet be it the land the water the air and the biosphere or the life on our planet we also want them to understand that if we're wise in our management of these resources we can reduce our impacts so sewer treatments a great example of that in the future we'll probably have to regulate what we're putting into the air just like we regulated what we're putting into the water there's not a lot of regulation on greenhouse gases across the world and we're probably going to have to come to grips with that also we need to talk about extinction that once species are gone they're gone forever and they're not going to come back and as we see increasing in developing nations and as we start to consume more and more and more we're going to have to be equitable in the amount of resources that we're consuming and the impacts that we're having on our planet and then as you move into high school you really want to talk about this term sustainability the population has increased will continue to increase we have just a set number of resources on our planet so we're going to have to start listening to scientists and we're going to start creating engineers and scientists so they can create a sustainable future and if we don't we're going to have some negative consequences and I hope that was helpful

11 thoughts on “ESS3C – Human Impacts on Earth Systems

  1. I am more interested in the lecture related to 11th class ESS in IB. topic Resources- Natural Capital.

  2. Paul Andersen, how lucky did I get to subscribe to you. I've never subscribed before, but the first video of yours that I watched was so good that I wanted to see what else you would produce. I had no idea that I would be treated to your fabulous lessons with this sort of abundance. Congrats very well done.

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