Environmental Science

A:

Energy conservation doesn't necessarily require drastic steps. Instead, most people can reduce their energy consumption by making small changes to daily habits, such as embracing public transportation or more efficient household appliances.

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  • What caused the hole in the ozone layer?

    Q: What caused the hole in the ozone layer?

    A: The gaping hole in the ozone layer of the atmosphere over the Antarctic was caused primarily by high concentrations of ozone-depleting chemicals called CFCs. The vast hole in the ozone was discovered by scientists in the 1980s, who upon discovering the dramatic loss in ozone cover, set to work determining a primary cause. They found excessive concentrations of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the area of concern; CFCs were frequently used as additives in spray cans and refrigerants, but are now banned in most areas of the world.
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  • What are the effects of ozone depletion?

    Q: What are the effects of ozone depletion?

    A: The main consequence of a depleted ozone layer is a reduction in the protection it affords against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVB) emanating from the sun. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), increased UVB radiation damages human health, plant life, marine ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles.
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  • What are advantages of solar energy?

    Q: What are advantages of solar energy?

    A: Some of the benefits of solar energy include the fact that it is entirely renewable and unlimited, produces low emissions, is economical and provides jobs. Like all forms of energy, it has benefits and drawbacks.
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  • Why is oceanography important?

    Q: Why is oceanography important?

    A: Oceanography is a very important discipline for understanding the oceans, which are essential for all life on Earth and cover the majority of the Earth's surface. Oceanography is extremely multidisciplinary, covering the physics, chemistry, geology and biology of the world's oceans. No understanding of Earth's climate or the chemical cycles essential to life is complete without the insights of oceanography.
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  • What is an example of a terrestrial food chain?

    Q: What is an example of a terrestrial food chain?

    A: An example of a terrestrial food chain is grass-grasshopper-snake-hawk. A food chain is a series of interconnected feeding relationships among different species in an ecosystem.
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  • What is maximum sustainable yield?

    Q: What is maximum sustainable yield?

    A: Maximum sustainable yield is the maximum level at which a resource can be exploited without depleting it. According to the National Estuarine Research Reserve, such a stock must remain at above half of its full carrying capacity in order to maintain maximum exploitation.
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  • What are the effects of desertification?

    Q: What are the effects of desertification?

    A: Desertification causes a high-risk of crop failure, low economic returns on crops, a build-up of salt in the soil and the accidental burning of semiarid vegetation. This process turns usable desert land into unusable land due to poor land management.
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  • What does the "Green Revolution" mean?

    Q: What does the "Green Revolution" mean?

    A: The Green Revolution refers to a movement started in Mexico in the 1940s whereby agricultural practices and technology created higher crop yields, according to About.com. Dr. Norman Borlaug is credited with starting the Green Revolution when his work with higher-yield wheat combined with new farming technology led to better overall agricultural processes throughout the world.
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  • How long does it take for leather to decompose?

    Q: How long does it take for leather to decompose?

    A: It takes leather between 25 and 50 years to completely decompose. Leather that has been tanned can take significantly longer to decompose because of the chemicals used to tan it.
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  • What causes the greenhouse effect?

    Q: What causes the greenhouse effect?

    A: Heat energy comes to the Earth as sunlight and leaves in the form of infrared radiation, but greenhouses gases trap some of the radiation before it can escape the atmosphere again, leading to the "greenhouse effect." This gives the atmosphere a great deal of its ambient warmth. However, as greenhouse gases have increased their presence in the environment, the temperature of the Earth has risen as a result.
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  • What is the difference between an environment and an ecosystem?

    Q: What is the difference between an environment and an ecosystem?

    A: An environment generally refers to the surroundings of various living residents, while an ecosystem is a community consisting of both living and non-living things that work together. In general, an ecosystem is defined by its environment, and all organisms within the ecosystem must work in tandem to create a successful living space.
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  • What is the definition of "greenhouse effect"?

    Q: What is the definition of "greenhouse effect"?

    A: The greenhouse effect is the trapping of heat by a layer of gases surrounding the Earth. The heat is trapped by atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and nitrous oxide.
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  • What is the definition of environmental ethics?

    Q: What is the definition of environmental ethics?

    A: Environmental ethics is a form of philosophy that considers the ways humans interact with their natural environment and with nonhuman animals. This includes a moral consideration of the human approach to natural resources.
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  • What is the structure of the tropical rainforest?

    Q: What is the structure of the tropical rainforest?

    A: The layered structure of a tropical rainforest includes the forest floor, understory, canopy and emergent layer. Each layer contains different flora and fauna unique to its environment. The fundamental difference between these layers is the amount of sunlight they receive. According to the BBC, the upper layers are bathed in sunlight, but the forest floor is almost completely dark.
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  • What damage do avalanches cause?

    Q: What damage do avalanches cause?

    A: Avalanches can cause catastrophic damage to homes, habitat and property, as well as cause human deaths. Avalanches can cause flash floods if the debris reaches rivers or lakes and causes the water level to rise. Additionally, avalanches cause economic problems, as communities must spend considerable resources to rectify the damage caused by the falling snow and ice.
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  • What are the types and functions of primary rain forest consumers?

    Q: What are the types and functions of primary rain forest consumers?

    A: In the rain forest, primary consumers are generally the smallest on the food chain and include insects and small mammals, such as chipmunks, mice and squirrels. Primary consumers are found in terrestrial areas and in aquatic habitats, and they are generally located on the forest floor or in low levels of the canopy. In rivers, streams and other bodies of water running through the rain forest, primary consumers include fish such as salmon that feed on water organisms and insects.
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  • What are the ecological and environmental concerns of the tundra biome?

    Q: What are the ecological and environmental concerns of the tundra biome?

    A: According to the Seattle P-I, the environmental and ecological concerns of the tundra biome include climate change, air pollution, human development and ecological imbalances. Recently, humans have been increasingly impacting the tundra both directly and indirectly. In the past, the tundra has not been able to support much human life and therefore remained free of human disturbance.
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  • What causes deforestation?

    Q: What causes deforestation?

    A: According to the Earth Observatory, the single most direct cause of deforestation is conversion of forestry to cropland and pasture. Other causes include urbanization and infrastructure expansion.
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  • How many plastic bottles are thrown away each year?

    Q: How many plastic bottles are thrown away each year?

    A: According to a 2009 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 632,655 to 999,001 tons of plastic water bottles were discarded in 2006. This analysis calculated the total as 76.5 percent of the plastic bottles produced in the United States.
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  • What is the original source of almost all the energy in most ecosystems?

    Q: What is the original source of almost all the energy in most ecosystems?

    A: The sun is the ultimate source of energy in most terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The major exceptions are deep sea communities that depend on heat from hydrothermal vents as well as lithotrophic archaebacteria that derive energy directly from rocks.
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  • Why are coral reefs endangered?

    Q: Why are coral reefs endangered?

    A: Coral reefs are endangered due to rising global temperatures, pollution and overfishing. It is estimated that about 1/5 of all coral reefs on the planet have been destroyed. The remaining ones could potentially vanish by 2050.
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