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 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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  • 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 does an ecologist study?

    Q: What does an ecologist study?

    A: Ecologists study environmental systems. These systems are biotic factors, which are the living parts of an ecosystem, and abiotic factors, which are the nonliving parts. The items that consumers eat depends upon whether they are herbivores, carnivores or omnivores.
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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 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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  • What factors affect soil fertility?

    Q: What factors affect soil fertility?

    A: The presence of nutrients, minerals, organic matter, microorganisms, and the texture and structure of the soil affect soil fertility. Fertility refers to the ability of soil to provide plants with the nutrients they require to grow and fight disease.
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  • How do forest fires affect the environment?

    Q: How do forest fires affect the environment?

    A: According to the U.S. Forest Service, forest fires have a damaging effect on the environment, but they also cause a resurgence of nutrients in the areas they burn. Although fire can tear down acres and acres of trees, it can also enrich the soil to let new vegetation grow.
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  • How do homologous structures support evolution?

    Q: How do homologous structures support evolution?

    A: Homologous structures, such as the fins of whales and the hands of monkeys, demonstrate that while a species may use structures for different purposes, the species shared a common ancestor. By definition, homologous structures refer to those that were derived from ancestrally similar structures. The natural world is full of examples of homologous structures, which the theory of natural selection predicts should be the case.
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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 belt of calm air near the equator?

    Q: What is the belt of calm air near the equator?

    A: The intertropical convergence zone is a belt of low pressure that circles the Earth with calm air, especially over the oceans. Scientists call the ITCZ various names, including the doldrums or the equatorial calms. When sail-powered ships reached these dreaded zones, they faced the potential of stalling for days or weeks without enough wind to proceed, according to Reference.com.
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  • Why do we need rain?

    Q: Why do we need rain?

    A: Rain is needed as a source of fresh water, which is essential for the survival of humans, plants and animals. Rain fills aquifers, lakes and rivers, maintaining the lives of living organisms. Rain maintains natural features, such as forests.
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  • What is the difference between male and female pine cones?

    Q: What is the difference between male and female pine cones?

    A: The pine cones typically thought of as pine cones are actually the bigger female pine cones; male pine cones are not as woody and are much smaller in size. Female pine cones hold the seeds whereas male pine cones contain the pollen. Most conifers, or cone-bearing trees, have female and male pine cones on the same tree.
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  • Are humans destroying the planet?

    Q: Are humans destroying the planet?

    A: Although human beings may not be capable of fully destroying the earth, their daily activities are causing enough harm to the planet that it may become uninhabitable for humans for a long while. Human beings have also developed destructive technology such as nuclear weapons that, if used in their full capacity, may also make the earth uninhabitable for a long time for many creatures, including humans.
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  • Why are Okapi endangered?

    Q: Why are Okapi endangered?

    A: The okapi is endangered due to illegal hunting and the destruction of its habitat, explains Animal Diversity. It was also endangered by the civil war in the Congo, where it lives as a native to the Ituri Rainforest.
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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 are the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy?

    Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy?

    A: Wind energy is praised for being a renewable, nonpolluting source of electricity, but it can also produce intermittent streams of energy, and wind-generating equipment may be costly and troublesome to repair and maintain. One of the primary benefits of wind energy is that, unlike coal, oil and other fossil fuels, it does not emit toxic byproducts into the air and water.
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  • What is the world's most dangerous tree?

    Q: What is the world's most dangerous tree?

    A: The manchineel tree offers a notorious three-pronged self-defense strategy: it can choke you with its fruit, poison you with its sap, and blind you with its smoke. Literally every part of the tree is poisonous. Native to Florida, the Caribbean and Central America, the manchineel has gained an infamous reputation, and throughout history it has been both vital and deadly to humans.
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  • What is the desert ecosystem like?

    Q: What is the desert ecosystem like?

    A: There are two types of deserts: temperate, or cold, and subtropical, or hot, which gives deserts more than one type of ecosystem. There are similarities as both get less than 10 inches of rain a year, and the air is generally dry in both types of biomes. The lack of water in either type of desert makes them harsh for people or creatures living there.
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  • What causes acid rain?

    Q: What causes acid rain?

    A: Acid rain is caused by the mixing of moisture in the atmosphere with sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides, forming sulfuric acid and nitric acid in the precipitation that falls to the earth. In the Northern Hemisphere, the most common source of these chemicals in the atmosphere is air pollution from industry, generation of electricity and automobiles.
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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 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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