Environmental Science

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Without recycling, Earth's natural resources would diminish even more quickly than they already do from human activity. Using items made from recycled material, such as paper, helps prevent deforestation. Recycling also reduces the amount of trash cluttering the planet.

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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 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 is solar energy?

    Q: What is solar energy?

    A: According to the Environment Protection Agency, solar energy is defined as energy derived from the sun's radiation. Solar energy sustains life on earth. It is also becoming increasingly common that this energy is converted and used as an alternative to fossil fuels.
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  • Why are landfills good?

    Q: Why are landfills good?

    A: One reason that landfills are good is because they allow the government to monitor waste disposal. Although the thought of a landfill of garbage and waste does not sound appealing, they're quite beneficial to society.
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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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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 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 are tropical rainforest landforms?

    Q: What are tropical rainforest landforms?

    A: Tropical rainforest landforms are areas that lie between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer, are covered in forest and experience a high level of rain. While many small tropical rainforests persist on Earth, the three primary tropical rainforest landforms occur in the Amazon basin of South America, equatorial Africa and the Southeast Asian peninsula and archipelago.
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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 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 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 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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  • 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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  • Where do dust storms occur?

    Q: Where do dust storms occur?

    A: According to NASA, dust storms can occur in any location where wind and exposed dirt is present. The most common location for dust storms are dry, arid regions.
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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 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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