My partner is Spyros

This post is about whether or not an individual can make a differnce by reducing his/her environmental impact.Is it really possible that we could help the nature and ourselves at the same time?

No Impact Man

This story is about a man and the realization of his values.No Impact Man is a 2009 American documentary film that follows Colin Beavan during his year-long experiment to have sustainable zero impact on the environment, while dragging his young daughter and his tv-addicted wife along for the ride.The paradigm is simple : reduse,reuse,recycle.That means no more automated transportation, no more electricity, no more non-local food, no more material consumption,no plastric bags,no magazines and only unpackaged fresh food.The No Impact Man is Colin Beavan’s project but his family has to be a part of it too.Just like the description from the back of the book said  “So together they attempted to make zero impact on the environment while living right in the heart of Manhattan”.This family was willing to give up lots of things such as television , meat and coffee.The transmition was hard because people are traumatized when someone suggests that they should do without things they were used to.This documentray follows their everyday life and the problems they have to face in order to stick to their plan.It’s informative about the ways each one of us can decrease his/her own impact on the environment.The question at the center of the No Impact Man project was whether one person can make a difference.Colin Beavan feels strongly that individual ecological actions could really help, because after that peolpe feel engaged to them.It only takes a little efort to see that you don’t need plastic bags but after that you could realize that there are other things you could live without.During the movie we watched the problems lack of electricity causes but also how this exact thing force them to leave their house and discover fun ways to spent their free time with their daughter.Some would said that 2009 was the year this family lived without electricity for six months,ate only organic food and lost several hours biking to their jobs.But this family prefers to remember 2009 as the year they lost weight without going to the gym,became less addicted,healthier and better parents.

In our lectures there was a topic called Environmental ethics.This was about ethical standards to relationships between human and non-human entities.Questions like ” Is it right to destroy forests to create jobs? ” and ” Should we kill animals for their meat of their fur ” can have different answers depending on each  person’s ethical standards.In this documentary we had a clear answer by Colin Beavan.He gave up meat,new clothes and paper.He though that meat was unnecessary and cutting down trees for paper was wrong.He used only wool which was taken from sheep treated nicely.We discussed about expanding the ethical concern and about the three perspectives in Western ethics.Of course the documentary was about being ecocentric.We were informed about electronics at “Environmental Ethics and Economics: Values and Choices” and how these electonics end up at areas owned by minorities.During the No Impact Man we saw that a family could live without electrical appliances.In the documentary was also refered to ecolabeling which tells consumers which brands use sustainable processes.That could sometimes be misleading.We also talk about how corporations are responding to concerns and we should Be careful of greenwashing, where consumers are misled into thinking companies are acting sustainably.

I really enjoyed the movie.It was nice seeing how a family could completely change their lifestyle for a year and watching the progress of their journey was thrilling.I think it was a great project trying to get people what they need in a way that doesn’t heart the planet.The idea of this man inspired other people too and force us to think.Is it possible to get what we nned in a sustainable way?Colin Beavan made it possible.So as far as the content is concerned i found it really interesting.The movie definitely had an impact on me and left me thinking about my behaviour towards the environment.The directing and photography were good and realistic.Beautiful farms,colourful gardens and family moments made it unique.

Gapminder

Link to the Gapminder :  http://www.bit.ly/lVs5ao

The two variables I chose to show is agricultural workers and agricultural land.Our country considers to be an agricultural area.Greece produces a wide variety of crops and livestock products.Greek agriculture employs 528,000 farmers.At 1983 agricultural land was 71% of the total land area and 30% of the total labout force were agricultural workers.As the years pass by we can see that argicultural land seems to be contracting.In 2007 we can see that agricultural land is 64% of the land area and has only 12% employees of the total labour force.Unemployment is a major fact nowadays.The lack of farms and urban societies seems to affect the unemployment mainly as far as farmers are concerned.Large amounts of trees and fields destroyed in order to build hotels and resorts in the nature.Meanwhile many farmers lost their job causing unemployment rate to rise.

Citation

http://noimpactman.typepad.com/

http://noimpactproject.org/movie/

http://www.amazon.com/No-Impact-Man-Adventures-Discoveries/dp/0312429835

http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Europe/Greece-AGRICULTURE.html

I worked with Spyros

The purpose of this post is to show how the constant increasing population growth affects the Earth and its environment.

Current human population

Human Population Growth

The current number of humans  living on earth is about 6.9 million, and according to researches it will reach 10 million in about 50 years from now. With this increasing rate of human population scientists are afraid that the Earth will reach its caring capacity in the near future.

Causes of increased human population

These days we face the problem of overpopulation,  some of the causes that the population has increased are the following, 1) Increase in birth rate, 2) Increase in net migration, 3.)The death rate, lower the death rate higher the population growth. In addition food, health care, sanitation, veccines and standard of living and fertility are some factors that have impact and play a huge role in it.

Population Growth = Birth rates – Death rates + Immigration – Emigration.

(PG=B-D+I-E)           

Cornucopian’s versus Cassandra’s + our opinion

Cornucopian’s are futurists who believe that earth despite its increasing rate  will come thru in difficult times if the technology keeps advancing, they also believe that in the future the abundance of matter and energy in space would appear to give humanity almost unlimited room for growth.

On the other hand Cassandra’s believe the exactly opposite that the earth wont be able to sustain the increasing human capacity and that all the natural resources will eventually come to an end, and unfortunately this is inevitable.

Our opinion is between Cornucopian’s and Cassandra’s believes, we thing that Earth has a problem right now and if it continues this way its going to get even bigger, but if want to fix this we need to take measures soon and of course with the help of technology we can succeed  that.

Paul Erlich

Paul Ehlich

Paul Ralph Ehrlich (born 29 May 1932) is an American biologist and educator who is the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford’s Center for Conservation Biology.

IPAT Model

I=PAT is the lettering of a formula put forward to describe the impact of human activity on the environment.

I = P × A × T

I= Human impact on the environment
P=
Population
A=
Affluence
T=
Technology

The Population Bomb

Ehrlich is most famous for his world-wide known book “The population Bomb” in which he predicts that the rapid growth in human population will result in famine and a substantial increase in the global death rate. His predictions weren’t entirely correct, in one hand we have countries that suffer from famine and huge death rates but overall his predictions like countries will suffer from famine and starve to death didn’t come true instead they have increased their harvest and was due to technology and the countries increasing birth rate.

US(300+ million)
In the United States the two major factors are technology and affluence.As we know America is one of the biggest countries so a lot of people live there and they are consuming much more food than the average countries on Earth.

China(1,3+ billion)
China’s major factor is population but the other two have a big role too,China has the largest population on Earth and they need to find a way to overcome this problem.

Greece(11+ million)
Greece has normal population for its size but lacks of in technology and affluence, and that is a huge problem because if this situation continues like that even worse days will come.

Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling


Hans Rosling born 27 July 1948 is a Swedish medical doctor, academic, statistician and public speaker. He is Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute and co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation, which developed the Trendalyzer software system.

Rosling’s research is about different links between economic development, agriculture, poverty and health in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He has been health adviser to WHO, UNICEF and several aid agencies. Also as chairman of Karolinska International Research and Training Committee, he started health research collaborations with universities in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. He started new courses on Global Health and co-authored a textbook on Global Health that promotes a fact-based world.

Hans Rosling has a unique style, he presents things in a different way, he uses many factors like economy, health, education that contribute to the development of a country. What sets Rosling apart isn’t just his apt observations of broad social and economic trends, but the stunning way he presents them.  His has his own way for presenting the data Rosling’s presentations are grounded in solid statistics (often drawn from United Nations data), illustrated by the visualization software he developed.  Also another thing that needs to be mention is that in his presentation he uses animations transform development statistics into moving bubbles and flowing curves that make global trends clear, intuitive and even playful. Rosling takes this one step farther, narrating the animations with a sportscaster’s flair.

Citation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_PAT

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_growth

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Rosling


The purpose of this post is to show you what is my opinion and suggestions on sertain questions and situations about ecological footprint and food production .

An Ecological Footprint describes the impact that an individual has on his or her environment, some of the factors are such as car ownership, amount of garbage generated, how often the individual walks or rides a bicycle, and other things designed to gauge land and water usage.

Ecological Footprint

                                                                           Research

As food production became more industrialized during the 20th century, several trends emerged. One trend was a loss in the number of varieties of crops grown. A second trend was the increasing amount of energy expended to store food and ship it to market. In some countries food may travel long distances to reach the market. In the U.S. today, food travels an average of 1,400 miles from the field to the table. The price American pay for the food covers the cost of this long-distance transportation, which in 2004 was approximately only one dollar per mile (1.6 km).

Assuming that you are an American (not all of us are in this class), you live in New York City (2009 population estimate 8,363,710), and that the average American eats 1 kg (2 pounds) of food per day, calculate the food transportation costs for each category in the table below (U.S. 2009 population estimates 307,006,550).

Consumer Daily Cost Annual cost
You $1.40 $511
Your class $28 $10220
Your town (New York) $11709194 $4273855810
United States $42980917 $15688034705

Questions

1)  What specific challenges to environmental sustainability are imposed by a food production and distribution system that relies on long-range transportation to bring food to market?

Food Production

* For example chickens or any other meat products that come from long range places are more difficult to sustain their freshness. Also there is waste of energy in many forces which can easily avoided. The solution to this is to start producing products locally so they can be fresher.

2)  A study by Pirog and Benjamin (2003) noted that locally produced food in the U.S. traveled only 80 kilometers (appx 50miles) or so to the market, thus saving 96% of the transportation costs. Locally grown foods may be fresher and cause less environmental impact as they are brought to market, but what are the disadvantages to you as a consumer in relying on local food production? Do you think the advantages outweigh those disadvantages?

* Some of the disadvantages are that I as a consumer can’t have the variety of choosing specific products that I desire because they are not available in my region. Another disandvantage is  the high prices. We believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages because the products will be fresher and you will know what you are eating, also it will help the local economy.

3)   What happened to the gasoline prices recently? How would future increases in the price of gas affect your answers to the preceding questions?

* One of the reasons for high gasoline prices is the high level of high  crude oil prices, in general when the demand is greater than the supply we have an increase in prices. In the future is the gasoline prices will increase even more then the transportation prices will increase too, so that will result in increasing the prices in food supplies.

4)  If you are an American, how do you think these figures apply to other countries or your country? Where do you base your assumptions?

* As we see in the figures we have an increase in time because America is one of the largest countries in the world, and while the population is increasing the prices are increasing

Citation

Pirog, R., and Benjamin, A. (2003). Checking the food odometer. Comparing food miles for local versus conventional produce sales to Iowa institutions. Ames, IA: Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University.

This assignment will help us to understand better all the material that we have done in the past chapters, by forming these questions (and answering correctly to them) we will make a revision from all the stuff that we have covered so far.

Chapter 1

This chapter is about describing the field of environmental science, the importance of natural resources and also understanding the scientific method and the process of science.

1. Environmental science is the study of how a natural world works, how our environment affect us, and how we affect our environment.
a)TRUE
b)FALSE

2. Which of these is not a NONRENEWABLE natural resources?
A. Coal
B. Natural gas
C. Fresh water
D. Crude oil

3. Environmentalism is not a social movement dedicated to protecting the natural world.
a)TRUE
b)FALSE

4. An experiment in which the researcher actively chooses and manipulates the independent variable is known as a….
A. controlled experiment
B. Correlation
C. Manipulative experiment
D. Natural experiment

5. Essay question
Discuss how our energy choices will influence our future enormously and give some examples.

6. Essay question
How our ecological footprint is related to the scarcity of natural resources?

7. Match the following steps of Scientific Method
a. First Step                     1. Predictions
b. Second step                 2. Observation
c. Third step                    3. Test
d. Fourth step                 4. Hypothesis
e. Fifth step                     5. Questions

8. ____ provide us the means to obtain and interpret information about the world around us.
a. Environmental studies
b. Social sciences
c. Natural sciences
d. Both a and b

9. Which of those of our planet’s ecological systems purify air and water,cycle nutrients and regulate climate?
a. Natural resources
b. Renewable natural resources
c. Ecosystem services
d. None of the above

10. Which procedure is known for its essential part of the scientific process?
a. Correlation
b. Data
c. Natural experiments
d. Peer review

CHAPTER 2

This chapter will help students explain the fundamentals of environmental chemistry and apply them to real-world situations and describe the molecular building blocks of living organisms

1. _______ are carbon atoms joined by covalent bonds and many include other elements.
a) polymers
b) hydrocarbons
c) organic compounds
d) macromolecules

2. Polymers are _______
a) large size molecules
b) long chains of repeated molecules
c) lipids
d) nucleic acids

3. Photosynthesis, light energy to chemical energy CO2 + H2O -> O2 + sugar
a) True
b) False

4. Synthetic polymers are not plastics.
a) True
b) False

5. Match the elements with their atomic numbers.


a) oxygen              1) 16
b) carbon              2) 26
c) iron                   3)  8
d) sulfur               4)  7
e) nitrogen           5)  6

6.  _______ is changed into potential energy to produce motion, action and heat.

a) Elastic energy
b) Heat energy
c) Kinetic energy
d) Chemical energy

7. What gives information about the history of past life?
a) evidence of bacteria
b) fossil record
c) chemoautotrophs
d) panspermia

8. Phytoremediation, which of the following is not advantage?


a) limited plants can be used
b) low impact
c) produces less waste
d) costs less than other methods of remediation

9. (Essay Question)
Explain how and why bacteria are very diverse?

10. (Essay Question)
Discuss why chemistry is crucial for understanding?

CHAPTER 3

This chapter talks about how the evolution influenced the diversity , which are the reasons for the extinction of animals and the population ecology and characteristics.

1. Match the following…

Biological Evolution  ( )     1. Species formation due to physical separation of populations

Artificial Selection  ( )           2. from populations that become reproductively isolated within
the same area
Adaptive Trait        ( )           3. A trait that promotes reproductive success

Sympatric speciation  ( )      4. The process of selection conducted under human direction

Allopatric speciation ( )      5. Genetic change in populations of organisms across generations

2. (Essay question)
Describe what Biological Diverisity is and analyze it’s parts.

3. (Essay question)
Use the LINCOLN – PATERSON Index for the following :

John made a research on the total population of rabbits in a sertain forest, in his first trip he marked 30 rabbits , on hes second trip he marked 60 rabbits in which only 18 of them were marked from the first trip.What is the total population of rabbits?

4. The Extirpation is the disappearance of a particular population from a given area, but not the entire species    globally
a) TRUE  ( )                        b) FALSE ( )

5. After every mass extinction the biodiversity NEVER returned to or exceeded its original state.


a)TRUE
b)FALSE

6. Whats is a Biosphere?
A. Communities and the nonliving material and forces they interact with
B. Interacting species that live in the same area
C. The total living things on Earth and the areas they inhabit
D. The environment in which an organism lives

7. What is a Natural Selection?
A. Traits diverge in two or more directions
B. The process by which traits that enhance survival and reproduction are passed on more frequently to future generations than those that do not
C. The process of selection conducted under human direction
D. The process by which organisms actively select habitats in which to live

8. What is a Habitat?
A. The environment in which an organism lives
B. Studies living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) components of systems to reveal patterns
C. An organism’s use of resources and its functional role in a community
D. the likelihood of death varies with age

9. What is the Population size ?
A. Spatial arrangement of organisms within an area
B. The relative numbers of organisms of each age within a population
C. The number of individuals within a population per unit area
D. The number of individual organisms present at a given time

10. Which of the following describe mortality?
A. Births within the population
B. Arrival of individuals from outside the population
C. Deaths within the population
D. Departure of individuals from the population

CHAPTER 4

This chapter talks about the communities on the planet and the interactions between them.

1. How energy passes through trophic levels
A. Modifying the environment
B. Interaction
C. Removal
D. None of the above

2. What can you can Pioneer species?
A. The first species to arrive in a primary succession area
B. Species that have extincted
C. The predators of a primary succession area
D. The last species to arrive in a primary succession area

3. Biodiversity or-biological diversity is the variety of life in all its forms,levels and combinations, including ecosystem diversity, species diversity and genetic diversity.
a) TRUE
b) FALSE

4. Match the following:
Fundamental Niche ( )           1. Species divide shared resources by specializing in different ways

Realized niche    ( )                  2. When an individual fulfills its entire role by using all the available resources.

Resource partitioning ( )         3. The portion of the fundamental niche that is actually filled

Co-evolution       ( )                  4. Organisms live in a close physical contract

Mutualism         ( )                    5. Prey and predator become locked in escalating adaptations

5. What is a Food Chain?
A. Energy flow in a community
B. Energy transfer up the trophic levels
C. Feeding relationships and energy flow
D. None of the above

6. What is the most important category in Species interactions?
A. Predation, parasitism, and herbivory
B. Competition
C. Mutualism
D. All of the above

7. Predators at high trophic levels can indirectly affect populations of organisms at low trophic levels
a) TRUE
b) FALSE

8. Symbiosis is the ….
A. The living organisms of an area can’t live together
B. Species divide shared resources by specializing in different ways
C. Mutualism in which the organisms live in close physical contact
D. All of the above

9. (Essay Question)
Discuss George Orwell’s quote which he wrote in his nover Animal Farm, “Some animals are more equal than others”.
Explain what he meant and give some examples to it.

10. (Essay Question)
Describe how species can change communities.

CHAPTER 6

This chapter will help students characterize the influences of culture and worldview on the choices people make and outline the nature, evolution, and expansion of environmental ethics in Western cultures

1. Match the following:
a) capitalist market economy                  1) the government determines how to allocate the resources
b) an individual’s/group’s beliefs about the meaning of the world               2) worldview
c)  centrally planned economy                 3) buyers and sellers interact to determine  prices and productions of goods.
d) subsistence economy                            4) costs or benefits    involving people other than the buyer or seller
e) externalties                                           5) people get their daily needs directly from nature they don’t purchase or trade.

2. _______ is knowledge, beliefs, values, and learned ways of life shared by a group of people.
a) worldview
b) culture
c) community
d) ideology

3. Which of those perspectives is not in Wester ethics?
a) anthropocentism
b) ecocentrism
c) ecofeminism
d) biocentrism

4. Environmental justice is the fair and equitable treatment of all people regarding environmental issues.
a) True
b) False

5. Net Economic Walfer is based on income, wealth distribution, resource depletion.
a) True
b) False

6. What Green taxes do?
a) uses surveys to determine hoe much people are willing to protect a resource
b) penalize harmful activities
c) modify neoclassical economics to increase efficienty
d) discharge outputs of waste

7. Centrally planned economy = _______ ?
a) governments intervene to some extent.
b) people get their daily needs directly from nature they don’t purchase or trade.
c) the government determines how to allocate the resources.
d) buyers and sellers interact to determine prices and productions of goods.

8. Which of the following is wrong? In capitalist market economies, governments intervene to…
a) provide social services
b) manage the commons
c) mitigate pollution
d) not provide safety nets

9. (Essay Question)
Which factors shape worldviews? Classify them.

10. (Essay Question)
Explain what Neoclassical economics are about.

Concluding, this assignment was something new and challenging,it tested our knowledge so far and plus it helped us understand better the material. Also the assignment improved our ability to work as a group and in the same time we understood how difficult it is to organize such a test.

Easter Island

Nowadays, Easter Island is almost a barren land.Trees are sparse, rarely forming natural groves. Soil erosion because of lack of trees is apparent in some places. Today, Easter Island is home to 2,000 islanders.It is eroded, devoid of native trees, devoid of native land birds.Present resources are rare .There are just a few species of breeding seabirds.However, because of the tourism which is a important part of the island’s life , an airport was built.

Tikopia Island

Although population declines on Easter Island because of the environmental degradation, on some islands, including Tikopia,human populations continued to flourish for thousands of years, from the arrival of ancestral Polynesians until European arrival in the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. Numerous environmental factors as well as numerous cultural factors appear to have played a role.

Young or active volcanoes, such as Tikopia,were less likely to become deforested than old weathered islands because of higher levels or rates of replenishment of soil nutrients.Also low-rainfall islands like Easter were more likely to become deforested.

Easter Island is a prime example of what widespread deforestation can do to a society.

The Easter Ilsnaders , also known as Rapanui,used their excess time working on their now famous Moai statues.  The growing human population of the island increased the demand on the land and forests.  They used more and more land and lumber for projects such as transporting the island’s Moai statues.  Eventually, they deforested the island.There were no trees to build houses and canoes for fishing.They also had created widespread erosion control problems and could no longer leave the island because they could not build large boats.

The monolithic statues called Moai

Except of environmental factors there were cultural factors as well. The stable culture of Tikopia has lasted at least 3,000 years.The main difference between Easter island and Tikopia island is the way their people treated the natural resources of their land. People on Tikopia limited deforestation by abandoning slash-and-burn shifting cultivation in favor of intensive agriculture on fixed garden plots.Easter islanders on the other hand cut down all the trees and could no longer build adequate housing or canoes for fishing.So, after many years of slash and burn agriculture and deforestation however, this island paradise was quickly turned into a barren land.The main reason of Easter Island’s collapse actually was self-inflicted ecological disasters.

Hypothesis by a plant ecologist!

Posted: February 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

As i was researching during my trip to central Greece i noticed that there is a huge absence of trees at a large geographic area, also no trees are present and grass dominates the plains,so after searching in literature i came across this hypothesis : Periodic fires may prevent tree seedlings from becoming established in grassland. You may ask is this a suitable hypothesis? So based on the information i collecting through reliable sources i may say that it is.

A simple test that can be done by anyone that wants to see if the hypothesis is correct can just go to this area and simply plants some seeds at a simular area but also at this one too, after an amount of time you can go and see if any results came in. If the seeds grow at the other area it means that my hypothesis came true if not then my hypothesis is wrong.

Enviromental scientists look at the polution and the enviromental problems that earth has and they find solutions, they also give advices on how to clean the environment by figuring out whats in the earth, water and air.

Ecologists study the relationships between plants,animals and their enviroments, they also understand and appreciate the natural world we live in and depend for our lives. Ecologists also know how to observe and measure natural phenomena and to design and carry out experiments.

Environmentalist is a person who can form a cohesive and informed opinion from a variety of sources and facts. An environmentalist is someone with skills in critical thinking and analysis, a person with some form of education, be it book-learning or experiential. An environmentalist has concern for the environment and the desire to make positive changes in the way humans treat the earth. Enviromentalists are also everyone who advocates or works to protect the air, water, animals, plants, and other natural resources from pollution or its effects.

In the future is i ever would like to take an interest in any one of those that would be an environmentalist because i care about the environment and i know that we as humans are destroying it so i would like to try to make some changes.