Effects of one organism behavior on a very complex ecosystem
Physical environments often respond to changes brought on by the actions of organisms. This portion of the discussion examines aspects of the effects of one organism’s behavior on a very complex ecosystem and large physical environment. Watch the video How Wolves Change Rivers (see the link, below). Discuss how it relates to this week’s content.
It has been claimed that each aspect of climate change discussion is “settled science”. Really? It is the nature of science to be continuously “unsettled” with the debate of alternate theories based on research and data.
Let’s discuss climate change and focus our discussion on four areas – the science supporting climate change, the science that does not support climate change, the social and environmental issues associated with climate change, and solutions to mitigate climate change.
1. List two natural causes of climate change and describe how they contribute to it.
2. List three human activities and describe how they contribute to climate change.
3. Cite and describe three scientific forms of evidence to support climate change.
4. Cite and describe three scientific forms of evidence that do not support climate change.
5. Describe three social and/or environmental issues associated with climate change.
6. Describe three solutions that might be used to mitigate climate change.
The physical environment is where individuals live, learn, work, and play. People interact with their physical environment through the air they breathe, water they drink, houses they live in, and the transportation they access to travel to work and school. Poor physical environment can affect our ability and that of our families and neighbors to live long and healthy lives.
Clean air and safe water are necessary for good health. Air pollution is associated with increased asthma rates and lung diseases, and an increase in the risk of premature death from heart or lung disease. Water contaminated with chemicals, pesticides, or other contaminants can lead to illness, infection, and increased risks of cancer.
Stable, affordable housing can provide a safe environment for families to live, learn, grow, and form social bonds. However, housing is often the single largest expense for a family and when too much of a paycheck goes to paying the rent or mortgage, this housing cost burden can force people to choose among paying for other essentials such as utilities, food, transportation, or medical care.
Our collective health and well-being depend on opportunity for everyone. Yet, across and within counties there are stark differences in the opportunities to live in safe, affordable homes, especially for people with low incomes and people of color. These differences emerge from discrimination and institutional racism in the form of long-standing, deep-rooted and unfair systems, policies, and practices such as redlining, restrictive zoning rules, and predatory bank lending practices that reinforce residential segregation and barriers to opportunity.
It is important to dig into the data to understand how factors related to the physical environment are playing out in your county, especially by race and income.
In the Physical Environment area of the County Health Rankings we look at: