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1. Define sustainable use of natural resources.

a. Sustainable use of natural resources is utilizing natural resources in a way that does not
ultimately harm the environment, and that does not deplete the natural resource. In the
case of coal, protecting the environment could mean finding better ways to capture and
store the carbon dioxide released during coal production. One method of storing carbon
dioxide is burying it deep within layers of rock or in a sea bed. Some scientists and
environmentalists believe, however, that using resources like coal sustainably could
mean not using it at all and finding cleaner alternatives instead.
2. Explain in what way the use of coal does not meet the criteria of sustainability.
a. The use of coal emits large amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases that have very
direct consequences on earths climate i.e. global warming. Together with the toxic
waste produced by coal, global warming hurts the integrity of many ecosystems on
earth. As coal is also a limited resource, continuous dependence on it isnt exactly
sustainable.
3. How is the trend of coal usage in the U.S. different from China?
a. The trend of coal usage is decreasing in the U.S. due to the cheap cost of natural gases,
but in places like China demand is surging. While there are a lot of coal plants closing
down in the U.S., the opposite seems to be happening in China due to abundant coal
deposits and a rapidly increasing economy. Coal is not only used to produce about 80%
of Chinas electricity, but is also used in making other industrial chemicals and materials
such as plastic and rayon. Both countries do realize that coal is not environmentally
sustainable and are putting in a little effort to reduce the waste released by coal power
plants.
4. What human health hazards are associated with coal usage?
a. Human health hazards include numerous respiratory diseases and death from the toxic
gases emitted from coal processing. An accumulation of these gases and other particles
also creates smog which decreases visibility and causes accidents. Water pollution from
chemical waste although less mentioned than air pollution harms many people and
poisons or kills off their food (fish). Lastly, people who work in coal mines are always at
risk of dying or getting seriously injured.
5. What types of environmental damage are associated with coal usage?
a. The emission of deadly gases like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide pollutes the air and
causes acid rain. Carbon dioxide which is also released during this process is the main
cause of global warming which in turn leads to the melting of the polar ice caps and a
rise in ocean levels. Other chemical waste produced is let into water bodies and causes
water pollution.