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BasicsofEnvironmentalScience

Michael allaby

2Environmentalinteractions,cycles,andsystems
Thecyclesproceedatwidelydifferingratesandratesthatvaryfromonepartofthecycle
toanother.Cyclingratesareusuallymeasuredasthetimeamoleculeorparticleremains
inaparticularpartofthecycle.Thisiscalleditsresidencetimeorremovaltime.
Itisworthremarking,however,thatmostofthegasesandparticleswhichpollutetheair
andcanbeharmfultohealthhaveveryshortatmosphericresidencetimes.
Os ciclos biogeoqumicos
Theideathatbiogeochemicalcyclesarecomponentsofanoverallsystemraisesan
obviousquestion:whatdrivesthissystem?Itusedtobethoughtthattheglobalsystemis
purelymechanical,drivenbyphysicalforces,and,indeed,thisisthewayitcanseem.
A formao do calcrio biologicamente determinado
Here,then,isonemajorcycleinwhichthebiologicalphaseisofsuchimportancethatwe
maywellconcludethatthecycleisbiologicallydriven,anditsroleextendsfurtherthan
theproductionofrock.Theconversionofsolublebicarbonateintoinsolublecalcium
carbonateremovescarbon,ascarbondioxide,fromtheatmosphereandisolatesit.
SincetheEarthformed,some4.6billionyearsago,theSunhasgrownhotterbyan
estimated25to30percent,andtheremovalofcarbondioxidefromtheair,toa
significantextentasaresultofbiologicalactivity,hashelpedpreventsurface
temperaturesrisingtointolerablelevels.
O PAPEL DA BIOTA NOS CICLOS BIOGEOQUMICOS
Authoritiesdifferintheimportancetheyallottotheroleofthebiota(thetotalofall
livingorganismsintheworldorsomedefinedpartofit)indrivingthebiogeochemical
cycles,butallagreethatitisgreat,anditisselfevidentthattheconstituentsofthebiota
shapetheirenvironmenttoaconsiderableextent.
Wealtertheenvironmentbythemerefactofourexistence.Byeating,excreting,and
breathingweinteractchemicallywithoursurroundingsandtherebychangethem.We
takeandusematerials,movingthemfromplacetoplaceandalteringtheirform.Thuswe
subtlymodifyenvironmentalconditionsinwaysthatfavoursomespeciesaboveothers.
Inourconcernthatourenvironmentalmodificationsarenowproceedingonsuchascale
astobeundulyharmfultootherspeciesandpossiblyourselves,weshouldnotforgetthat
inthisrespectwedifferfromotherspeciesonlyindegree.Alllivingthingsaltertheir
surroundings,throughtheirparticipationinthecyclesthattogethercomprisethesystem
whichisthedynamicEarth.

3Ecologyandenvironmentalism

O PROBLEMA DAS MEDIES, DAS INTERPRETAES E DO LIMIARES


(24, 25)
Wherethereisdoubt,prudencemaysuggestwesetthresholdsverylow,andinpractice
thisiswhathappens.Withcertainpesticideresiduesinfood,forexample,theEU
operatesastandardofsurrogatezerobysettinglimitslowerthantheminimumquantity
thatcanbedetected.
A polarizao em torno das decises para remediar uma
situao de dano ambiental
Wherethestatisticalevaluationofriskisunavoidablyimpreciseyetremedialaction
seemsintuitivelydesirable,decisionscannotbebasedsolelyonscientificevidenceand
areboundtobemoreorlesscontroversial.Sincedecisionsofanykindarenecessarily
political,andwillbearguedthiswayandthat,peoplewilltakesidesandissueswilltend
tobecomepolarized.
Ecologia
Ecology,then,isatoneandthesametimeascientificdisciplineandapolitical,attimes
almostreligious,philosophywhichinspiresapopularmovementandgreenpolitical
partiesinmanycountries.

4Historyofenvironmentalscience
5Changingattitudestothenaturalworld
Environmentalprotectionalwaysinvolvescompromisebetweenconflictingneeds.(31)
Oinciodaconservaodeflorestasocorreunasregionstropicais

Whatwewouldunderstandtodayastheconservationofforesthabitatsandwildlife
beganquiteearlyinthetropics,whereitwasacuriousbyproductofcolonialexpansion.
Thisledgovernmentagenciesandprivatecompaniestoemployscientistsor,inthecase
oftheBritishEastIndiaCompany,surgeons,manyofwhomhadtimetospareandwide
scientificinterests.OneoftheearliestconservationexperimentswasbeguninMauritius
inthemiddleoftheeighteenthcenturybyFrenchreformersseekingtopreventfurther
deforestationaspartoftheireffortstobuildajustsociety.

Ataboutthesametime,Americanswerealsobecomingawareoftheneedfor

conservation.GeorgePerkinsMarsh(180182),USambassadortoItalyfrom1862until
hisdeath,wroteManandNaturewhileinItaly.Publishedin1864,thisbookledtothe
establishmentofforestreservesintheUnitedStatesandothercountries,butitalso
challengedthethenacceptedrelationshipbetweenhumansandthenaturalenvironment.
Today,theloveofwildernessanddesiretoprotectitprobablyrepresentsthemajority
view,atleastinmostindustrializedsocieties.Similarly,mostpeoplerecognizepollution
asharmfulandwillsupportmeasurestoreduceit,providedtheyarenottooexpensiveor
disruptive.Aswehaveseen,however,thesearefarfrombeingnewideasornew
attitudes.Theyhaveemergedatvarioustimesinthepast,thenconcernhaswaned.Itmay
seemthatpublicattitudesreflectsomecyclicalchange,andthismaybenotfarfromthe
truth.

2.earthsciences
6FormationandstructureoftheEarth
Platetectonicsexertsaverylongterminfluence,ofcourse,andotherfactorsmodify
climatesintheshorterterm,butthedistributionoflandandseadeterminestheoverall
typesofclimatetheworldislikelytohave(HAMBREYANDHARLAND,1981).

7Theformationofrocks,minerals,andgeologicstructures
(41)
- OROGENIA

8Weathering
Nosoonerhasarockformedthanitbecomesvulnerabletoattackbyweathering.The
wordweatheringisslightlymisleading.Weassociateitwithwind,water,freezing,and
thawing.Theseareimportantagentsofweathering,buttheyarenottheonlyones.
Weatheringcanbechemicalaswellasphysicalanditoftenbeginsbelowground,
completelyisolatedfromtheweather.
A FORMAO DE CAOLIN
Hydrothermalweathering,inwhichhotsolutionsrisefrombeneathandreactwiththe
rockstheyencounter,producesarangeofcommerciallyvaluableminerals,perhapsthe
bestknownofwhichiskaolin,orchinaclay.Thismaterialwasfirstdiscoveredin
Chinain500BCandwasusedtomakefineporcelain,hencethenameschinaclayand
kaolin,fromkaoling,meaninghighridge,thetypeoflandscapeinwhichitoccurred.
Todayitisstillusedinwhiteceramics,butmostisusedasafillerandwhitener,
especiallyinpaper.Thepaperinthisbookcontainsit.Kaolindeposits

(www.wbb.co.uk/)Welcome.htm)occurinseveralcountries,butthemostextensively
minedonesareinCornwallandDevon,Britain.
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