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HUMAN IMPACT: REGENTS REVIEW QUESTIONS ANSWER KEY 1. The release of products of combustion into the air often causes the formation of ozone near the surface of Earth. This ground-level ozone damages plants and affects their ability to absorb carbon dioxide. The doubling of ground-level ozone since 1850 is most likely due to (1) the chemical composition of the upper atmosphere (2) emissions from vehicles and industrial processes (3) the extinction of certain animal species (4) a greater use of nuclear fuel 2. New fuels are being produced by converting corn and grasses into compounds containing alcohols that can be broken down for energy in various engines. The purpose of this research is to (1) reduce the use of finite resources (2) increase the rate of air pollution (3) reduce the rate of homeostasis in organisms (4) cause a loss of biodiversity in the rain forests 3. Global warming has been linked to a decrease in the (1) size of the polar ice caps (3) rate of species extinction (2) temperature of Earth (4) rate of carbon dioxide production 4. Which human activity creates the least threat to global stability? (1) overuse of resources (2) pollution of water with heavy metals (3) pollution of air with sulfur gases (4) reuse of plastic bags 5. Most scientists recommend reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be expected to (1) reduce the rate of global warming (2) increase damage caused by acid rain (3) decrease the number of biotic factors in ecosystems (4) reduce destruction of the ozone layer 6. DDT and other pesticides used over 50 years ago are still affecting the environment today. Scientists have found these substances in recent glacier runoff. Glacier runoff occurs during the summer, when precipitation that has fallen on glaciers during the winter is released. Ice layers from existing glaciers have been analyzed. The results of this analysis show that the concentrations of DDT and other pesticides were highest about 10 years after the use of these substances was banned. 7. This information shows that (1) DDT and other pesticides cause glacier runoff during the summer (2) it takes humans over 50 years to analyze a glacier (3) precipitation helps to break down pesticides (4) the decision of one human generation may have an impact on future generations 8. By studying the chemicals in rare plants that grow only in rain forests, scientists hope to discover new life-saving medicines. Chances of finding such new medicines are reduced by (1) predation by carnivores (2) homeostasis in organisms (3) recycling of materials in food webs (4) loss of species due to human activities 9. Scientists have recently discovered that two toxic chemicals in most antibacterial soap products do not break down when treated at wastewater facilities. These chemicals are in the nutrient-rich sludge that remains after wastewater treatment. Farmers can buy this sludge to fertilize their fields. State one possible ecological problem that may result from the use of sludge for fertilizer. Toxic chemicals go into the ground. 10. Depletion of nonrenewable resources is often a result of (1) environmental laws (3) reforestation (2) human population growth (4) recycling 11. State one way the decision of high school students to drive to school rather than ride a bus to school can have a negative environmental impact on future generations. Increase in cars (less people taking the bus) = increased exhaust. 12. Which method of protecting members of an endangered species is most ecologically sound? (1) protecting the habitats where these animals live from human development (2) capturing these animals and putting them in wildlife parks (3) feeding and constructing shelters for these organisms (4) passing laws that encourage hunting of the predators of these species 13. Which human activity would most likely deplete finite resources? (1) use of natural enemies to eliminate insect pests (2) development of wildlife refuges (3) governmental restriction of industrial pollution (4) uncontrolled population growth 14. One environmental problem caused by the use of nuclear power as an energy source is the (1) destruction of the ozone shield (2) disposal of wastes (3) production of acid rain (4) accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere An ecology class is trying to help reduce the problem of global warming by asking their school district to change all of their old lightbulbs to compact fluorescent lightbulbs that use less electricity. 16. Identify one specific gas that contributes to the problem of global warming. 17. State one activity of humans that increases the concentration of this gas. CO2 – burn fossil fuels, car exhaust, deforestation Methane- landfills, cattle Nitrous Oxide- raw sewage treatment, use of synthetic fertilzer CFC’s- AC leaks, using aerosols 18. Describe one negative effect of global warming on humans or ecosystems. Increase in sea level, decreased habitat, climate change 19. Explain why switching to more efficient light bulbs will help reduce the school’s contribution to global warming. Decrease electricity use = decrease burning of fossil fuels. 20. Which action would be least likely to harm endangered species? (1) releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (2) reducing the human population (3) decreasing the amount of dissolved oxygen in the oceans (4) reducing the thickness of the ozone layer 21. Which human activity would preserve finite resources? (1) deforestation (2) removing carnivores from a forest (3) recycling aluminum (4) heating homes with fossil fuels 22. Because of an attractive tax rebate, a homeowner decides to replace an oil furnace heating system with expensive solar panels. The trade-offs involved in making this decision include (1) high cost of solar panels, reduced fuel costs, and lower taxes (2) low cost of solar panels, increased fuel costs, and higher taxes (3) increased use of fuel, more stable ecosystems, and less availability of solar radiation (4) more air pollution, increased use of solar energy, and greater production of oil 23. The Audubon Society recently released a study that showed that the populations of some bird species have decreased in number by as much as 50% since 1966. The study eliminated food and water shortages and natural cycles as causes for the decrease. Which factor might have contributed to this decline? (1) overproduction of bird offspring (3) fewer predators (2) destruction of natural habitats (4) an energy-rich diet A reporter conducted a number of “on-the-street” interviews with people selected at random. The reporter found that many people gave responses similar to those of the person quoted below. 24. Which statement is best supported by these interviews? (1) Many people are very aware of the possible effects of global warming. (2) Many people care more about their personal comforts than about the possible effects of global warming. (3) Many people are willing to sacrifice to reduce the possible effects of global warming. (4) Many people are now taking action to reduce the possible effects of global warming. The graph to the right shows data on human population growth. 25. The trend shown on the graph would most likely result in (1) a decreased demand for deforestation (2) an increase in available freshwater (3) a decrease in air pollution (4) an increased demand for land use 26. The presence of wastes, such as plastic bags and motor oil, in lakes and streams miles away from developed areas suggests that (1) ecosystems are interconnected and human action can alter ecosystem equilibrium (2) recycling programs have failed to conserve biotic resources (3) natural processes can alter ecosystem stability (4) direct harvesting practices have led to irreversible destruction of ecosystems In the 1980s, global deforestation was estimated at 17 to 20 million hectares per year, an area the size of Great Britain. Today, the area affected by deforestation has decreased significantly in some regions of the world through the use of sustainable forest management. However, there are still regions of the world affected by wide-scale deforestation, because of the short-term economic benefits. The harmful effects of deforestation on regional and worldwide climate and ecology continue as forest areas are destroyed. 27. State one short-term economic benefit of deforestation. Increased farmland, lumber, space, profits & decreased lumber costs 28. Explain how deforestation decreases biodiversity. Habitat loss, species removed or extinct 29. Explain how wide-scale deforestation may contribute to global warming. Less plants = more CO2 = Greenhouse Effect = Global Warming 30. Large rebates and low-cost loans have been made available to homeowners to install solar panels to heat their homes. The use of these incentives benefits ecosystems because it (1) encourages conservation of resources (2) reduces the need for recycling (3) promotes the use of nonrenewable resources (4) discourages the use of alternative energy Due to the negative effects on the environment of burning coal and oil, society is looking for alternate energy resources that are renewable. 31. Identify one renewable resource that can be used to generate energy. Wind, running water, sun/solar, geothermal 32. State one benefit, other than the fact that it is renewable, of using this resource. Decrease pollution, prevent Greenhouse Effect Each of the environmental problems listed below has had an impact on ecosystems. increased ultraviolet radiation & global warming 33-35. Select one of these problems and write it in the space below. Explain how this problem has affected an ecosystem. In your answer, be sure to: • identify one specific cause of the environmental problem • identify one organism that has been affected by the problem and state one way that organism has been affected • state one action that can be taken to lessen the impact of this problem on the Environment. PROBLEMS: 33-34. Increased UV - skin cancers, Global Warming - loss of habitat (polar bears) 35. Increased UV = ban CFC’s, Global Warming = reforestation & alternate energy 37. Which action will result in the greatest decrease in rain forest stability? (1) removing one species of plant for medicine (2) harvesting nuts from some trees (3) cutting down all the trees for lumber (4) powering all homes with wind energy 38. One way that humans could have a positive impact on local environments is to (1) generate waste products as a result of technological advances (2) use resources that are renewable (3) increase planting large areas of one crop (4) increase the use of pesticides The table to the right shows the abundance of some greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Identify the most abundant greenhouse gas and state one human activity that is a source of this gas. CO2 39. Greenhouse gas: _____________ Burning fossil fuels 40. Activity: ____________________ The average life expectancy of humans in the United States increased from 63.3 years in 1943 to 77.6 years in 2003. This, combined with other factors, has led to an increase in population. 41. State one factor that contributed to the increase in life expectancy in the United States. Better medical treatment & sanitation (hygiene). 42. State one way the increase in population affects other species. Human need cause harm to other species. Ex. Habitat loss, rise in population, resource competition. 43. The increasing demands for fossil fuels has led government and businesses to consider several possibilities to solve the energy crisis. Which solution will reduce the impact of this crisis on the environment and future generations? (1) increase the number of drilling sites for crude oil in North America (2) build more power plants away from population centers (3) limit the number of people in each vehicle (4) develop alternative fuel sources that can be produced from renewable resources 44. One reason why people should be aware of the impact of their actions on the environment is that (1) ecosystems are never able to recover once they have been adversely affected (2) the depletion of finite resources cannot be reversed (3) there is a decreased need for new technology (4) there is a decreased need for substances produced by natural processes Humans are changing the quality of the atmosphere and some of these changes may be harmful to the environment. 45. Identify one specific pollutant resulting from human activity that has contributed to changing the quality of the atmosphere. Gases from acid rain = Nitrogen gas, Sulfur gas, CO2, 46. State one specific example of how the pollutant you identified may be harmful to the environment. Increased CO2 = Increased Global warming , 47. In state forests and parks containing varieties of flowering trees and shrubs, there are signs that say “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.” These signs are necessary because (1) humans can destroy habitats by removing flowering trees and shrubs (2) all animals feed directly on flowering shrubs that may be removed by people (3) removal of flowering trees and shrubs will increase biodiversity (4) flowering shrubs grow best in state forests and parks 48. In an attempt to improve environmental quality, local officials in a county in New York State want to build a garbage-to-steam plant. At the plant, garbage would be burned to produce energy, but air pollution would also be produced. In order to decide whether or not to build this plant, the community must consider (1) the trade-offs involved (3) the natural process of succession (2) new genetic technology (4) energy flow between organisms A town located in New York State has a 500-acre piece of land available for development. The town board has to decide how to respond to two groups interested in the land. Characteristics of the land: — mostly trees with some grassland and several small streams — a large lake which supports a great variety of fish and other wildlife Two different groups are interested in developing the property: Group A — a logging company that wants to use the trees for lumber Group B — an environmental organization that wants to make it a park 49. State one benefit that implementing the group A proposal may provide for the town. Building materials, more jobs & land for farming, 50. State one specific negative consequence of having group A develop the land. Decrease in: habitat, biodiversity, O2. Increase in: CO2, erosion, Global Warming 51. State one specific positive consequence of implementing the proposal of group B. Parks & recreation, preserve habitats, prevent erosion 52. Which change is a cause of the other three? (1) increased fossil fuel consumption (2) destruction of the ozone shield (3) increased industrialization (4) destruction of natural habitats Windmill farms are being developed as alternative energy sources in some areas of the United States. Windmill farms convert energy from the wind into electricity. 53. State one reason why some residents might be concerned if windmill farms were planned for their part of the country. Ruin the views, endanger birds, more noise, take up usable space 54. State one environmental reason why using windmills for energy might be preferred over using coal for energy. Less air pollution, it’s renewable energy 55. The graph to the right shows how the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has changed over the last 150,000 years. Which environmental factor has been most recently affected by these changes in carbon dioxide level? (1) light intensity (2) types of decomposers (3) size of consumers (4) atmospheric temperature 56. Some people make compost piles consisting of weeds and other plant materials. When the compost has decomposed, it can be used as fertilizer. The production and use of compost is an example of (1) the introduction of natural predators (2) the use of fossil fuels (3) the deforestation of an area (4) the recycling of nutrients 57-58. Power plan calls for windmills off beach Several dozen windmills taller than the Statue of Liberty will crop up off Long Island — the first source of off-shore wind power outside of Europe, officials said. The Long Island Power Authority [LIPA] expects to choose a company to build and operate between 35 and 40 windmills in the Atlantic Ocean off Jones Beach, The New York Times reported Sunday [May 2, 2004]. Cost and completion date are unknown. Energy generated by the windmills would constitute about 2 percent of LIPAʼs total power use. They are expected to produce 100 to 140 megawatts, enough to power 30,000 homes.... But some Long Island residents oppose the windmills, which they fear will create noise, interfere with fishing, and mar ocean views.... State two ways that the use of windmills to produce energy would be beneficial to the environment. Less air pollution, it’s renewable energy (1) ___________________________________________________________________ Less fossil fuel use (2) ___________________________________________________________________ 59-62. Humans have many interactions with the environment. Briefly describe how human activities can affect the environment of organisms living 50 years from now. In your answer, be sure to: • identify one human activity that could release chemicals harmful to the environment • identify the chemical released by the activity • state one effect the release of this chemical would most likely have on future ecosystems • state one way in which humans can reduce the production of this chemical to lessen its effect on future ecosystems 59. Burning fossil fuels, dumping toxic wastes 60. CO2 / Sulfur dioxide/ Nitrogen gas 61. Increased: Global Warming, acid rain, mutations 62. Use alternate fuels (solar, wind, water), better laws about toxic waste disposal.