drastically changing seasonal runoff patterns H u m a n i t i e s

drastically changing seasonal runoff patterns H u m a n i t i e s

Exercise 6.1—Data Visualization: The Anthropocene: Human Impact on the Environment


In this data module, you will explore the major human impacts on the global environment. In Chapter 6, People and the Environment, you were introduced to the name for the new geological age shaped predominately by human agency: the Anthropocene. Traces of human impact are evident across all environmental systems. This module has a clickable diagram of a broad sample of human impacts. You will explore these impacts through visual changes in the diagram, descriptions of impacts, and graphs of key data changes over time. Orient yourself with the diagram’s features, in particular the tabs on the right-hand border, the checkboxes and links for the various Impacts and Epochs on the left.

Click on the “Introduction” tab on the right-hand side and read the text.

1) What is NOT one of the ways that humans directly impact the environment? 6.2
a. building dams
b. cutting forests
c. climate change
d. creating farmland

2) What is the distinguishing characteristic of a typical geological epoch? 6.1
a. fossil record change
b. landscape change
c. major historical change
d. species change

Click on the link for “Epochs” toward the bottom of the interactive diagram’s window. Click on each Epoch’s link and read the descriptions for all four links.

3) What epoch was characterized by ice ages and adapted animals? 6.1
a. Anthropocene
b. Holocene
c. Pleistocene
d. Jurassic

4) What marked the boundary between the Pleistocene and the Holocene? 6.1
a. fossils of modern animals
b. end of the last ice age
c. meteoroid impact
d. introduction of humans

5) What is NOT one of the markers scientists are considering to use for the beginning of the Anthropocene? 6.2
a. Microplastics
b. Radionuclides
c. Roads
d. Sewers

Deselect the “Epochs” check boxes. Click on each of the “Impacts.” Read each description and review the graphs for each impact.

6) What type of greenhouse gas is increasing due to predominately agricultural uses? 6.3
a. Carbon dioxide
b. Methane
c. Nitrous oxide
d. Ozone

7) Approximately how much of earth’s ice-free land surface is used for agriculture as of 2000? 6.3
a. 10
b. 30
c. 40
d. 50

8) What is NOT true about human impact trends of water use? 6.2
a. Dams have actually decreased the amount of freshwater available in reservoirs.
b. More than half of available freshwater is used in agriculture, industry and cities.
c. Dams have actually increased the amount of freshwater available in reservoirs.
d. Human use of rivers and watersheds is drastically changing seasonal runoff patterns.

9) What is the result of excessive agricultural runoff into coastal waters and nearshore ecosystems? 6.2
a. Toxic heavy metals and organic compounds are deadly to coastal marine life.
b. Chemicals feed plankton blooms along the coast suffocating fish and shellfish.
c. Buildup of farmland sediment changes coastal landscapes and ecosystems.
d. Chemicals from fertilizers cause defects and mutations in coastal marine life.

10) How many years did it take for over half of the world’s fisheries to be overexploited? 6.4
a. over 250
b. about 100
c. over 50
d. less than 50

11) In the past _____ years, _____ species have gone extinct, which speaks to a possible trend toward mass extinction. 6.5
a. 900; 500
b. 100; 300
c. 500; 900
d. 50; 700

12) What human impact is a mostly unintended consequence of extensive global trade and travel? 6.5
a. Invasive species
b. Water pollution
c. Deforestation
d. Air pollution

13) What are the consequences of human’s mining impacts on the environment? 6.5
a. stabilization of geochemical cycles
b. mass movements and erosion
c. land cleared for farming
d. rerouting of waterways

14) How large is the area of Earth’s surface that is deforested? 6.3
a. 8 million km2
b. 10 million km2
c. 15 million km2
d. 18 million km2

15) What is NOT one of the major human-caused land use changes having adverse effects on the environment? 6.2
a. agricultural lands
b. mining and other excavations
c. cities, suburbs and exburbs
d. nature preserves

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