Composting Techniques

Traditionally, composting has been an important technique for maintaining soil fertility. In developed economies, composting is a commercial enterprise, manufacturing soil products for horticultural and ornamental plants, and organic farming. On a small scale, composting is done in a bin at least 1 m2 at the base and no more than 120 cm (4 feet) high. A 5-cm mesh of woven wire is placed at the base of the bin as a retaining barrier and to facilitate drainage. The bin has an overflow gate at...

Composting

Decomposed biosolids (e.g., leaves, crop residue, animal waste) have long been used to recycle plant nutrients and enhance soil fertility. It is one of the Barry Commoner speaks to protesters outside a hotel in New Jersey where Exxon stockholders met in 1989. (Corbis-Bettmann. Reproduced by permission.) humus rich soil component derived from plant breakdown and bacterial action most ancient of agricultural innovations, as is evidenced by an ancient Telgu proverb Leaf manure produces luxuriant...

Clean Air

The 1970 Clean Air Act (CAA), significantly amended in 1977 and again in 1990, regulates air pollution emissions from stationary sources (e.g., factories, smokestacks, etc.), mobile sources (e.g., motor vehicles), and certain indirect sources (e.g., highways, malls, parking lots, etc., that attract mobile sources to the location). Specified criteria pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, particulates (i.e., soot, fly ash, etc.), and lead are directly regulated, as...

Bibliography

Jorgenson, Lisa, and Kimmel, Jeffrey J. (1988). Environmental Citizen Suits Confronting the Corporation. Washington, DC Bureau of National Affairs Books. Blanch, James T. Cohen, Benedict S. Gerson, Stuart M. and Slavitt, Evan. National Legal Center for the Public Interest. (1996). Citizen Suits and qui tam Actions Private Enforcement of Public Policy. Washington, DC National Legal Center for the Public Interest. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Region 4 Southeast. Available from http...

Citizen Suits

Citizen suits are lawsuits that are brought by individuals or nonprofit groups under the provisions of certain environmental laws. Because agencies do not catch and prosecute all violators of environmental statutes, citizen suits can be extremely useful, empowering anyone with an interest in environmental protection to demand that laws be enforced. Provisions for citizen suits have been created on both the federal level and in some states' environmental statutes. On the federal level,...

Citizen Science

If asked to picture a scientist, most people probably would imagine a professional peering into a microscope or poring over statistics on a computer screen. Science does not belong solely to such professionals, however. Ordinary citizens from all walks of life have a huge stake in science and technology as well, which can both enrich their lives with new discoveries and damage their world with pollution. Citizen science is a movement that recognizes the contribution which such concerned...

Founder Of United Farm Workers Of America

C sar Estrada Ch vez was born near Yuma, Arizona, on March 31, 1927. Eleven years later, his family lost their farm and joined several hundred thousand other migrants working California's crops under terrible conditions. By the time of his death at 63, Ch vez had organized farmworkers, improved their wages and living conditions, shaped public awareness, and prompted government regulations that reduced their exposure to dangerous pesticides. After dropping out of school and serving in the U.S....

Measuring Pollution

Determining pollution problems and costs in the United States (or any country) may appear relatively simple. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. In reality, there is generally a lack of accurate and comprehensive information on the condition of the environment in industrialized countries (and even more so in developing countries). In general, a lack of sufficient understanding by scientists of environmental phenomena and the elements in which to measure them still does not allow a...

CFCs Chlorofluorocarbons

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), once described as miracle chemicals, cause the breakdown of the ozone layer that protects the earth from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. CFCs have no significant natural sources. They were first manufactured in the 1930s, and industries soon found a wide variety of applications for them due to their chemical unreactivity and heat-absorbing properties. CFCs have been used as refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigerators, in aerosol spray cans, in...

Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter in an automobile is an expanded section of exhaust pipe occurring upstream of the muffler in which pollutants generated in the engine are converted to normal atmospheric gases. It is an essential element in the emissions control system of modern automobiles. This technology was introduced in the United States in the late 1970s and became legally required by the early 1980s because of more stringent exhaust emission control standards. Early catalyst systems, as applied to...

Carver George Washington

Conservationist a person who works to conserve natural resources crop rotation alternation of crop species on a field to maintain soil health hybridization formation of a new individual from parents of different species or varieties FARMER, AGRICULTURAL FOOD SCIENTIST, EDUCATOR (1805-1943) The conservationist agricultural practices developed by George Washington Carver at the beginning of the twentieth century increased agricultural sustainability for poor African-American farmers in the U.S....

The Future for Environmental Careers

The field of environmental protection is still new, so it is difficult to predict which environmental careers will have the greatest prospects in the future. New environmental regulations, new technologies, and new environmental crises may influence which jobs are in greatest demand. Universities are attempting to help students prepare for jobs in environmental protection by offering degrees in many areas of environmental studies. The Environmental Careers Organization. (1999). The Complete...

Who Hires Environmental Specialists

Jobs in environmental protection can be found in both government and private organizations many of which are not specifically environmentally oriented as well as in industry. Here is a brief list of places to look for jobs in environmental protection. Most agencies have their own Web site with current job listings. Federal government agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Forestry Department Local...

Building a Career

Most careers in environmental protection require some training or collegelevel education and often graduate-level or professional training. Anyone interested in pursuing a career in this field needs to consider educational and training requirements carefully. Choosing the courses or a major for a career in environmental protection is not usually as clear-cut as it is for a career in law or medicine. However, many universities now have degree programs in environmental studies that allow students...

Marginalism

One of the basic economic approaches is marginalism This approach seeks a level of operation of some activity that will maximize the net gain from that activity (which is the difference between its benefits and costs). During any activity, the benefits and costs increase, but because of diminishing returns, costs will generally rise faster than benefits. At its maximum level, marginal costs (the cost of increasing the activity) equal marginal benefit (the benefit of increasing the activity) so...

Economics

Economics is a social science that is applied to the production, distribution, exchange, and consumption of goods and services. Economists focus on the way in which individuals, groups, businesses, and governments seek to efficiently achieve economic objectives. General economics can be divided into two major fields Microeconomics, or price theory, explains how the interaction of supply and demand in competitive markets creates a variety of individual prices, profit margins, wage rates, and...

Earth First

Earth First (EF ) is a network of environmental activists, living mostly in the United States, committed to preserving wilderness and biological abun Earth First Journal logo. (Courtesy of Earth First Journal. Reproduced by permission.) Earth First Journal logo. (Courtesy of Earth First Journal. Reproduced by permission.) dance. It was founded in 1980 by Dave Foreman, Mike Roselle, and a number of other environmentalists who were disillusioned with so-called mainstream environmentalism. Foreman...

Earth

An estimated twenty million Americans took part in the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Virtually every community from Maine to California hosted activities. Congress adjourned for the day. All the television networks gave it significant coverage. In New York, hundreds of thousands of people jammed Fifth Avenue from Fourteenth Street all the way to Central Park to listen to politicians, scientists, and celebrities. In San Jose, California, college students held a funeral for the internal...

Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning is the use of solvents instead of water to clean fabrics. It is believed to have originated in France in 1828 when a factory worker spilled lamp oil, a flammable petroleum-based solvent, on a soiled tablecloth. When the tablecloth dried, the spots had disappeared. The original solvents used in the dry cleaning industry included turpentine, kerosene, benzene, and gasoline. These are extremely flammable, often resulting in fires and explosions. Around 1900, scientists developed...

Internet Resource

Guidance Documents on Dredging. Guide 4 Machines, Methods and Mitigation. The Netherlands IADC Secretariat. Also available from www.iadc-dredging.com. PIANC. (2000). Dredging The Facts. Brussels, Belgium International Navigation Association. Also available from www.pianc-aipcn.org. PIANC. (2001). Dredging The Environmental Facts. Where to Find What You Need to Know. Brussels, Belgium International Navigation Association. Also available from www.pianc-aipcn.org. U.S....

Dredging

Dredging is the process of excavating or removing sediments from the bottom of lakes, rivers, estuaries, or marine (ocean) locations. Sediment excavation or dredging is conducted for multiple purposes. These purposes include navigation, mineral extraction (mining), construction activities Noontime smog on a street in Donora, Pennsylvania, 1948. ( Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, all rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.) (e.g., laying underwater pipeline), and the environmental cleanup of polluted...

Donora Pennsylvania

Temperature inversion temporary trapping of lower warm air by higher cold air The towns of Donora and Webster, Pennsylvania, along the Monongahela River southwest of Pittsburgh, were the site of a lethal air pollution disaster in late October 1948 that convinced members of the scientific and medical communities, as well as the public, that air pollution could kill people, as well as cause serious damage to health. The disaster took place over the course of five days, when weather conditions...

Three Mile Island

The thriller China Syndrome, which warned that a nuclear power plant meltdown would blow a hole through the earth all the way to China and render an area the size of Pennsylvania permanently uninhabitable had been playing for eleven days when, at 4 00 am on March 28, 1979, Reactor 2 at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant suffered a partial meltdown. The plant was just downriver from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Film story, reality, and perception all interplayed to create near national...

The Chernobyl Disaster

Concern became reality at 1 23 a.m. on April 25, 1986, when the worst civil nuclear catastrophe in history occurred at the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, Soviet Union (which is now in Ukraine). More than thirty people were killed immediately. The radiation release was thirty to forty times that of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II. Hundreds of thousands of people were ultimately evacuated from the most heavily contaminated zone surrounding Chernobyl. Radiation spread to...

Disasters Nuclear Accidents

Acute in medicine, short-term or happening quickly chronic in medicine, long-term or happening over time half-life the time required for a pollutant to lose one-half of its original concentration for example, the biochemical halflife of DDT in the environment is fifteen years spent radioactive fuel radioactive fuel rods after they has been used for power generation bioaccumulation buildup of a chemical within a food chain when a predator consumes prey containing that chemical Of all the...

The Future of Disaster Preparedness

As losses increase and casualties remain frequent and widespread, the problem of natural catastrophes is topical and pressing. Expertise is gradually accumulating on how to best tackle disaster, and new agencies for managing it are forming at the local, regional, national, and international levels. For such efforts to succeed, rigorous standards need to be established for emergency planning, management, and training. There needs to be more investment in both structural and nonstructural...

Trends in Losses and Casualties

The worldwide picture of disasters shows that death tolls are fairly stable, although not significantly decreasing, but losses are rising steeply. Social, economic, and military instability coupled with high rates of population growth fuel increases in the casualties and hardship caused by natural disasters in developing countries. Since the early 1990s much attention has been focused on the complex emergency, in which persistent warfare, particularly of the low-intensity guerrilla kind, leads...

Understanding Hazards and Disasters

The driving force, or trigger, of disaster is the natural agent. In this context natural disasters are distinguished earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, and so on from technological ones (toxic spills, transportation accidents, explosions in industrial plants, etc.) and social disasters (riots, acts of terrorism, crowd crushes, etc.). Experts on natural disaster tend to confine the definition to extreme geophysical phenomena and not include disease epidemics and the...

Disasters Natural

A natural disaster can be defined as some impact of an extreme natural event on the ecosystem and environment, and on human activities and society. The concept relies on the interaction of a natural agent the hazard with human vulnerability to produce a risk that is likely to eventually materialize as a destructive impact. Lava flow from an eruption of Mount Etna, Sicily, destroys all trees and plants in its path. ( Vittoriano Rastelli Corbis. Reproduced by permission.)

Case Studies

The Summitville Mine in Colorado has become a case study of environmental damage as a result of mining. Gold was mined there from 1870 until 1992. In 1994 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared the area a Superfund site. Some of the following events affected the environment at the mine Geologic characteristics at the mine site contributed to the generation of both natural and mining-related acid drainage the height of the containing ecosystem the interacting system of a...

Long and Shortterm Impacts of Mining in the Environment

On a long-term basis, mining can increase the acidity of water in streams cause increased sediment loads, some of which may be metal-laden, in drainage basins initiate dust with windborne pathogens and cause the release of toxic chemicals, some contained in exposed ore bodies and waste rock piles and some derived from ore-processing reactions. Contaminants containing such toxic chemicals as cyanide and lead may be transported far from a mining site by water or wind, polluting soils,...

Dilution

Dilution was the solution to pollution when populations were small. Everything people wanted to get rid of went into the water. These wastes were typically organic, such as human wastes and animal carcasses. They became food for animals, macroinvertebrates, bacteria, and fungi that broke down the waste. As small villages grew into towns and towns into cities, waterways were overwhelmed by the amount of disposed wastes, and many rivers became open sewers. A larger problem developed during the...

Diesel

Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (1858-1913), a German thermal engineer, invented the diesel engine and patented it in 1893. Unlike their gasoline counterparts, which ignite an air fuel mixture using spark plugs, diesel engines compress air to a very high pressure and then inject the fuel. The fuel then ignites due to the high temperature of the compressed air. Diesel engines are relatively fuel-efficient engines commonly used in heavy construction equipment, ships, locomotives, commercial trucks,...

DDT Dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane

DDT, dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane, was synthesized in 1874, but its insecticidal properties were first identified in 1939 by P.H. Mueller. He received the Nobel Prize for his discovery, which coincided with the outbreak of World War II, when DDT was used extensively to keep soldiers free of head and body lice. DDT also proved very effective against mosquitoes, which transmit a serious global human disease, malaria, as well as yellow fever. After the war, DDT was developed extensively as an...

Environmental Planning and Analysis

Environmental planners and analysts are involved in finding ways to reduce damage to the environment. Jobs include Environmental planners and environmental analysts. Environmental planners develop plans for specific communities to protect environmental quality. Environmental analysts research, identify, and analyze different sources of pollution to determine their effects on the environment and find alternative ways to handle projects in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Environmental Policy Legislation and Regulation

Professionals working in environmental policy, legislation, and regulation are responsible for developing and enforcing environmental regulations. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspectors Environmental Compliance Agency workers Environmental attorneys and lawyers are experts in environmental law who help companies understand the complex environmental rules and regulations that businesses need to follow. Some environmental lawyers help the government create environmental policies and...

Environmental Engineering and Sciences

Environmental engineers specialize in either preventing or cleaning up pollution or environmental emergencies. Engineers who work to prevent pollution look for and help defend against potential sources of damage to the environment. Engineers who specialize in cleaning up accidents decide how to clean up environmental problems quickly and efficiently. Engineers are called upon to resolve complex problems such as oil spills, hazardous waste, and polluted lakes and wetlands. Geographic information...

Natural Resources Conservation and Management

Conservation and natural resource managers maintain and manage natural resources. Some specialists are required to balance multiuse recreation with the preservation of natural resources. Fishery and wildlife managers Fish and game wardens Forestry and conservation technicians Sample Occupations. Foresters manage and protect forests so that both people and the environment benefit. Foresters oversee a multiuse system, including municipal watersheds, wildlife habitats, and outdoor recreation...

Environmental Outreach Education Communications Advocacy and Fundraising

Environmental communications specialists are responsible for communicating knowledge about the environment to the public, the government, and private businesses. Environmental outreach specialists can be found teaching in schools, helping firms understand environmental goals, interpreting nature at state parks, writing for publications, and lobbying legislators. Environmental educators teach the public about the environment. Environmental educators are hired to work in schools, nature centers,...

Environmental Research and Teaching

Environmental research is conducted by scientists and science technicians who study all aspects of the environment. Jobs include Ecologists Biologists Zoologists Biochemists Aquatic biologists Marine biologists Botany Microbiologists Physiologists Air specialists Zoologists study all animals. Their research focuses on life processes, diseases, behavior, and other features of the animal world. Microbiologists study the growth and characteristics of microscopic organisms such as bacteria, algae,...

Opportunities for Almost Every Interest

Today, many people can find careers in environmental protection that match their personal skills and dreams. For example, someone interested in working outdoors might choose to become a conservation biologist, park ranger, wildlife manager, or forester. A person who enjoys working with the public might explore working as an outreach specialist in environmental education, Workers testing and analyzing ground water. ( David Sailors Corbis. Reproduced by permission.) public relations,...

Careers in Environmental Protection

Careers in environmental protection involve jobs that help reduce the negative environmental impacts of today's actions, restore damaged ecosystems to health, or build sustainable ways of life for the future. Fifty years ago, most of today's environmental careers did not exist. Today, the field of environmental jobs is one of the fastest-growing job markets there are more than one hundred environmental-protection careers to consider ranging from environmental law, politics, journalism, and...

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Operating barbeque grill in enclosed area such as the Auto exhaust fumes from attached garage 1 Placement of carbon monoxide (CO) detector exchanger Improperly installed or faulty gas clothes dryer, furnace or water heater Leaking, cracked, corroded or disconnected flue or vent pipes engines (boats and lawn mowers), charcoal and wood fires, agricultural burning, and tobacco smoke. CO is classified as an indirect greenhouse gas. It does not contribute to global warming directly, but leads to the...

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, and poisonous gas with the chemical formula CO. Because of its toxicity, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates CO. The gas is a by-product of incomplete combustion (burning with insufficient oxygen). Its major source is vehicle exhaust (60 percent). Other sources include water heaters and furnaces, gas-powered SOURCES OF CARBON MONOXIDE IN THE HOME or faulty gas oven range or cooktop stove

Carbon Dioxide

Biomass all of the living material in a given area often refers to vegetation anthropogenic human-made related to or produced by the influence of humans on nature afforestation conversion of open land to forest afforestation conversion of open land to forest Chemical structure of carbon dioxide (CO2). Chemical structure of carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a nontoxic, odorless, and colorless gas present in trace concentrations in the atmosphere. The molecule is linear with a central...

Cancer Clusters

The study of disease clusters is one method scientists use to study the public health implications of carcinogens. A cancer cluster is defined as a greater-than-expected number of cancer cases that occurs within a group of people in a geographic area over a specific period of time. Studies of suspected cancer clusters usually focus on heredity and environment. Such clusters may be suspected when people report that several family members, friends, neighbors, or coworkers have been diagnosed with...

Categories of Carcinogenicity

Substances or agents that cause cancer are called carcinogens. The more likely something is to cause cancer, the more carcinogenic it is. Cigarette smoke is more carcinogenic than chlorinated community drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies carcinogenicity into five categories. A category A substance is known to cause cancer in humans, generally based on epidemiological (large population) data showing sufficient evidence to support a causal association between...

Diet

Use of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and in tanning parlors and other forms of radiation Only recently have scientists proved the existence of an interaction between environmental toxins and one's genetic makeup. Researchers hope that when people are knowledgeable about inherited susceptibility, they will be motivated to avoid carcinogens that increase their risk. For example, scientists at the State University of New York at Buffalo report evidence...

Cancer

Cancer develops when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Normal cells grow, divide, and die. But cancer cells, instead of dying, continue to Cigarette smoking (one pack or more per day) Human-made chemicals in indoor air at home Human-made chemicals in drinking water Chemical exposure at uncontrolled hazardous SOURCE U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grow and form new abnormal cells. Cancer cells often travel to other body parts where they grow and replace normal tissue. This...

Burn Barrels

People used to think that burning household trash and yard waste in an open barrel was an inexpensive, good way to get rid of it. However, today's packaging and products are often made from plastics, dyes, and other synthetics. When burned, these cause air pollution and, in a number of U.S. states and municipalities, it is illegal. Burn barrels operate at relatively low temperatures, typically at 400 to 500 Fahrenheit (F) and have poor combustion efficiency (municipal incinerators run in the...

Organization of the Material

As its title would suggest, Pollution A to Z is organized alphabetically with 264 articles presented in two volumes. Articles are cross-referenced. Authors were aware of (and sometimes wrote) related articles and, for the fullest understanding, the reader is encouraged to explore at least one level beyond the subject first selected. This is made easier with the inclusion of cross-references at the end of many articles. You will find that articles are balanced between hard science and social...

Norwegian Prime Minister And Environmentalist

In her life, Gro Harlem Brundtland has served society in three distinct capacities as a medical doctor, a politician, and an environmentalist. She initially worked as a physician and then moved into the political arena as an environmental minister in the Norwegian government. Her success in this capacity led to her election as Norway's first female prime minister and influence on international treaties and conferences. After attending medical school, Brundtland took a job with the city of Oslo...

National Pollution Prevention Roundtable

The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) is one of the largest NGOs in the United States devoted exclusively to P2. It provides a national forum for the dissemination of P2 information with regards to policy developments, practices, and resources in order to diminish or eradicate pollution at the source. The NPPR provides its P2 members federal agencies, state and local government programs, regional resource centers, small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and industry...

Cryptosporidiosis

Cryptosporidiosis (also referred to as Crypto) is a gastrointestinal illness that results from exposure to the organism Cryptosporidium parvum (C. parvum). Cryptosporidiosis rose to public attention in the United States in 1993 when more than 100 people died and more than 400,000 people were sickened by Crypto in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Cryptosporidiosis is primarily a waterborne illness. People get infected from drinking inadequately treated drinking water, or from swallowing or drinking...

Renewed Sense of Commitment

Environmentalists were rallying for more stringent enforcement of environmental policies, but the Reagan administration failed to express the same level of enthusiasm and support that had characterized the Nixon and Carter presidencies. Economic and political decisions that once involved environmental organizations now seemed to undermine the very spirit and intent of NEPA by sidelining environmental efforts. The membership ranks of environmental groups grew in response to these political...

The International Movement

Europeans were struggling with their own environmental disasters. Swedish scientists had been studying the connection between common air pollutants like sulfur and nitrogen dioxides and high levels of acidity in many of their waters. Documenting an overall decline in the biological diversity of Scandinavia, the scientists hoped to capture international attention. The 1972 U.N. Conference on the Human Environment, hosted by Sweden, was the perfect place to present their findings. Air pollutants...

Legal Support for Environmentalists

Special-tactic groups began to emerge to accommodate the transition of environmental issues onto the national agenda. One such group was the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). A generous grant from the Ford Company led to the creation of the NRDC, a science-based initiative dealing with the new legal aspects of the movement. Even local citizen groups began to focus their interests. The Brookhaven Town Natural Resources Committee (BTNRC), a coalition of scientists and residents of Long...

The Advent of Pollution Policies

The public's environmental agenda and steady pressure to create national pollution laws led U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson to make a bold move. He had an idea for a national teach-in on environmental issues. A task force calling itself Environmental Action was formed to develop the idea. By seeking official support, avoiding confrontation, and scattering events across the United States, the committee hoped to involve the entire society. Many established environmental groups refused to participate,...

The New National Agenda

If the 1960s arrived with a compelling or infamous start, it exited in the same fashion. In 1967 an oil tanker off of Great Britain ran aground, spilling 40,000 tons of oil. Attempts to contain the accident and salvage the remaining oil were useless. The tanker spilled another 77,000 tons of oil that washed Crew of the Japanese whaling ship Kyo Maru 1 using water cannons to disperse activists during an antiwhaling demonstration in the waters of the Antarctic Ocean, December 16, 2001. ( AFP...

The Power of Activism

By the time the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union was signed in 1963, citizens were learning about chemical fallout right in their own backyards. In 1962 Rachel Carson's Silent Spring introduced a public dialogue about the impacts of toxic chemicals, specifically DDT, on wildlife and the environment. C sar E. Ch vez, leader of the United Farm Worker's Union, raised awareness of the diseases farmworkers suffered due to chemical exposure. Eventually...

Environmental Movement

History is marked by movements that challenge the dominant political ideology in ways that cannot go unnoticed. Civil rights, women's rights such movements are often rooted in small beginnings, the passion of few, which becomes the cause of many. Born from late-nineteenth-century concern over resource exploitation, the environmental movement has become an overarching term for the growing public interest in protecting Earth and its natural resources. Naturalists like John Muir, in the late 1800s...

Environmental Justice

Environmental justice is broader in scope than environmental equity (equal treatment and protection under statutes, regulations, and practices), emphasizing the right to a safe and healthy environment for all people, and incorporating physical, social, political, and economic under the heading of environments. It is also a less incendiary term than environmental racism, which can be intentional or unintentional, and suggests discrimination in A rally before the march to Laidlaw dump in...

Environmental Impact Statement

National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 (NEPA) requires that all federal agencies prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prior to making decisions that could have a significant impact on the environment. An EIS includes a description of the proposed action alternatives to the action, including the null (no action) alternative a description of the environmental context expected impacts and irreversible use of resources and ways to potentially lessen such impact. Impacts are...

Environment Canada

Canada's Department of the Environment, commonly known as Environment Canada, was founded in 1971. It was created to bring the different aspects of Canadian environmental policy, which had until then been split between several different departments, under the control of one main body. Environment Canada has primary, but not exclusive, control of implementing Canada's environmental policies (the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, for instance, still has control of fisheries protection)....

Investigation Case Development and Litigation

At the EPA, and in many U.S. states, enforcement cases typically go through three phases inspection and information-gathering, administrative case In the largest Clean Air Act settlement in history, The Virginia Electric Power Co. agreed to spend 1.2 billion between 2003 and 2013 to install new pollution control equipment and upgrade existing controls at eight VEPCO generating plants in Virginia and West Virginia. The company, one of the largest coal-fired electric utilities in the nation, was...

Control of Indoor Air Pollution

Basic approaches to control indoor air pollution include source control, source isolation, increased ventilation, dehumidification, and the use of filters (see the table). Possible sources of contamination are eliminated in a source-control strategy. Examples include banning smoking in public buildings, using carefully selected building materials to avoid the emission of toxic or irritating substances, and limiting the use of fibrous materials. Source-isolation strategy is used in situations...

Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollutants

Health effects due to indoor air pollutants may be short- as well as long-term. Short-term problems include a stuffy, odorous environment and symptoms such as burning eyes, skin irritation, and headaches. Long-term health problems have a longer latency period or are chronic in nature. The magnitude and duration of detrimental health effects are influenced by the time of exposure, concentration, presence of a preexisting unhealthy condition, and age. Health conditions involving some allergic...

Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

There are a variety of causes of poor indoor air quality. A NISOH study based on over five hundred complaints found that inadequate ventilation and the release of contaminants from indoor and outdoor sources are the primary reasons for indoor air quality problems (see pie chart). Inadequate ventilation may be defined as insufficient air to remove pollutants that are degrading the quality of air. Thus, the air quality in a building is the result of a contest between the pollutants and the...

Incineration

Incineration is the thermal destruction of waste. It is as old as throwing food wastes on a wood fire, and in many developing nations, garbage is still routinely burned in drums and boxes on city streets. Modern incineration systems use high temperatures, controlled air, and excellent mixing to change the chemical, physical, or biological character or composition of waste materials. The new systems are equipped with state-of-the-art air pollution control devices to capture particulate and...

Avoiding Exposure and the Use of Green Products

There are several steps one can take to reduce exposure to household chemicals. An adjacent table provides a list of alternative products. One can bring unused and potentially harmful household products to a nearby chemical The styrene-butadiene (SB) latex backing that is used on most new carpets is a source of styrene and 4-phenyl cyclohexene (4-PC). Styrene is a known toxic and suspected carcinogen. 4-PC is not known to be toxic, and it continues to be emitted at measurable levels for a...

Household Pollutants

Household pollutants are contaminants that are released during the use of various products in daily life. Studies indicate that indoor air quality is far worse than that outdoors because homes, for energy efficiency, are made somewhat airtight. Moreover, household pollutants are trapped in houses causing further deterioration of indoor air quality. Hazardous household products fall into six broad categories household cleaners, paints and solvents, lawn and garden care, automotive products, pool...

Chemical Pollution

In 1984, 30 tons of lethal methyl isocyanate gas were released into the air in Bhopal, India, from a Union Carbide plant. Thousands of people (estimates range from 2,500 to well over 8,000) died immediately. Deaths and disabilities continued to plague the populace for years following what was termed, at the time, the worst industrial accident in history. A year later, in Institute, West Virginia, another Union Carbide plant released toxic gas into the atmosphere, resulting in illnesses among...

Air Pollution

The growth of population centers coupled with the switch from wood-burning to coal-burning fires created clouds of smoke over cities as early as the eleventh century. Air pollution regulations first appeared in England in 1273, but for the next several centuries, attempts at controlling the burning of coal met with notable failure. The problem was not confined to London, nor was it confined to England. As the Industrial Revolution swept across countries, and as coal became common in private...

Water Pollution

That is why most human settlements always began near a water source. Conflicts over control of such sources started in ancient times and continue today, as evident in the Middle East, for example. Israel's National Water Carrier project was the target of attacks by neighboring Arab countries and an escalating factor in the tensions that led to the 1967 Six-Day War. Unfortunately, the importance of clean water was not understood until the second half of the nineteenth...

History

In fact, it is older than most people realize. Archeologists digging through sites of Upper Paleolithic settlements (settlements of the first modern humans, between forty thousand and ten thousand years ago) routinely find piles of discarded stone tools, and the litter from the making of these tools. One could even argue that the first use of wood-burning fire ushered in the era of air pollution. Lead pollution from Roman smelters can be traced all across...

Heavy Metals

The heavy metals, which include copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), cobalt (Co), and chromium (Cr), are common trace constituents in the earth crust. Their concentrations in the ambient environment have increased dramatically since the Industrial Revolution, as have lead and copper since Roman times. Many of these metals play an essential role in human physiology. For example, the enzymes that synthesize DNA and RNA contain zinc ions, and cobalt is an integral part of...

Difficulties in Determining Environmental Health Effects at Low Exposure Levels

Pollution levels in most of the industrialized world are now relatively low. Lowering these levels further will be more expensive and, in the absence of convincing public health need, it will be more difficult to create the public will for additional reductions. At the same time, the health consequences of low levels of pollutants are undeniably more difficult to determine. This difficulty arises from two facts. The first is that people differ, often significantly, in their response to...

Environmental Health in the Postindustrial World

Pollution itself, particularly from human activities, is not a modern phenomenon. The preindustrialized world certainly offered many opportunities for a polluted existence. Wood fires, the close proximity of livestock, and mining and smelting operations all would have presented conditions for polluting either the air or water, or both. Following the Industrial Revolution, however, the combined concentrations of people and industrialized processes conspired to create pockets of intensely...

Environmental Health in the Preindustrial World

Human health and human disease have always been intimately connected to the environment. The environment contains the positive, in the form of air, water, and nutrients, and the negative, in the form of bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Humans have developed elaborate defense systems to protect against adverse environmental effects. These include immune systems that attack bacteria and other foreign bodies, DNA repair enzymes that defend the integrity of genetic structure, and metabolizing enzymes...

Disposal Options and Problems

Disposal options for hazardous waste include landfills, injection wells, incineration, and bioremediation, as well as several others. The greatest concern with the disposal of hazardous waste in landfills or injection wells is that toxic substances will leak into surrounding groundwater. Groundwater is a major source of drinking water worldwide and once it is contaminated, pollutants are extremely difficult and costly to remove. In some instances, it is impossible to remove groundwater...

Waste Minimization and Recycling

Recycling and waste minimization may be the best ways to deal with hazardous waste. Waste minimization reduces the volume of waste generated, whereas recycling means that less hazardous waste requires disposal. Techniques for waste minimization may include audits, better inventory management, production process equipment modifications, and operational maintenance procedures. Raw material changes, volume reductions, nonhaz-ardous material substitutions, reuse, or recovery also reduce hazardous...

Hazardous Waste

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), enacted in 1976, defines hazardous waste as a liquid, solid, sludge, or containerized gas waste substance that due to its quantity, concentration, or chemical properties may cause significant threats to human health or the environment if managed improperly. U.S. legislation considers a waste hazardous if it is corrosive, flammable, unstable, or toxic. Sources of hazardous waste may include industry, research, medical, household, chemical...

Hayes Denis

AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALIST ORGANIZER OF FIRST EARTH DAY (1944-) Denis Hayes, at the time a twenty-five-year-old Harvard law student, organized the first Earth Day celebration on April 22, 1970. Earth Day inspired the grassroots participation of twenty million people in the United States and marked the coming-of-age of the environmental movement. It brought concerns about pollution and the environment into the awareness of the American public, and Congress responded by passing a series of...

Hamilton Alice

During the Progressive Era, Alice Hamilton became part of the revolution of thought about the causative factors of disease, explicitly linking environmental From left to right Mrs. F. Louis Slade, Marion Edward Park, and Alice Hamilton. ( Bettmann Corbis. Reproduced by permission.) From left to right Mrs. F. Louis Slade, Marion Edward Park, and Alice Hamilton. ( Bettmann Corbis. Reproduced by permission.) factors to serious illnesses or epidemics. To satisfy her passion for social activism,...

Halon

Halons and other halocarbons (carbon- and halogen-containing compounds), such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), are responsible for the breakdown of stratospheric ozone and the creation of the Antarctic ozone hole. Halons are a subset of a more general class of compounds known as halocarbons. Halons contain carbon, bromine, fluorine, and, in some cases, chlorine. Halons are entirely human-made and are used primarily in fire extinguishers. One of the most common halons has the chemical formula...

Groundwater

Groundwater is the water that exists below the land surface and fills the spaces between sediment grains and fractures in rocks. A geologic formation saturated with groundwater is considered to be an aquifer if it is sufficiently permeable as to allow the groundwater to be economically extracted. It is replenished naturally through the infiltration of rainfall and artificially through the irrigation of crops. Soluble chemicals in rainwater (like NOx in acid rain) or at the land surface (like...

Greenpeace

Biodiversity refers to the variety and variability among living organisms and the ecological complexes in which they occur for biological diversity, these items are organized at many levels, ranging from complete ecosystems to the biochemical structures that are the molecular basis of heredity thus, the term encompasses different ecosystems, species, and genes Greenpeace is the largest environmental organization in the world with 2.8 million supporters worldwide and national as well as regional...

Greenhouse Gases

Anthropogenic human-made related to or produced by the influence of humans on nature Greenhouse gases are trace gases in the atmosphere that absorb outgoing infrared radiation from Earth and thereby, like a greenhouse, warm the planet. Naturally occurring greenhouse gases (primarily water vapor and carbon dioxide) make the planet habitable for life as we know it. Anthropogenic greenhouse gases contribute to further warming, referred to as global warming. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is both a natural...

Green Revolution

The green revolution refers to the widespread introduction of industrial agriculture into developing countries that began in the 1940s. As seen in Norman Borlaug's work on world hunger, its early promoters led by the Rockefeller Foundation assumed that increased food production would alleviate hunger in poor countries and thereby help prevent red (i.e., communist) revolutions. Although the green revolution has led to impressive increases in agricultural production over the years, critics such...

Green Party

The Green Party movement is rooted in sustainable environmental democracy, which derives historically from the early confederacy of five Native-American nations in New York state called the Iroquois Confederacy. The confederacy was matriarchal, cooperative, tribal, and regionally based. As Donella and Dennis Meadows note in their book Beyond the Limits (1993), the concepts of environmental stewardship and intergenerational sustain-ability originated in the confederacy. American revolutionaries...

Green Marketing

Green marketing is a way to use the environmental benefits of a product or service to promote sales. Many consumers will choose products that do not damage the environment over less environmentally friendly products, even if they cost more. With green marketing, advertisers focus on environmental benefits to sell products such as biodegradable diapers, energy-efficient light bulbs, and environmentally safe detergents. People buy billions of dollars worth of goods and services every year many...

The Principles of Green Chemistry

Chemists and chemical engineers applying green chemistry look at the entire life cycle of a product or process, from the origins of the materials used for manufacturing to the ultimate fate of the materials after they have finished their useful life. By using such an approach, scientists have been able to reduce the impacts of harmful chemicals in the environment. Research and development in the field of green chemistry are occurring in several different areas. Alternative feedstocks....

Green Chemistry

The term green chemistry, coined in 1991, is defined as the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. This approach to the protection of human health and the environment represents a significant departure from the traditional methods previously used. Although historically societies have tried to minimize exposure to chemicals, green chemistry emphasizes the design and creation of chemicals that are not hazardous to people...

The Function of Government in Society

The role of government in a society rests on the answer to one question Are humans essentially good or bad A society that views humans as essentially good sees little need for government (hence, the government would be limited and inactive). A society answering essentially bad sees the need for a large and active government. Environmental issues center on this question. Are people and corporations self-interested (or bad) and thus in need of governmental regulation Or are people able to act for...

Comparative Democratic Governments

The movement to harmonize legislation and open borders in Europe under the European Union (EU) is a confederated system similar to the THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT The Legislature The branch of government that proposes and enacts laws. Usually comprised of one or more chambers or houses, whose members are usually elected, though sometimes they may be appointed. A legislature debates and decides what laws to enact. In the United States, the national legislature, the U.S. Congress, has two houses...

The Development of the US Government

The first U.S. government, established in 1781, was a treaty of friendship called The Articles of Confederation. This treaty among independent nation states (the thirteen colonies) allowed each state to establish its own laws, coin its own money, and tax import goods. Jointly, each state was obliged to assist the others in defense and to pay a share of the Revolutionary War costs. Common laws were to be enacted only when state delegates to a Congress agreed on them unanimously. There was no...

Democracy and Representation

The U.S. system of government is a representative system rather than a pure democracy. In a pure democracy, citizens decide together what actions the government should take. The New England town meeting reflects this concept most closely. Generally, the U.S. representative system, also called republican (after the Roman form of government), functions by agents Relatively few citizens elected periodically by the populace at large make decisions about what the government should act on....

Government

Government is the set of formal institutions used by a society to organize itself government sets rules for general conduct by citizens. These rules are usually based on customs that have evolved in that society. Most governments include formal organizations that serve legislative, executive, or judiciary functions. These are called branches of government. Government may also be organized into levels national government and subordinate governments such as states or provinces, counties, and...

Responses to Climate Change

These effects are likely to be beneficial in some places, but disruptive in most, and as a consequence, governments around the world have begun planning responses to climate change. These fall into two categories mitigation, which involves taking action to prevent climate change (usually by cutting greenhouse gas emissions) and adaptation, which involves adapting to the effects as and after they happen. For example, if sea levels rise in the next century due to thermal expansion of the oceans,...

Climate in the Twentyfirst Century

Climate forecasts are inherently imprecise largely because of two different sorts of uncertainty incomplete knowledge about how the system works understandable for a system governed by processes the spatial scales of which range from the molecular to the global and uncertainty about how important climate factors will evolve in the future. A variety of factors affect temperature near the surface of the earth, including variability in solar output, volcanic activity, and dust and other aerosols,...