Regents Prep: Living Environment: Human Impact:

The Earth has limited resources to support the organisms that live on it.   Increasing human population numbers are putting great pressure on many of these limited resources and deplete those resources which can not be renewed.  Many different natural processes occur within those ecosystems influencing humans.   Some of these processes include atmospheric quality. soil generation and conservation, energy flow, the water cycle, waste removal and recycling.    Human activities are altering the equilibrium involved in these natural processes and cycles.   If these changes due to human activities are not addressed, the stability of the world's ecosystems may irreversibly affected.

Technological Developments
Human activities which have harmed ecosystems have resulted in a loss of diversity in both living things and the nonliving environment.   Examples of these changes include land use, the cutting of vast areas of forest, and pollution of the soil, air, and water.    Another way humans have changed ecosystems in a harmful way is by adding or removing specific organisms to these ecosystems.   Our ever increasing demand for energy has impacted ecosystems negatively as well.   Many environmental risks are associated with our use of fossil and nuclear fuels.

Many factors associated with human populations have influenced environmental quality.   These include population growth and distribution on our planet, our use of resources, the ability of technology to solve environmental problems, as well as the role of economic, political, ethical, and cultural views in solving these problems.

Individual choices and the actions of society can contribute to the improvement of our environmental problems.   Our choices which must include an assessment of the risks, costs, benefits, and trade-offs of new technologies and continued human expansion.   All changes and proposed improvements need to consider both the human and environmental impact of the change.    

This page and the links at the left are designed to aid students in reviewing the following topics which will appear on the New York State Living Environment Regents Examination; interrelationships, technological developments, and improvements involving the interaction of humans with their planet and its environment.   In addition, students may test their knowledge of the material presented here by accessing multiple-choice questions from past Regents Exams.




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