By: Morgan Meacham

Sustainable Living

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual or society's use of earth's natural resources. There are many ways to achieve sustainable living. Some examples of this include; cutting down on plastic waste, use reusable containers, drive motor-vehicles less often, and use efficient fuels. Personally, I think that these steps are easy ways to help improve the planet.
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Live Green

Fossil Fuels vs. Renewable Energy

Fossil fuels, unlike renewable energy, cannot be used again. There is no shortage of renewable energy, unlike like fossil fuels which will never last forever. Carbon dioxide (bi-product of fossil fuels), are very damaging to the environment. These "greenhouse gases" destroy the Ozone layer of the atmosphere. Renewable energy is a much more environmentally friendly energy option. Ways to become more environmentally friendly include carpooling, recycling, and conserving water. These are all very simple, but they can make a big impact on the planet.


What does it mean to recycle? Recycling is the process in which something used is used again, or is turned into another object. Recycling can decrease the amount of waste we produce.

Length of time needed for decomposition:

Tin Can- 50 years

Glass Bottle- 1 million years

Disposable Diaper- 250-500 years

Wood- 3-5 months

Paper- 2-5 months

Plastic Grocery Bag- 100 years

Styrofoam Cup- 500 years

Aluminum Can- 80-100 years

Cotton T-shirt- 6 months

Apple Core- 1 month

I was very surprised at the length of time it to took to decompose a glass bottle, because I figured it wouldn't take as long.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of ocean debris in the North Pacific Ocean. This spinning garbage is linked together by the Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone. Warm water from the Pacific meets with cool water from the Arctic. This spinning movement is caused by ocean currents and wind. In Iowa, we can help decrease this by recycling our plastics, metals, foams, etc. This patch could be cleared up by those dedicated to marine conservation.
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Desert Biome

The abiotic factors found in a desert biome would be that the sand is dry, and does not contain many minerals. There is little precipitation, and temperatures are very high. The biotic factors would be the scorpions, coyotes, snakes, and lizards with live in the desert.

Grassland Biome

The biotic factors of the grassland ecosystem includes the autotrophs, heterotrophs, primary consumers, secondary consumers, and tertiary consumers. The abiotic factors include the moderate rainfall and the icy winters.

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Ocean Biome

Primary Producer- Phytoplankton, Diatoms

Primary Consumer- Lobster, Muscles, Shrimp, Fish

Secondary Consumer- Fish whales

Tertiary Consumer- Pelicans

Quaternary Consumer- Larger Birds

Herbivore- Diet consists of plants

Omnivore- Diet consists of plants and animals

Carnivore- Diet consists of meat

Scavenger- Ocean birds

Decomposer- Fungi, Bacteria

Dead Zones

A dead zone is an area of little or no oxygen that can kill fish or other marine life. These are caused by nutrient runoff from fields or other human activities into the water shed. We can prevent this by monitoring the way manage our polluted water.
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Competitive Exclusion

The law of competitive exclusion, or just Gause's law, states that two species competing for the same resources cannot coexist at constant population values, if other ecological factors remain constant.

Example 1: 2 species of Finches living in the Galapagos Islands competing for insects.

Example 2: 2 barnacle species competing for shoreline.

Keystone Species

A keystone species is one in which other species in an ecosystem largely depend, such that if it were removed the ecosystem would change drastically.

Examples: sea otter, sea urchin, sea kelp

Key Terms

Coexistence: Interdependent evolution of 2 or more species.

Ex: Two plants in the same container, Two species of snakes living in the same jungle

Parasites: One individual lives off of another. beneficial to one.

Ex: Ringworm, Roundworm

Mimicry: Protection against predators, two species come to resemble each other.

Ex: Venomous Snakes, Butterflies

Mutualism: Interaction between individuals of 2 species are beneficial to both.

Ex: Oxpeckers/Rhinos, Digestive Bacteria, Humans

Commensalism: Interaction between individuals in which one benefits the other. Neither is harmed.

Ex: Flatworm/Crab, Hermit Crab/ Snail

Carbon Cycle

This is the series of interactions in which carbon compounds are interconverted. Humans affect this cycle, because of the pollutants we release into the air, and what we do with our waste.
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Global Dimming

This is the decrease in the amounts of solar radiation reaching the earths surface. The bi-product of burning fossil fuels are tiny particles in the ozone layer which reflect light back to the earth. This is a problem, because it increases the temperature of the earth, causing global warming.

Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect is the trapping of the sun's warmth in a planet's lower atmosphere due to the greater transparency of the atmosphere to visible radiation from the sun than to infrared radiation emitted from the planet's surface. This process is closely related to the carbon cycle. Both of these have to do with earth's atmosphere, carbon, and the rays from the sun.
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Endangered Species

These species are threatened by factors such as habitat loss, hunting, disease and climate change, and have a declining population over a limited range of time. Example: Panda, Polar Bear. If an endangered species were a keystone species the ecosystem would be negatively influenced, because there would be no other species to take its place. We should care about these endangered species, because they could effect how we live in the future.
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Invasive Species

An invasive species is a plant, animal, or fungus species that is not native to an area. These species tend to spread to a degree in which they damage the health of other species that may be native to the area.


Zebra Muscle

The zebra muscle attaches itself to the bottom of the body of water they are located in. They can cause problems if attached to valuable pipes or other animals. They also eat all of the nutrients in the water. These muscles arrived on the bottoms of large ships coming from Europe.

Asian Long-horned Beetle

This beetle eats through the bark of trees, and eventually kills the tree. These trees then have to be burned down so that the beetles do not spread to other trees. These beetles arrived in wood shipments coming from Asian countries.


Every day, thousands of trees around the world are being cut down for building purposes and manufacturing. Why should we care? These trees are taken for granted. Not only do these trees produce oxygen for the environment, but they are home to many species of animals. Without these animals, the ecosystems would be disrupted.
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Human overpopulation is becoming a serious issue. Some problems we will encounter include a loss of fresh water, species extinction, and lower life expectancy. All fresh water will either be consumed or become polluted. The human population will dominate every other species, and we'll lose our resources. Our unmet needs will cause the lower life expectancy. As humans there are specific things of which we need to survive. These include oxygen, food, water, shelter, sleep.


Pesticides are the toxic substances released released into the environment to kill living things. These are often used in agriculture to stop certain animals from damaging the crops. Pesticides have some very negative effects. They can enter freshwater such as rivers, lakes, and ponds through field runoff. They can kill fish and other animals living in the water. They are also very bad on human health. If consumed, they can slowly poison your body.

“If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have 4 years left to live.”

This quote means that we are closely related to bees. So if they went, then we would soon follow them.

Earth Today

If I had to describe the earth today:

Blue Cloudy Skys

Polluted Oceans

Urban Sprawl


Breathable Air