AP Environmental Semester Project

By: Cami Sides

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Ozone Levels

Ozone levels have increased substantially within the last few decades in America. Scientists are able to tell what the air levels and chemical makeup of the air was years ago due to bubbles of air trapped in blocks of ice. Some blocks of ice are believed to date back to the Ice Age era. Depletion of the ozone layer causes a drastic increase in susceptibility of skin cancer and cataracts. It also increases the temperature by just a few degrees, which is actually drastic. As Bill Nye said, "A shift of 1 degree turns cattle country into searing heat and relentless drought." It also causes a rise in sea levels due to melting sheets of ice. Losing stratospheric ozone is altogether just a bad, bad thing. I chose this picture because I live on the East Coast, and this shows how the East Coast is one of the worst parts across the country. This affects me because if I don't use the proper precautions to counteract this effect, the consequences could be extremely unhealthy and perhaps fatal.
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Chlorofluorocarbons, also known as CFCs deplete the stratospheric ozone layer. CFCs are in many aerosol sprays and propellants, such as hairsprays, inhalers (unless steroid), fire extinguishers, cooking sprays, et cetera. CFCs contain carbon, fluorine, and chlorine. They are considered volatile and are composed of methane, ethane, and propane. Freon is also a very bad Chlorofluorocarbon; it is used as an air conditioning agent. Chlorofluorocarbons started becoming more and more regulated from the 1970s on due to the depletion of the ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol was an international meeting to discuss how to limit the usage of CFCs. It was created due to the Kyoto Protocol failure. I chose this picture because I love this movie ("Rock of Ages") because it is about the 1980's when people used hairspray excessively. This applies to me now because when I cheerlead, I use A LOT of hairspray to make my hair stay, and if I don't use CFC-free spray, I will negatively contribute to the environment. So I make sure I always use CFC-free spray!
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Ways of Conserving Energy

Solar panels are a phenomenal way to conserve energy. They have NO air pollution, minimal visual pollution, and no sound pollution. Wind mills are another source of energy conservation, but they are considered to be rather noisy and have the possibility of harming birds which fly around them. Hydroelectric power is another option. It is very inexpensive and efficient. Dams are the most profound way of collecting energy from flowing water. Dams, however, alter the natural process and living things in and around the surrounding water. It forces many people to leave their homes, and it also interrupts, for example, the salmon's natural way of life. Salmon need flowing water to guide them down the stream at a young age, and upstream when they are older. Therefore, solar energy would probably be the best method of conservation. I chose this picture because solar energy is my favorite alternative, sustainable energy source. This applies to me because when I am older and have my own house, I want to use solar panels as the main source of energy.
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Tragedy of the Commons

Tragedy of the Commons happens when the demand is greater than the supply of a product. A great example is when we did our M&M lab. The M&Ms were fish, and we had a certain number needed to reproduce and replenish the pond so we wouldn't run out. Some groups immediately tried to get as many of the M&Ms as fast as they could. The groups that did this ran out of fish (M&Ms) and were unable to replenish their resources. Some groups didn't fish for enough and therefore their business wouldn't have benefited well. It was really hard to find a perfect balance between the demand for and supply of the fish. If you fish in the same pond as someone else, and they fish out all the fish in your pond, you are doomed as well. Often times when people deplete a resource, they look for it somewhere else and end up depleting those resources too. To help this in real life, regulations and rules need to be set that tell how much individuals can and can't fish. For example, it is illegal to hunt or fish for certain animals due to them being at risk for extinction. I.E.: It is illegal to hunt bald eagles because they are on the endangered species list. I chose this picture because it really shows how people don't really take accountability for how THEY affect the environment, and they mainly focus on other people. I really like how this can apply to my life (that doesn't involve the environment) as a lesson to focus more on my own actions and how they affect the world around me, rather than focusing on other people's faults and actions.


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Concept Map: Rock Cycle

The rock cycle is pretty awesome. Sediments become compacted very tightly and form sedimentary rocks. Over time, as these sedimentary rocks are exposed to extreme heat and pressure, they form metamorphic rocks. These are very, very strong rocks. If these sedimentary rocks undergo a melting process, like in a volcano, they will turn into magma (also known as lava when it comes out of a volcano.) However, if the sedimentary rocks experience erosion, they will just go back to being sediments and the process will start again. When magma cools, it becomes igneous rock. Obsidian is a common type of igneous rock; it is very smooth and slick-looking. Next, the igneous rocks either melt back into magma, erode into sediments, or change into metamorphic rocks through heat and pressure. Finally, metamorphic rocks can either melt into magma or erode into sediments. I chose the rock cycle for my concept map because I think it's so cool how any rock can change into any other rock. A bunch of dirt can become a rock if there's enough pressure and heat, and magma can turn into sediments! It's awesome how it's all connected. I like to make everything into a life lesson, and this map teaches me to be flexible in my life because even if I start off as something small, I can become ANYTHING I want with some hard work. I.E.: Me, a small bunch of sediments, through hard work, can become a metamorphic rock if I want. So don't give up, you can do it!
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Graph: My Ecological Footprint

I've chosen to use a pie chart as my graph because they make the most sense to me. This one just so happens to be from our first assignment in the class. It shows how much I affect the environment around me. If everyone lived like me, it would take 4.9 earths to sustain our resources. My biggest things are services like electricity, water, et cetera. I have 3 people in my house and we do use quite a bit of electricity and water. Also, we use a lot of food. We eat vegetables, meat, fruits, etc. I can improve my impact on the environment by conserving energy with the solar panels I explained before, driving a hybrid, use LED lights, and carpool with people more. This affects me personally because what if we do run out of resources? There will be a lot of death. And that's really sad. This kind of discourages me because I know the planet probably won't be sustainable forever. It's going downhill fast. We all need to rise up and unite to help save the environment. After all, it's the only one we have.
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Algae Blooms

Algae Blooms are a result of water pollution. They are formed when nitrates and phosphorous levels are too high in the water. These chemicals come mainly from fertilizers and end up in bodies off water as a result of surface runoff. When the algae die, the bacteria undergo cellular respiration (which requires a lot of oxygen) in order to break down the bacteria. This decreases the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, causing hypoxia (lack of oxygenated water). Hypoxia causes creatures in the water that require oxygen to suffocate and die. This impacts me because I am obsessed with having tons of living plants, grasses, trees, etc around me, so I'm always using fertilizers. I have cut back a lot since learning about this. I chose this picture because it shows how bad the algae blooms in China are. People literally swim in it. This encourages and inspires me to make a difference in the environment and cut back on fertilizers. I will do my best to make changes about the things I've learned in this class little by little. :)