Josi Ocheltree

What is sustainable living? How could someone achieve sustainable living? Do you personally think you could reach sustainable living?

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources and personal resources. Use energy including transport, finite resource depletion and waste management, and water as guidance to achieve sustainable living. I personally do think you can reach it if you take baby steps you can achieve it.

Fossil fuels vs Renewable energy- compare and contrast the two forms of energy. Look at the cost financially to humans and environmentally to the Earth. Convince someone to conserve energy.

The three main fossil fuels we use for energy today are coal, oil and natural gas. Fossil fuels were formed from plants and animals in the Earth's surface hundreds of millions of years ago. There is a limited supply and when these fuels are used up they will not be renewed. Today, fossil fuels are supplying 93 percent of the world's energy.


Fossil fuel mining and oil production damages our environment. While mining for fossil fuels we destroy ecosystems. All things are interdependent on each other to live, grow and produce.


Renewable energy sources create their own energy such as sun, wind and water. The object is to capture the energy and convert it to electricity. There is more than enough renewable energy sources to supply all the world's energy needs forever. The development of how to capture, store and use the energy when needed is the challenge.


Everyone plays a part in conserving energy. Conserving energy will slow down our consumption of fossil fuels while developing the means to capture and use renewable sources of energy.

What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?  What can we do here in Iowa to help decrease it, is it even possible?

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a popular name for concentrations of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean. This area is a large and continuous patch of easily visible marine debris items such as bottles and other litter. It isn't really possible to help decrease from Iowa because we don't live near the ocean.

Define 2 Biomes of the world, define an ecosystem found in each and explain the Biotic and Abiotic factors involved.

Tundra- it si the coldest of all biomes. Has little precipitation and poor nutrients.


Tropical Rain Forest- is an ecosystem that covers about 70% of the earths surface

Choose any biome and define the list below

food chain- hierarchical series of organisms each dependent on the next as a source of food.

primary producer- organisms in an ecosystem that produce biomass from inorganic compounds.

primary consumer- are usually herbivores, feeding on plants and fungus.

secondary consumer- are mainly carnivores, and prey on other animals

tertiary consumer- a carnivore at the topmost level in a food chain that feeds on other carnivores

quaternary consumer- eat tertiary consumers

herbivore- an animal that feeds on plants

omnivore- an animal or person that eats food of both plant and animal origin

carnivore- an animal that feeds on flesh

scavenger- an animal that feeds on carrion, dead plant material, or refuse.

decomposer- an organism, especially a soil bacterium, fungus, or invertebrate, that decomposes organic materials.

What are Dead Zones in the Gulf of Mexico?  What causes this situation? What can be done to help stop them?

It is an area where water near the bottom of the golf contains less than 2 parts per million of dissolved oxygen. It causes a condition referred to as hypoxia which is deficiency in the amount of oxygen. Ways to help stop it are voluntarily stop fertilizer and waste runoff into lake, rivers, and streams.
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Define Keystone Species, give 2 examples; one a top predator and one not a top predator. Explain how their absence would affect the ecosystem

Keystone Species are a species on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend, such that if it were removed the ecosystem would change drastically. A prairie dog is an example of a keystone species because they contribute to the soil and water quality in their plains ecosystem. Their foraging retains water in the soil and forces fresh new grasses to continually grow providing more nutrients for bison and elk.

A mountain lion is a top predator keystone species. A mountain lion partly controls the number of deer, rabbits, and bird species in the ecosystem.

Competitive Exclusion- define it and give an example.

Competitive Exclusion is the inevitable elimination from a habitat of one of two different species with identical needs for resources. Squirrels in Britain the red squirrel is native to Britain but its population has declined due to competitive exclusion, disease and the disappearance of hazel coppices and mature conifer forests in lowland Britain.

Define the following terms and give 2 examples of each

a. Coexistence- the awareness that individuals and groups differ in numerous ways including class, ethnicity, religion, gender, and political inclination.

b. Parasites- an organism that lives in or on another organism and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense.

c. Mimicry- the action or art of imitating someone or something

d. Mutualism- the doctrine that mutual dependence is necessary to social well-being

e. Commensalism- an association between two organisms in which one benefits and the other derived neither benefit nor harm.

Explain the Carbon Cycle and how do humans affect this cycle?

The Carbon Cycle is the series of processes by which carbon compounds are interconverted in the environment, chiefly involving the incorporation of carbon dioxide into living tissues by photosynthesis and its return to the atmosphere through respiration, the decay of dead organisms, and the burning of fossil fuels. Humans activities are substantially modifying the global carbon and nitrogen cycles.
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What is global dimming? Where does it usually affect and why is it a problem?

Global dimming are tiny particles that are released when fuels are burned cause it. Global dimming has devastating effects on the earth's environment and living beings. The pollutants causing global dimming also leads to acid rain, smog, and respiratory diseases in humans. It also is known to cause heat waves and runaway fires.
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Explain the Greenhouse Effect.  How do the carbon cycle and the greenhouse effect go together?

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.

There is a natural carbon cycle on Earth. All living things are made of carbon. Carbon is a part of the ocean, air and even rocks. In the atmosphere, carbon is attached to oxygen in the gas carbon dioxide. Plants use carbon dioxide and sunlight to make food and grow. Plants that die are buried and may become fossil fuel over millions of years. When humans burn fossil fuels, most of the carbon quickly enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. The greenhouse effect is caused by carbon dioxide trapping heat in the atmosphere. Humans have burned so much fuel since the industrial revolution that the earth is becoming a warmer place with a 30% increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than 150 years ago.

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Define endangered species and give an example.  How does a species become endangered? What if this species was a keystone species? What would happen to the current ecosystem?  Why should humans care about the endangered species?

Endangered species are those considered at risk of extinction. Giant pandas are an endangered species due to habitat destruction caused by China's populate growth. Sea otters are a keystone species. Sea otters prey on sea urchins keeping their number in check. Sea otters are a keystone in the kelp forest ecosystem. If the sea otters are extinct, large numbers of sea urchins feed heavily on the kelp forests, causing severe declines in the kelp forests and their species. Humans should be concerned with keeping this delicate balance within the ecosystems.

 Invasive Species- define invasive species; give 2 examples how do they affect the ecosystem they are now invasive too.  How did the invasive species arrive to their new ecosystem?

It is an organism that is not native and has negative effects on our economy, our environment, or our health.

At one time rainforest covered 14% of the Earth’s land surface; today rainforest only cover 6% today; why should a person care about the lost rainforest ground? Why are the rainforest being cut down?  What would happen if they all disappeared?

When these forests are cut down, the plants and animals that live in the forest are destroyed and some species are at risk of being made extinct. Rainforest are being cut down for many reasons: wood for timber or fires, agriculture, land for living on, grazing land for cattle, pulp for paper, road construction, and extraction of minerals and energy. Many things we use everyday would disappear if there were no rain forests: tires, rope, perfume, vanilla, gum, chocolate, cinnamon, soap and water cycle would be disturbed.

Why is human overpopulation a major concern? Explain all the resources needed for a human to sustain life.

The concern is about the balance between human needs and the resources available to meet those needs, now, and for the foreseeable future. To sustain human life, certain physiological needs include air, water, food, shelter, sanitation, touch, sleep, abad personal space.

Pesticides- what are they, how do they adversely affect the environment, and how does this create problems with the genetic diversity in crop production.

Pesticides are a substance used for destroying insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants or to animals. Pesticides can accumulate in water systems, pollute the air, and damage agricultural land by harming beneficial insect species, soil microorganisms, and worms which naturally limit pest populations and maintain soil health.
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                Interpret this quote. “If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have 4 years left to live.”  Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of the Bee

Without bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.

 It is the year 2070 and you are having a conversation with your grandchildren about how the environment has changed since you were young- give a prediction of how the Earth would look to them.

In the year 2070, the ozone layer will be repaired due to the advancement in alternative fuel sources due to the diligence of human society. The carbon cycle will be naturally balanced.