Environmental Conservation and Safety
- The earth is home to all living things.
- The part of the earth in which living things live is called the biosphere.
- Non-living things are essential to living things for their survival.
- The sun is the primary (main) source of energy on the earth. It gives out radiant energy.
The Biosphere (Photo Credit: ESchoolToday.com)
Importance of Radiant Energy
- It provides the energy used by green plants to manufacture their food through the process of photosynthesis.
- Herbivores (animals which feed on plants) eat plants and use energy from the plants to carry out their activities.
- Carnivores (animals which feed on flesh) feed on the herbivores and obtain energy needed to carry out their life activities.
- As the sun shines on both land, rivers and sea, water is lost (through evaporation and transpiration) to the atmosphere in form of water vapor.
- This water vapor cools and forms clouds.
- These clouds condense (become water) and fall as rain.
- Part of this rain soars into land and some of it (called run-off) flows into streams, rivers, and finally into the seas.
- These events take place always and make up the water cycle.
The Water Cycle (Photo Credit: WorldAtlas.com)
- In the presence of sunlight, green plants use carbon IV oxide (CO2) and water to make food.
- Animals feed on plants and take in plant materials which contain carbon compounds.
- When plants and animals respire, they give off CO2.
- As plants and animals decay, they give off CO2 into atmosphere.
- When plant and animal materials burn, they also give off CO2.
- Dead plants and animals may form coal or petroleum in the soil ans when the products are burnt, CO2 is released to the atmosphere.All these events make up the carbon cycle.
The Carbon Cycle (Photo Credit: Eo.Ucar.edu)
- Nitrogen makes up 79% of the atmosphere by volume.
- The paths along which nitrogen moves are described below:
- Nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the root nodules of leguminous plants convert atmospheric nitrogen to nitrogen compounds.
- Dead plants and animals decay in the soil and are converted to ammonia and ammonia compounds which are converted to nitrites by bacteria called nitrosomonas.
- These nitrites are converted to nitrates by bacteria called nitrobacter.
- The nitrates in the soil are absorbed while some are converted to nitrogen by denitrifying bacteria.
- The nitrogen returns to the atmosphere.
- Lighting converts atmospheric nitrogen in the air to nitrates which are washed down by rainfall into the soil.
The Nitrogen Cycle (Photo Credit: VisionLearning.com)
CONSERVATION OF ENERGY
- Conservation of energy means the careful use of energy. In nature, organisms feed on one another in an orderly way.
- For example, a grasshopper feeds on grass, a toad feeds on a grasshopper, a snake feeds on a toad, and a hawk feeds on the snake.
- Grass → Grasshopper → Toad → Snake → Hawk
- This arrangement is called a food chain.
A Food Chain (Photo Credit: OnlineBiologyNotes.com)
- Food web is similar to a food chain but larger.
- A food web diagram is a combination of a lot of food chains.
A Food Web (Photo Credit: K8SchoolLessons.com)
Conservation of Water
- The water cycle provides a system for conservation of water in nature.
- Conservation of water means the careful use of water.
Ways of Conserving Water at Home
- Do not allow the tap to run all the time.
- Do not water the garden when it has rained.
- Do not wash cars needlessly.
- Repair broken pipes promptly.
CONSERVATION OF WILDLIFE
- Wildlife includes all plants and animals which are free in nature.
Uses of Wildlife to Man
- Wild plants provide shade for the soil, thereby protecting it from the sun.
- Wild plants break the force of rain drops and prevent erosion.
- Wild animals provide meat for man.
- Wild plants provide fruit and vegetables.
- Some wild plants are used to make drugs.
- Wild plants provide fire wood.
- There is a worldwide interest in wildlife because:
- When wild plants are cut down, timber and other forest resources are lost.
- When wild plants are cut down erosion may occur.
- When wild animals are killed, they may become extinct.
Importance of a Balance of Resources in the Environment
- Living things depend on the non-living environment. Therefore, there is always a balance between them.
- If rainfall fails and drought occurs, lack of water will reduce the growth of plants. Herbivores may die and this will affect animal population.
- If the human population is more than the food supply, people may die.
- Some wildlife reserves found in Nigeria are:
- Lekki Conservation Center, Lagos.
- Yankari Game Reserve. Gombe.
- Cross River National Park.
- Human activities affect balance in the environment and they include:
- Commercial activities like buying and selling.
- Construction of roads and bridges.
Ways of Disposing Refuse
- Refuse disposal means doing away with refuse. The following methods are used:
- Decomposable materials (remains of plants and animals) are thrown into farms to decay and form manure.
- Combustible materials (paper, plastics) are burnt in incinerators.
- Metal scraps are collected and sent to the factory.
- Refuse may be used as landfills.
- Refuse may be recycled.
The Need for Environmental Sanitation
- Environmental sanitation includes ways to keep our environment clean.
- Reasons why we should keep our environment clean include:
- Refuse make the environment untidy.
- Refuse block roads and may cause accidents.
- Refuse form breeding grounds for cockroaches and rats.
- Refuse block gutters or drainage causing flooding.