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The Future

The Future

Author: Jensen Morgan

This lesson discusses predictions about the need for and availability of resources in the near future.

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Source: Earth PD Deforestation, PD Oil Rig CC Hurricane PD Coral CC Robot CC

Video Transcription

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Hi, I'm Jensen Morgan. We're going to talk about some great concepts in environmental science today's topic is the future. So let's get started. We're going to talk about future predictions in seven major areas, deforestation, fossil fuels, climate change, water, air, living resources, and technology.

When scientists approach environmental issues, they often try to understand long term impacts and potential outcomes. While useful, predicting the future within this context is quite challenging because there are so many unknown and unforeseeable factors to manage. The results of such predictions are often severely impacted by what human population growth assumptions are made.

In the past, technology has played a large role in mitigating and overcoming challenges. But the future role of technology in environmental terms is unknown because any technologies that might be of use have not been invented yet. Even with all of the challenges, scientific predictions can be helpful in developing strategies and initiatives to move forward.

At the making of this video, 30% of the Earth's surface is covered in forest canopy. Every year, this number is decreasing by about 30,000 square miles, which is an area about the size of Panama as a result of deforestation. At this rate, in 100 years all our forests will be gone.

If 70% of all land animals and plants live in forests, than millions of species could be without habitat, likely resulting in a large amount of species extinction. Deforestation also increases to desertification because as forests disappear, they are commonly replaced by desert, which causes eventual climate change in the area.

With less forests, climate change accelerates because there's less biomass absorbing greenhouse gases through photosynthesis. Trees are an important player in driving the water cycle, maintaining soil moisture, protecting the ground from too much sunlight, and preventing heat loss at night. Without them, there'll be hotter days and colder nights.

While coal, oil, and natural gas supply still exist, as time progresses the available quantity, quality, and accessibility will decrease until they run out at some point between 30 and 130 years from now. Scientists predict that over the next 100 years the average global temperature will increase between 2 and 1/2 and 10 degrees. The result be more extreme storms and weather patterns.

It is even expected that the Arctic Circle will eventually become ice free during summers. By 2050, global water demand is expected to increase by 55%. In addition, almost half of the world's population, 3.9 billion are expected to survive with severe water shortages caused by environmental degradation and overuse. It is projected that summer ground level ozone levels will be enough to harm humans and vegetation.

If current extinction rates continue, they could lead to ecosystems' collapse, and inevitably have drastic effects on humans. 30% of the Earth's species including birds, large mammals, amphibians, and reptiles are threatened by overexploitation to supply market demands.

Overexploitation is difficult to manage. The rarer a species is, the higher the economic gain from harvest becomes. The result is often endangerment and extinction. Overexploitation and environmental degradation are also impacting aquatic ecosystems filled with salt and freshwater fish, marine invertebrates, like oysters, crabs, and octopi, as well as shells and corals. Over harvesting plants for food and medicine can also have drastic effects on ecosystem functioning.

The current social paradigm in countries like the US relies on technology and science to solve problems this could lead to solutions, but avoiding utilizing behavior change methodologies could result in unwanted long term effects for our planet and human lifestyles. Now let's have a recap.

We talked about future predictions in seven major areas, deforestation, fossil fuels, climate change, water, air, living resources, and technology. Well, that's all for this tutorial. I hope these concepts of been helpful. Bye.