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AP Environmental Science - Course Reflection

            In AP Environmental Science, we studied the earth and the impacts humans have had on it. We analyzed environmental problems and their causes and we looked at potential solutions to those problems. While there were many important ideas and concepts covered there are three main issues that have changed my view of the world and my place in it: (1) Humans have altered the earth's natural systems and are doing it at an increasing rate, (2) Environmental problems can impact our culture and our economy and (3) the survival of our future generations depends upon our developing better behaviors and new technologies that will sustain rather than destroy the earth's natural systems.
             Human beings have had an impact on the environment for millions of years. There are many examples that illustrate our destructive behaviors. Deforestation is a major problem. Trees are needed to absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but we are cutting them down at a time when we are putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere with our new technologies. Livestock raising and agricultural activity also has a significant impact on the environment. A large amount of greenhouse gases are emitted in livestock raising and agricultural activities which lead to higher temperatures on earth which leads to climate change. Better technology in the fishing industry has led to overfishing in many parts of the world. People using fertilizers on their lawns create water pollution when the chemicals roll off their lawns and into the sewers. This is all in addition to the air pollution created by our factories and automobiles. I knew humans were polluting the earth before taking this class but I did not realize some of the ways in which we were doing it like in agriculture for example. I also did not realize how our rate of impact on the environment was increasing so quickly because of our population growth and our technology.

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