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Q: environmental damage ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: environmental damage
Category: Science
Asked by: dw01-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 06 Jun 2003 14:04 PDT
Expires: 06 Jul 2003 14:04 PDT
Question ID: 214130
I'm researching a
topic for a book about how a small bit of environmental damage can
magnified as the changes it caused pass through various ecologies and
stages (for example, when a tree is cut down, what are the immediate
longer term effects, both to wildlife and groundwater,how far-reaching
distance-wise do these effects travel, etc). That is,
with each iteration, the damage increases logarithmically. I'm looking
for one specific example, which could be written as well as possibly
visual answers to this question (ie: illustrated with fractals). If
you could
point me towards some resources, I'd really appreciate it.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 06 Jun 2003 14:16 PDT
Hello there,

Interesting questions.  The classic examples of something small having
a BIG effect are the problems caused by dioxin and by CFCs.  In both
cases, the quantities of chemicals involved were really quite small
(this is especially the case with dioxins) but the environmental
impacts are signficiant.

Theo Colburn's book "Our Stolen Future", on endocrine disruptors, also
deals with miniscule quantities of things having big effects.

It's not quite chopping down a tree, though.  Are these the type of
examples you're looking for?

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 06 Jun 2003 14:17 PDT
Forgot to mention -- CFC's cause the ozone hole; dioxins are a
notorious poison; endocrine disruptors are "gender bender" chemicals
that are harming wildlife and perhaps people too.

Clarification of Question by dw01-ga on 09 Jun 2003 08:36 PDT
Thanks for finding what you have so far.  Actually, I was looking for
something more tangible than chemical polllution, since this is aimed
at 8-12 year olds. It would be similar to Rachel Carson's research,
where she found the decline of a species of bird had to do with the
unusual thinness of the shell of her eggs, which was due to PCB
concentration, etc.  I'd like it to have the feeling of "what you do
matters" as far as taking care of the environment.  Like, a clearcut
in Japan could affect the weather in Alaska, something like that.
Subject: Re: environmental damage
Answered By: peggy_bill-ga on 11 Jun 2003 11:51 PDT

As and ecologist and an environmentalist, I am interested in your
project.  I have gathered some examples that I hope you will find

I have included some of the larger effects of using seemingly harmless
things like hairspray & refrigerators.  Some articles demonstrate some
larger effects of introducing a pet into the environment.  Some of the
articles show the effects of where we build our houses, what type of
transportation we use, and even how loud we get.

Good luck with this.  By the way, it was DDT was the problem with the
bird eggshells.

Cause & effect of global warming.
This article discusses some of the causes & affects of global warming.
 It is daunting to realize that driving a car, using a spray can,  air
conditioning or refrigerator can actually help to create a greenhouse
effect.  And that greenhouse effect can, in turn, have major
Texas Envirnomental Profiles.

Effects of noise pollution on animals.
This paper describes the effects of machine sounds on wildlife.  The
problems to wildlife range from the obvious hearing loss to major
behavioral changes.  In some cases, the noise disrupted normal mating
& courting behavior.  In some cases it caused animals to stop eating,
stop mating and stop avoiding danger.  In some cases, it mimicked a
natural clue and caused inappropriate avoidance behavior.  I have
listed a few of the responses below.
Mammals:  Panic behavior, hearing loss, increased ovary size, decrease
pregnancy rate, increased infant mortality.
Birds:  Abandon eggs, fewer eggs and panic behavior.
Reptiles:  Hearing loss.
Amphibians:  Altered mating calls inappropriate behavior resulting in
life threatening situation.
Fish:  Agitation, reduced reproduction and increased offspring
Invertebrates:  Reduced growth and increased aggression.

Effects of pets on wildlife.
This article discusses how letting your pet cat roam free can
devastate the local bird population.

Effects of habitat Alteration and Loss
This article addresses how habitat loss has long range effects on the
weather and the environment.  For example, barrier islands help to
reduce the impact of hurricanes on the coast.  If you build a house on
the barrier island, you endanger yourself as well as reduce their
ability to protect the mainland.  Swamps are holding ponds for
occasional natural floods.  When you fill in or build in a swamp, the
occasional floods cause water to back up into your house, but, they
also cause water to back up into areas that were previously protected
by the swamps.

Effects of loss of habitat on animal populations.

Effects of introducing an alien species.
Rabbit Calicivirus
This article is about the effect of the introduction of the innocent
little rabbit into the Australian ecosystem.  It demonstrates how a
single alien species can wreak havoc in an environment.

Effects of throwing something in the trash.
This is a resource that links to many problems associated with
landfills.  These problems include poisoning of water table, harming
wildlife, habitat destruction.

environmental disturbance logarithmic effects

hairspray OR refrigerator OR 'air OR conditioner' "greenhouse effect"

mammal or bird or frog or fish population loss of habitat

domestic cat bird populations

I hope this helps.
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