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Sustainability is one of those big ideas that can help you connect the various topics you learn throughout the course. In the Course and Exam Description, the have sustainability as Big Idea 4 which means it is important.
When thinking about sustainability, think about the long haul. You are trying to manage your resources in a way that they last and are able to replenish.
Three Principles of Sustainability
The three principles of sustainability are solar energy🌞, biodiversity🐸, and nutrient cycling🔄.
Solar Energy 🌞
Solar energy is an important component of sustainability. It sustains our energy sources and natural resources.
Solar energy alone is something that we can rely for sustainability. Through solar energy, we are able to collect solar energy and turn it into electricity💡. Since solar energy is renewable and perpetual, it can be pivotal in making our energy sustainable🌱.
Solar energy also helps in the production of other sources of renewable energy. Solar energy heats the atmosphere in a way that it creates wind. Thus, we have wind energy💨🔋.
Solar energy also keeps environmental resources available to us. The sun plays a big role in many nutrient cycles🔄. In the water cycle, the sun causes evaporation. In the carbon cycle, the sun fuels photosynthesis.
You might be wondering what biodiversity is and why it is important. Here are the answer to both.
Biodiversity is the amount of species found in a certain area. The more species in an area, the higher the biodiversity. Biodiversity is important, because it is vital to a healthy environment.
If we had only one species of trees in a forest🌲, it would be easily destroyed. If there was only one species of animal in a forest, that population would be easily destroyed. Biodiversity helps an environment last.
Each species also provides a different service to the habitat. Take a coral reef for example. The coral provides a habitat for remora🐟. The remora help sharks by eating dead skin. Sharks🦈 keep the fish population controlled. Different species work together to keep the ecosystem running smoothly.
Humans can use resources from this flourishing habitat. The problem happens when people use the resources in an unsustainable way. If people take too much fish from the environment, the shark population will decline. 🔴THIS IS WHY SUSTAINABILITY IS IMPORTANT!🔴
Nutrient cycling replenishes some of earth's natural resources, such as carbon, water, nitrogen, and sulfur.
The water💦 cycle replenishes our water supply through evaporation, condensation, precipitation, etc. However, when humans use water in an unsustainable manner, we can begin to ruin the resource. In many places on earth, humans use water faster than it can be replenished. This leads to saltwater intrusion and lack of clean water resources🚱.
It is important that we understand these nutrient cycles🔄, so we can understand how we need to change our resource use. We need to use these resources in a way that they can be replenished. This is the big idea behind sustainability. We want to manage our resources, so they can replenish instead of diminish.