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Unit 9

9.3 Technological Advances: Debates about the Environment after 1900

2 min readmay 11, 2021

harrison-burnside

Harrison Burnside

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AP World History 🌍

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9.3: Technological Advances–Debates about the Environment after 1900

Scarcity

Causes of Environmental Destruction
  • Population growth: more people put increased pressure on existing resources
    • Population in 1900 1.6 billion people 😊
    • Population in 2000 6.12 billion people 😱
  • Urbanization: increased numbers of people in cities, which puts great strain on natural resources
  • Industrialization and globalization both create demand for goods, which involve pollutants to create and manufacture
Deforestation + Desertification
  • Deforestation: when large amounts of trees and vegetation is cleared out
    • Example💡: The deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest in the early 1990s 
  • Desertification: when previously fertile land becomes dry and unusable for farming

Pollutants

With more and more technology developing, more pollutants and toxic chemicals entered the environment. More often than not, these pollutants negatively affected the surrounding environment by harming the ecosystem. Pollutants are substances that negatively harm soil, air, or water. 
Some common contributors to pollution:
  •  Automobiles 🚗, deforestation 🪵, oil 🛢, industrial waste☢️, and human activities 🚜 

Global Warming

Greenhouse gases are gases like CO₂ (carbon dioxide), CH₄ (methane), and N₂O (nitrous oxide). They are only harmful to the environment in excess! When too much of these gases are in the Earth’s atmosphere, infrared radiation is reflected back into Earth’s atmosphere and is given off as heat. This is known as the Greenhouse Effect. 
Why is this bad? I thought we liked summer! 🌞Well, this greenhouse effect raises temperatures and creates uninhabitable ecosystems for many species, including humans! Rising ocean temperatures contribute to the death of coral, the melting of the nordic poles, and the extinction of species. Humans are also affected by global warming because of flooding and soaring local temperatures. This often leads to desertification (a huge problem for farmers).

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was an agreement reached in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, mandating that industrialized nations cut their greenhouse gas emissions. However, sadly, more than 100 developing countries, including China and India, were exempted from the treaty. The treaty could not go into effect until at least 55 countries, accounting for 55% of the world's emissions in 1990, ratified it.

Oil Pollution Act of 1990

In 1990, the United States passed the Oil Pollution Act in an effort to prevent oil spills off the coast. It declared the United States responsible for paying for damage created by their own oil spills. This was an initiative sparked by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, also known as the Mega Borg, which spilled 5.1 billion gallons of oil into the ocean 😬

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