From Science Olympiad Student Center Wiki
|Life Science & Study Event|
|There are no images available for this event|
|There are no question marathons for this event|
|Division B Champion||Solon Middle School|
|Division C Champion||Fayetteville-Manlius High School|
Green Generation was a trial event for Division B and Division C at the 2013 National Tournament. It was also a trial event for both divisions at the Southern California state tournament. It primarily focuses on human impact on the environment and sustainability.
According to the most recent rules released by the national committee, in Green Generation, "students will answer questions involving the history and consequences of human impact on our environment, solutions to reversing trends, and sustainability concepts." It contains elements of Ecology, Water Quality, and Wind Power, as well as other topics.
Teams are only allowed one two-sided note sheet, a writing implement, and a non-graphing calculator.
Please see the main Ecology page for more information.
There are many visible human impacts on the environment. However, not all of them are easy to see, and there are many different ways that humans can negatively affect the world around them.
People are organisms, and like any organism, they need resources to live. However, humans are unique in that we have built a large, organized civilization with advanced infrastructure, which takes up significantly more resources than other beings whose main concerns are survival and procreation. As the human population continues skyrocketing past 7 billion, there are several ways this can affect the environment
- Rise in Carbon Emissions - the current human population is based around non-renewable energy sources that release greenhouse gases when burned. Until humans make a commitment to renewable energy sources, the release of gases will only increase with more population. In addition, the greater the population, the faster these resources will run out
- Destruction of Habitat - As humans continue building, they have to develop undeveloped areas, which destroys the habitats of that area. Deforestation is a common issue (more on deforestation below), and ocean habitats are also affected due to the large concentration of people living along coastlines.
- Pesticides and Fertilizers - People need food to live, so farmers are key to sustaining the human population. Unfortunately, most farmers use pesticides that can seep into the soil, polluting it, and can run off into nearby waterways, which pollutes the water for ecosystems downstream.
About 40% of all humans live within 100 km of a coastline, so humans have a large impact on aquatic environments.
A "dead zone" occurs when the aquatic environment is very low on dissolved oxygen. Many aquatic organisms depend on oxygen to survive, so with low concentrations of oxygen, organisms will die out or leave for other areas with higher oxygen levels. This creates a dead zone with very little aquatic life.
The state of having low oxygen levels is also known as hypoxia. The state of almost no dissolved oxygen is known as anoxia.
Due to the wide variety of environments people live in, there are several different impacts humans have had on terrestrial environments.
- Desertification: the growth of deserts caused by the loss of moisture and vegetation in the environments that border the desert
- Deforestation: the destruction of forest environments for wood or human development
The release of greenhouse gases into the air affects the quality of the air we breathe, since certain particulates can cause discomfort or even diseases.
Also see Ecology#Acid Rain.
Acid rain is the effect that occurs when greenhouse gases, primarily sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides, are dissolved into water droplets in the air. This leads to a high concentration of hydrogen ions in the rain, which in turn results in an acidic solution (ph below 7).
Solutions and Sustainability
Bioremediation is the use of biological organisms to clean up an environment. Generally the term refers to the use of microbes to decontaminate a polluted area, but the term can apply to plants and fungi as well.
Please see Physical Science Lab#Renewable Energy for more information.