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Earth

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Natural resources are derived either from the air, soil, water, and organisms of the biosphere, or from the subterranean areas of the Earth. Resources of the first type come from more usual parts of ecosystems, and are labelled ‘renewable’. Resources of the second type are labelled ‘non-renewable’. Since non-renewable resources are derived from beneath the …

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Earth & Man

The Earth is unique in the solar system in that, as far as we know, it is the only place that sustains life. Some people even like to view the Earth, or Gaia after the Greek Earth goddess, almost as a living thing itself. Life on Earth has passed through many stages of dynamic evolotion. …

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In the preparation for a long, deep space voyage, the brains of a group of astronauts were inadvertently altered. These alterations had a very unfortunate effect on the behaviour of the crew, and every time a member carried out a spaceship maintenance operation, an important wire leading to the life support system was disconnected. The …

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Transport

Since human beings transformed their lifestyles from hunter gathering to an agricultural and domesticated existence, they have searched for ways to move around other than on foot. Early forms of transport included boats and horses. It was not until the Industrial Revolution however, that transport really took off, with the development of steam power and …

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Gaia

The Earth is our life support system, evolving over billions of years, presently providing life forms with the atmosphere and resources suitable for survival. In the 1960s James Lovelock considered that the Earth was like a living organism, itself engaged in a self-regulation to support its own “survival”. His Gaia hypothesis, as it has become …

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Ecosystems

The term ‘biosphere’ is used to describe the whole sum of living things found on Earth. Usually we think of the biosphere as existing within upper layers of the non-biotic components of the planet, namely the atmosphere, hydrosphere (oceans, rivers and lakes), and soil component of the lithosphere (the Earth’s solid material). In fact, research …

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In one form or another, energy is constantly flowing through and around us. By ‘energy’ we mean the ability to induce change (to move something or to heat something, for example). Energy is an inherent characteristic of any physical system; everywhere there is change, there is a transformation of energy. Without energy, life would be …

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Agriculture

Sometime after the end of the last Ice Age, between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago, humans began to construct settlements and develop a livelihood that did not require a constant migration to new food areas. Where mankind had previously relied on making simple tools for hunting, it now became more advanced and started to domesticate …

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