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Copy of AP Bio Project: Ecology 6- Human Impact: A Collaborative Student Project

6 of 6 of my Ecology Unit. Image Credits: Biology (Campbell) 9th edition, copyright Pearson 2011, & The InternetProvided under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. By David Knuffke
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Elizabeth Mullen

on 12 September 2016

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Transcript of Copy of AP Bio Project: Ecology 6- Human Impact: A Collaborative Student Project


Human Impact:
How It Works
A Survey
You are assigned one aspect of human impact to investigate and report on.
You will report on your investigations in the frame that has your aspect as a title.
What you can do:
Include all of the information/items required (really, you have to do that).
Change colors, font orientations, select from the three font options in the text window.
Insert any shapes, lines, arrows, etc., as necessary.
Move and resize any elements in your frame.
You must include:
A description of what the impact is, and its cause.
A description of multiple effects that come from the impact.
A description of at least two things that could be done to minimize the impact on the environment.
Pictures (you must include your own pictures--with hyperlink reference citations).
A link to a youtube clip about some aspect of the impact.
References to at least three sources where people can learn more about the impact (wikipedia is not acceptable--several of these are controversial topics).
Deforestation
Description/Cause
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
References
What you can't do:
Resize your frame.
Change your frame type.
Alter the font colors, choices, etc., on a GLOBAL basis (stay out of the Colors & Fonts menu).
Provide/link to any low quality or inappropriate resource.
Climate Change
References
Things That Can Be Done
Description/Cause
Effects
Biological Magnification
References
Things That Can Be Done
Biomagnification increases the concentration of toxic substances in organisms at higher trophic levels. Basically, toxic chemicals or waste products leak into the environment where it is absorbed by the primary producers of the food chain. For those primary producers the concentration is not too high; however, as consumers eat large quantities of the producers they get all of the toxic chemicals from all of the producers that they eat. This is even worse for predators higher up in the food chain because they are eating lots of animals that have already eaten lots of animals that have already eaten chemical-laden producers.
Overexploitation of
Resources
References
Things That Can Be Done
Description/Cause
Effects
Habitat Destruction
Description/Cause
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
References
Invasive Species
References
Things That Can Be Done
Description/Cause
Effects
Oil Spill
References
Things That Can Be Done
Description/Cause
Effects
Overpopulation
Description/Cause
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
References
Acid Precipitation
References
Things That Can Be Done
Description/Cause
Effects
Habitat Fragmentation
Description/Cause
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
References
Eutrophication
Description/Cause
Things That Can Be Done
Effects
References
Loss of Keystone Species
Things That Can Be Done
Description/ Cause
Landfills
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
References
Description
Poaching
Description/Cause
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
References
Effects
References
Feeding the Human Population
Things That Can Be Done
Description/ Cause
Loss of Ground Water
Description/Cause
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
Species Extinction
Description/Cause
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
References
Increase in Ocean Temperature
Description/Cause
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
Plastics
Description/Cause
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
References
Genetic Testing/ Manipulation
Description/Cause
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
References
Lab Animals
Description/Cause
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
References
Fracking/ Oil Drilling
Description/Cause
Effects
Things That Can Be Done
References
References for Information and Photos
References
Nuclear Waste
References
Things That Can Be Done
Description/Cause
Effects
Acidification of The Oceans
References for information and pictures
Things That Can Be Done
Description/Cause
Effects
Zoos / Aquariums
References
Things That Can Be Done:
-boycott zoos/aquariums/animal theme parks (i.e. Seaworld)
-instead support animal sanctuaries
-spread awareness about the problems and cruelty of animal cavity

Description/Cause
Effects
Pesticides
References
Things That Can Be Done
Description/Cause
Effects
References/Image Links

Effects
Ground water is a beneficial resource
all over the world contributing
hydrologic needs of people
everywhere. It is the source of
drinking water and it supplies over 50 billion gallons of water per day for agricultural needs in the United States. The loss of ground water is caused by excessive ground water pumping. Many states are beginning to experience a depletion in ground water.
Some effects of ground water depletion
are land subsidence, reduction of water in lakes and streams, the loss of water quality, and lowering of the water table.
The most severe effect is the lowering of the water table. In order for water to be pumped out from the ground, the water has to be pumped from a well that reaches below the water table. If the ground water level declines to fast, more drilling will have to be done.

The acidification process is a chemical reaction caused by carbon pollution, due to the burning of fossil fuels The carbon dioxide absorbed by seawater initiates a chemical reaction that reduces the carbonate ion concentration, the saturation states of calcium carbonate minerals, and the pH of seawater.
Impacts
Photosynthetic algae and various types of sea grasses benefit from higher carbon dioxide conditions. The calcifying species are at risk, which put the entire aquatic food web at risk.
With a reduction in calcifying species, such as oysters and clams, there may be a reduction in jobs, which would affect the economy because fish and shellfish provide a job market. With a reduction in calcium carbonate minerals, organisms are unable to form the calcium carbonate that comprises their shells. Ocean acidification is reducing a necessary ingredient in the formation of shells. The increase of carbon dioxide in the water helps photosynthetic plants. The plants can grow taller with deeper roots, providing more food and homes for organisms.
Since carbon pollution is the initiator of acidification, a reduction of carbon pollution can possibly reduce ocean acidification. To reduce carbon pollution, the burning of fossil fuels has to decrease. Research on ocean acidification needs to continue in order to better understand the impacts of ocean acidification. With a better understanding of the impacts, more can be done to minimize ocean acidification.
algae
video
www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification
www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/What+is+Ocean+Acidification%3F
ocean.si.edu/ocean-acidification
www.takepart.com/article/2015/08/11/algae-dominates-coral-reef-carbon-dioxide-ocean-acidification
www.i-fink.com/ocean-acidification/
process of ocean acidification
We should start to reduce the usage
of water for luxury purposes. We
must reduce our use of chemicals and
dispose of them properly. With the
help of additional funding, we can
study more about our ground water
supply rather than pumping it. We
individuals need to spend more time
finding alternatives instead on pumping
out the "water bank".
http://www.circleofblue.org/2015/world/groundwater-depletion-stresses-majority-of-worlds-largest-aquifers/
http://www.watereducation.org/aquapedia/groundwater
http://water.usgs.gov/edu/gwdepletion.html
http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/wormka/
http://modernfarmer.com/2015/07/ogallala-aquifer-depletion/



Deforestation is the clearing of forest for other uses. A major cause of this is for the growing demand of wood based products such as furniture, lumber, or paper. Another cause is agricultural growth. As the demand for crops increases, huge areas of land must be cleared for these crops. Other causes include mining, urbanization, and forest fires.

http://global-worldissues.weebly.com/deforestation.html
An effect of deforestation is the loss of animal habitats. The clearing of these giant areas destroys the homes of many animals. It also can contribute to the loss of plant species. Many species of plants and animals are lost due to deforestation. Another effect is increased greenhouse gases. Trees convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. Without them, more greenhouse gases will be released into the atmosphere and we will have less oxygen. Soil erosion is another effect. Trees help to retain water and top soil and provide nutrients to its surrounding area. Without them, the land will become barren.
Deforestation is a big problem that cannot be solved overnight. One person cannot simply go out and stop the lumber industry from clearing out forests. There are some small things that can help in the long run if we all do them. One thing we can do is support companies that wish to reduce deforestation. This means buying their products and supporting their drive to stop this problem. Another way we can help is to use recycled products. For example, using recycled paper instead of new paper. By supporting an environmental organization, you can help fight on a larger scale. Instead of one person fighting against deforestation, you can be a part of a bigger group of people who want to stop this problem.
http://rainforests.mongabay.com/0803.htm
http://www.borgenmagazine.com/deforestation-new-threat-global-food-security/
More Info
http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation-overview/
http://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation
http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/forests/solutions-to-deforestation/
http://www.borgenmagazine.com/deforestation-new-threat-global-food-security/
1) http://www.els.net/WileyCDA/ElsArticle/refId-a0021904.html
2)http://www.audubon.org/news/global-study-reveals-extent-habitat-fragmentation
3)http://www.eoi.es/blogs/mariagutierrez/2014/01/11/human-actions-the-cause-of-habitat-fragmentation/
4)http://treesforlife.org.uk/forest/human-impacts/habitat-fragmentation/
Images:
http://www.audubon.org/sites/default/files/styles/hero_image/public/sfw_16_9_boreal-forest_1_per-breiehagen.jpg?itok=jq6N2-B0
http://www.eoi.es/blogs/mariagutierrez/files/2014/01/bridge.png
Habitat fragmentation is, simply put,
the term used for the process by which large habitats divide into smaller, more isolated remnants.
Habitat fragmentation is caused both naturally and by human activity. Wildfires and floods, for example, can cause natural habitat fragmentation; however, not to the extent that humans do. For example, changing landscapes to roads and houses and cutting down trees in forests lead to habitat fragmentation. The problem is not going away, either: with more industrializing comes more habitat fragmentation.
One way to mitigate habitat fragmentation is to construct green bridges - bridges filled with plenty of flora and fauna that attracts wildlife to cross. It can lessen the effects of habitat fragmentation by connecting habitats and guarding migration routes. Another solution that has been working is the creation of buffer zones around woodland habitats in order to protect the interior.
Habitat fragmentation has drastic effects. The separation of habitats complicates the ability of the wildlife to survival and can lead to whole ecosystems being destroyed.
In addition, it contributes to the "edge effect", in which the interior of a habitat can be negatively affected by the changes occurring in the boundaries of the habitat. Finally, habitat fragmentation can isolate a habitat to the point where it is little more than an island.
A keystone species is a plant or animal that plays a crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. Without the presence of a keystone species, the ecosystem would be largely different or cease to exist. The contributions of a keystone species are large compared to the species’ abundance within the ecosystem, even a small number of keystone species can have a large impact on the environment.

The loss of a keystone species is caused by the disappearance or extinction of a keystone species. The loss of a keystone species can occur naturally over a period of time or through human persecution because we need to access basic functions such as food and medicine. This problem is not going away, and since 40% of the world’s economy relies on biological resources there is a constant demand for them.

To reduce the loss of keystone species we must find ways to protect species from both human persecution and natural extinction. One way is through laws and policies such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This act provides the conservation of species that are endangered or threatened as well as the conservation of the ecosystems they depend on. Another way is to raise awareness towards the care and protection of keystone species by providing knowledge on the positive influence they have on biodiversity and how crucial they are on the stabilization of an ecosystem.


The loss of a keystone species starts a domino effect that could affect other species that rely on it for survival. For example, a population of deer and rabbits would grow exponentially unchecked without the presence of a predator. The exponential growth of the species becomes greater than the resources available in the ecosystem, which can lead to competition between the deer for resources and a decline in their population. The lack of a predator to control the deer and rabbit population can collapse the entire ecosystem. Another example is through the loss of a keystone species invasive species can enter the ecosystem and push out the native species, which shifts the function of the ecosystem altogether.



Info
http://nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/keystone-species/

http://www.swca.com/index.php/media/
newsdetail/understanding-the-role-of-keystone-species-in-their-ecosystems/

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/laws/esa/

Images
https://socratic.org/questions/what-is-a-keystone-species

http://www.rewildingfoundation.org/rewilding-through-vision/keystone-species/

Plastics are one of the most versatile materials we use today. Since its mass production in the 1940s it has become an essential material in most of the items we make. However, the disposal of the material proves to be a big problem. Due to the rising production of plastic we are sending most of our plastic waste into landfills or into the ocean. Although these are temporary "fixes" to the problem the situation only becomes worse. Plastics account for around 50-80% of all shoreline debris and 54% of the 250 million tons of plastic created go into the landfills.
Most of the Plastic we throw away ends up in a landfill where it will survive for centuries. This is due to chemicals that are added to increase resistance to acidic contents which prevents it from decomposing naturally. The landfills are not our only problem as the oceans are also being polluted with our thrown out plastics. Many animals in the ocean either eat the plastic or get stuck in the products and die. The chemicals that are released by the plastics also bear a threat to human and animal health as toxic chemicals such as trichloroethane, acetone, methylene chloride, methyl ethyl, ketone, styrene, toluene, and benzene are released from the plastics.
The ways to go about solving the problems seem relatively simple but are hard to put into practice. First, we can educate people to recycle over just throwing the plastics into waste bins. Littering is a behavioral problem and if we can teach people to better take care of the Earth we can make a difference. Another option is to increase the availability of recycling. By creating more areas that people can recycle safely it can reduce plastics that go into landfills and reduce littering. Both solutions require the public's help in changing their attitude towards plastics. We must realize that littering and not recycling can really hurt the Earth.
http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1526/2153
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3791860/
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/dangers-of-plastic
http://ecologycenter.org/plastics/ptf/report3/
Images:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjG1YCSnefOAhUC2SYKHYaYAckQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.salon.com%2F2007%2F08%2F10%2Fplastic_bags%2F&psig=AFQjCNHZ3chKPDhXa5_-AkMfirLH46-_9w&ust=1472580805209086
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi-x-GfnefOAhVESyYKHXc6A1sQjB0IBg&url=https%3A%2F%2Fseaturtles.org%2Fnewssection%2Fteachers-demonstrate-human-impact-environment-plastics%2F&psig=AFQjCNHZ3chKPDhXa5_-AkMfirLH46-_9w&ust=1472580805209086
Increase in ocean temperatures of about .1 degrees Celsius over the past century
Surface temperature, however, where the majority of ocean life lives, has been raising more drastically
Caused by an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which traps heat in the atmosphere instead of letting it escape
Oceans are slowing atmospheric/terrestrial warming by absorbing much of the heat themselves
- A landfill is dumping ground for waste.
- Lanfills are comprised of waste that is collected by city dumpster trucks
- The collected trash is taken to clay lined pit in which trash is dumped.
- To help keep the landfills clean there are mechanisms like gas diversion pipes and leachate drainage pipes that are used to help minimize the landfills affect on the environment
- These landfill sites are utilized to store waste while it degrades

We need to simply lower our emissions, but even the emissions take time to dissipate so we wouldn’t see results for a while
Reducing number of cattle and sheep, releasing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere
Electric-powered vehicles instead of gasoline-powered
Cleaner energy production – wind, hydro, nuclear

A recent trend of cooling – the oceans are trapping the heat under the surface leaving the air and the surface cooler
Possible global warming surge in the future with warmer oceans
Effect on all terrestrial habitats and ecosystems
Rising sea levels
Swallows up coastal habitats
Coastal erosion
More frequent, bigger storms
Destroys delicate ecosystems like kelp forests and coral reefs
New species disrupting ecosystems
Disrupt the ocean conveyer belt > dramatic climate changes everywhere

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4655
http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/explore/pristine-seas/critical-issues-sea-temperature-rise/
https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-sea-surface-temperature
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/favorite-quotes-about-the-ocean
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/emergency_response/tools/on-site/htdocs/images/Figure_7.jpg
http://i1.wp.com/www.ecomena.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Kuwait_Landfill.gif
http://www.governing.com/topics/energy-env/Methane-from-Landfills.html
http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/landfill.htm
http://environmentvictoria.org.au/content/problem-landfill
Leachate -
Rain is the occurrence that causes the creation of leachate. When it rains on a landfill the water from the rain mixes with the chemicals and other harming products within the trash pile. This mixture settles at the bottom of the landfill. Eventually the leachate breaks through the liner at the bottom of the landfill, seeps into the earth, and eventually mixes with the groundwater streams in the earth. In places like California where the main water supply is ground water this leachate can affect not only people but also the plants that grow in the earth where the leachate affects. This leachate contaminates the land that plant life lives in.
Methane Gas -
The primary byproduct of the mass amounts of waste stored in landfills is methane gas. Although there are systems like diversion pipes that are built into landfills to prevent the spread of methane gas these systems almost always do not burn off all the gas. The stray methane gas that is not destroyed by these systems leak into the atmosphere. Methane
gas, like Carbon dioxide, degrades the atmosphere. This degradation of the atmosphere leads to hotter temperatures worldwide which is an important part of climate change.
The most simple thing that any person can do to help minimize landfill pollution/waste is to lower the amount they produce in waste. A classic mantra that is used to promote waste production is "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. This mantra to the bone is stating to reduce the amount of products you buy and waste, reuse products that you can when possible, and recycle any products that you can. This is the easiest and most effective way to reduce landfill waste/pollution
Description
Effects
The effects of biological magnification are cumulative, getting more and more pronounced the higher up in the food chain you go. Since we humans are at the top, it is especially dangerous as fish or other animals that we eat may be carrying dangerous levels of chemicals, pesticides, or heavy metals. We are not the only ones in danger though; bird populations are also experiencing adverse effects. An example is that buildup of DDT, a pesticide, in birds that ate many fish caused their eggshells to be so fragile that the increased breakage of eggs threatened the bird population very noticeably.
What we can do to help prevent and/or lessen the effects of biological magnification is:
-Ban the use of toxic pesticides
- Enforce better/stricter waste-disposal laws
-Care for the environment, e.g. pick up trash and other waste, especially any that could conceivably make it to the ocean to be consumed
Boundless. “Biological Magnification.” Boundless Biology. Boundless, 26 May. 2016. Retrieved 30 Aug. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/biology/textbooks/boundless-biology-textbook/ecosystems-46/energy-flow-through-ecosystems-257/biological-magnification-955-12215/

"Biological Magnification." Encyclopedia of Environmental Change (n.d.): n. pag. SFEnvironmentkids.org. SF Environment. Web. <http://sfenvironmentkids.org/toxics/bio_mag.pdf>.


Because people want their food
to be cheap, factory farms control
the agriculture business. So, to
bring prices down, industrial
farms do not allow the land to
rest as it needs to, use fertilizer to
replenish the soil, or mainain the
balance that our envirenment
requires.

Animal agriculture causes 51% of global green house gasses
Soil erosion
Habitat loss
Wasting water
Climate change
Because of the yearn for profit and product advancement, companies in today’s society exploit animals in testing and lab experiments. The cruelty of animal testing in today’s society ranges from cosmetics testing to subjects of biomedical experimentation. The impact of using animals, such as bunnies or mice, creates many effects that directly harms the environment and our everyday lives

Cosmetic Companies such as Estee Lauder and L'oreal use dangerous and inhumane ways to test their product on animals.
In a common practice called skin sensitization, companies apply their product to the surface of the skin or even go as far as to inject it into the skin to test for allergic reactions, resulting in redness, ulcers, scaling, inflammation, and itchiness.
Studies go as far as to force feed rats a substance to look for genetic alterations observing for beginning stages of cancer.
- The positive results of animal products may still be unsafe for humans.
Ie: in a study of the effects of TGN 1412, a substance was tested on mice, rabbits, and monkeys with no ill effects. And inversely, negative results in the lab may cause humans to ignore positive cures.
-“Of every five to 10,000 potential drugs tested in the lab, only about five pass on to clinical trials.” (Ahktar)
With all the variation of species that such products are being tested on, many of these have the potential to be safe on humans
- The morality of testing on animals.
Simply only buy products that are cruelty-free
The popular cosmetic company, “Lush,” has proudly been fighting animal testing for 30 years now. This company produces everything from bath bombs to shampoos that are handmade and strictly not tested on animals.
Be educated
By simply paying attention to this presentation, or even attending seminars and workshops, there are many different ways to educate yourself of the cruelty of animal testing as well as educate others on animal testing

M.P.H., Aysha Akhtar M.D. "The Top 3 Ways Animal Experiments Hurt Humans." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2016.

"Cosmetics Tests That Use Animals." RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.

"Animal Use in Research." Neavs. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.

"5 Ways Animal Testing Hurts Humans." One Green Planet. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.

"7 Ways to Help Animals in Experiments." PETA. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.

"Ten Ways to Help Animals in Labs." RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.



photo taken from an article on ethify, "testing cosmetics on animals."
photo on rabbit, skin sentification taken from "peta" website.
video by Peta exposing the truth behind animal testing and cruelty
Human economies and cultures depend on them. Ecosystems are shaped by them. Climate change plays a crucial role which has been disturbed by rapid changes and disruptive impacts. Changes in the climate are not new. In fact, changes in climate are about as old as our own planet. Current climate change is ,however, linked to our daily life style and consumption patterns which produce large amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG) that act like a blanket around Earth, trapping energy in the atmosphere and causing the earth to warm up. These emissions resulting from human activity are responsible for more than 3/4 of the carbon dioxide producded. Such increase in production will cause massive change of Earth's average surface tmperature as seen in Global Warming. The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels (energy production, fuel for vehicles, home heating, industry) to produce energy, although deforestation, industrial processes, and some agricultural practices also emit gases into the atmosphere.
avoid factory farmers
Support small farms
Gow your own food
Compost
sustainabletable.org
wwf.panda.org
fao.org
Rising levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in teh atmosphere have now warmed the Earth and is results in a wide-range of impacts. We have already seen the meting of snow and ice, fires and droughts, extreme storms, rainfall and floods, and rising sea level. With climate change scientists project that these trends create risks to our health, forests, agriculture, freshwater supplies, changing of coastlines, and etc.
Currently we must actively attempt to reduce human -caused greenhouse gas emissions, by both state and societies, to avoid potential impacts of climate change. Realistically we will have to reduce emissions from all fronts and attempt to phase in new technologies as quickly as possible. We must attempt to switch towards wind power and increase the use of high efficiency natural gas generation. Simpler actions can also cause create huge impact by achieving small actions such as changing a light bulb, powering down electronics, and using less water. Most importantly we must reduce, reuse, and recycle!
"Overview of Greenhouse Gases." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2016. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases

Shaftel, Holly. "Responding to Climate Change." NASA. NASA, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2016. http://climate.nasa.gov/solutions/adaptation-mitigation

"Global Climate Change." Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. Ed. Holly Shaftel. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 29 Aug. 2016. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.

"What You Can Do At the Office." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 8 Aug. 2016. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.

Gillis, Justin. "Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change." The New York Times. The New York Times, 27 Nov. 2015. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.

"Climate Change Impacts." Environmental Defense Fund. EDF, May 2016. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.
Poaching is when an animal is killed illegally,
usually for something valuable such as its fur
or ivory, which will then be sold in illegal wildlife trade. In the U.S. poachers' motives include killing the animals for commercial gain, pleasure, or for trophies. In Africa, the motives are mainly that there is a lack of employment opportunities and there is limited potential for livestock or agriculural production. The existence of international markets for poached wildlife is formed by well organized gangs of professional poachers. It is the fifth most profitable, illegal trade in the world at about $10 billion each year.
INFO:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/wildlife-giant-clam-pohing-south-china-sea-destruction
www.worldwildlife.org/threats/illegal-wildlife-trade
http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/the-devastating-effects-of-wildlife-poaching/
MEDIA:
https://youtu..be/ZX8TMAeBUJE
http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cb2pRCFW4AEXJpX..jpg
http://cdn.onegreenplanet.org/wp-content/themes/arigel-theme/images/ogp-logo-green-big..png
Poaching has caused many species of animal to become endangered and near extinction. The Western Black Rhino is hunted and killed for the healing properties in its horn, and the Sumatran Tiger is critically endangered due to the demand for its fur, teeth, bones, and claws. Communities that rely on wildlife to attract tourists suffer because of the loss of popularity due to fewer animals and higher poaching frequencies. Poaching harms the environment in that it disrupts the balance of nature. When the North American Gray Wolf was close to
extinction, elk populations soared,
causing the near extinction of the
aspen tree. The main animals that
are constantly threatened are
elephants, tigers, rhinos, sea turtles,
lemurs, and gorillas.
Overexploitation of resources happens when humans have used natural resources faster than they are coming back. This has happened in fishing, deforestation, and even intensive agriculture. These are destroying the ecosystem that is there and is messing with the circle of life.
People can help out with stopping overexploitation by voting to put certain laws into effect in their nation to stop the overexploitation of nature that is unecessary and horrible for the world. You can also help out at National Parks or reserves to try and help the animals there
Our planet is now in the 6th mass extinction. Past extinctions have all been caused by volcanic eruptions, asteroid strikes and natural climate shift. The last mass extinction was 65 million years ago when dinosaurs vanished from an asteroid strike. The present mass extinction is just as powerful, if not more, than the fifth massive extinction. Almost 100% of the endangered species are at risk of extinction due to human activities resulting in habitat loss, introduction of exotic species, and global warming.
Extinct species are all included in a complex ecological web that is slowly being destroyed because most species depend on other species for life. The more animals that go extinct, the population of their prey becomes higher and the food to support this population becomes scarce. By losing the smallest species can bring down the whole web that took millions of years to create.
To reduce the speed in which species are going extinct today, enforcing laws to force countries into protecting plant and animal species from being destroyed. Another way that we can solve this issue is by protecting the land that endangered species live on so that there is no possibility of them being depleted or completely erased.
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org
http://news.nationalgeographic.com
http://press.princeton.edu
https://mdc.mo.gov
Many things can be done about the overexploitation of resources like voting for specific laws to be put in place in both your state and in your country trying to help nature recover from all of the problems that humans have caused. Another thing is to go to National Parks or reserves and help out there to try and help species that are at risk because of overexploitation and try to help them grow and save the species
The effects of overexploitation are drastic. The fish population is varying and that is destroying the fish's predators and overpopulating the species that certain fish eat and hunt for. The forests are now getting smaller and smaller and animals have less area to live in causing a decrease in numbers of animals because they don't have resources to live. The main problem for overexploitation is in Europe because they use so many resources for such a small area so their trees are almost completely depleted and the soil is being over-farmed to the point that the soil has no nutrients to give to the plants that the farmers put in there.
"Overexploitation." Biodiversity Information System for Europe. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2016 <http://biodiversity.europa.eu/topics/overexploitation>.
"Solutions." Overexploitation. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2016 <http://landdegredationassignment.weebly.com/solutions.html>.
There are many options as to what can be done to stop poaching, most of which are still being considered. Improving security is needed, especially at borders between countries and in popular locations where poaching takes place. Education and public awareness throughout the world, specifically in countries with the demand for the animal parts, is essential. The use of technology has been introduced in Kenya in which drones help rangers in finding and stopping the poachers both during the day and at night. The common people can sign petitions or donate to anti-poaching organizations, as well as volunteering with certain foundations.
Pesticides are known to be the only toxic substances released intentionally into our environment to kill living things. Pesticides are not only used in farms, though they are most widely and harmfully used in farms, they are also used in your school, house, restaurants, and much more. With the wide use of pesticides, it is now found in the air we breathe, the food that we eat, and even in the water that we so desperately need. There are in these vital necessities through volatilization occurs when a pesticide turns into a gas after being sprayed which allows it to travel through the air.
Look for labels on foods that state the food did not go through a pesticide process. If those types of companies start making money, the other farms will hopefully get a clue. It all has to start with the people. The people then get the linkage institutions (like the media) to put it on the policymaking agenda. After that, the policymakers can make a decision by making the stricter regulation of pesticides a go or a no go.

Headache
Nausea
Cancer
Headaches
Dizziness
Nausea
Fatigue
Systemic poisoning
Fatality
Harming beneficial insects, soil microorganisms
Damage agricultures’ immune systems
Kill nutrients in food

"Myth Busting on Pesticides: Despite Demonization, Organic Farmers Widely Use Them | Genetic Literacy Project." Genetic Literacy Project. N.p., 07 Dec. 2015. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.
"Pesticide Background." Dean Carter Binational Center for Environmental Health Sciences. N.p., n.d.
Web. 31 Aug. 2016.
"The Problem with Pesticides." Communities In Action. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.
"What Can We Do?" What Can We Do about Pesticides? N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.


Description
: Nature usually provides the right amount of nutrients, when an overabundance of nutrients in an aquatic system we call this eutrophication. Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous are presnt in the streams, lakes, or rivers from the runoff of the surrounding land. Algae and plankton ten to love these conditions and can take over the aquatic enviroment.
Cause:
This is mostly caused by human activity from farms, golf courses, and lawns heavily fertilized. The fertilizer feeds the plankton and algae, when it rains the run off from these lands go into the ocean.
Eutrophication have serious long-term effects and the most notable effect is algal bloom. When the bloom happens it takes over the aquatic ecosystem in a bright green color. This prevents the plants from photosynthesizing. If the bloom is big enough, it can kill the other living organisms in the water.
re-route waste pipes
can dramatically decrease eutrophication
create slow water-flow
reduce nutrients deposited into the bends
Riparian Buffers
vegatated areas in or next to the river to remove pollutants
http://sosbiodiversity.blogspot.com/2012/12/eutrophication-methods-of-preventing-it.html

http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-eutrophication-definition-causes-effects.html
Overpopulation is the world's top environl issue, it is generally an undesierable condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habit. (Human) Overpopulation is a function of the number of individuals compared to the given resources, such as the water and essential nutrients we need to survive. Overpopulation is caused by our advaces in technology with all the needed medications to cure diseases, and as a result people are living longer and having healthier lives that ever before. The death rate decreses and brith rate increases rapidly. In many third world countires, more hands in the family equals more work can be done, so they have as many kids as they can to help out with the farm, land, etc. A small reason/factor is the lack of family planning. A family can spread quickly through immigration, where one travels to a more developed country to have kids. Some family countiue to have kids until they give birth to a boy because some places, only boys can have an education.
Ways and solutions that can help
- have an (guarenteed) equal education for girls
- Offer age-appropriate sexuality education for all students (imporved sex ed) in schools
- End all policies that reward parents financially based on the number of children they have
-Put prices on environmental costs and impacts
-By averaging 1.5 children, total world population would decline by 2100 to about 5 billion – less than half the eleven billion projected!

Overpopulation can cause the following
-extinction of species
-deforestation
-global warming
-global pollution
more trash
-depletion of natural resouces
-more intensive farming methods
-prices on everything will go up
-
-
1. http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/causes-effects-solutions-of-overpopulation.php
2. http://www.worldpopulationbalance.org/content/overpopulation-solvable
3. http://www.everythingconnects.org/overpopulation-effects.html
Youtube Video link -
The completion of the Human Genome Project enabled the rise of interest and popularity in genetic testing and manipulation. Genetic testing or screening is the scientific procedure of examining an individual's genetic makeup to determine if he or she possesses genetic traits that indicate a tendency toward acquiring or carrying certain diseases or conditions. Genetic manipulation (or gene therapy) involves the actual the direct manipulation of an organism's genome using biotechnology.
Though genetic testing of humans facilitates the discovery and treatment of genetic defects, many have debated genetic screening because the procedure poses practical and theoretical legal, economic, and ethical concerns.
For example, tests that reveal that an unborn fetus will be born with a fatal or difficult disease when born will lead to considerations for an abortion. For genetic screening in adults, fear of discrimination is a common concern among people considering testing. Genetic discrimination occurs when people are treated differently by their employer or insurance company because they have a gene mutation that causes or increases the risk of an inherited disorder.
If scientists discover ways to manipulate certain genes so that a child is born with desirable characteristics, a new wave of eugenics is feared to occur.
Genetic manipulation is still an infant field, but something that can be done now is to keep debating where the line between preventing suffering with gene therapy and improving upon nature with genetic enhancement should be drawn, if at all.
Laws that prohibit genetic discrimation (GINA) should also continue to be enforced.
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Genetic+Screening
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/ethics-of-manipulating-genes.html
https://arcapologetics.org/culture/genetic-engineering-benefits-and-dangers/
http://ethics.sandiego.edu/Presentations/AppliedEthics/GeneticManipulation/GeneticManipulation.pdf
Nuclear Waste is the isotopes formed from nuclear reactors and other nuclear technologies.
Radioactive waste is very hazardous and harmful to many living creatures and ecosystems.
Radioactivity naturally decays over time, so the waste has to be isolated in disposal facilities until it is no longer a threat. This could vary from a few to millions of years.
This is becoming problematic, because as the years go on, more and more nuclear waste can stockpile, and kill whatever envrionment it is stored in.
-Boycott zoos and aqauriums and encourage others to do so as well
-support animal sanctuaries instead
-spread awareness about the realities of zoos and aqariums
Ideally, what we can do to prevent further harm to the environment is to use more renewable energy rather than nuclear energy.
The most conventional method of storing for disposal of nuclear energy is burial for low radioactive waste, and near surface for high radioactive waste.
Although the greenhouse gas emissions are much lower than other conventional forms of energy such as coal or oil, there is a high, catastrophic risk if containment fails, which could destroy entire environments and ecosystems, with Chernobyl and Fukushima being prime examples of the devastating effects.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Nuclear_power_environmenal_collage.jpg
http://www.greatbarrierreef.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/1fukufire.jpeg
http://media.mcclatchydc.com/static/features/Chernobyl30/photos/Chernobyl-Part1_03.JPG

http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/nuclear-wastes/radioactive-waste-management.aspx
https://whatisnuclear.com/articles/waste.html
Let's take a look into the eyes of the king of the jungle who is now the king of captivity...
Description/Cause:

Most of us have visited zoos, aquariums, or an animal theme park (such as Seaworld) as children with our families and maybe some of us still do till this day. All these establishments house a collection of wild animals that are on display for visitors. Unfortunately, while the visits may be very fun for us humans, life for animals in captivity is not.

These establishments capture animals from the wild place them into artificial environments in their facilities and breeding programs. Those who are born into the life of captivity will most likely never experience living in the wild. Some are fortunate to retire at animal sanctuaries but most are not. Even if an animal is lucky enough to leave captivity, it will most likely be placed in a sanctuary and although they are much better, nothing is the same as the wild...where these "wild" animals truly belong.
Effects:

Within captivity, most animals suffer both emotional and psychological issues-some to the point where they have to be medicated. In the past, many animals have collapsed under the stress and conditions of captivity and have acted out. Most notably, an orca whale from Seaworld, whom the documentary “Blackfish” is based on, killed several people. Since the documentary was released, many people have been turned off by Seaworld or have worked to fight against their use of orca whales in shows. Because of this, in March 2016, Seaworld officially announced that their breeding program of orcas would cease and they would slowly stop their live orca performances.

Even though zoos and aquariums promote that they are spreading education and do work with conservatory programs, the conditions of animals in captivity can not be ignored. An elephant is able to walk up to 50 miles a day but is unable to do this in an artificial, fenced-in environment that is only hundreds of feet.

What is a much better alternative tf zoos, aquariums, and Sea World is animal sanctuaries. Many retired or injured zoo/circus animals end up living in animal sanctuaries. They too promote animal conservation, and research as well as human tours-but they do all this while providing animals with much larger and more realistic environments. Animal sanctuaries also put the animals’ welfare before humans’ entertainment. While sanctuaires are not the wild, they far succeed zoos, aquariums, and Sea World in housing animals and providing them with the proper care. .

Want to learn more…
- http://www.peta.org/living/entertainment/reality-zoos/
- http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140320-animal-sanctuary-wildlife-exotic-tiger-zoo/
- http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-in-entertainment/zoos-pseudo-sanctuaries/aquariums-marine-parks/
- http://www.idausa.org/about-ida/


Two animal sanctuaries comapred to AZA Zoos and practices...
Citations:

Media -
Aquarium of the Pacific Logo. Digital image. Behind the Glass Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2016.
Captive Vs. Wild Elephants. Digital image. One Green Planet. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2016.
Captive Vs. Wild Orcas. Digital image. One Green Planet. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2016
Chart Comparing Animal Sanctuaries to Zoos. Digital image. In Defense of Animals. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2016.
Farhar, Torie. Elephant in Cage Caricature. Digital image. The Horizon Sun. N.p., 13 June 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2016.
Joblomovienetwork. "Blackfish - Official Trailer (HD) Documentary, Orca."YouTube. YouTube, 03 June 2013. Web. 04 Sept. 2016.
LA Zoo logo. Digital image. Neighborhood Nursery School. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2016.
Monkey-Scientist. Lion Face Behind Cage. Digital image. Deviant Art. N.p., 14 Jan. 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2016.
Seaworld Logo. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2016.

Information -
@peta. "Aquariums and Marine Parks." PETA. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2016.
@peta. "The Reality of Zoos." PETA Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2016.
@IDAUSA. "ABOUT IDA - In Defense of Animals." - In Defense of Animals. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2016.
"Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild." Born Free Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2016.
Shea, Rachel Hartigan. "Are Wildlife Sanctuaries Good for Animals?" National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 04 Sept. 2016.
Fracking
is the process of drilling down into the earth and injecting water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into fissures found in the walls of rocks, in order for gas(oil) to flow out to the head of the well. Fracking is called such because of the fracturing that occurs to the rock walls and fissures.
Oil drilling
is a hole drilled or dug in the earth from which petroleum flows or is pumped.
The best and most practical way to limit the effects on this issue for the environment is to
stop oil drilling and fracking all together
. The emissions from the gas in our cars contributes to some of the most pressing issues in our environment today, and it is something we can change.
Biofuels
, the use of crop-based fuels like vegetable oil, would drastically reduce the effect on the air and water pollution. The
cease of drilling itself
would decrease the erosion of land and the contamination and depletion of many necessary water supplies. If we can switch to more
natural ways to produce energy
through air, water, or solar powers we may be able to regain some humanity back into our treatment of the environment.

The effects of Fracking are the issues of
contamination of ground and surface water, air pollution, the unintentional migration of the chemicals
being injected and pumped. As well as the potential mishandling of solid waste, including
methane emissions
. Oil drilling causes issues of the
disruption of wildlife
migration routes and habitats from
noise pollution, traffic and fences
. As well as,
oil spills
in oceans, the
disruption of landscapes
included through,
stripping vegetation, erosion, disturbing ground surface, fragmenting all unspoiled wild life habitats
. Haze and Air
pollution
disrupt the air and water that we depend on, contributing to the impending issue of worldwide climate change.

Invasive Species are any kind of living organisms like- plants, insects, fish, birds, fungus, bacteria, or an organisms seeds or eggs- that are not native to the ecosystem. They can breed and spread quickly, which means they can over take an existing species. One of the ways an invasive species is spread is through a ship's ballast water which can carry aquatic organisms from different parts of the globes. Another way an invasive species is spread is through ornamental plants. These types of plants can spread its seeds through the surrounding environment and become invasive.
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-14432401

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/oil-drilling.htm


http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Oil+drilling


https://thinkprogress.org/methane-leaks-wipe-out-any-climate-benefit-of-fracking-satellite-observations-confirm-2ac26dd30381#.97xg4nh5w


http://wilderness.org/seven-ways-oil-and-gas-drilling-bad-news-environment


http://rainforests.mongabay.com/1013.htm
Invasive species can cause significant damage to wildlife. If a new species is introduced to a new ecosystem they might not have an natural predators that can prevent them from over populating. Which in turn could cause the native species to compete for food with this new species. The invasive species could also start preying upon on the native species and cause their population to decrease drastically.
To prevent the spread of an invasive species people can start by planting native plants and remove any invasive plant in their garden. People can also regularly clean their boots, boats, tires, and any other equipment that they use outdoors to remove insects or plants that might have hitch a ride. The government could also establish strict importation laws to prevent any plant or animal species from coming to a new ecosystem.
https://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Threats-to-Wildlife/Invasive-Species.aspx
https://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Protect-Wildlife/Invasive-Species.aspx
http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/invasive.html
http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/habitats/forests/help/invasive-plant-species-invasive-species-education-1.xml
http://whatcomboatinspections.com/
https://pages.wustl.edu/mnh/invasive-species-missouri
"Acid Rain." Acid Rain. National Atmospheric Deposition
Program, n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.
"Acid Rain Facts, Acid Rain Information, Acid Rain
Pictures, Acid Rain Effects - National Geographic." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.
"Effects of Acid Rain." EPA. Environmental Protection
Agency, n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.
What Is Acid Rain?" EPA. Environmental Protection
Agency, n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.
Acid precipitation, usually acid rain, is a very simple, event in nature. It is caused by human produced pollutants, usually sulfur dioxide, which is a byproduct of burning coal and oil, and nitrogen oxides, which is a byproduct from motor engines, that react with the moisture and air in the atmosphere. This, in turn, creates sulfuric and nitric acids, respectively, which fall in combination with the water as precipitation. The precipitation can be rain, sleet, snow, fog, or dust (dry deposition) that has a pH as low as 3.

In addition, acid precipitation can be produced through natural causes. When volcanoes erupt, they release large amounts of smoke containing high levels of sulfurous gas, which can turn into acid rain.
Normal rain is already acidic because the moisture reacts with the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere forming small amounts of carbonic acid. The pH for regular rain is around 6. Acid rain can have a pH of 3, or 1000 times more acidic. This major change in acidity can be quite harmful to our environment. As it falls, acid precipitation damages the leaves of trees. causing many to die. The acidified water also washes away many important nutrients in the soil, rendering it much worse in supporting life. The acidified water makes its way from the soil to lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds. The small ecosystems that are supported by these bodies of water are effected by acid the most. Although many species are able to tolerate small amounts of acid, others do not fair as well. Depending on the acidity, some fish eggs will not hatch or adult fish, frogs, snails, bugs, etc. may perish.
After the passing of the Clean Air Act in 1990, emissions of sulfur and nitrous oxides have been reduced dramatically in the US. This has lead to the reduction of acid deposition all over the US, especially in areas that were effected the most (the Northeast). As humans continue to change our planet, it is important to demand higher standards in our energy production and vehicle efficiency. A good way to make a great change in a smaller setting is to transition towards renewable energies. The less coal and oil that is burned, the better our environment will be.
Things That Can Be Done
Medical Waste
References
Description/Cause
Effects
Medical wastes are generated as a result of patient diagnosis and/or treatment or the immunization of human beings or animals. Similar to infectious waste materials, products such as sharps, pathological wastes, and blood products contribute to the realm of medical waste because they are part of the environmental harming effect, especially in part by human involvement. Whether its traces are washed up on shore or transmitted directly from absence of caution, medical waste is prevalent in the harming of environments.
The single most important action we can take part in dealing with the harmful effects of medical waste would be to first, dispose of the used and hazardous medical products seen commonly in healthcare facilities. By properly terminating harmful substances, the leakage of hazardous waste would be minimal and therefore less detrimental to the damaged environment. Secondly, abiding to the acts and laws passed by the EPA and CDC to protect the environment and promote a safer planet while increasing the awareness of medical waste, would be beneficial.
http://www.pollutionissues.com/Li-Na/Medical-Waste.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/177094-the-effects-of-medical-waste-being-dumped-in-the-ocean/

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/MedicalWaste.aspx
Anything or anyone who comes in contact with medical waste can be affected. Most common cases include the contact of soiled medical products such as syringes and gloves carrying the HIV/AIDS virus and contaminating those nearby. Some waste gets washed up on shore at beaches which implies the water would be dirty but also the organisms in the water are affected too. For example, a fish who comes in contact with a soiled substance could acquire an infectious disease and the organism who consumes that fish would as well. In essence, one dirty object could affect a whole food chain.
References
Things That Can Be Done
Description/Cause
Effects
The main cause for the depletion of ozone is determined as excessive release of chlorine and bromine from man-made compounds such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
Ozone layer is a deep layer in earth’s atmosphere that contain ozone which is a naturally occurring molecule containing three oxygen atoms.
Ozone depletion is the reduction of ozone layer's thickness.
Harm to human health:
More skin cancers, sunburns and premature aging of the skin.
More cataracts, blindness and other eye diseases
Weakening of the human immune system (immunosuppression).
Adverse impacts on agriculture, forestry and natural ecosystems:

Stop making CFCs and control industrial emission of chlorofluorocarbons.

As individual:
Use recycled products
Use public transport
Ozone pictures
http://eschooltoday.com/ozone-depletion/images/ozone-absorbing-UV-rays.png
Youtube
Video
Further reading:
http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/ozone-layer-and-causes-of-ozone-depletion.php
http://www.bcairquality.ca/101/ozone-depletion-impacts.html
http://eschooltoday.com/ozone-depletion/where-is-the-ozone-layer.html
Ozone Depletion
Habitat destruction is the process in which natural habitat is rendered unable to support the species present. In this process, the organisms that previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversityHabitat loss—due to destruction, fragmentation or degradation of habitat—is the primary threat to the survival of wildlife in the United States.
When an ecosystem has been dramatically changed by human activities—such as agriculture, oil and gas exploration, commercial development or water diversion—it may no longer be able to provide the food, water, cover, and places to raise young. Every day there are fewer places left that wildlife can call home.
Agriculture:
Land conversion for development:
Water development:
Pollution:
Global warming:

The effects of habitat destruction are basically the loss of species and resources. Every type of habitat destruction results in a loss of species. Destruction causes instant harm to habitats and kills many species in the process. Fragmentation results in the loss of resources, such as food and mates
You can create habitat for wildlife in your own yard. One can a Certified Wildlife Habitat® near your home, school or business. Plant native plants and put out a water source so that you can provide the food, water, cover and places to raise young that wildlife need to survive.
https://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Threats-to-Wildlife/Habitat-Loss.aspx
http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-habitat-destruction-effects-definition-causes.html

An oil spill happens, either above or below water, when a pipe or vessel burst. The burst cause liquid petroleum to be released in the ocean or on land. It happens on accident from negligence, but is still a huge form of pollution.
Since oil is less dense than water, the oil will sit on the surface of the water, which then does not allow sunlight to reach the bottom. The sunlight cannot reach the life underwater, this then causes some photosynthetic plants to die because they cannot be nourished. Also, on top of the water, hunting birds will get caught in the oil which weighs them down making it difficult to fly, and when they go to preen themselves they end up swallowing some of the toxin. lastly, mammals, such as dolphins and whales, get the oil stuck in their blow hole, which is an essential physiological feature to their survival, and they choke on the oil.

The public can help to pass laws to create stricter regulations that must be followed
One can reduce their own consumption of fossil fuels
Use green electricity
http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/cleaning-oil-spill.htm
http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/cleaning-oil-spill.htm
http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/effects-of-oil-spills.php
Full transcript