Identify the relationships among population growth, resource consumption and sustainability

Note: Please refer to the GETTING STARTED module to learn how to maneuver through, and how to answer the lab questions, in the Google Earth () component.


You should know and understand the following terms:

Anthropocene Era                      Global climate change                               sustainability

Aquaculture (Aqua-farming)      Greenhouse gases  

Dam                                      Human-environment interaction  

Deforestation                              Oil extraction  


After successfully completing this module, you should be able to:

·         Explain how we are in the Anthropocene

·         Identify the relationships among population growth, resource consumption and sustainability

·         Recognize the global impact of human-environment interactions

·         Define and identify contributors of global climate change

·         Define and identify the effects of global climate change 

·         Describe the spatial patterns related to farming and aqua-farming

·         Determine the benefits and consequences regarding dams and water diversions on both society and the natural environment


This module examines aspects of human environment interaction. Topics include the Anthropocene era, resource consumption, sustainability, deforestation, dams and water diversions, agriculture, and climate change. Many of these topics will use historical satellite imagery to assess human-environmental changes over time. The modules start with four opening topics, or vignettes, which are found in the accompanying Google Earth file. These vignettes introduce basic concepts and examples of human-environment interaction. Some of the vignettes have animations, videos, or short articles that will provide another perspective or visual explanation for the topic at hand. After reading the vignette and associated links, answer the following questions. Please note that some links might take a while to download based on your Internet speed.

 Expand the INTRODUCTION folder and then select Topic 1Welcome to the Anthropocene.

 Read Topic 1: Welcome to the Anthropocene.

Question 1: What are three ways we have altered the Earth’s natural cycles? (Check all that apply).

A.   Resource consumption

B.   Burning fossil fuels

C.   Endangered species extinction

D.   Poor land management

 Read Topic 2: Population Growth. 

Question 2: What is the speaker’s solution to curbing population growth rates?

A.   Birth control and fresh water

B.   Global governance, investment in green technology, and investments to remove poverty

C.   Military intervention, government cooperation, and crop monitoring through remote sensing

D.   Converting ocean water to fresh water

 Read Topic 3: Resource Consumption

 Question 3: After reading the cartogram map (where a larger-than-actual sized nation means more fuel use and a smaller-than-actual sized nation indicates less fuel use) assess the fuel use of Japan (purple)?

 A.   Average because it aligns with nations in the middle east and India

B.   Less than average because its map representation is small

C.   Greater than average because it aligns with other large-consuming nations

D.   Purple denotes minimal consumption

 Read Topic 4: Sustainability.

Question 4: Which of the following items is not one of the seven programs working around the core principle of sustainability, as guided by the EPA Strategic Research Action Plan?

A.   Air, Climate, and Energy (ACE)

B.   Weather Reporting (WR)

C.   Safe and Sustainable Water Resources (SSWR) 

D.   Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC)

 Collapse and uncheck INTRODUCTION.


The ability of humans to modify the natural environments across the world is increasingly apparent. These four examples show you different ways in which we are impacting the Earth.

 Expand the GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE folder.

 Expand and click the Algeria and Tunisia folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 Double click and select 1988, and examine the image.

 Select 2000 and examine the image. Check the 2000 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

Question 5: What new feature exists in 2000? (Check all that apply).

A.   Lakes

B.   Urban growth

C.   Clearcutting

D.   Reforestation

Question 6: What would create these new features?

A.   Excessive rain

B.   Global climate change

C.   Human interaction

D.   Drought