This section tests your knowledge of types of energy, technology, and society.
Here are some concepts you should know.
Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy Resources
There are nine major ways we get our energy. These energy types are either renewable or non-renewable.
Renewable energy sources are things that can be replenished naturally in a short period of time. There is no shortage of these energy sources, or they can be renewed quickly. Solar, wind, water, biomass, and geothermal energies are all renewable. There is no set number of these energy sources (there is no finite number of wind gusts or sun rays!). We can continue to harvest these energies because they are quick to renew. Think of renewable energy sources like this: there is a set amount today, but there will be more available tomorrow.
Non-renewable energy sources are things like nuclear power, coal, oil, and natural gas. These are available, but only in limited amounts. There is a finite amount of coal or oil on earth, and these can’t be renewed quickly. For example, fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) were created from dead plant and animal matter from millions of years ago. It takes millions of years for fossil fuels to form, so this is not something that can be replenished quickly.
Nuclear energy is harvested from Uranium from the Earth’s crust. Like fossil fuels, there is only a set amount of it available, so it is non-renewable.
Think of non-renewable energy like this: whatever amount is on the earth now is all we have. Renewable energy is constantly being added to our environment, so we can continue to use these resources without worrying that we will use them all up.
Land reclamation is a way of getting land. But you can’t just make land, can you? So how do you get it and where from? That’s what land reclamation is about: getting new land, usually from coastal areas, riverbeds, or lake beds. Land reclamation is also known as “land fill” (not landfill, like garbage, but filling land), because it usually involves filling a parcel of land with more soil, sand, dirt, or minerals to make it useable. A riverbed, for example, can be “topped off” to get rid of the river, and then someone can use that land for a house, farmland, or building.
This sounds simple enough, almost like filling a hole with soil or draining a lake to use the area. The main problem with land reclamation is that it disturbs the natural habitats, especially because land reclamation usually impacts areas with an important water source. So filling in a spot with a river or a lake disturbs the ecosystem.
Aside from the natural habitat, land reclamation can be harmful to humans. It can have dangerous side effects. Altering the land can change how water drains, resulting in flooding, landslides, or droughts. These areas typically have no erosion control, because all of the vegetation that holds soil in place has been removed and the water has been rerouted. Reclaimed land areas have no erosion control or protection from the elements, so crops are vulnerable to be flooded away. Many crops are not able to thrive because there aren’t enough nutrients in these stripped soils.
And that’s some basic info about the Scientific Inquiry, Processes, Technology, and Society subarea.