Tourism!

With the January exams looming I thought I’d share my revision notes for the geography unit on tourism 🙂

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Consequences of rainforest exploitation (Amazon project part 5)

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Due to these activities, everything is affected. The natives that live in the forest are fighting for survival. Logging companies are cutting down dense areas of forest and only leaving small pockets of not very dense forest. This means they cannot hunt for food, and many of the tropical plants they use to store food eat and use as medicines are all being cut down. Cutting down trees affect their water supply, instead of being pure and fresh mineral water it becomes muddy and useless. This is because there are no trees so rain hits the ground directly. This pulls mud from the top soil into the rivers. This means the natives have no clean water to drink or to wash with. The fish struggle to live in that dirty water and many species could be wiped out. The natives would have nothing to eat. The natives have to heavily rely on getting supplies from the outside world, but they do not have enough money to get what they need.  They have to become farmers, but their crops do not sell at a high enough price. These markets where they buy and sell supplies could be miles away and the only way to get to them is by a long trek by foot that could last for days, or they would have to row all the way and risk the dangers of the water such as wild animals. They cannot move any closer to the markets as the land is already being used for farming, mining or logging. We are killing of the indigenous people of the forest. 

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Not only are the natives affected, plants and animals are affected too. By cutting down the trees, we are killing off the animals of the forest. The tall trees in the canopy provide food and shelter for a wide range of species including monkeys and lizards. Without this home, they cannot survive. Other groups often reject any animals that do survive and escape to another part of the forest. The animals cannot drink any fresh water because the rainwater hits the soil directly and washes mud into the river. This causes the animals to catch diseases. This could wipe out whole species in no time. There are still thousands of species that could help us learn more about the world, but scientists are not getting the chance to find these animals. After the trees are cut down, the nutrients and water cycles are broken. This means in a few years the land will become wasteland and practically useless. There are plants out there, which we have not discovered, and yet they are being cut down and the whole species is being made extinct. These plants could hold the keys to curing diseases such as aids and cancer, but scientists are not being given the chance to find these plants. These plants could save hundreds or even thousands of people each year. This means one day, if a loved one becomes seriously ill, we will not have a cure that will definitely cure them, and we are all putting ourselves in danger. When logging companies leave some trees because their value is not worth the effort or time to cut down when there are lots of more valuable trees, those trees may die as well because they get damaged whenever another tree is cut down. More animals will be affected.  Dragging the trees down the river by using a boat to tow them affects the wildlife in the rivers because animals may get caught in-between them and die.

There is a serious global threat partly due to with the way we live and partly due to the cutting down of the rainforests worldwide. As we all know, plants take in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and use it to keep them alive and in return, they give out oxygen-essential for our survival.  However, we are cutting down all of the trees and burning an awful lot of them. This produces a lot more carbon dioxide as well as other harmful gasses. As there are even less trees to absorb this carbon dioxide, a lot more escapes into our atmosphere and rises up to form a protective layer around the Earth, as explained in the diagram below.

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When the sun’s rays hit the Earth, as usual, most of that energy is absorbed by the Earth to heat it up. The problem is, normally, some of those rays are not needed and are reflected back towards the sun. Now, because of excessive amounts of Carbon dioxide, these rays are reflected from the earth to the atmosphere, but the rays cannot escape through carbon dioxide so they are reflected back to the Earth and so on.  This means the Earth is heating up by 1 degree per year. This does not sound like much, but the way we are going, it is going to increase. This sudden rise in temperature means the polar ice caps are melting at an extraordinary rate. Sea levels are set to rise by meters, and if the Thames barrier and other defences that are going to be put in cannot hold the water back, Most of England could be under water and look a bit like the picture below- part of the sea.

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Animals cannot adapt in time and the natives have nowhere to go so whole species is the polar ice caps are becoming extinct.  Even the rainforests might flood with salty seawater, and no plants and very few animals would be able to survive. The whole rainforest would be destroyed and there would not be enough land for the whole population of humans to live.

Exploiting the Rainforest (Amazon project part 4)

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Humans have been exploiting the forest for thousands of years. Today, we still use a technique used in the early 20th century to make tyres. One man may look after 30 hectares of land, but only find 60 rubber trees. The rubber taper then scrapes some diagonal lines through the bark. A natural resin called latex; which lies just underneath the bark, comes out and is collected. They then turn this into rubber. A rubber tree can be harvested many times, and does little or no damage to the environment.

 

Now, most ways of exploiting the forest starts with a chainsaw, and cutting down hundreds of trees. Logging companies specialize in this field. They tend to cut down the most valuable trees like Mahogany. Mahogany is in great demand, especially in the UK. Mahogany is worth £500 per cubic meter, or around £10,000 per tree. These trees are rare as the logging companies can only find one to two adult trees per hectare.  To get to these precious trees, the companies must build roads, cutting down lots of trees. Then when they find a tree they want, they cut it down, pulling down and damaging others trees in the process. Next, they drag it out to the road and load it onto a truck. Pulling down one tree damages at least 28 others in the process. They then go back in to get about 20 less valuable trees for timber, doing the same amount of damage each time. In one area there may be to logging companies, where they have to cut down 30 trees a day ach, totalling 300 trees per week or a massive 15,000 per year. Only some legal companies replace less than a third of what they took, but the illegal companies do not care. The Lorries taking the trees are relentless. Whether they are taken away by river or road, the trees all end up in the same place, the sawmill. There is said to be over 4,000 sawmills in Amazonia. In the sawmills they cut extremely thin slices of the less valuable timer, and then stick them together to make ply wood. The Amazonian hard wood is in great demand. Before, we use to exploit the tropical forests of Asia, but that supply is almost completely gone. So more and more companies have come to Amazonia, causing vast areas of damaged land.

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Another way of exploiting the forest is mining. First, they clear a huge area of forest, and then dig deep below the surface. The rocks underneath the Amazonian soil are rich in minerals such as gold, copper, iron, lead and many more. One of the big mines is translated as being called Great future, but others tell a different story. This mine now produces 3.000 tones of these precious minerals a year, compared to the 15,000 tones at its peak. They use high-pressure hoses to wash the unwanted soil away, making large ponds. Where there is unweathered rock, they employ hundreds of local people to use a pick and shovel to mine the ore out.  These people are lucky to get £10 a day. To make the tin that we use for cans, the ore is heated and ground several times. They then wash it in water, and the tin sinks to the bottom, where as all the other minerals wash away. The tin costs $6,000 a ton and is sent to factories to be made into objects like cans. There are many mines like this across the Amazon, and now places where the earth contains oil, gas and uranium are being discovered.

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Although logging and mining area both big causes of deforestation, the biggest cause so far is cattle ranching. When the government gave away free land, many took advantage, most of whom made cattle ranches. They cleared a huge area of land, so big; they have to use mobile phones to communicate. One particular ranch has 2,000 cattle in 3,000 hectares of land. Though compared to the Brazilian government standards, this is only a medium sized ranch. The neighbouring ranch has 15,000 hectares of land and s classed as a large ranch. The owners keep a specially bred type of cattle called zeboo cattle. To improve their herd, they use modern techniques and chemicals such as Artificial Insemination, where they make the females pregnant. Despite all this, there is o0nly enough beef for their own population.  After about 3 years, the soil becomes so acidic, the only thing that will grow is grass, grass so poor that even the cows don not like to eat it. As fertilizer is not available in large quantities n the area, the fields are just enlarged when the soil becomes infertile. If this continues, ranches will own a great deal of the land in Amazonia, but in Amazonia, clearing land is a way of claiming it as yours.

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The last method of exploiting the forest is farming. 10,000 small farmers picked up the offer of free land, so roads were built through the forest. Over 1,000,000 people came to the Amazon, but nothing happened. They were promised a new start in a new place, with money and fertilizer, but the Brazilian government did not live up to its promises. Many people made them selves a 50 hectare plot, but the Amazonian soil did not live up to its promises either. So most people left the plot, and cleared more land somewhere else. For the few that stayed, life is hard. They grow coffee, coco, corn rice and fruit, but only for low prices. The soil is very infertile so the crops they can grow can not live up to their potential. They get by with what they can, and even though they continually beg the companies and the government for more money, the answer is always no.

Through all this, deforestation is the key issue; it affects the climate, the environment and the indigenous people within the forest. It is said hat the Amazon rainforest will be almost completely gone in 40 years time, but the Brazilian government disagree, saying it will not be gone for at least another 300 years time. Whatever the correct figure, can we really afford to lose one of nature’s best creation? The clock is ticking and it only so long before the rainforest is gone, unless we all do something about it.

The Rainforest Ecosystem (Amazon Project Part 2)

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The Amazon is the richest ecosystem on the planet, as 50% of all plant and animal species are found there. Over 100 million years old, it is 30 times the size of Great Britain and is the largest basin on Earth.

The Amazon is partly made up of well-designed and adapted trees. These millions of trees grow in four main layers. The top layer of trees is made up of very tall trees reaching heights of over 50 meters called Emergents. They have specially designed buttress roots so they do not fall over. The next layer is called the canopy, with trees growing to around 30 meters. This is where most of the animals live; flowers grow and the layer that gets the most light. The next layer is called the under canopy with trees growing to around 10meters. Here it is quite dark. The last layer is the shrub layer. Here it is very quiet and plants may only get sunlight for a few minutes of the day, so they have very dark green leaves and turn to face the sun.

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The trees also play a major part in the nutrients cycle. Most of the trees are deciduous, but they all lose there leaves at different times of the year, so the forest floor is always covered in leaves all year round. Decomposers then eat these leaves. They then excrete and put nutrients back into the soil. The trees then suck up the nutrients so they can grow. Sometimes over plants will grow on the trees, and suck nutrients from their host tree. The tree then loses it leaves and the cycle starts again.

The Amazon is also the wettest and the hottest place on Earth. The water cycle help keeps the rainforest alive. As the sun heats the ground, it heats the air above it. The warm air then rises, cools, and condenses, causing convectional rainfall. Some of the rain is evaporated off the leaves or held as moisture in the leaves. Some water runs off the leaves and is absorbed into the soil. The rest runs off into the river. Only about 20% of the rain makes it back into the river.

Clouds over Forests in the Amazon

Now this is not happening. Deforestation breaks the cycles. The rain penetrates the ground directly, washing away the nutrients in the soil. 20% of the Amazon rainforest land in 1970 has now been turned into wasteland. Will the rainforest recover? Deforestation needs to stop now.

The Tropical Rainforest (Amazon Project Part 1)

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The Tropical rainforest is a forest found near the equator. The temperature only varies by a few degrees all year. It looks green all year round even though many of the trees are deciduous, because there is a constant temperature there are no seasons so the trees lose their leaves at different times of year. The rainforests hold more of the world’s species of plants and animals than any other biome. The Amazon has around 50% of the world’s species of plants and animals.

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The rainforest is mainly made up of well-designed and adapted trees. These millions of trees grow in four main layers. The top layer of trees is made up of very tall trees reaching heights of over 50 meters called Emergent. They have specially designed buttress roots so they do not fall over. The next layer is called the canopy, with trees growing to around 30 meters. This is where most of the animals live; flowers grow and the layer that gets the most light. The next layer is called the under canopy or under storey with trees growing to around 10meters. Here it is quite dark. The last layer is the shrub layer. Here it is very quiet and plants may only get sunlight for a few minutes of the day, so they have very dark green leaves and turn to face the sun. Some plants have adapted to grow on the taller trees and use their energy to survive. The animals have adapted to have bright and bold colours, being able to make a loud noise and eat diets that consist mainly of fruit as well as living in the canopy where there is more food and light. The nutrients cycle helps to keep the rainforest alive. Most of the trees are deciduous, but they all lose there leaves at different times of the year, so the forest floor is always covered in leaves all year round. Decomposers then eat these leaves. They then excrete and put nutrients back into the soil. The trees then suck up the nutrients so they can grow. Sometimes over plants will grow on the trees, and suck nutrients from their host tree. The tree then loses it leaves and the cycle starts again.

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The Tropical Rainforest is found mainly between the Tropic of Capricorn to the south and the Tropic of Cancer to the north. It is found here, as there is a hotter climate because there is more direct sunlight hitting the earth, as it is not as round as the top of the Earth, so the sun has a smaller area of land to heat. The main areas of tropical rainforest are shown on this map. The two red lines show the topics of cancer and Capricorn

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It rains a lot in the Rainforest because it is very hot all day. This is part of the water cycle. As the sun heats the ground, it heats the air above it. The warm air then rises, cools, and condenses, causing convectional rainfall.  Some of the rain is evaporated off the leaves or held as moisture in the leaves. Some water runs off the leaves and is absorbed into the soil. The rest runs off into the river. Only about 20% of the rain makes it backinto the river. As you can see by this climate graph, the amount of rain does vary a lot throughout the year; there is always plenty of water. The temperature does not vary much at all.

Science Vs Religion

These are the thoughts of my 12-year-old self on the debate of science vs religion – I thought it’d be handy for lower school students who may be covering this topic.

Science says it was the big bang that created the Universe.

Christianity says it was god.

However, are Genesis and the big bang theory saying the same thing?

Can science and Christianity sit hand in hand?

Or are they saying completely different things?

Can you be a scientist and still believe in God?

Or is science going to find the answer alone?

This is a conversation between two scientists. The first scientist is an atheist, so he does not believe in God. The second scientist is a theist so she believes in God. You will here their views on whether science and religion can be as one.

As a scientist, I cannot understand why you believe in God. Science has proven it was the big bang and not god. There is no evidence for god to exist, so therefore one must assume there is not a greater power outside our universe.

Although there is no proof for God, God is the answer to the problem of how the big bang started. Science has proven how it happened but not why. How can there be nothing and all of a sudden, everything needed to create our universe existed! It is impossible, unless there was an input of information.

How do you know the Bible is telling the truth though? The person who wrote it had no clue about science and could have written down an imaginative story that people decided to believe because there was no other evidence. Remember, they thought the earth was a dome, with a fire pit underneath and then below that a huge volume of water with pillars to support the Earth.

You do not know if it is the definitely the truth, but science cannot prove why everything happened and this is the only other answer. Although it is a story, it holds the answer. Science did not exist then, so they would not have written down a complicated, scientific theory, a story would have been the only way for them to communicate their knowledge.

The Bible does not mention things we have proof of, like dinosaurs. We have hundreds of fossils and skeletons to prove they exist, yet there is no hint of them in the Bible, so therefore it is just a story.

Actually, if you look, the Bible dose not mention any specific animals whatsoever, except humans. If you look carefully, all it says about animals is sea creatures, birds and mammals were created before humans, so it does not matter that dinosaurs are not mentioned.

The big bang has lots of evidence. Genesis has not been proven. How can you believe in something with no proof, when there is a greater explanation with all the evidence you need.

Although no one has tried to prove Genesis, in many ways it is saying the same thing as science. Science says first there was a big bang, then planets, then water, then simple life forms in the water, then reptiles and amphibians, then mammals, and finally humans. The Bible says first, there was light, which would have been caused by the explosion, then heaven and earth, then land and sea, then the sun and moon, then sea creatures and birds, then mammals and finally humans. Although there are a few differences, there are also many similarities.     

There is lots of evidence to back up Darwin’s theory of evolution. God could not have made humans separately. Humans evolved from apes. Science has proven it.

Science has not proven it. There is still the missing link in the chain. Science thinks it has found the answer, but there is still a skeleton missing, and without it, the stage of evolution the missing link came from and the stage it went into, are too far apart to use as evidence. Until you find that skeleton, you cannot prove it.

Well, science has proven the Earth was created in around 6 billion years. Genesis claims it was six days, or only 144 hours to create something like the Earth. It is impossible, so Genesis is not true.

Look at it this way, Genesis is a simple version of creation. I do not take it literally. Six days could stand for six periods of time; it does not necessarily mean six lots of 24 hours. If you think back to the similarities between Genesis and Science, the order of creation is the same; just Genesis is not a highly complicated theory with tons of evidence to support it.

Genesis says creatures that did not exist existed. It says there was once a walking talking snake. That is impossible, snakes cannot and could not walk or talk, they only hiss, so Genesis cannot be a true story.

The story is not literal, it may say one thing but it really stands for another. If you look back through evolution, ancestors of the snake did have legs to walk around with, which they have now lost. Many scientists also believe they had some sort of voice box, so although it would not have talked like a human, it would use some noises, like talking.

Genesis also says there was light before the sun. That could not happen so once again, Genesis is not telling the truth.

If you think about it, the big bang theory also says there was light before the sun. The explosion from the big bang would have created lots of light and hest before the sun formed.

I still do not think there was an input of information. You do not need to believe in God when you have science. Science may still be working on a few of the harder problems, but one day, whether it is soon or in hundreds or thousands of years, the explanation will be found, we just have not found all the pieces of the puzzle yet. 

You do need God. There must have been some input of information to kick-start everything. Look at DNA for example.

To unravel and stable DNA to find the code you need three proteins. Now, inside the code it tells you how to make the proteins to unravel and stable it. You cannot have the DNA without the proteins yet you cannot have the proteins without the DNA.

All you are doing is giving another example of what came first, the chicken or the egg. DNA could have developed through evolution and some of the chemicals on the earth could have come together and made the proteins.  

I see your point but you can logically explain the answer to whether the chicken or the egg came first, but unless you went back in time, you would not be able to prove it. How can you explain logically how to find the answer to the problem of DNA? You cannot solve it. Without God that is.

Although I now see the Bible and science have some similarities, I still strongly believe that one-day science will come up with the answer, and religion will fall.

Well, I am not going to stop believing in God until you find the answer, and I seriously doubt you will find it out. God is the answer sitting right next to you but you are choosing to ignore it. Religion holds the key to unlocking the mysteries of creation.    

Who created God then?

God has no creator. God does not need a creator. God’s existence is eternal, never ending. 

Everything has a beginning and end. Nothing is eternal.

Prove it then.

 

In my opinion, you can be a Christian, or a member of any other religion, as well as a scientist because science and religion say very similar things. The orders of creation have few differences and both agree about the order of evolution.

Although science automatically decides everything is a consequence of something else, and everything has an answer, religion has a stronger argument.  God makes more sense than nothing existing then suddenly everything exists.

Science has not found out why, but only how and its evidence is not sufficient. There are huge gaps in its evidence and might never solve the problem.

Religion has stronger evidence because not only can it say how, it also says why.

There are three ways of reading the bible. The first way is taking it literally. The second way is thinking that it is not literal but stands for something similar. The third way is to not believe a word of it.

The people who only agree with one side of the argument do not have enough evidence to be certain. Yet the group in the middle take both sides and come up with a more logical explanation that makes more sense.

So if you think parts of the Bible can be taken metaphorically you can be a scientist and believe in God.