The natural environment or natural world encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally, meaning in this case not artificial. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some parts of Earth. This environment encompasses the interaction of all living species, climate, weather and natural resources that affect human survival and economic activity.
The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished as components:
In contrast to the natural environment is the built environment. Built environments are where humans have fundamentally transformed landscapes such as urban settings and agricultural land conversion, the natural environment is greatly changed into a simplified human environment. Even acts which seem less extreme, such as building a mud hut or a photovoltaic system in the desert, the modified environment becomes an artificial one. Though many animals build things to provide a better environment for themselves, they are not human, hence beaver dams, and the works of mound-building termites, are thought of as natural. (Full article...)
The Exelon Pavilions are four buildings that generate electricity from solar energy and provide access to underground parking in Millennium Park in the Loopcommunity area of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The Northeast Exelon Pavilion and Northwest Exelon Pavilion (jointly the North Exelon Pavilions) are located on the northern edge of the park along Randolph Street, and flank the Harris Theater. The Southeast Exelon Pavilion and Southwest Exelon Pavilion (jointly the South Exelon Pavilions) are located on the southern edge of the park along Monroe Street, and flank the Lurie Garden. Together the pavilions generate 19,840 kilowatt-hours (71,400 MJ) of electricity annually, worth about $2,350 per year.
The passenger pigeon was a species of pigeon that was once the most common bird in North America. It is estimated that there were as many as five billion passenger pigeons in the United States at the time Europeans colonized North America. They lived in enormous flocks, and during migration, one could see flocks of them a mile (1.6 km) wide and 300 miles (500 km) long, taking several days to pass and probably containing two billion birds. The species had not been common in the Pre-Columbian period, until the devastation of the American Indian population by European diseases.
Over the 19th century, the species went from being one of the most abundant birds in the world to extinction. At the time, passenger pigeons had one of the largest groups or flocks of any animal, second to only the desert locust.
Some decimation in numbers occurred as a result of loss of habitat, when the Europeans started settling further inland. However, the primary factor emerged when pigeon meat was commercialized as a cheap food for slaves and the poor in the 19th century, resulting in hunting on a massive scale. There was a slow decline in their numbers between about 1800 and 1870, followed by a catastrophic decline between 1870 and 1890, at the end of which they were rare and beyond the point of recovery. 'Martha', thought to be the world's last passenger pigeon, died on September 1, 1914 in Cincinnati.
GCP's Global Carbon Budget 2021 presented research (Friedlingstein et al. 2021) showing cumulative contributions to the global carbon budget since 1850 to illustrate how carbon source and sink components have been out of balance, causing an approximately 50% rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration
The Global Carbon Project (GCP) is an organisation that seeks to quantify global greenhouse gas emissions and their causes. Established in 2001, its projects include global budgets for three dominant greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O)—and complementary efforts in urban, regional, cumulative, and negative emissions.
The main object of the group has been to fully understand the carbon cycle. The project has brought together emissions experts, earth scientists, and economists to tackle the problem of rising concentrations of greenhouse gases. In 2020, the project released its newest Global Methane Budget and first Global Nitrous Oxide Budget, the two anthropogenic trace gases most dominant for warming after carbon dioxide. (Full article...)
Image 9An Antarctic rock split apart to show endolithic lifeforms showing as a green layer a few millimeters thick (from Habitat)
Image 10Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World (Olson et al. 2001, BioScience) (from Ecoregion)
Image 11Dense mass of white crabs at a hydrothermal vent, with stalked barnacles on right (from Habitat)
Image 12Global oceanic and terrestrial phototroph abundance, from September 1997 to August 2000. As an estimate of autotroph biomass, it is only a rough indicator of primary production potential and not an actual estimate of it. (from Ecosystem)
Image 16Proportion of forest area by forest area density class and global ecological zone, 2015, from Food and Agriculture Organization publication The State of the World's Forests 2020. Forests, biodiversity and people – In brief (from Ecoregion)
Image 24Few creatures make the ice shelves of Antarctica their habitat, but water beneath the ice can provide habitat for multiple species. Animals such as penguins have adapted to live in very cold conditions. (from Habitat)