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Sustainability, Cycling and Stewardship

You have been asked to prepare a presentation for the annual convention of Citizens for a Greener Planet, a national environmental group, on the idea of sustainable development.

Explain the following:

1. Define sustainability.
2. Describe the cycling and recycling of carbon, phosphorus, and nitrogen through both the living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) components of ecosystems.
3. Explain sustainability and stewardship when pertaining to the factors that brought about the collapse of the Easter Island civilization.

Solution Preview

Sustainability can be thought of living in such as way that we do not degrade environmental resources. Thus, future generations are left with the same conditions as we have now. The use of resources is sustainable if nature can replenish all of the resources we use.

Carbon is cycled though the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. It is produced by respiration and by the destruction of tissue and vegetation. Once in the atmosphere, it can be taken in by plants and the cycle is continued. Carbon dioxide can also be absorbed by the oceans and ultimately by limestone, beginning the cycle anew. Another source of carbon is volcanoes. This part of the cycle is ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the recycling of elements in the ecosystem, with a definition of sustainability and the collapse of Easter Island's civilization in 400 words with one reference.