The resulting 1.7% worldwide population growth now translates to the daily addition of over a quarter of a million people to the planet. In addition to this, global energy consumption has also been increasing steadily and in fact, lately (figure 2), the rate of energy consumption (4%) has been increasing at more than twice the rate of population increase.2 All of these people using all of this energy has created a world in which the way that human activity is directed has enormous consequences on the earth's environment and quality of life. A study of this situation is perhaps best housed in the interdisciplinary field of environmental science which requires a good understanding of almost all academic disciplines including biology (especially ecology), chemistry, economics, geology, natural resource management, physics, politics and sociology. In this course, some basic chemical principles will be developed as we survey some of the most important chemical revolutions with regards to the twentieth century. It is intended that once students have been through this material, they will have a chemical understanding of these subjects as well as the ability to communicate with chemists relating to a broader range of issues.
1 Raven, P., Berg, L., Johnson, G.B., "Environment", Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth, 1993
2 Kotz, J.C. and Triechel, P., "Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity", Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth, 1996.
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