Biosphere and its Dependent Links to the other Spheres

For sustenance of life the biosphere depends on itself and other spheres of the environment. Some of the ways the biological environment depends on other components of the natural environment are highlighted below:

Dependence on Atmosphere: Life processes involve a vast number of chemical reactions, some of which either extract or emit gases from and to the atmosphere which acts as the store house for these gases. For instance, photosynthesis absorbs CO2 from and produces oxygen to the atmosphere.

Hence the atmospheric component of the environment should not be damaged so that both plant and animal (including human) life can continue to receive the support of the atmosphere.

Dependence on Hydrosphere: The biological environment requires water to survive because water is essential for all living organisms in the biosphere and has played a key role in the evolution and sustenance of life on our planet.

Water is also important in transporting soluble nutrients (phosphate and nitrate) that are needed for plant growth, and for transporting the waste products of life’s chemical reactions.

This means that the water environment component of the natural environment should not be overused or misused for the satisfaction of present needs since water is still needed to sustain life after our present generation.

Dependence on Geosphere: The land (geosphere) and biological (biosphere) components of the natural environment are intimately connected through soil which consists of a mixture of air, mineral matter, organic matter, and water.

Biosphere and its Dependent Links to the other Spheres

Indeed soil is important for both plant and animal life. Minerals exploitation and mining activities for human survival also depend on the land. One pertinent environment issue is how to use land sustainably.

Biosphere and its links to other spheres (components) of the environment: The biological environment (biosphere) is of great significance to us for two principal reasons:

Humans are part of the biological environment and so should naturally be concerned about it.

The changes that occur in the biosphere itself and in other spheres (components) of natural environment originate from human activities.

The point raised in (ii) emphasize that an important part of the subject matter of environmental economics is the study of human activity impact on all the components of the natural environment (please see the definition of EE and identify the other two important aspects of EE as defined).

In order to impact on the four basic components of the natural environment, humans created another sphere of the environment called ANTHROSPHERE.

The Anthrosphere is that part of the environment that is made or modified by humans for use in human activities. It is also called the techno sphere. As human technology becomes more evolved, so do the impacts of human activities on the natural environment.

Below are some of the ways that the anthrosphere has impacted on other components of the natural environment:

Atmosphere: Industrial and agricultural activities have changed the composition of the atmosphere (the air environment). For example, we have increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by not less than 26% and doubled the concentration of methane gas.

The productions of chlorofluorocarbons are depleting the earth’s ozone layer, our natural defense against ultraviolent radiation. Man has also affected the quality of air (e.g. smog), especially in urban areas which result in respiratory problems

Hydrosphere: Humans have impacted the water environment by withdrawing large amounts of groundwater for agriculture and contaminating rivers, lakes, groundwater and oceans by organic and industrial wastes.

Biosphere: Humans have already altered the biological environment, of which they are a part, through economic activities. A prime example is the slash and burn agricultural practice in the tropics where rainforest is cut and burned and the land is converted to pasture.

Geosphere: Minerals and energy resources (coal, crude oil, coke, etc) from the land environment have fueled the industrial revolution that has permitted the human specie to increase so prodigiously in number.

Read Also : Land Environment and Biological Environment (Biosphere) Structure of the Environment

For example, the exploitation of fossil fuels has increased our standard of living but an unintended consequence of this action may be climate change and global warming.

The ultimate goal of environmental economic is to minimize the flux of pollutants and/or toxic substances across the interface between the astrosphere and other spheres while maintaining a functional technological society.

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Benadine Nonye

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