Human systems and resource use

Study and revision resources

Fig 5.1: Introduction to soil systems slide show

Birth rates, death rates and population change

Read this BBC article and answer the following questions:

  1. Define the following terms:
    • Crdue Birth Rate
    • Crude Death Rate
    • Natural Increase Rate
    • Doubling Time
    • Infant Mortality Rate
    • Total Fertility Rate
  2. Using figure 8.1, describe the growth in world populations, refer to dates and figures.
  3. Describe the pattern of doubling time shown in the chart.
  4. Using figure 8.2, describe the pattern of birth rates globally and suggest reasons for it.
  5. Using figure 8.3, describe the pattern of death rates globally and suggest reasons for it.
Fig 3.7: WTO 2017 Report

Natural Capital and Sustainability


  1. What is a resource? (1 mark)
  2. Explain the why resources values change over time - refer to at least 2 examples. (5 marks)
  3. What is natural capital? (1 mark)
  4. What is renewable natural capital (give examples)? (2 marks)
  5. What is natural income? (1 mark)
  6. Explain why sustainable use of renewable natural capital is so important. (2 marks)
  7. Give some examples of non-renewable natural capital. Describe how we could extend the natural income that we can gain from them. (4 marks)
  8. Why is it difficult to predict how long many of the planets non-renewable resources will last? (2 marks)
Fig 3.14: Feedback Loops

The Changing Value of Oil


  1. Watch the first 40 minutes of the video.
  2. Explain why oil is a non-renewable resource.
  3. Describe and explain the changing value of:
    • whale blubber as a resource
    • crude oil as a resource (include the impact of differing qualities, the electric light and the internal combustion engine)
    • How might the value of oil as a resource change during the remainder of this century (think about the supply of it, alternatives (renewable energies) and changing attitudes/gov policies).
Fig 3.14: Feedback Loops

Tuna fishing - unsustainable use of renewable natural capital


Use the following articles to find out about tuna fishing and its sustainability

  1. Describe the impact of overfishing on global tuna populations.
  2. Why is tuna being over-fished - especially the blue-fin tuna?
  3. What has been done to try and manage tuna fishing in a more sustainable way?
  4. How effective have these efforts been? Why does the problem still exist?
waste disposal pyramid
Fig 8.31: Waste disposal pyramid

Waste disposal strategies

There are many different strategies avaialble for dealing with the issue of waste. Our reliance on linear economic systems creates a lot of waste. This is becoming more costly to dispose of as environmental regulations get tougher. Ideally businesses and individulas would change their atitudes and work towards creating more circular economy systems.


  1. Make a copy of the figure 8.31.
  2. Briefly describe what each term means and explain the hierachy (why is each level better than the previous?)
  3. For each level, research and find an example of a strategy to manage solid domestic waste. Evaluate how successful it has been.
  4. I have put some examples below to get you started.
Fig 3.6: Tragedy of the comons

Ecological Footprint and Earth Overshoot

Historical dates for earth overshoot day
Fig 3.7: Earth Overshoot Historical
Country overshoot days
Fig 3.7: Earth Overshoot Day per Country
Fig 3.6: Ecological Footprint

Ecological Footprints


Use the 3 web link to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the Earth overshoot day (use this link)
  2. Study figure 1: Describe the pattern shown in the graph below (use data). [3 marks]
  3. Suggest 3 reasons for the pattern shown. [3 marks]
  4. Why should we be concerned about the pattern (link your answer to sustainability) [3 marks]
  5. Study figure 2 Explain why some countries have much earlier dates than others. (include population levels, development, natural resources, biomes) [8 marks]
  6. Use this link to calculate your own Ecological Footprint. Screenshot the result and insert in your doc. [2 marks]
  7. How could you reduce your ecological footprint - suggest 2 main ways. [2 marks]
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