1 First-order differential equations

The main teaching text of this unit is provided in the workbook below. The answers to the exercises that you'll find throughout the workbook are given in the answer book. You can access it by clicking on the link under the workbook.

Click 'View document' to open the workbook (PDF, 1.6 MB).

1.3.5 Journals

Journals and articles written by academics or experts are an excellent source of information. Journals are usually published monthly or quarterly, and contain a selection of articles providing details of recent research. Often they will also contain reviews of relevant books. They are usually published more quickly than books, and so are often more up to date.

To access content of journals, most publishers require a subscription. There are, however, some journals which you can freely ac
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4.3 Green from the grassroots up

People who demand a radical break with the business-dominated path of economic globalisation believe that the claims of the mainstream business community are at best hopelessly inadequate, and at worst deceitful. However, they know they have to come up with some answers of their own. This section outlines ideas that seek to underpin a transition to green economies owned and run at grassroots level. Sounds ambitious? Author(s): The Open University

3 How heavy is your footprint?

You've seen that individual and household carbon footprints vary widely both within and between countries. So, in this section you'll be working out your own carbon footprint using the computer-based calculator linked in the box below. This is the Quick version of this calculator. A more detailed and complete version is available when formally studying the Environment: journeys through a changing
Author(s): The Open University

1.3.3 The role of clouds

We have already identified one role that clouds play in the Earth's climate: they are highly reflective (Section 1.2.1). At any given time, about half of our planet is covered by clouds; the sunlight they reflect back to space accounts for about 55% of the total planetary albedo. However, clouds also absorb and re-emit outgoing longwave radiatio
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1.3.2 The fate of incoming solar radiation

Look back at Figure 7. In this schematic representation, what is the fate of incoming solar radiation?

Answer

It is either reflected back to space (31 units) or absorbed by the su
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1.3 Energy flows within the Earth-atmosphere system

Before we focus on the enhanced greenhouse effect, we need to refine the schematic representation in Figure 7 and draw in some of the other processes that influence the Earth's temperature – not only at the surface, but also at different levels within the atmosphere.


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1.2.1 Heating and cooling the Earth: the overall radiation balance

The Sun emits electromagnetic radiation with a range of wavelengths, but its peak emission is in the visible band – the sunlight that allows us to see. The wavelength of radiation has important climatic implications, as we shall see shortly. For now, we are mainly interested in the overall rate at which energy in the form of solar radiation reaches the Earth.

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2.2 Environmental pragmatism: positioning expert support

I believe that the principal task for an environmental pragmatism is not to reengage the … debates in environmental ethics but rather to impress upon environmental philosophers the need to take up the largely empirical question of what morally motivates humans to change their attitudes, behaviours, and policy preferences toward those more supportive of long-term environmental sustainability.

(Light, 2002, p. 446)


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References

Anon (2002) ‘The Windicator’, Windpower Monthly, January, p. 50.
Blake, William (1994) The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Dover Publications.
Boyle, G. (1966, 2003) Renewable Energy, Oxford, Oxford University Press in association with the Open University.
BP (2002) BP Statistical Review of World Energy [on
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2.2.1 Environmental economics

Environmental economics emerged as a sub-discipline in the 1960s, following a tradition that began in the early twentieth century with ‘agricultural’ economics and continued in the 1950s with ‘resource’ economics. In each case, natural resources are treated as environmental assets in the same way as other resource inputs, using the classical mainstream supply and demand economic models. David Pearce, who at one stage was at the forefront of environmental economics and was an ac
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7.4 Closing thoughts

Of course, doing anything about this needs scientific evidence and understanding, but it also requires social, economic and technological changes, which can only be achieved through political will. If you want to explore some of the broader context, a good place to start would be the New Internationalist issue 357, ‘The Big Switch: Climate Change Solutions’ at New Internationalist.

Faced with the sort of predictions climatologists are making, is it sufficient for science teac
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7.3 Running the models forward

What happens when the models are run forward? It depends upon the models used and the scenarios they are asked to run. It seems almost certain, however, that there will be increases in the global mean surface temperature, to the order of +1.5 to +4.5 °C (– possibly more, according to some models and scenarios.

These changes are predicted to be associated with increases in sea level, changes to weather conditions (e.g. more regular and violent winter storms in the UK) and changes to t
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2 Altering the environment

Later in this unit we will be considering a number of ways in which humans alter their environment.

Question 3

In what ways do you think we are altering the environment?

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1 1 Why sustainable energy matters

One of the greatest challenges facing humanity during the twenty-first century must surely be that of giving everyone on the planet access to safe, clean and sustainable energy supplies.

Throughout history, the use of energy has been central to the functioning and development of human societies. But during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, humanity learned how to harness the highly-concentrated forms of energy contained within fossil fuels. These provided the power that drove the
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6.4 Summary

After passing through a treatment works, water flows via transmission mains to service reservoirs which act to even out variations in consumption during a 24-hour demand period. It is then taken by distribution mains from the service reservoirs to the consumers. The head of water necessary for flow is provided by positioning the service reservoir at the correct level or by pumping. A pumped pipeline is called a rising main. The size of mains pipelines depends on the quantity and flow rate of
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5.8 Additional treatment

As a result of strict standards set by the EU Directive on the Quality of Drinking Water, it is now often necessary for drinking water to have further treatment to remove components such as nitrates and trace of organics.


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2.3 The life sciences sector in perspective

Before leaving the ‘big picture’ of the evolution of the pharmaceutical industry, it is important not to give the impression that it is the sole, or necessarily even the central, player in health provision. As in any other industry, it can contribute only because it operates in a wider sphere populated not only by other institutions and organisations but also by more amorphous socio-political ambitions, values and beliefs. For example, the medical technology industry facilitates health by
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3.1 What makes a nation, a state or a nation-state?

Why do England, Scotland and Wales take part in the Six Nations rugby championship alongside Italy, Ireland and France? Are they all ‘nations’? What do we mean by calling them ‘nations’? The nation has become one of the most contested concepts of our times. Scholars, politicians and political activists present different definitions of the nation, usually focusing on a variety of cultural, political, psychological, territorial, ethnic and sociological principles. The lack of an agreeme
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Introduction

Social scientists collect evidence to support their claims and theories in different ways. Such evidence is crucial to the practice of social science and to the production of social scientific knowledge.

You may be aware of the idea of active reading, which is about reading with the aim of understanding and grasping something: a definition, an argument, a piece of evidence. What that suggests is that active reading is about reading and thinking at the same time. In
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