3.1 Habitat

The environment in which any organism lives is known as its habitat. It will share its habitat with other organisms, that are themselves part of the habitat. A habitat has distinctive physical and chemical features.

Question 4

Can
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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 Legacies and inheritance

There is no doubt that each one of us affects the lives of those who surround us. Many of our interactions with others are very obvious to us and could be described in terms of personal, professional and social relationships. But there are other, often unnoticed, interactions: the mother taking her children to school, the man buying his paper, the youth at the bus stop – all people we see regularly and only notice when they are not there. Younger people are often very worried about what oth
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Introduction

This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from Human biology and health (SK220), which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in this curriculum area.

To be able to understand the importance of the environment for our health, we need to know a little about the interdepende
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Acknowledgements

The material acknowledged below is Proprietary, used under licence and not subject to Creative Commons licensing (see terms and conditions). Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following:

Figure 1/Unit Image © John Isaac/Still Pictures

Figure 2 © Ian Hodgson/Reuters/Popperfoto

Figure 3 © PA Photos

Figure 4 © Accent Alaska

Figure 5 © Tony Bennets/Lonely Planet Images

Figure 6 © Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography


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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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2.3 The Industrial Revolution and its environmental impacts

The environmental issues you have identified in your answer to the first exercise are likely to be complex and difficult to unravel, yet alone resolve. Rather than attempt that at this stage I'd like to start this section with another question. Where does our material prosperity come from? To which one short answer would be ‘The Industrial Revolution’. In the space of less than 100 years between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, first Britain, then several other count
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6.4 International retributive justice

A further difference between communitarians and cosmopolitans arises over the question of retributive justice. Communitarians think that it is the responsibility of each state to uphold justice. Collectively, states can pursue international justice through the auspices of the UN, and are answerable to each other, to public opinion and to NGOs. However, there is no basis for claims to universal jurisdiction, and to deal with matters not found in specific states (such as piracy), or that cross
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5.4 The influence of the Western perspective

With regard to the first set of problems – that the rights discourse is not universal but is deeply informed by a Western perspective – it is striking that many actors and commentators on the international stage now frame their arguments and assertions in terms of the language of rights and justice. Yet we need to ask to what extent this language of rights and justice really underpins shared understandings and values. There is a strong case for saying that if there are shared understandin
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3.4 Debates about rights

There are at least four big debates about modern individual rights. The aim in putting these before you is to introduce these hotly contested issues to which there are no conclusive answers, but which help frame discussions about human rights. Considering these debates is designed to help you weigh up the different arguments and form your own opinions about the meaning and effectiveness of rights claims.

The first debate concerns how our rights are grounded. One view is that our
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1 International human rights: an introduction

There are many examples of claims for rights in the international sphere.

One example was reported in September 2002. The British government was asked to make efforts to have a British man held by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay deported to Britain to face charges of terrorism there in connection with the attacks on 11 September 2001. Concerns were expressed about the denial of this man's human rights at Guantanamo Bay. Are alleged terrorists entitled to human rights? Can the denial of
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • understand the different interpretations of internationally recognised notions of rights and justice;

  • give examples of implementing justice in an international sphere;

  • investigate questions in international studies;

  • analyse the different agencies of change in the international system.


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Acknowledgements

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material within this book.

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2.3 Divisions that matter: thinking through territories

Without losing our focus on the planet as a whole, it is time now to return to what Paani Laupepa from Tuvalu refers to as the ‘front line’ of climate change: those islands that are particularly vulnerable to rising sea level and associated climatic hazards (Lynas, 2003). It has often been said that low-lying coral islands like Tuvalu or Kiribas in the Pacific Ocean, or the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, are acting as a kind of early warning system for global climate change. Sea level is e
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1 Dividing the planet

A good globe can set you back quite a lot of money. Of course, I don't mean the little moulded plastic planets or the globes you can blow up as if the world were a beach ball, but the decent sized ones that sit solidly on turned wooden bases and quietly emanate authority from the corner of a room. Yet these days, it hardly seems worthwhile making such an investment. Countries appear to change their colour, their shape or their name with remarkable rapidity.

It has become a cliché to po
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand some of the key ways in which globalisation is shaping the world today;

  • give examples of how ideas of 'proximity' and 'distance' can be used to understand an increasingly demanding world;

  • illustrate the importance of recognising the liveliness of the natural world.


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1.3.1 Parts consolidation

The most obvious use of polymers is for enclosures for working equipment, such as power and garden tools as well as cooking devices, and electronic products such as computers, video recorders and fax machines (as well as the products used in those machines). They are not just boxes for containment; such plastic enclosures can incorporate carefully designed ribs, webs and flanges on the hidden, inner sides to hold working components securely in place when in operation (Figure 9).


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5.1 Introduction: the general framework

The general framework of systems engineering adopted in the course consists of: a hierarchy of elements; aims associated within its outputs and process; a set of principles; a division into technical and managerial components of the process.

The lexicon of system engineering used in the course contains the hierarchy of elements:

  • strategy: meaning the accumulated decisions concerning the areas in which an organisation operates and its lon
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3.3 Optical amplifiers

Figure 22 shows in outline one possible structure for an Erbium-doped fibre amplifier (EDFA).

Figure 22
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2.4.3 Polarization mode distortion

Because light is an electromagnetic wave, it has a ‘state of polarization’, which, for light in single-mode fibre, is at right angles to the path of the fibre. If you've not encountered electromagnetic waves before, all you need to appreciate is that as light travels down the fibre the electromagnetic field has an orientation across the fibre (Author(s): The Open University