The central argument for monitoring can be stated in a single sentence: You cannot recognize, understand, improve or maintain what you do not or cannot measure. The ability to measure is a necessity—an activity that we need to maintain our well-being and the quality of our lives. Also, this need places monitoring squarely in the context of achieving sustainability; it provides valuable tools that offer indicative measures of:
Ecological and Environmental Resources;
Economic Development and Growth; and
Social Structure and Dynamics.
Purposeful, scientifically-defensible and credible measurements and observations in each of these areas can provide powerful bases for decisions and management actions that are focused upon a variety of goals including those related to sustainability. Broad categories of measurements arise from the practice of a spectrum of disciplines, not only those arising from environmental issues, opportunities and concerns.
The etymology of the term 'monitoring' derives from the Latin monēre: to warn (that is, “something or someone that warns, an overseer). Originally, in English, the definition of the term monitoring was limited to characterizing “someone who gives a warning so that a mistake can be avoided”. Now, it also connotes the act of observing something (and sometimes keeping a record of that observation; or to: keep watch; keep track of; keep under surveillance; or, check usually for a special purpose). With ever-increasing technological capability, the term can be used to describe a device (usually electronic) used to record, regulate, or control a process or system. Its meaning extends to keeping track of systematically (that is, on a regular or ongoing basis) with a view to collecting information. For example, to monitor the plant or animal populations of an ecological system or drinking water for impurities, to measure the condition of a nation's economy, or to monitor a peoples' social, political or cultural views or habits.
Humankind is now in its third generation since the chemical revolution—circa 1940. The myriad dimensions and implications of this worldwide phenomenon and its actual and...
Introduction to Management and Conservation of Wildlife in a Changing Arctic EnvironmentLast Updated on 2014-07-07 18:26:28
This is Section 11.1 of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Lead Author: David R. Klein; Contributing Authors: Leonid M. Baskin, Lyudmila S. Bogoslovskaya, Kjell Danell, Anne Gunn, David B. Irons, Gary P. Kofinas, Kit M. Kovacs, Margarita Magomedova, Rosa H. Meehan, Don E. Russell, Patrick Valkenburg
What can be learned from present wildlife management systems in the Arctic that can be drawn upon to alter existing systems or to design new ones to more effectively deal with climate-induced changes, and other changes that may occur in the future? Climate is the driver of change that has been the primary focus of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, however, it is important to remember that changes from other causes are also underway within the Arctic and that these are also affecting arctic ecosystems, as well as the economies, lifestyles, and dependency on wildlife of people in the... More »
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United StatesLast Updated on 2014-06-30 19:00:15
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency within the United States Department of Commerce. As a science-based operational agency tasked with monitoring climate and changes in the environment, NOAA is responsible for the study of the atmosphere and the oceans. The agency issues daily weather forecasts and storm warnings, restores coastline, aids the flow of marine commerce, and manages fisheries. NOAA's activities facilitate weather- and climate-sensitive economic activity that account for roughly one-third of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). The agency also responds to natural and man-made maritime disasters, operates a complex network of oceanographic, meteorological and atmospheric data-collecting products and services, and manages marine mammals, marine endangered... More »
RicinLast Updated on 2014-06-30 13:49:34
The Director's Emergency Operations Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assembled basic information about the toxin ricin. You can find more detailed information on the CDC's Ricin Homepage.
Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. If castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury. Ricin can be made from the waste material left over from processing castor beans.
It can be in the form of a powder, a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid.
It is a stable substance under normal conditions, but can be inactivated by heat above 80 degrees Centigrade (176 degrees Fahrenheit).
Castor beans are processed throughout the world to make castor oil. Ricin is part of the waste “mash” produced when castor oil is made.
Ricin has been used experimentally in medicine to... More »
Healthy Community DesignLast Updated on 2014-06-29 19:10:40The way we design and build our communities can affect our physical and mental health. Healthy community design integrates evidence-based health strategies into community planning, transportation, and land-use decisions.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that healthy community design can improve people’s health by:
Increasing physical activity;
Increasing access to healthy food;
Improving air and water quality;
Minimizing the effects of climate change;
Decreasing mental health stresses;
Strengthening the social fabric of a community; and
Providing fair access to livelihood, education, and resources.
According to the World Health Organization, health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of infirmity. A healthy community as described by the U.S. Department of Health and... More »
SeleniumLast Updated on 2014-06-29 16:59:07
Selenium is a gray, metallic element. Its atomic number is 34 and its symbol is Se. The Swedish scientist Jons Jacob Berzelius discovered selenium in 1817. In studying the sulfuric acid produced in a particular Swedish factory, he discovered an impurity which he eventually identified as selenium. Selenium occurs in three distinct forms: as a non-crystalline, gray metal; it can form as a deep red to black powder; and it can form as red crystals. It is stable in air and in water. Selenium is actually an important trace element to mammals and some plants. Too much selenium in a mammal’s diet is poisonous and has been shown to cause deformities. When there is not enough selenium, a mammal can also have health problems. For example, sheep that graze in areas with too little selenium in the soil eventually have a problem known as “white muscle disease.” Lack of selenium... More »
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