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Social sciences:


Grade 8

Natural resources

Module 7

Energy and water


In general terms, energy use in South Africa is inefficient and unsustainable. The country’s estimated share of two per cent to the world’s carbon dioxide production is a disproportionately high contribution to global warming and human-induced climate change. According to the United Nations, on a per capita basis South Africa is the world’s third highest emitter of carbon dioxide. The country should therefore not strive towards generating and selling more power, as it would lead to more pollution. We should rather manage the demand, so that overall consumption is reduced.

More than three quarters of South Africa’s energy is derived from coal, making the country’s dependence on this non-renewable resource one of the highest in the world. However, South Africa has huge coal reserves of more than 58 000 tonnes. About half of the coal mined in South Africa is used to generate electricity. A quarter is used to produce synthetic liquid fuels through the Sasol process, while another quarter is burnt directly by industry or in homes to provide heat.

All the big coal-fired power stations are situated within a 150 km radius of the major coal mines in Mpumalanga. The result is air pollution that some scientists suggest is equal to the worst in the world.

Air pollution poses extremely serious environmental consequences, as a substantial amount of South Africa’s agriculturally productive land and commercial forests, as well as about 25 per cent of its surface water run-off also occur within this region. Direct coal burning by industry and in townships without access to electricity, is also responsible for substantial pollution, resulting in environmental and health problems.

Activity 1:

To explain concepts relating to energy

[lo 1.1]

1. Identify the three natural resources which, according to the text, are not utilised in a sustainable way, and describe their meanings:

2. Why do half of South Africa’s population rely on fuel-wood as a source of energy?

3. Explain the following:

Synthetic fuel

Global warming


Human-induced climate change

A major environmental problem is the fact that an estimated half of South Africa’s population currently still rely on the non-sustainable use of fuel-wood for their energy requirements. If current consumption rates continue, all natural woodlands in the former ‘homeland’ areas could be denuded by 2020.

Although nuclear power does enjoy some support, electricity generated at the Koeberg power station is more expensive that other power in the national network.

Moreover, a number of major environmental and social problems relating to the disposal of dangerous nuclear waste have not yet been solved.

Activity 2:

To find ways to reduce the use of resources

[lo 3.3]

1. Discuss the following statement:

More emphasis should be given to the provision of efficient and accessible public transport, while there should be incentives for making less use of private transport.

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Geography grade 8. OpenStax CNX. Sep 11, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11036/1.1
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