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What Is the Environment?

Red Deer RiverNearly everybody has heard about "the environment".  It's in the newspapers, magazines, books, radio, and television.  But what is it exactly?  Quite simply the environment is your surroundings.  No matter where you are, you have an environment.  At home, at school, at work, at the lake, in the forest, downtown in your city or town, everything around you is your environment.

Your environment has an effect on you and you can have an effect on your environment.  If you throw litter into the street, you are changing your environment.  You are making it less livable and dirtier.  If you are sitting in a stuffy room, you may feel sleepy.  Your environment (or one part of it, the air) is having an effect on you.

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In a day you can go through many different environments.  Your neighbourhood is an environment.  The province of Alberta can be considered an environment.  So is Canada.  So is the whole world.

The different parts of the environment affect each other.  A very simple example is that  cities are warmer at night than the country.  This is due to the large concrete buildings which store heat from the sun. At night, as the air begins to cool, the buildings warmed by the sun give off the heat.  In addition, pollutants in the air around a city trap more heat so that it takes longer to cool off.  Listen to weather reports.  It is seldom as cold in the city at night as it is in the country.


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