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Sierra Club

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Environmental Calendars


The Biosphere
The Biosphere

The Earth's Biosphere
The Earth's


The Earth As Transformed by Human Action
The Earth As Transformed
by Human Action

Hidden Messages in Water
Hidden Messages

What Is a Biome?
What Is
a Biome?

Ecology: Concepts & Applications
Ecology: Concepts
and Applications

Ecology: The Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance
The Experimental Analysis
of Distribution
and Abundance

A Primer of Ecology
A Primer
of Ecology

Teacher's Best - The Creative Process

Eco-Spheres Environmental Educational Posters & Charts
for science & social studies classrooms, home schoolers, offices.

science > biology > health > ecology & environmental > ECO-SPHERES < peace & justice < social studies

You Are Here- Milky Way Galaxy Poster
You Are Here-
Milky Way Galaxy

Carl Sagan quote “Look at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. ...”

An ecosphere is a region of the universe that is capable of supporting life, we are sure of only one ecosphere- our planet, Earth.

Scientists have identified and named:

  • anthrosphere (mankind),
  • atmosphere (the gaseous mass surrounding a celestial body),
  • biosphere (Earth and its atmosphere that support life),
  • geosphere (the solid part of Earth), and
  • hydrosphere (water) in order to understand the relationships between living organisms and the environment they live in.

FYI - Current world population (estimated): .

Anthroshpere Poster


Societal, industrial, and agricultural practices by humans have led scientists to designate a separate “sphere” which encompasses all the changes in the enviroment brought about by human activity. Human beings as living organisms are included in the biosphere, but it is their creations, specifically utilities, facilities and systems, that make up the anthrosphere. Man has roamed the Earth for only about 3 million years, a mere speck compared to the age of the Earth at 4.6 billion years. old. But in this time humans have managed to physically change the land scape of the Earth more than any other living species.

Atmosphere - Industrial and agricultural processes have altered the chemical makeup of the atmosphere. For example, the combustion of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and intensifies the Greenhouse Effect. This intensification may contribute to global warming.

Biosphere - In order to grow crops and create pastures for domestic animals, land is often cleared of all trees. This is known as deforestation. Deforestation causes great loss of habitat for many species, forcing some to the brink of extinction while countless others have already disappeared form the Earth.

Geosphere - Deforestation and the damming of rivers have contributed to increased erosion in the geosphere. Mineral extraction practices such as surface mining and mountaintop removal physically alte the landscape.

Hydrosphere - The natural water cycle has been modified by the damming o rivers, the creation of man-made lakes, and agricultural practices. Industrial waste pollutes bodies of water and infiltrates the soil down to the groundwater, making the water unsuitable for drinking in some areas.

• more anthropology posters

Pollution Poster
Anthrosphere - Pollution Poster

Anthrosphere - Pollution

Although there are natural sources of pollution such as forest fires, pollen, and volcanic activity, most pollution is a by-product of human activities in the anthrosphere. Pollution is any harmful change in the characteristics of the natural environment brought about by the release of a substance. Pollution takes on many forms: sewage, household waste, noise, smoke, litter, automobile emissions, industrial effluents, pesticides, radiation, and more. Pollution can contaminate water in the hydrosphere, air in the atmosphere, and land in the geosphere. But the adverse effects of pollution are ultimately felt by the living organisms of the biosphere. Human population has grown rapidly, and agriculture and industry require energy to sustain the expansion. The burning of fossil fuels for energy releases major amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and is believed to have caused an increase in the Earth's average temperature over the last few decades.

Pollutants have also depleted the ozone layer, which protects the biosphere from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Other problems caused by pollution include acid rain, contamination of the food chain, and the disposal of radioactive waste.

Growing awareness of these problems has led public and private organizations to try to contain or reduce pollution. Regulating emissions from cars and factories, for example, has reduced acid rain and smog. Many harmful pesticides have been banned. Most countries have passed laws prohibiting the production of chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-destroying chemicals. With an expanding population comes an ever-growing amount of trash and solid waste. How to manage that trash has become a topic of major concern, and has led to the creation of waste management programs in universities.

• more pollution posters

Atmosphere Poster


Poster Text: Sphere Information.
The Earth is surrounded by a layer of air known as the atmosphere which separates it from space. The atmosphere consists of nitrogen (77%), oxygen (20%), argon (1%), carbon dioxide (.03%), and water vapor (0.4%). The atmosphere is broken down into four distinct layers. The troposphere, where almost all weather occurs, is the lowest layer and extends about 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) from Earth's surface. The stratosphere, extending to 31 miles (49.9 kilometers) contains the ozone layer which protects life on Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. The mesophere sphere extends up to 59 miles (85.3 kilometers). The thermosphere, the final layer contains up to around 350 miles (581.3 kilometers.)

• more weather posters

Atmosphere: Weather & Climate Poster
Weather & Climate

Atmosphere: Weather & Climate

Poster Text: Nearly all weather events take place in the troposhere, the layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth's surface. The difference between weather and climate is that weather is a snapshot of the present conditions in the atmosphere, while climate is the history of that weather over a specified time. Six elements of weather are used to record the conditions of the atmosphere. 1. Temperature 2. Humidity 3. Wind 4. Barometric Pressure 5. Cloud Cover 6. Precipitation

Atmosphere: Oxygen Cycle Poster
Oxygen Cycle

Atmosphere: Oxygen Cycle

Poster Text: The oxygen cycle is essential for nearly all forms of life on Earth. Plants, animals, and many microorganism require oxygen to carry out the energy-yielding metabolic process known as respiration. Oxygen is use in cellular respiration, resulting in the release of energy which as been stored as food. Plants and other photosynthetic organisms utilze water and carbon dioxide to produce "food" in the form of carbohydrates like glucose. Oxygen is released into the atmosphere as a by-product of photosynthesis. Virtually all the atmospheric oxygen on which living things depend is a product of photosynthesis. The oxygen is taken in, used by the cells in respiration reactions, and carbon dioxide is released as a waste. The carbon dioxide is in turn used for photosynthesis, and tg cycle continues.

Biosphere Poster


Poster Text: Sphere Information.
The biosphere is the Earth's sphere of life. It is in this thin system that all living origanisms exist, depending on each other for survival. The biosphere has a hierarchy known as the food chain. This first tier, upon which all life is dependents, consists of organisms whose primary source of energy is photosynthisis. From that tier energy and mass transferred from one tier to another through eating and decaying. Living organisms also derive energy and nutrients from non-being sources such as soil, water and oxygen. ... The biosphere can be subdivided into ecosystems or biomes where opportunites of organisms are physically linked to their environments. Some examples of biomes are deserts, grasslands and rain forests.

Biosphere: Interdependence Poster
Biosphere, Interdependence

Biosphere: Interdependence

Poster Text: Organisms both cooperate and compete in the biosphere. The web of interdependence among species may generate ecosystems that are static for hundreds of thousands of years. While organisms may compete with one another for resources, they may also depend on each other for protection, transportation, food, or shelter. A close, long-term relationship between two organisms of different species is called symbosis.

Three main types of symbiosis are mutualism, commensalism and parasitism. Each illustrates a different variety of interdependence. ...

• more ecology posters

Biosphere: Adaptations & Biodiversity Poster
Biosphere: Adaptations & Biodiversity Poster

Biosphere: Adaptations & Biodiversity

Poster Text: An adaption is a change in the structure or function of an organism which allows it to thrive within its environment. It may take physical adaptation such as the size or shape of the organism or it way in whch its body works. It may also be a change in an animals behavior. Adaptation is produced through the process of natural selection. As the environment changes, organisms that cannot adapt eventually die. Individuals with the ability to adapt produce more successful offspring. These offspring may carry the adaption forward until the whole species contains organisms which are adapted to the new environment.
An organism's enviroment consists of many important element whcih can influence adaption. Whether the climat is hot, cold, dry or wet will have an effect on all creatures that live in that environment. The presence of predators will also have an effect. Prey animals must learn to defend themselves or become adept at escaping predators.

Geosphere: Rock Cycle Poster
Rock Cycle Poster

no longer available

Geosphere: Rock Cycle

Poster Text: In the rock cycle, rock is neither created nor destroyed, but is continually recycled. Rock changes both physically and chemically, and is redistributed and transformed. Under the crust of the Earth is a circulating layer of liquid molten rock known as magma. When magma cools and solifies underground or above ground it becomes igneous rock. Igneous rock, through heat and pressure can be transformed into metamorphic rock. Once rocks are ... on the surface of the Earth, weather and erosion produce sediment. The sediment is transported and deposited in layers, which undergo compaction to become sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rock can also become exposed to the same process that created it. Some rock becomes magma again through tectonic areas known as subduction zones. It is at these zones that one tectonic plate is pushed down under another....

Geosphere: Plate Tectonics Poster
Geosphere: Plate Tectonics

Geosphere: Plate Tectonics

Poster Text: The earth upon which we stand may seem solid and still, but in fact is in constant motion. That motion is explained in the theory of plate tectonics. The outermost layer of the Earth, the lithosphere, contains the continental crust and oceanic crusts. Those crusts are divided into separate land masses know as plates. These plates are floating on a molten layer of magma and rock called the ... and moving toward each other due to ....

Hydosphere Poster


Poster Text: The Hydrosphere encompasses all forms of water found within the Earth's spheres. Nearly 75% of the Earth is covered in water, including oceans, lakes, rivers, streams and underground water. Water can be found in the atmosphere as clouds, in the geosphere deep underground and in the biosphere inside ever living organism. Water is the basis for all life on Earth.
Water exists on Earth in all three chemical states, solid (ice), liquid (water) and gas (water vapor). Earth is the only place in our solar system where liquid water has been discovered. This gives Earth its nickname as the “Blue Planet.” The amount of water in the hydrosphere has largely remained unchanged since the beginning of time. It moves from sphere to sphere, it changes forms, taken in by plants and animals, but never really disappears.

rivers posters

Hydrosphere: Water Cycle Poster
Water Cycle Poster

Hydrosphere: Water Cycle

Poster Text: The movement and endless recycling of water throughout the Earth's ecosystem is known as the water cycle, or hydrologic cycle. Water from the Earth's surface is taken up into the atmosphere in vapor form. The water vapor condenses to form clouds and eventually returns to Earth as rain, sleet, hail or snow, depending upon atmospheric conditions. Water is then used by organisms, or flows through rivers to larger bodies of water such as oceans and lakes.

beverages / food posters
aquatic creatures posters

Hydrosphere: Environment Poster
Water Environments Poster

Hydrosphere: Water Environments

Poster Text: Water is stored in the hydroshpeher in areas called resovoirs. These reservoirs include the atmosphere, oceans, lakes, rivers, soils, glaciers, snowfields, and groundwater. Water is essential for life, and many of these reservoirs provide water environments for living organisms. Wetlands, coral reefs and open oceans are examples of biomes in which water plays a major role. The tropical rainforest biome, which supports the majority of the Earth's biodiversity, dependes on rainfall to sustain its abundant life.

There are many types of watery environments. These range from freshwater ponds to salty seas, whcih contain three times the salt concentration of the ocean.

The largest water environemnt on Earth is the ocean. Oceans cover 71% of the Earth's surface and are responsible for producing about half of the world's biomass (the weight of all plants, animals, fungi, and microbes in the biosphere). Most organisms in the oceans live at the sunlit ocean surface. Below 25 meters there is little light to support photosynthesis for plants, which are the building blocks for the rest of the food chain.

Wetland habitats support an immense diveristy of life, from tiny microscopic organisms to reptiles, to large mammals. By definition, wetlands are lands on which water covers the soil or is present either at or near the surface of the soil. In coastal wetlands and estuaries, the salt water and tides combine to create an environment in which only salt-tolerant species (halophytes) can survive. Inland wetlands include food plants along rivers and streams. Marshes and wet meadows are dominated by grasses and other non-woody plants or shrubs, while swamps are dominated by trees.

Freshwater Biome Poster
Biomes Overall

Biomes Overall

Poster Text: To define a BIOME, first examine the BIOSPHERE of our planet. The BIOSPHERE is the part of the Earth's atmosphere, crust and waters that support life. It extends nearly 8 kilometers above the Earth's surface and another 8 kilometers down into the planet's crust and oceans.
For study purposes, scientists have divided the vast BIOSHPERE into smaller units. Often these units are called BIOMES. An ecological commuity that can be distinguished by its climate, plant and animals is called a BIOME.
The Earth has many BIOMES, each varying in temperature, landmass, currents, precipitations, amount of light and so on. These variances create distinct habitats, forming complex communities of interdependent plant and animals.
Scientists do not agree on the number and types of BIOMES. In nature, similar organisms often exhibit unique qualities that set them apart, but not enough to distinguish them completely from others. The same is true for BIOMES. A diciduous forest may contain an unusual number of coniferous trees, but not enough to make it a coniferous forest.

• more biomes posters

Earth at Night Poster
Earth at Night Poster

Earth at Night Poster
highlights the glowing lights cities generate at night

• more Earth from Space astronomy posters
• more cities posters

Ocean & Seas Poster
Oceans & Seas

Oceans and Seas

Provide an at-a-glance overview of the waterworlds that make up three-quarters of our world. Covers average temperature in °C, percentage of mineral salts contained in seawater, surface extension and depth of oceans, sunlight penetration in the sea, presence of plankton in the sea, seawater salinity in percentage and more. All information is based on the latest scientific information and is conveyed in an easy to understand style.

• more marine / aquatics posters

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