Presentation on theme: "80 million babies born every year –Mostly in developing world, so less impact 20% of population consume 85% world’s resources –20% is in Industrialized."— Presentation transcript:
80 million babies born every year –Mostly in developing world, so less impact 20% of population consume 85% world’s resources –20% is in Industrialized western countries If small fraction of developing world lived like developed world, Earth would quickly be overwhelmed with pollution and waste
Maintaining economic growth without compromising the environment. Focus of the 1987 Bruntland Commission (aka: UN Commission on the State of the Environment). –Called on developed world to reduce consumption & practise sustainability –Called on developing world to reduce population growth Canadians look to gov’t to take action, but gov’t and international actions have not been as successful as hoped 1992 Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil produced statement of action called Agenda 21 –Intended to encourage development of sustainable world economy –Over 10 years later, little progress has been made
Value of fresh water underrated –3% of world’s water is fresh water –Is enough to supply the world, but distribution is unequal. 78% of that locked in ice caps and glaciers Remainder is underground (ground water) Great Lakes = 18% world’s surface fresh water Developed nations known for water waste and pollution
Groundwater supply threatened by: –Increasing population –Diversions of surface supply (agriculture) 40% world’s harvests come from irrigation USA, China & India facing reduced g.w. supplies –These three nations produce ½ the world’s food Last ½ 20 th C, amount of irrigated land more than doubled (over 250 million hectares) –Farmers had better technologies to access groundwater »Access water in “Aquifers”
Threats to Water Quality and Supply Groundwater Depletion –Over pumping of aquifers (underground layer of water- permeable rock) which replenish slowly reduces the water table (top of saturated layer of porous rock – ground water)
Water supply is cheap and reliable Once depleted, takes long time to recharge –North China Plain where most China’s food produced, water table falling 1.5 m per year –India’s water tables falling 1-3 m per year and could reduce India’s harvest by 25%, making India more dependent on imported grain –USA’s Ogallala Aquifer = world’s largest, supplies 1/5 USA’s irrigated land. Filled over thousands of years by runoff from Rockies. In 50 years, reduced by 50% US gov’t allows “groundwater depletion” as tax write off for farmers…so much for conservation!
Threats to Water Quality and Supply in Canada Misuse –19% fresh water used for industry –9% for municipal / residential services
Threats to Water Quality and Supply in Canada Contamination –Oil tanker accidents –Natural causes –Dumping of waste
Threats to Water Quality and Supply in Canada Contamination –Industrial By-products of production in oil refineries, pulp mills, nuclear reactors, and chemical factories
Threats to Water Quality and Supply in Canada Contaminaton –Municipal Raw sewage, detergents, and solvents
Threats to Water Quality and Supply in Canada Misuse –67% of accessible surface water is used by agriculture –When farmers till land, it loses moisture – so land is irrigated – watered by artificial means
Current technology can = sustainable water management –Micro-dams –More efficient rainwater harvesting –Reclaimed/recycled water –De-salinated seawater –Low energy sprinkler systems –Drip irrigation directing water to roots –High efficiency/low flow toilets –Taxes or user rates to encourage water conservation
Issue: Ozone Layer In the last 30 years, the Ozone Layer has been getting thinner over the poles. The hole in the ozone layer is caused by too many CFC’s – chlorofluorocarbons – in the atmosphere.
Ozone layer =thin layer 15-50 Km above surface of Earth –O 3 =only gas that can block UV rays from sun UV rays can cause skin cancer –Damages plant and animal species (plankton) –Penetrates up to 20 m into ocean –Depletion most evident at N & S Poles, esp in Spring 60% depleted above Antarctica Why there? Higher levels of chlorine found there will react to destroy the Ozone!
Chemicals, esp. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) cause 80% of damage –Widely used since 1930s Coolants for fridges & air conditioners In foams, solvents & aerosol spray cans UN Environmental Program (UNEP) working to phase out use of ozone depleting chemicals –Montreal Protocol (1987): all industrial nations agree to cut use of CFCs by 2000 Amount of chemicals released increasing Only complete elimination of CFCs & recapture of those in the atmosphere will halt damage to the Ozone Layer Simple phasing out of CFCs = 100 yrs to reach 1980’s atmospheric condition http://www.unep.fr/ozonaction/information/vi deo/ozzy.htm#english
Gases trap heat energy from sun similar to a greenhouse –Natural factors (volcanoes, meteor impacts) have caused climate change in past Since industrial Rev. burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) = more CO 2 in atmosphere Causes rise in temperature 1-3 degrees by 2050 (slight changes=profound impact)
The Greenhouse Gas Effect The greenhouse effect is a natural process by which some of the radiant heat from the Sun is captured in the lower atmosphere of the Earth, thus maintaining the temperature of the Earth's surface.
The Greenhouse Gas Effect The gases that help capture the heat, called “greenhouse gases,” include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and a variety of manufactured chemicals.
Human Causes KEY ACTIONS: –Cars (burning gas/oil) –Factory Emissions - this is a big one –Deforestation of “the lungs of the earth” The burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and clearing forests we have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere and temperatures are rising.
Physical Effects of Warming Melting ice caps – which adds freshwater to ocean decreasing its salinity – affects ocean currents. Melting permafrost – storage basin for massive amounts of CO2 – tipping point.
Physical Effects of Warming “ Weird Weather” – increasing numbers of storms, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes. Shifts in Climate Zones and Vegetation Patterns.
Seeing the Changes The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years. Malaria has spread to higher altitudes in places like the Colombian Andes, 7,000 feet above sea level.
Seeing the Changes The flow of ice from glaciers in Greenland has more than doubled over the past decade. At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, moving closer to the poles.
Catastrophic Consequences Deaths from global warming will double in just 25 years -- to 300,000 people a year. Global sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide.
Catastrophic Consequences Heat waves will be more frequent and more intense. Droughts and wildfires will occur more often. The Arctic Ocean could be ice free in summer by 2050. More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050. Displaced peoples – currently 25 million environmental refugees. Destruction of property + infrastructure.
Problems Arctic sea ice shrinking & seasonal melt = weeks earlier than in past Polar bears starving, need ice to hunt seals –Bears’ birth rate & av. Weight has fallen Arctic communities face sinking shorelines as permafrost melts Survival rate of BC’s spawning salmon 1/3 rd what it was in 1990 –Warmer water temps deplete phytoplankton salmon eat, less growth, smaller fish can’t survive swim upstream –Ripple effect in ocean food chain if salmon stocks reduced Winter recreation areas economically impacted by warmer winters Freak weather systems & devastating storms more likely More droughts and forest fires Benefits Tree line could be extended further north and higher up mountains Shorter growing seasons could benefit farmers –Possibly offset by droughts
WHAT ARE SOME CURRENT AGREEMENTS TO STOP CLIMATE CHANGE / POLLUTION?
Climate Change Agreements The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to cut greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
Kyoto Protocol –Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6% of our 1990 levels by 2012 - Solutions include phasing out coal plants, expanding renewable energy sources and public transit, and creating new efficiency standards for vehicles and buildings. –Canada among top emitters of greenhouse gases, and despite Kyoto our levels are increasing
Kyoto Targets Canada initially signed on, but the US refused to a long- term commitment. Canada recently pulled out of Kyoto (Dec. 2011) and now does not have a pollution reduction plan. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has agreed to a G7 commitment to deep cuts in carbon emissions by 2050- with an eventual stop in the use of fossil fules by the end of the century. (June 2015)
Arguments against Kyoto Concerned that meeting goals will involve high costs to businesses and government and possible loss of jobs Provincial governments must regulate polluting industries despite the fact that the federal government signed the agreement without consulting the provinces Some argue not enough evidence that global warming to blame for climate change
Kyoto & Canada 2006 - Canada's greenhouse gas emissions were up by 24% far from the government's commitment to meet a target 6% below the 1990 levels
Many sustainable sources of energy –Wind turbines, solar power, tidal power, ground source energy, geothermal power Greenpeace believes wind power could provide 10% world’s electricity needs in next 20 years New hydrogen or methanol fuel cells could be adapted for cars, buses, homes and industries
Cause: Fossil fuel burning in addition to smelting of various ores releases sulphur dioxides, nitric oxides, nitrogen dioxides. Mostly industrial in origin. Effects: Global hydrological cycle becomes acidic. Plant and animals are stunted, killed, or deformed. Crops can fail, and the global amount of fresh water is diminished due to acidification. Human Health Effects: From increase in colds, flues, and respiratory infection, to increases in breast and colon cancer. Also, problems associated with loss of fresh water supply. Acid and toxins enter the human system through any food or drink related to water. Areas of Focus: While primarily focused on industrial areas, some areas have been ravaged by acid rain. The Great Lakes have lost much of their original life due to acid rain. The Eastern Seaboard of the United States, and many parts of Europe rate high.
Only 11% of land area on Earth can be used to grow crops Desertification: land turning to desert - Overgrazing of cattle & livestock - Removal of trees for firewood - Years of drought (i.e. Sahara Desert – Sahel area, Africa since 1970s). - Poor farming techniques = irrigation has made soils too salty to grow crops. - Removal of native vegetation so nutrients/soils are washed away = erosion. - Agricultural chemical / pesticide dependence = seep in groundwater, contaminate crops, kill insects, harm workers.
Lake Chad, Chad, Africa Lake Chad in a 2001 satellite image, with the actual lake in blue. The lake has shrunk by 95% since the 1960s.
Increasing use of pesticides & herbicides –Controls insects & kills weeds –Leads to toxic soils & residues in foods Agri Chemicals can seep into groundwater and streams –Harmful to farm workers (less protection for workers in developing nations) Insects needed in agriculture killed by pesticides too (ladybugs, honeybees) Increased interest in organically grown foods, people willing to pay higher $$
Issue: GMOs Genetically Modified (GM) Foods are foods produced from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) that have had their DNA altered through genetic engineering.
Genetically Modified Foods Altered by splicing in another organism’s gene (+)Some more resistant to disease or pests (+)Require fewer pesticides (+)Promises to increase yields (-)Controversial, consumers resistant CDN gov’t approved 50 GM foods since 1994, including corn, canola, soybeans, squash, potatoes and cotton 75% of all processed foods made with corn, soy or canola products Not required to label GM foods
Issue: Deforestation To “deforest” means to cut down trees – “reforestation” is the act of planting trees to replace the ones cut down. Tropical forests are being cleared around the world to make room for farming, mineral deposits and logging practices.
Deforestation The permanent loss of old growth forests Has a drastic effect on the world: Forests are important to the recycling of carbon dioxide, and the release of oxygen into the atmosphere
Sadly all of the world’s forests are under attack…
Nearby bodies of water because soil no longer covered by forest - it becomes stripped away by rain or snow after a tropical rainforest is cleared, the nutrients in the soil are exhausted; soil itself is eroded Washed-out soil raises riverbeds, which leads to flooding, clogs reservoirs, and shortens life of dams Also contributes to formation of new islands, which depletes coastal fisheries Many insect, animal, and plant species have become extinct or endangered due to deforestation Deforestation Effects
20% Earth’s land cover = temperate & northern forests Canada has ¼ of world’s temperate & boreal (northern) coniferous forests and virtually all the world’s old growth red and white pine –These forests used primarily for logging and recreation –Que & ON: nearly 1/5 of the forests damaged by dams, diversions & industrial development Along with acid rain and climate change, boreal forest may not last another 50 years (Global warming a huge threat) –In Northern Ontario, average temps up 1.5% in the 1990s. Accelerated evaporation from forest by 50%. Massive fires eliminated large portions of forest »Key habitat for numerous species
Western Mountain region: 14% of Canada’s forested land, produces 40% of its marketable timber –Largest segment of BC’s economy –Sustainability concerns: Old growth watersheds require careful stewardship “Brazil of the North” according to Greenpeace and Sierra Club
What are the environmental effects of Mining? Mining = The process or business of extracting ore or minerals from the ground (i.e. gold, silver, copper, coal, diamonds, iron, asbestos).
Mining Environmental issues include erosion, formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, and contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water by chemicals from mining processes.
Alberta Oil Sands (aka Tar Sands) In just a few years, Alberta oil sands development has made the province the greatest economic power in Canada. As the price of oil has risen, activity in the oil fields has also increased.
Alberta Oil Sands: Challenges With this growth have come new threats to the environment and new challenges to Canada in its attempt to rein in the emissions that contribute to climate change. This resource extraction has turned Alberta’s oil industry into Canada’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Alberta Oil Sands: The Damage 3,000 square kilometres of pristine boreal forest dug up and destroyed, along with its wetlands and muskeg = habitat for animals is lost and the animals are dying. The reduction in the flow of the Athabasca River by the removal of over 300 cubic metres of water annually and the consequent reduction in available water for other human activities, such as agriculture and habitat for animals.
Possible Solutions “GET R.E.A.L” The following acronym can be used to organize information when answering government exam questions that focus on solutions and or management strategies to environmental problems. R.Reduce, Reuse, Recycle E.Educate people about the dangers or consequences of the problems A.Alternatives. Provide people with alternatives to help solve problems L.Legislate laws to enforce rules that would help to solve the problem at hand EXAMPLE: Using your understanding of geography solutions that would help slow down global warming that is currently threading northern ecosystems. R. Reduce the number of cars on the road. This would limit the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Reuse and Recycle solid waste and other garbage from private house holds and industries. This would also limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted. E.Educate citizens about the dangers of global warming like increased violent storms and rising sea levels that would impact their lives. Having an understanding of the dangers of global warming might change people’s behaviour to slow down this process. A. Provide alternatives like public transportation for people to use to limit the amount of cars on the road and the amount CO2 emitted. Development of alternative energy sources like wind and solar power would decrease CO2. L. Legislate laws that require industries to find alternative energy sources. Legislate and enforce laws to decrease the number of cars on the road by providing tax incentives to people. (Carbon Tax)