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The Ecological Crisis Social Ecology: World Sustainability.

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Presentation on theme: "The Ecological Crisis Social Ecology: World Sustainability."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Ecological Crisis Social Ecology: World Sustainability

2 Paradigm Theory Cultural Groups Develop insider views of the world---shared sets of assumptions, jargon, definitions, methods---that cause them to see the world similarly. Resist change Anomaly Explanation Crisis Alternative Explanation Defense Revolution

3 Raising the Alarm in the 1960s Murray Bookchin (aka Lewis Herbert) Our Synthetic Environment, 1962 to suggest that pesticides, food additives, chemicalized agriculture, burgeoning urbanization and nuclear energy were harmful was regarded not merely as reactionary but as a national heresy given the sentiment characteristic of the country as a whole--- the equating of progress with mindless growth and the technocratic ideal of `progress above all.

4 Raising the Alarm in the 1960s Rachel Carson Our Silent Spring 1962 the controversy that exploded around Rachel Carsons book….highlights the extent to which American public opinion, orchestrated by corporate interests and government agencies, adhered to a grow or die economic mentality and a domineering attitude toward the natural world. [Bookchin, X11]





9 Limits to Growth 1972 The Club of Rome The world first confronts the reality that resources limits constrain growth. The Club of Rome---an international organization of scholars, industrialists and scientists from 25 nations funded Denis and Donella Meadows to run a computer model projecting conditions in 2100 from known data

10 The World Model Jay Forrester MIT Model complex systems and project outcomes given specified assumptions Overcome humans limited ability to handle complexity and large number of variables. Ex. Of simple linear extrapolation: Herman Kahn The Year 2000 (Hudson Institute) failed to anticipate energy, pollution or population problems. Assumed economic and technological growth would handle all problems.

11 Modeling Complex Systems Cont. Complex systems have multiple feedback loops Short run, linear decision making fails to anticipate unexpected results ex. Iron rule of highways. each variable affects all Synergistic interactions = 5 –ex. Drug interactions Time Delay –ex. Ozone hole, climate change

12 Modeling Complex Systems Cont. Von Bertalanffy---General Systems Theory Through- put outputinput SYSTEM: CLOSED OR OPEN

13 Buckminister Fuller: Make the world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone. Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth 1963 Dymaxion and Geodesic Dome ler3.html#botleft

14 Forrester Assumed that Social Systems: Engage in counterintuitive behavior The welfare of the system may be contradicted by subsystems with different goals The actions of one subsystem affect all Short term improvements conflict with long term perspectives because consequences invariably lead to degradation Are insensitive to policy changes intended to change the systems behavior.

15 System Dynamic Computer Modeling Assume key variables, trends and weighting of factors plus interactive factors. Use mathematical equations to simulate multiple interactions and non-linear relations among variables. Clearly specify assumptions. Can change assumptions as new information comes to light. Test different scenarios. Not predicting the future but projecting current trends to see consequences and allow for correction.

16 5 Key Variables Dynamically Interacted Population Pollution Natural Resources Industrial Output per capita Food per capita

17 Limitations Crude---ex. Pollution omitted many types of pollution and focused only on long lived types. Resources lumped all together. Assume resources last 250 years at 1970 use rates.

18 6 Major Assumptions 1.Finite stock of exploitable, non-renewable resources 2.Finite amount of land to grow food 3.Finite capacity of environment to absorb pollution 4.Technological change is incremental assuming money and environmental technology to allow. 5.Finite yield of food from any unit of arable land

19 Thomas Malthus 1798 Malthus published On Population. Imbalance between population and resources is inevitable because –Food increases arithmetically –Population increases geometrically God created a world in which the power of the eater to reproduce himself is of a superior order than that of the earth to produce food because fear of starvation stimulates men to be industrious.

20 Assumptions Continued 6. Exponential growth of population, pollution and industrial output as long as resources and their interaction permit. Ex. World population increasing at 1.7% - 1.8%.World population Population increased more than 6x in 200 years.

21 1 billion in billion in billion in billion in 2005 World Population (billions) Source: UN Population Division 2004; Lee, 2003; Population Reference Bureau

22 Exponential Growth When a quantity changes exponentially, its value will double (or halve) in regular time intervals. The time it takes to double depends on the annual percent of growth. You calculate doubling time by dividing this annual growth rate into 70. Doubling time in years = 70/growth rate or 70/1.8=39 years.

23 $1 trillion in 1900 $10 trillion in 1967 $52 trillion in 2003 World GDP (trillion 1990 dollars) Source: DeLong 1998

24 New York Citys Solar Energy Future The Center for Sustainable Energy at Bronx Community College, January 2006

25 NEOMALTHUSIAN INEQUITY We live in a world where 1/5 of people and 1/3 of children are hungry 1/5 of people lack clean water 1/5 of people lack adequate housing 1/3 of people lack health care and fuel ½ of people lack sanitation ¼ of adults cannot read and write

26 Overshoot = Crash S curve crash

27 Phantom Capacity & Overshoot Catton: carrying capacity illusions x reality Prosthetic/ Tech Fix Unlimited CC cc CC load Unrealisms realism

28 1 billion in billion in billion in billion in 2005 World Population (billions) Source: UN Population Division 2004; Lee, 2003; Population Reference Bureau

29 Findings of Limits to Growth If population and industrial growth continue to J curve, sometime after 2000, nonrenewable resources will be depleted and a population crash will follow de to scarcity of food and medicine. If assume technological advance doubles all resource reserves and you allow 75% recycling, there will be a sharp increase in pollution increasing death rates and causing a population crash.

30 BEYOND THE LIMITSBEYOND THE LIMITS, Meadows, et al. Tom Tietenberg; Harper Collins, 1992

31 Condition of Improving Standard of Living with Population Increase If world averages 2 children per family If world industrial output/capita stabilizes at 1975 levels If reduce resource consumption and pollution to ¼ of 1970 levels If shift consumption from material goods to services If direct capital toward food production, soil enrichment and erosion control If industrial capacity is built to last much longer.

32 Criticisms of Limits to Growth Not Assume technology and ingenuity increases to solve all problems Not assume people can adapt to all conditions Not objective; computer replaces humans Failure assured given exponential growth and finite resources Fatalistic---lessen hope, self fulfilling prophesy Lumps unique regions of the globe together See of_Perceptions.pdf

33 Mankind at the Turning Point Messarovic and Pestel 1974 To address criticism that world regions differ 2 nd study divided world into ten regions. Despite assuming technological optimism, more pessimistic. 1.Unless economy and growth redistributed from rich to poor nations, 2.Resources and food will collapse by 2050 in poor nations causing a population crash 3.Interdependency means regional collapse will pull all down. Ex. Asian Flu 1998

34 Changed Debate Move to neo-malthusian view –Not just population, but increased resource use is problem –Recognize World System---interconnected –Differences between poor and rich countries –West plus Japan and Russia --- ¼ population and 80% resource use –US 5% world population, 1/3 resource use and 1/3 pollution

35 Global 2000 July 1980 In May 1977, President Carter ordered a study of world population and natural resources through Done by US CEQ and DOS US govt. lacked a tradition of long term planning Trend projection using long term global data and models employed by federal agencies.

36 Global 2000 Conservative Bias Used existing long term data and models of US government Data on population, GNP, resources and environment taken sequentially Thus, not interact factors Allocate resources repetitiously Assume continued growth of earths goods and services without maintenance or higher costs

37 Assumptions of Global 2000 Continuation of public policy Continuation of rapid technological development without resistance (ex. Continually increasing crop yields) Assume that shortages of resources cause rising prices which will drop demand International trade not disturbed by war, politics or economics, etc.

38 Sample Findings Global 2000 As population increases, the gap between the rich and poor will widen Food production increase 90% assuming constant climate and environment –Due to energy intensive farming not new land Fertilizer, pesticide, machines, irrigation –Only a 15% per capita increase –Costs of food double –Increase food importation –Bulk of food go to rich –# of malnourished triple to 1.3 billion

39 Sample Findings Global 2000 #2 Food Cont. –1 hectare of arable land (2.5 acres) support people people LDC 5.5 people –Soil loses yearly size of Maine; by 2000 lose 1/3 worlds arable land –Increased use of grain for alcohol fuels Contradictionincrease production from Green Revolution ignores degradation from soil loss

40 Sample Findings Global 2000 #3 Soil Destruction is constraint to food growth: Higher yields at cost of soil integrity: –organic humusnutrients, water absorption –inorganic clay and salts---infertile –rock pieces, bedrock Desertification: barren land ex. Sahel –3x –overgrazing, farming on marginal lands –Drought cycles

41 Sample Findings Global 2000 #4 Waterlogging, salinization, alkalinization –Asia, S. America, California –collapse of Mesopotamia and Upper Nile Deforestration---increased flood and erosion Erosion---corn and marginal land farming –Loss of organic matter and largest CO2 sink Development---urbanization of river valleys, industrialization, sprawl

42 Sample Findings Global 2000 #5 Other factors affecting food: 1.Monocultures 2.Loss of diversity 3.Use of hybrids and designer crops 4.Fuel subsidies to agriculture 5.Pollution from pesticides, fertilizers, etc. Net effect: shift farming from renewable to non- renewable and unsustainable basis!!!!

43 Sample Findings Global 2000 #6 Other Conclusions: Fisheries overexploited Loss of forests ½ California/year –Particularly in LDCs (40% by 2000), Trop RF Severe Water shortages –doubling with population, irrigation Mineral resources no reserves, more $, inequity Global Climate Change by 2050 Loss of 20% of all species as habitats vanish Toxics cause health problems Oil reach maximum capacity despite higher prices

44 Sample Findings Global 2000 #7 The case of Fuel Wood ¼ use wood for fuel Poor mans oil By 2000, need exceed supply by 25% In Sahel (Sahara border) fuel wood gathering full time % family income No trees left k around cities Deforestation, erosion, desertification, higher costs, less fuel, and substitution of dung and crop residues.

45 Refutations of Global 2000 Julian Simon Heritage Foundation, Herman Kahn Hudson foundation: A Resourceful Earth The year 2000 will be less crowded (with more people), less polluted, more stable ecologically, less vulnerable to resource supply disruption. People will be richer and have more food.

46 Refutations of Global 2000 Assumptions made by Simon and Kahn: No water shortages Spread of cheap nuclear power Air & water pollution overblown problem US farmland not being urbanized signif. More than enough farmland No rapid species loss More food to feed the hungry Birth rate down while life expectancy is up

47 Refutation of Global 2000 Simon and Kahns Magic: resource problems become opportunities inviting entrepreneurs to solve them with ingenuity –Wood crisis-coal, coal crisis-oil, whale oil-oil They spur increases in knowledge which spurs growth Solutions to problems leave us better off –Ex. Rail to haul coal Need stimulus for discovery

48 Refutations of Global 2000 Simon & Kahn: People are not just the cause of problems but with training, the means to solve these problems: WE NEED MORE AND BIGGER PROBLEMS Steven Bardwell The World Needs 10 Billion People Fusion Sept –Qualitative innovations in technology must be planned on but cannot be planned for –fusion energy will allow more people and consumption (show chart)

49 Refutation of Global 2000 Bardwell: Convert J curve of productivity to linear curve because: Higher population leads to increased labor division, ingenuity, ideas, increased productivity Complex technologies can support more people More people are required for complex technologies

50 Our Common Future World Commission on Environment and Development (aka. Brundtland Commission) Cant separate economic development from environmental issues Inequality is main env. & devel. Problem Problem of the rich over consumption Problem of the poor natural disaster over time –exploit resources for export, debt, dumb aid, militarization, increase population, unemployment and cities, loss farmers, loss soil, drought and flood

51 Our Common Future 2 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Meeting the needs of the present without compromising future generations. Need for lifestyles within the planets ecological means; population size and growth in harmony with environment.

52 UN Conferences 1972 Stockholm conference on the environment, consensus on problems of development United Nations Conference on Environment and Development---Rio –Agenda World Summit on Sustainable Development---Johannesburg

53 Web Sources: The (2005) Millennium Ecosystem Assessment ts.Synthesis.aspx ts.Synthesis.aspx Koffi Annan We The Peoples: The Role of United Nations in the 21st Century. Chapter 4 : Sustaining Our Future. Al Gore. An Inconvenient Truth.

54 Lovins: Soft Energy Paths Renewable energy flows (energy income) Diverse (many small contributors) Flexible and low tech Resilient/ decentralized Match in scale and geographic distribution to end use needs Match in environmental quality to end use needs

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