Introduction to Environmental Science Environmental Science is essentially the study of ecosystems interacting with human systems. It is a broad interdisciplinary science that includes science, math, and social studies.
Introduction to Environmental Science Environmental Science recognizes that there are no ecosystems that are not impacted by humans. We all share the same resources, use the same available energy, and undergo changes as the environment changes.
Exponential human growth is at the center of all environmental concerns. Introduction to Environmental Science Sustainability is living off resources without depleting the Earths capital and jeopardizing future generations. Earths capital is all the combined available resources on the planet.
Sustainable yield is the highest rate that a resource can be used indefinitely without reducing its available supply. Introduction to Environmental Science Sustainable societies seek to manage growth of the economy, population, and resources. Are there any sustainable societies in the world?
The Wealth Gap GDP – Gross Domestic Product – is the annual market value of all goods and services produced by all firms and organizations, foreign and domestic, operating within a country. Per capita means divided by population
The Wealth Gap It is the distance between the GDP of developed and developing countries. There is no single definition however… Developed nation status is generally based on higher per capita GDPs (>$15000)… but there are many exceptions!
The Wealth Gap Per capita, Liechtenstein ($141,100), Qatar ($104,300), and Luxembourg ($81,100) are the wealthiest nations. US is $49,000 (11 th ) The U.S. ($15.29 trillion), China ($11.44 trillion), and India ($4.51 trillion) lead the world in total GDP. Zimbabwe ($500), Liberia ($500), and DRC ($400) are the three poorest countries (per capita).
The Wealth Gap Developed countries have ~1.2 billion people. Is only 21% of the worlds population. Utilize over 75% of all natural resources. Generate 75% of the worlds pollution.
Earths Capital Developing Countries Larger populations. Use small amounts of resources per person. Have less environmental regulations. Developed Countries Smaller populations. Use large amounts of resources per person. Have strict environmental regulations.
Earths Capital Renewable resources, such as energy from the sun, wind, tides, trees, animals, soil and water can be replenished naturally over a shorter time period (<100 yrs). Nonrenewable resources (fossil fuels and minerals) cant be replaced by natural processes quickly (>100 yrs).
Earths Capital Other resources can be reused A material is considered reusable if it can be put to another use without altering the product. rubber, plastic grocery bags Some resources can be recycled Some metals and minerals aluminum, iron
Pollution Overview Pollution is basically the wasteful use of resources (Earths capital). Unevenly distributed populations and resources increase it. Pollution is classified into two basic types: Point Source – comes from a single identifiable sources (factories, power plants, etc.) Non-Point Source – comes from dispersed sources (storm water runoff, oil from the highway).
Pollution Overview The severity of pollution depends on several factors concentration, amount, toxicity, ability to degrade, and the speed at which it is added. Small amounts of toxic materials are magnified as they are passed along the food chain.
Pollution Overview Biomagnification – a process that increases the effects of pollution as it passes through organisms in the food chain. As biomass increases, so does toxicity. They are directly proportional!
Pollution Overview The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in 1970. Its purpose is to monitor and eliminate air and water pollution, noise pollution, pollution from radiation, pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Sets the rules of environmental behavior.
Pollution Overview EPA… Regulators and legislators at all levels must choose how to achieve the desired behavior. All behaviors are maintained, changed, or shaped by the consequences of that behavior.
Pollution Overview Regulators and legislators at all levels must choose how to achieve the desired behavior. Reward the behavior. Punish the behavior. Ignore the rules. Changes the rules.
Pollution Overview The two most common types of approaches when regulating the environment: Carrot Approach – positive consequences, offering incentives to do the right thing (i.e. tax breaks). Stick Approach – regulation and enforcement.
Pollution Overview Prevention is much cheaper than cleanup. However most funding goes to cleanup. Best Management Practices (BMP) is a set of strategies for industry, business, government, etc. to act smarter and operate more efficiently.
History of the Conservation Movement Land impact increased as societies evolved hunter-gathering peoples agricultural societies eventually industrialized societies.
History of the Conservation Movement 1870s to 1920s saw an awakening in environmental awareness. Henry David Thoreau and George Perkins Marsh became the fathers of environmentalism. 1 st wildlife refuge established at Lake Merritt, CA (1870) Yellowstone National Park established (1872) Sierra Club was established by John Muir (1892) President Theodore Roosevelts term became known as the Golden Age of Conservation (1901 – 1909)
History of the Conservation Movement 1870s to 1920s... 1 st national wildlife refuge established at Pelican Island, FL (1903) US Forest Service established (1905) Audubon Society founded by John Audubon (1905) National Park Service established (1916) Migratory Bird Act (1918)
History of the Conservation Movement 1930s – 1950s saw large public works projects dealing with the environment. Economic depression and war took precedence. Soil Conservation Act (1935) US Fish and Wildlife Service established (1940) Aldo Leopolds A Sand County Almanac published (1949) Water Pollution Control Act (1956)
History of the Conservation Movement 1960s saw a reawakening of sorts of the environmental movement. Foam was appearing in New York rivers from detergents being dumped. Clean Air Act was first established (1963). DDT was killing birds and at least a half dozen species were near extinction (birds of prey). Land and Water Conservation Act established (1965). Lake Erie was closed for the first time due to health concerns. The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, OH actually caught fire and burned for 8 days!!! (1969)
History of the Conservation Movement Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1962. Told the story of spring arriving with fewer insects from overuse of pesticides (particularly DDT). Other creatures relying on insects for food either died of starvation or experienced poisoning due to biomagnification. Some birds of prey were not able to reproduce because of the effects of DDT on their egg shells.
1970s became known as the Environmental Decade The EPA was established (1970). April 22, 1970 was the 1 st Earth Day, founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson. The Endangered Species Act was established (1973) Energy Policy and Conservation Act established (1975) The Clean Water Act was first established (1977) History of the Conservation Movement
1980s saw a backlash of sorts against the environmental movement. Several groups were established to weaken or do-away with existing environmental laws. Little federal aid in environmental protection. Private environmental groups saw a surge in membership and donations. History of the Conservation Movement
1990s saw a resurge in environmental support in the federal government. Began with George H. W. Bush and saw a huge surge in funding and new environmental regulations taking effect under Clintons leadership. History of the Conservation Movement
2000s saw huge backslide in environmental protection in US. US withdrew from the Kyoto treaty. Bush appointed to key federal positions people who oppose current environmental regulations/policies. Current economic concerns are taking precedence. Many environmental groups which saw membership and donation declines in the 1990s saw resurgences in the 2000s. History of the Conservation Movement
Late 2000s and early 2010s have seen a decline in precedence for new environmental legislation and funding. Economic concerns have taken priority However, some new rules have been enacted in spite of economic and political pressures against them. Todays Conservation Movement