Definitions environmental science (or studies) interdisciplinary studies in natural sciences, including geology, climatology, hydrology, ecology, and their interaction with social sciences such as economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, geography
The Role of Science and People +
Definitions environmentalism social movement for protecting earth’s life support systems for us and other species
More definitions ecology study of the interactions between organisms and between organisms and their environment ecosystem includes all organisms living in an area and the physical environment with which these organisms interact.
What is environment? Environment is everything that affects a living organism. Environment can include both living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components. What makes up a forest environment? What makes up a marine environment? What makes up your personal environment?
What Keeps Us Alive? Fig. 1-2, p. 7 Solar Capital Natural Capital natural resources are natural capital
Ecosystem Economics Biological income must not exceed biological expenditures. Protect your capital and live off the income it provides.
With no predators, and unlimited life requirements, an organism’s population can grow unchecked.
Population Growth 6.4 billion and counting Exponential Growth More in chapter 4
Economic Growth Increase in capacity of a country to provide people with goods and services
Economic Growth Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Annual market value of all goods and services produced by all firms and organizations, foreign and domestic, operating within a country. Per Capita GDP Annual gross domestic product (GDP) of a country divided by its total population at mid-year. It gives the average slice of the economic pie per person.
Economic Development Improvement of (human) living standards by economic growth
Economic Development Developed Countries – mostly US, EU, Canada, Japan, Australia – high per capita GDP – 1.2 billion people Developing Countries – mostly Africa, Latin America, Asia – moderate to low per capita GDP – 5.2 billion people
Renewable Resources Sustainable yield – Highest rate at which a potentially renewable resource can be used without reducing its available supply throughout the world or in a particular area. Environmental Degradation – Depletion or destruction of a potentially renewable resource such as soil, grassland, forest, or wildlife that is used faster than it is naturally replenished. If such use continues, the resource becomes nonrenewable (on a human time scale) or nonexistent (extinct).
Tragedy of the Commons Depletion or degradation of a potentially renewable resource to which people have free and unmanaged access. An example is the depletion of commercially desirable fish species in the open ocean beyond areas controlled by coastal countries. How do we avoid this?
Ecological Footprint Amount of biologically productive land and water needed to supply each person or population with the renewable resources they use and to absorb or dispose of the wastes from such resource use. It measures the average environmental impact of individuals or populations in different countries and areas.
Non-Renewable Resources Resource that exists in a fixed amount (stock) in various places in the earth's crust and has the potential for renewal by geological, physical, and chemical processes taking place over hundreds of millions to billions of years. Energy, metals, and other minerals Examples are copper, aluminum, iron, salt, clay, coal, and oil. Any potentially renewable resource can become non- renewable if used improperly Theoretically, never exhaust due to economic feasibility for extracting.
Non-renewable resources and natural capital degradation Extracting, processing and use come at an environmental expense
Pollution An undesirable change in the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of air, water, soil, or food that can adversely affect the health, survival, or activities of humans or other living organisms. Point source – Single identifiable source that discharges pollutants into the environment. ( smoke stack, exhaust pipes, industrial discharge) Non-point source – Large or dispersed land areas such as crop fields, streets, and lawns that discharge pollutants into the environment over a large area. (stormwater, septic tanks)
Dealing With Pollution Prevention – input control Cleanup – output control Which strategy is more effective? – Why? – Where should we put more emphasis?
Environmental and Resource Problems
Five root causes
Resource consumption Do you have “shop-till-you-drop” symptoms? Between 1998 and 2001, more Americans declared bankruptcy than graduated from college Affluent countries depend on consuption for economic growth. – Don’t include resource costs with price of goods (water use and instream flows)
Environmental Impact (I) = (P)(A)(T) Fig p. 15
Environmental Impact United States citizen consumes about 100 times as much as the average person in the world’s poorest countries. Poor parents in a developing country would need 70 to 200 children to have the same lifetime resource consumption as 2 U.S. children.
Environmental Worldviews Are things getting better or worse? – Depends on your perspective… Human ingenuity, tech advances and economic growth will clean up pollution Environmentalists and scientists disagree – degrading and disrupting earth’s ecosystems Planetary Management – of human growth Environmental Wisdom – wise use of our natural resources
What is Our Greatest Environmental Problem? Disease Overpopulation Water Shortages Climate Changes Biodiversity Loss Poverty Malnutrition
Solutions Current Emphasis (Reactive) Sustainability Emphasis (Proactive) Fig. 1-16, p. 18