Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability"— Presentation transcript:

1 Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability
Unit 1: Introduction Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability

2 Rachel Carson was a scientist who wrote Silent Spring in 1962.
It addressed the growing use of pesticides (DDT) and their unpredicted effects on song birds. Original users of pesticides did not know that the poisons used to kill insects would accumulate in other living things and kill them too. BIOACCUMULATION

3 Themes Sustainability: A process can continue indefinitely without depleting resources used *no sacrifice to future generations* Stewardship: Caring for something that does not belong to you Science: Use the scientific method and question authority Ecosystem Capital: Essential goods and services like food, water, and fuel Policy and Politics: Human decisions determine what happens to the natural world Globalization: The interconnectedness of human activities, ideas, and cultures

4 Environmental Science
Understand how natural world works Understand how human systems interact with natural system Accurately determine environmental problems Develop and follow a sustainable relationship with natural world

5 Lessons from a Small Island
Easter Island (Rapa Nui) Easter Island Home Page and Music

6 Map of Easter Island Area - 166 km2 In the 4th century A
Map of Easter Island Area km2 In the 4th century A.D there were approximately 10,000 people living here

7 Use of resources Natural Resources Fresh water Trees Fish
Brought by settlers Chickens Sweet potatoes Taro Yams Used for: Building houses Food Clothing Technology Stone statues (moai) Needed many trees to move the statues

8 Moai There are 887 moai on Easter Island Average Height:
13.29 feet (4.05 meters) some are more than 20 feet (6 meters) Average weight: 13.78 tons

9 Dutch explorers arrive in 1772
600 people left Constant war Few of the natural resources left What happened!


11 4 Global trends: Population growth and economic development
Decline of ecosystems Global atmospheric changes Loss of biodiversity

12 A. Human population growth
Note: This graph is from 1999. These predictions are based on a faster growth rate. Carrying capacity is higher in this graph. More than 6.6 billion people currently We are adding 76 million people per year increase pop → increase need for resources

13 Different lifestyles have different demands on the environment
Developed (industrialized) countries like America hot running water more than one car per family -VS- Developing countries like Tanzania hunting/gathering Firewood for heat and cooking 1 billion + people live in poverty

14 B. Soil degradation Demand for food destroys the soil erosion
minerals in soil are depleted salinization increased use of pesticides overuse of fresh water

15 B. Soil degradation Demand for food destroys the soil erosion
minerals in soil are depleted salinization increased use of pesticides overuse of fresh water

16 D. Loss of Biodiversity Habitat destruction leads to a loss of many species starting with the plants exact # of species lost is unknown because not all species are identified strong ecosystems need biodiversity % of all prescription drugs from natural resources Wild species keep domestic species vigorous Aesthetics

17 A sustainable future is possible
Nutrition levels and life expectancy are rising Population growth rates are falling It is cool to be “green” YOU are taking this class

18 Lessons from a Small Island
Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

19 Living in the environment

20 Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary science –ecology,geology,chemistry, politics,engineering,economics,ethics Connections and interactions between humans and the rest of nature Validity of data questioned – many variables


22 Environmental Issues Population growth Increasing resource use Destruction and degradation of habitat Premature extinction Poverty Pollution


24 Sustainability Ability of a specified system to survive and function over a period of time

25 Sustainable living Meeting present needs without preventing future generations from meeting theirs

26 Carrying capacity Maximum number of organisms an environment can support over a specified period of time

27 Linear – quantity increases by constant amount per unit of time
Growth Linear – quantity increases by constant amount per unit of time Exponential – quantity increases by a fixed percentage of the whole in a given time

28 70 / percentage of growth rate = doubling time in years
Example – human population growth 1.28% per year 216,000 per day 9000 per hour

29 Economic growth – Gross National Product-GNP
Market value in current dollars of all goods and services produced by a country Per Capita GNP – GNP/Total population

30 Economic growth – Gross Domestic Product-GDP
Market value in current dollars of all goods and services produced WITHIN a country for use during a year

31 Developed nation 1.2 billion (20%) - highly industrialized, 85% of world wealth and income, use 88% of world resources, generate 75% of waste US,Canada,Japan,Australia,New Zealand ,most of Europe

32 Developing 4.9 billion, (80%), low to moderate industrialized, 15% of world wealth and income, use 12% of world resources Asia, Latin America, Africa


34 P (population) X A (affluence) X T (technological impact/unit of use) = I (Environmental impact)


36 Ecological footprint or environmental impact
Amount of land needed to produce the resources needed by an average person in a country

37 Resources Ecological – habitat, food,shelter Economic- Renewable
Non renewable Potentially renewable

38 Tragedy of the Commons- Garrett Hardin
Over use of common property Clean air, open ocean and its fish,wild life species,publicly owned land, gases of lower atmosphere, space

39 Globalization Social, economic and environmental change that leads to an increasingly integrated world economic, information and communication,environmental effects

40 Pollution Threatens human health Natural – volcanoes
Anthropogenic – human activities

41 Solutions Prevention – REFUSE, REDUCE,REUSE,RECYCLE Clean up – temporary fix, removes from one part and adds to another,expensive to reduce to acceptable levels

42 Rapid population growth
Wasteful use of resources Poverty Failure to encourage earth sustaining economic development Failure to include overall economic cost Root causes

43 Environmental Worldview
PLANETARY MANAGEMENT or ANTHROPOCENTRIC- “we are in charge of nature, always more to use, all economic growth is good” (ANTHROPOCENTRIC) EARTH WISDOM –”nature for all of earth’s species, not always more to use,make a judgment call about economic growth

44 Information Revolution and globalization
International trade of goods increased Transnational corporations from 7,000 to 53,000 Phones –from 89 to 850 million Passenger kilometers – from 28 million to 2.6 trillion Infectious microbes transported


46 Cultural changes Hunter gatherers – 12,000 years ago
Agricultural revolution – 10,000-12,000- Industrial revolution-275 years ago Technological revolution – 50 years ago

47 Hunting and Gathering Societies
nomadic, living in small bands, population in balance with food supply high infant mortality,life expectancy yr. 3 energy sources - sun, fire, muscle power

48 Hunting and Gathering Societies
nomadic, living in small bands, population in balance with food supply high infant mortality,life expectancy yr. 3 energy sources - sun, fire, muscle power

49 Effects and Environmental Impact
Urbanization and agricultural expansion, cut down forests, destroyed habitats, soil erosion and desertification birth rate faster than death- population increase

50 Early Industrial societies(mid 1700’s)
wood used up - coal usage steam generation fossil fuel powered farm machinery- less farmers needed- moved to cities

51 Advanced Industrial societies (1914 ---)
increase in agricultural products lower infant mortality improved health increase in longevity net population increase

52 Resource Conservation
1903-Theodore Roosevelt, Pelican Island,Florida to save the Brown Pelican 1905- Gifford Pinchot - US Forest Service “resources should be saved to be used for the greatest good, for the greatest number, for the longest time”

53 Moral / Aesthetic Nature Conservation
John Muir , Sierra Club “fundamental right of organisms to exist for it’s own sake”

54 US Environmental Movement - 1960’s
1962- , Rachel Carson “Silent Spring”, threats of pollution and toxic chemicals David Brower and Barry Commoner,Paul Ehrlich,Garret Hardin -relationship between population growth, resource use,pollution

55 Events - Increased Awareness
air pollution in New York Laundry detergent in water 1969- Cuyahoga in Ohio Love Canal , New York pollution of Lake Erie Extinction -grizzly,bald eagle,whooping crane,falcon

56 Environmental events- 1970’s
1972-UN- Human development OPEC oil embargo Roland and Molina - CFC’s cause ozone depletion Carter creates Superfund to clean hazardous waste sites(Love Canal) Three Mile Island

57 Environmental events - 1980’s
Ronald Reagan - sagebrush philosophy 1986-Chernobyl disaster 1987-Montreal Protocol - fade out CFC’s Exxon Valdez disaster

58 Environmental Events - 1990
1991-Persian Gulf war - protect oil UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil UN Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, Egypt. 1995- US Congress,reduce environmental spending - vetoed by Clinton Kyoto- global warming

59 Environmental Events - 1990
1991-Persian Gulf war - protect oil UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil UN Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, Egypt. 1995- US Congress,reduce environmental spending - vetoed by Clinton Kyoto- global warming

60 Environmental events - 2000
Clinton protects large areas in national forests from roads and logging - designated as national monuments

61 Sagebrush Revolution remove most lands from federal ownership and turn over to States great supporter - Ronald Reagan

62 Environmental Revolution ….shift from
pollution cleanup to prevention waste disposal to waste reduction species protection to habitat protection increased resource use to conservation

63 Economic System social institution through which goods are produced, distributed and consumed to satisfy people’s needs and wants, EFFICIENTLY

64 Types of capital natural : earth’s natural processes
human : people’s physical and mental talents manufacture : machinery, equipment, factories

65 Market based economy interaction of DEMAND and SUPPLY and PRICE
economists believe that an economic system based on private ownership without government interference is the best way to solve problems

66 Supply and demand curves intersect at market price equilibrium point

67 Governments intervene to correct market failures…………
national security education economic safety net civil and property rights worker health protect natural capital manage public land resources

68 High throughput economics
increase flow of materials and resources end up in planetary sinks air,soil,water,organisms

69 Ecological economists (Herman Daly)
resources limited, no waste encourage environmentally beneficial and sustainable forms of economic development harmful environmental and health effects of production of goods should be included in price (full cost pricing

70 Non – use value of natural resources/ ecological services
existence value aesthetic value bequest or opinion value

71 Strategies to fulfill goals……….
monitor economic and environmental health /enforce laws eco-labeling and certification phase in subsidies/tax breaks for environmentally beneficial goals tax shifting reduce poverty

72 Cost Benefit analysis use uniform standards
clearly state all assumptions used include estimates of ecological services estimate long-term/short benefits and costs summarize range of estimated costs and benefits

73 Most things cost more than you think…………….
Market Price/ Direct Price does not include the Indirect or External costs of harm to environment or human health (hidden cost) Ex. failure to include climate change in the prices of fossil fuels

74 Reduction of poverty GRAMEEN banks in Bangla Desh

75 Sustainable Environmental Principles to make Policy
humility reversibility precautionary net energy prevention polluter pays public access and participation human rights environmental justice

76 Global efforts to solve environmental problems…………..

77 Major Worldviews………………
Anthropocentric : human centered Bio centric : life centered

78 Planetary Management World View
human’s are the most important species, all others have instrumental value 3 variations – no problem school, free market school , spaceship earth school

79 Stewardship World View
ethical responsibility to be caring and responsible stewards

80 Role of education in living more sustainably………..
Natural capital matters our threats to natural capital are immense and growing ecological an climate change tipping points are irreversible and should never be crossed

81 Live more simply and lightly on the earth
learn and mimic how nature sustains itself do not degrade earth’s natural capital do not waste matter and energy resources protect biodiversity avoid climate changing activities maintain earth’s capacity for self repair repair ecological damage that we have caused leave the world in as good a condition as we found or better passion for sustaining all life-lead toactions

82 Sustainability Revolution during your lifetime……………….
biodiversity protection energy transformation commitment to eco-efficiency pollution prevention emphasis on sufficiency demographic equilibrium economic and political transformations

83 Politics and Environmental Policy
Social Change in Democratic governments Constitutional democracies designed to allow change in order to ensure stability Special interest groups compete to put pressure on government officials to advocate laws that favor their cause or vice versa Bargaining in government to maintain status quo Government reacts to issues, not prevent them capitol.gif Environmental Policy in the U.S. Lawmakers must first feel that the environmental issue should be addressed Bills reviewed by several committees in House and Senate After law is passed, Congress must appropriate funds

84 Courts & Environmental Regulation
Almost every environmental regulation is challenged in court by industry and/or environmental organization. Terms Plaintiff Defendant Civil suit Plaintiff seeks to collect damages for injuries to health or for economic losses Class action suit Filed by group on behalf of a larger number of citizens Limitations in Lawsuits Expense Time Permission Abuse of system Environmental law is the fastest growing sector in American legal profession gifs/law.gif

85 Influencing Environmental Policy
Solutions: (individuals affecting environmental policy) Change comes form grassroots political movements Ways to influence policies Vote Contribute money to candidates Lobby, write, elected officials Educate and persuade Expose fraud, waste, and illegal activities 3 Types of Leadership Leading by example Working within existing economic and political systems to bring about improvement Challenging system as well as proposing and working for better solutions 00/10/19/voting.gif

86 Environmental Groups
Mainstream Environmental Groups Multi-million dollar organizations led by chief executive officers and a staff of experts Active primarily on the national level Work within political system (major forces in persuading Congress) “Group of 10” – largest US agencies rely on corporate donations bc/education Green Peace Sierra Club Environmental Defense Fund National Audubon Society World watch Institute Wilderness Society

87 Grassroots Environmental Group
At 6000 grassroots citizen groups exist in the US Grassroots movement for environmental justice – growing coalition to protect human and environmental rights Very active on college campuses and public schools Basic Rules for Effective Political Action by Grassroots Organizations: Have a full-time continuing organization Limit # of targets and hit them hard Organize for action From alliances Communicate your positions Persuade and use positive reinforcement Concentrate at state and local levels grassroots/

88 Anti- Environmental Movement
Goals Since 1980, there is a massive campaign to weaken and repeal existing legislation Lobbying in Washington, D.C. and state capitals mayors and government officials unable to implement without government funding Coalitions Global trade agreement (GATT) Tactics Establish an enemy Weaken and intimidate Threaten or use violence Influence public opinion Falsify data Divide and conquer Exploit ignorance of public

89 Evaluating Claims Are environmental threats exaggerated?
Some cases of regulatory overkill Asbestos Acid rain Must evaluate laws and regulations Passing laws in regards to certain chemical or species doesn’t improve the environment Need an integrated and holistic approach No confrontations Whom should we believe? Tough questions need to be posed on both sides Citizens encouraged to identify with majority Many complex issues require understanding of environmental issues signs/sign_cautio... maps1999/phfield.gif

90 Improving US Political System
Government is unresponsive to citizens because… Government officials get money from wealthy individuals and companies Costs the average senator $3.9 million to get elected Bureaucracies: Most agencies become stagnant and are influenced by businesses Federal and state agencies overlap their policies A sunset law – terminates agency until reviewed ind-fundraising.htm

91 Improving the Political System
Level the playing field for ordinary citizens Allow them to sue violators Award attorney fees Allow them to sue govt officials Raise fines for violators and punish more Call for courts to regulate frivolous suits Reducing the Crime Robbery, assault, and shootings push people out of cities and into suburbs, clearing more land and wasting energy Less willing to ride bikes, walk or use public transit Use of lights, TVs, alarms to deter burglars government/police.gif

92 Global Environmental Policy
Progress in international cooperation and policy 1972 UN Conference in Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden 115 nations have agencies and over 215 international treaties have been signed 1992 Rio Earth Summit Met again in 1995 and found little improvement because 1992 agreements not binding Global Forum – brought together 18, 000 people from 1400 NGOs from 178 countries newsfeatures.html

93 Environmental Worldviews in Industrial Societies
Ways people think the world works, what they think their role in the world should be Environmental Ethics What people believe is right and wrong environmental behavior Individual centered atomistic Earth centered holistic Human centered anthropocentric Life centered Biocentric Ecosystem centered ecocentric

94 General Types of Environmental Worldview

95 Major Human- Centered Worldviews
Planetary Management Worldview Humans are the most important and dominant species Should manage the planet for own benefit Others species have instrumental value Basic beliefs We are the most important and in charge of nature There is always more All economic growth is good Success depends on how well we understand, control, and manage earth’s life-support systems for our benefit novelty-earth.gif

96 Human Centered Worldview
Schools of Thought No problem school Technology will solve all problems Free-market school Minimal government interference and regulation Responsible Planetary Management Want to mix economy, technology, and government intervention for self-interest Space-ship-earth view Earth is a spaceship, a machine that we can understand and manage Stewardship Humans have responsibility and must treat earth as our guardian qool.html

97 Life/Environmental – Centered Worldviews
Biocentric &Ecocentric Worldviews Inherent value of nature Everything has a right to exist Animal rights movement (species-centered worldview) Earth-wisdom worldview Nature exists for all species There is not always more Not all economic growth is beneficial Success depends on willingness to cooperate with earth. Managing the planet Some feel that we may not be able to learn technology fast enough to save the earth A free market would rely too much on resources We don’t understand the earth overview/

98 More Worldviews Are biocentrists antihuman/antireligious?
They feel that they are pro-human They feel that they are helping the earth, which indirectly helps humans Social Ecology Worldview As long as we have an industrial society, we will be damaging the environment This will cause decentralization for political and economic systems Ecofeminist Worldview Idea that being human-centered and androcentric (male-centered) is the problem with the environment) By being male-dominant, we are destroying nature Emphasize gentleness, caring, compassion, non-violence, cooperation, and love signs/signs.htm

99 Ethical Guidelines for Earth
Ecosphere and Ecosystems We should try to understand nature When we must alter nature, we must avoid environmental harm Species and Cultures We should preserve genetic diversity Avoid premature extinction of other species Protect ecosystems Individual Responsibility Should not cause any suffering to our food sources Leave the earth better than we found it Use only what we have Heals the wounds we have already caused crops.gif

100 Earth Education We should teach our children about our earth
Respect life Understand earth Seek wisdom Evaluate consequences of lifestyles We should learn to work with the earth Learn to make our own area sustainable Learning to Live Simple Gandhi’s Philosophies Voluntary simplicity Earth provides enough, use minimal amounts Transfer energy from material to non-material cai_values_ethi..

101 Earth-Wisdom Revolution
Efficiency revolution to make the most of the earth Pollution prevention Sufficiency revolution – being sure that everyone has his or her basic needs Demographic revolution – balance population growth Seeing the world as a flow of matter and energy docs/program/

102 Economic Goods, Resources and Systems
Economy: a system of production, distribution, and consumption of economic goods (material items/ services that satisfy people’s wants) Economic Resources: The kinds of capital that produce economic goods and services 1. Earth Capital/ Natural Resources 2. Manufactured Resources: items made from earth capital with help of human capital 3. Human Capital: people’s physical and mental talents

103 Economic Systems Pure Command Economic System/ Pure Capitalism:
All economic decisions made by markets, in which buyers and sellers of economic goods freely interact without government or other interference Depicted as a circular flow of economic goods and money between households and businesses operating essentially independently of the ecosphere. Market equilibrium occurs when the quantity supplied equals the quantity demanded, and the price is no higher than the buyers are willing to pay and no lower than the sellers are willing accept. Centrally Planned Economy: All economic systems made by the government Government control and ownership of the means of production are most efficient and equitable way to produce, use, and distribute goods. All countries have mixed economic systems that fall somewhere in between pure market and pure command systems.

104 Circular Flow of Money in Pure Market System

105 Economic Growth and External Costs
Ecologically Sustainable Development: occurs when the total human population size and resource use in the world are limited to a level that does not exceed the carrying capacity of the existing natural capital GDP and GNP hide the negative effects on the ecosphere of producing many goods and services. They don’t include the depletion and degridation of natural resources or earth capital on which all economies depend. Solution: Environmental and social indicators should be subtracted from the GDP/GNP to give a more realistic picture. Economic growth: an increase in the capacity of the economy to provides goods and services to people for final use Gross Domestic Product (GDP): the market value of all goods and services produced by the economy within its borders for final use Gross National Product: GDP plus net income from abroad Real Per Capita GDP: the real GDP divided by the population

106 Environmental Solutions Using Economics
Pricing products using full cost: Would close the gap between real and false prices by having prices tell the environmental truth Cause business to pay the full cost of the environmental harm created Cost-Benefit Analyses: Comparing estimated short term and long term costs with estimated benefits for a course of action. Government Regulations: Phase in government subsides that that encourage earth-sustaining behavior and phase out current perverse subsides that encourage earth-degrading behavior

107 Poverty Poverty: the inability to meet one’s basic economic needs
Trickle-down hypothesis: a growing economy is the best way to help the poor. It enables more wealth to reach workers and provides greater tax revenues that can be used to help the poor. Most of the time, however, this wealth does not trickle down, instead it flows up.

108 Solutions to Reducing Poverty
Forgive the money that developing countries owe to developed nations Increase nonmilitary aid to developing countries from developed countries Shifted most international aid from large-scale to small-scale projects intended to benefit local communities of the poor Encourage banks to make small loans to poor people wanting to increase their income International lending agencies should be required to use a standard environmental and social impact analyses to evaluate any proposed development project

109 Converting to Earth Sustaining Economies
Reward earth-sustaining o earth-degrading behavior Use full-cost accounting to include the ecological value of natural resources in the market place Use environmental and social indicators to measure progress toward sustainability Use full-cost pricing to include external costs of goods and services Replace taxes on income and profits with taxes on throughput of matter and energy Use low discount rates for evaluating future worth of irreplaceable or vulnerable resources Establish public utilities to manage and protect public lands and fisheries Revoke the government-granted charters of the environmentally and socially irresponsible businesses Make environmental concerns a key part of all trade agreements and of loans made by international lending agencies Reduce waste of energy, water, and mineral resources Preserve biodiversity Reduce future ecological damage and repair past ecological damage Reduce poverty Slow population growth


Download ppt "Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google