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CHAPTER 1 PHILOSOPHY AND FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS. Case History: Easter Island A small volcanic island with a subtropical climate By the 16 th century, a.

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Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER 1 PHILOSOPHY AND FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS. Case History: Easter Island A small volcanic island with a subtropical climate By the 16 th century, a."— Presentation transcript:


2 Case History: Easter Island A small volcanic island with a subtropical climate By the 16 th century, a thriving society with 15,000–30,000 people Europeans reached there in 17 th century, only 2000 people struggling in a degraded environment Reasons for collapsed society: overpopulated, deforestation, soil erosion, loss of agricultural base, further conflicts and wars, geographic isolation, and geologic limitations

3 Looking Ahead: Earth Earth: geospatially isolated in the universe Population explosion: exponential growth Facing limited resources: energy, soil, fresh water, forests, ocean fisheries, rangelands Global environment: conflicts and integrated resolutions Lessons from Easter Island: aware of limited resources and needs for sustainable global economy

4 Figure 1.A Inception: 4.6 billion years Change over time: Environment and bioextinction Earth History

5 James Hutton (1785):James Hutton (1785): Earth as a superorganism James Lovelock:James Lovelock: Gaia hypothesis  Earth is an organism  Life significantly affects the Earth’s environment  Life modifies the environment for the betterment of life  Life deliberately or consciously controls the global environment Earth Environment (1)

6 Earth: Dynamic, alive, and complex Everything alive: With a beginning and an end Earth environment as a total, as a whole Prolong Earth’s sustainable healthy life  Environment monitoring  Environment problems — mapping and analysis  Environment problem prevention and protection Earth Environment (2)

7 Environment: A complex system with physical, biological, geological, ecological, and geopolitical aspects. Requires multidisciplinary research: Environmental geology, environmental chemistry, global climate change, biological diversity and ecosystems, environmental economics, environmental ethics, environmental law, etc. Environmental crisis: Population, environmental hazards, resource limitations and contaminations, environment ownership (both in space and over time) Environmental Sciences

8 Why environmental geology? Earth: Source for habitats and resources Geologic aspect in every environmental condition Environmental geology: Applied geology  To better understand environmental problems  Geologic knowledge for problem solving  Optimize the use of resources to maximize environmental benefits for the society Environmental Geology

9 Five fundamental concepts  Population growth  Sustainability  System and change  Hazardous Earth processes  Scientific knowledge and values Other important concepts in environmental geology Fundamental Concepts

10 #1 Environmental problem Population “time bomb”: Exponential growth Earth’s carrying capacity limited: More resources, more land space, more waste Exponential growth  Growth rate (G): measured as a percentage  Doubling time (D): D = 70/G Uneven growth in space and over time Good news: the rate of increase in population is decreasing Human Population Growth (1)

11 PopulationBomb: About to Explode? Figure 1.3 Human Population Growth (2)

12 Population: At Exponential Growth Rate? Figure 1.4 Human Population Growth (3)

13 Uneven growing pace and uneven global distribution Little access to, or use of, modern family planning methods in less developed countries Africa: Home to a larger share of world population over next half century Asia: Many nations overpopulated  India, over one-third of its population under 15 years old  Likely the largest population by mid-century Human Population Growth (4)

14 Figure 1.2

15 Sustainability An evolving concept Expectation and reality Criteria variations in space and over time Long-term implications Requiring careful resources allocation, large- scale development of new tech for resource use, recycling, and waste disposal Sustainability (1)

16 Measuring sustainability Use and consumption of resources Replenishment and renewable rates Development and improvement of human environment vs. viable environment Not lead to environmental crisis Sustainability (2)

17 Chapter 1 Opening Figure

18 Figure 1.7A Sustainability (3)

19 Earth: A dynamic system Two engines behind its dynamics: Internal and external heat sources Four interconnected subsystems: Lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere Four subsystems mutually adjust Earth’s Systems and Changes (1)

20 System conditions: Open vs. closed systems System input-output analysis System changes: Types of changes, rates of changes, scales of changes, etc. Rates of change: Average residence time  T = S/F (T: residence time, S: total size of stock, F: average rate of transfer) Earth’s Systems and Changes (2)

21 Figure 1.B Short-term changes: Long- lasting adverse effects Earth’s Systems and Changes (2)

22 Uniformitarianism  The present is the key to the past  The present is the key to the future  Changes of frequency and magnitude: Geological processes and human activities Environmental unity: Chain of actions and reactions Earth system  Gaia hypothesis: Earth is a living organism  Complex and interrelated subsystems  Global perspective on environment Predicting Future Changes

23 Hazardous Earth processes and risk statistics for the past two decades Annual loss of life: About 150,000 Financial loss: >$20 billion More loss of life from a major natural disaster in a developing country (2003 Iran quake, ~30,000 people) More property damage occurs in a more developed country Hazardous Earth Processes

24 Hazard identification Risk assessment (types, probability, and consequences of impact)  Critical facility mapping and analysis  Economic impact analysis  Societal impact analysis  Total environmental impact analysis Risk management and mitigation Risk Assessment

25 Public attitude toward risks  From NIMBY to BANANA Public acceptance for risks  Threshold for living with dangers  Planning decisions, e.g., floodplain development, waste disposal Public awareness and collective actions  Anticipatory measures  Mitigation planning Risk Perception

26 Figure 1.12 Scientific Knowledge and Values (1)

27 3-D environmental problems Changes of environment in the 4-D (time)  Expansiveness of geologic time  Broad spectrum of geologic processes  Great variations in rates of geologic processes Humans are super agent of change  Holocene epoch  Industrialization and global environmental changes Scientific Knowledge and Values (2)

28 Science: Accumulated knowledge Knowledge: Basis for decision making Scientific methods: Formulate possible solutions to environmental problems Scientific design: Structure more suitable for certain environmental settings Scientific info: Public awareness and environmental regulations Science and Solution

29 Figure 1.6 Mining Scars On Earth’s Surface

30 Figure 1.7b Open Pit Mine, NM

31 Figure 1.Ba The rush for Copper riches In Tennessee 1850s

32 Figure 1.Bb Man-Made Desert

33 Figure 1.Bc After decades recovery Is incomplete – revegetation Began in 1930s

34 Figure 1.C Ontario, Canada Pollution from stacks Caused large kill of trees and vegetation

35 Figure 1.7a Clear-cutting of forests

36 Figure 1.Da

37 Figure 1.Db

38 Do you think the Earth is a living organism? Why or why not? Why did you take this environmental geology course? Would an exponential negative growth of human population be a solution to many environmental problems? Science can certainly provide solutions to environmental problems, but think of ways that science brought about environmental problems. Applied and Critical Thinking Topics

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