“The Tragedy of the Commons” essay written by ecologist Garrett Hardin in 1968 idea -- the main difficulty in solving environmental problems is the conflict between the short-term interests of individuals & the long-term welfare of society
“The Tragedy of the Commons” someone or some group has to take responsibility for maintaining a resource if no one takes that responsibility, then the resource can be overused & become depleted
Discussion Question: Do you think people will continue to act in their own self-interest to the point of society’s collapse? What can societies do to come up with solutions that responsibly use Earth’s natural resources?
Economics & the Environment Law of Supply & Demand – the greater the demand for a limited supply of something, the more that thing is worth Real Situation: If the supply of gasoline decreases, we can... –pay a higher price for it –use less of it –find new/different sources of energy
Economics & the Environment Cost-Benefit Analysis – balances the cost of the action needed to solve an environmental issue against the benefits one expects from it Watch Out! Who is doing the analysis may determine what is or is not important!
Costs & Benefits An industry may not find that controlling pollution to meet environmental regulations is cost effective, while a neighboring community may find it very important that that industry meet the standards. Consumers must be prepared to pay a higher cost for the product though!
Economics & the Environment Risk Assessment – the public must be able to accurately perceive the risk from various technologies to create cost-effective solutions to environmental problem Which is riskier? –a nuclear power plant –riding a bicycle
Unequal the distribution of wealth and environmental resources is not equal throughout the world this influences the choices that people make in solving environmental problems
Developed vs. Developing Countries higher average income slower population growth diverse industrial economics strong social support systems lower average incomes rapid population growth simple & agriculture-based economies
Discussion Question: Brainstorm some countries and categorize them as developed or developing. Compare health care, life expectancy rates, wealth, amount of living space, amount of energy use, amount of pollution production, & the amount of waste produced.
Fast Fact: developed nations use about 75% of the world’s resources, yet only make up about 20% of the world’s population
Ecological Footprints shows the productive area of Earth needed to support one person in a particular country used to express differences in resource consumption between nations estimates the land used for crops, grazing, forest products, housing, ocean used for seafood harvesting, & forest area needed to absorb air pollution
Try taking this quiz to see what your footprint is on Earth http://www.myfootprint.org/ How many Earths would we need to support people if everyone were like you?
Key Goal of Environmental Science: achieving sustainability meeting human needs in such a way that the entire human population can survive indefinitely finding solutions that allow people on all parts of our planet to live in a clean, healthy environment & have the resources they need for a good life
Discussion Question: How can we play a role in achieving sustainability? Check out this web site http://www.sustainabletable.org/home/ Choose one of the links & use the information in your next journal entry.
Complex Problems... some solutions cause more damage than the original problem how do you balance the rights of individuals against society as a whole? how do we deal with the environmental impact of immigrants, both legal & illegal?
Lead to Misinterpretation... people may distort information to mislead others about a cause media often sensationalized environmental issues research can be biased or misrepresented therefore,...
So Learn to Think Critically... listen to multiple viewpoints, not just the ones you like or want to hear identify your own bias so you can determine if it affects the way you’re interpreting an issue investigate the source of information – is it biased or overly persuasive? try to gather all the information you can before drawing your own conclusion