2Introduction What is Environmental Science? What is an environment? Environment: all the external conditions, both abiotic and biotic, that affect an organism or group of organisms.Organisms also exert effects on their environment
3IntroductionEnvironmental Science: the interdisciplinary study of how humanity interacts with other organisms and the nonliving physical environmentWhat is the focus of environmental science?To identify, understand, and solve problems that society has generated.
5Environmental Problems are complex and seldom have simple solutions.
6Environmental Problems are complex and seldom have simple solutions. A significant portion of photochemical smog in New Jersey is derived from pollutants emitted by coal-burning power plants in the Midwest.Air pollution generated in China affects air quality in the western parts of the US and CanadaOxides of sulfur and nitrogen emitted by coal-burning power plants in the Midwest contribute to acid rain problems in CanadaAir pollution in developing nations is partially the result of the combination of low wages in poor countries and strict environmental laws in affluent countries.
7Sustainability Earth has limited resources to support human societies. Objectives:Explain what is meant by sustainability and sustainable developmentExplain how population growth is related to sustainable developmentEarth has limited resources to support human societies.
8SustainabilityThere are numerous examples of civilizations which did not live within the constraints of their environment.MayansIncasRomansEaster Island
9Easter Island Settled around 400-800 A.D. Ample forests were systematically cut for agriculture land, structural materials, and to move large stone monumentsDeforestation led to soil erosion.Soil erosion led to water quality degradation and elimination of fish and shellfish populationsEroded soil did not support agriculturePopulation went from ~8000 in the 1600’s to several hundred in the 1800’s.
11Effect of Population Growth Each person creates a certain demand on the Earth’s resources.Population growth AND increasing consumption per person can stress Earth’s resourcesExamples of unsustainable practices have led to:Groundwater supplied being depletedAgricultural soils being degradedOceans being overfishedOil reserves being depletedForests cut faster than they can grow.
12Sustainability A sustainable process or system… …can continue indefinitely without depleting any of the material or energy required to keep it going.This was first applied to activities such as forestry and fisheriesCan also be applied to freshwater supplies, agricultural soils, and the ability of natural systems to absorb pollutants
13SustainabilityHistorically, sustainability/pollution concerns have been a local problem.We are now faced with global sustainability issues such as:Acid rainOzone depletionGlobal climate change
14Sustainable SocietyA sustainable society is in balance with the natural world, continuing generation after generation, neither depleting its resource base by exceeding sustainable yields nor producing pollutants in excess of nature’s ability to absorb them.Primative societies- usually sustainable (high mortality rates)Modern societies-many interactions with enviroment are NOT sustainable
15Sustainable Development Development – defined as continued improvement of living standardsSustainable developmentDevelopment that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.