2 Tragedy of the Commons(1968) Garrett Hardin’s essay addressed the conflict between the short-term interests of individuals and the long-term welfare of society
3 CommonsThe commons were areas of land that belonged to a whole villageAnyone could graze cows or sheep on the commons
4 Problem with the Commons Short-term interest: each individual wanted to graze as many animals as possible (“If I don’t use this resource, someone else will!”)Long-term welfare: when too many animals were allowed to graze on the commons, the grass was destroyed and everyone suffered(overgrazing = fewer animals)
5 Hardin’s Main IdeaIf no one takes responsibility for maintaining a resource, it can become over used and depletedEarth’s natural resources are our modern commons (everyone is using the resources, but few are concerned with conservation)
6 Economics and the Environment Supply and Demand: The greater the demand for a limited supply of something, the more it is worthExample: oil (as oil supplies decrease, prices go up)
7 Costs and Benefits Balances the cost of an action against the benefits Results often depend on WHO is doing the analysisTo an industry, the cost of pollution control may outweigh the benefitsTo a nearby community, the benefits may be worth the high price
8 Risk AssessmentUsed to create cost-effective ways to protect our health AND the environmentTo reach an effective solution, the public must perceive the risk accurately
9 Developed and Developing Countries Developed: higher average incomes, slower population growth, diverse industrial economies, stronger social support systemsEx: U.S., Canada, Japan. Western EuropeDeveloping: lower average incomes, simple agriculture-based economies, rapid population growthEx: Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia
10 Population and Consumption Local Population PressuresWhen populations grow rapidly, there may not be enough natural resources for everyone to live a healthy, productive lifeCommon problems: deforestation, depletion of topsoil, animal extinction, malnutrition, starvation, disease
11 Consumption TrendsDeveloped nations use more natural resources than developing nationsEx: Use 75% of world’s resources, but only make up 20% of the world’s population!
12 Ecological FootprintThe productive area of Earth needed to support one person in a particular countryIncludes land for crops and grazing, forest products, housing, ocean area for seafood, forest area needed to absorb air pollution from fossil fuels, etc.
13 Environmental Science in Context Environmental problems are complex and require critical thinking skillsTo complicate problems, the environment has become a battleground for political agendasListen to both sides of a problem and identify your own bias
14 Main Causes of Environmental Problems 1. population crisis: human popn. Is growing too quickly for Earth to support2. consumption crisis: humans use up, waste, pollute, and destroy natural resources faster than they could be cleaned up or replaced
15 A Sustainable WorldSustainability: a condition in which human needs are met in such a way that a human popn could survive indefinitelyRequires everyone’s participation