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Chapter 1: Environmental Problems, Their Causes and Sustainability

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1 Chapter 1: Environmental Problems, Their Causes and Sustainability

2 Introductory definitions
Know all bold and italicized words in the book, especially ones in your vocab packet.

3 Environmental Science is…
Make a concept map.

4 Sustainability is the central theme of this book
Natural capital: 1) Natural resources Ex: ______________ 2) Natural services Natural capital is supported by Solar capital What causes degradation of natural capital?_____________________

5 NATURAL CAPITAL Natural Capital = Natural Resources + Natural Services
Solar capital Air Air purification Renewable energy (sun, wind, water flows) Climate control UV protection (ozone layer) Life (biodiversity) Water Population control Water purification Waste treatment Pest control Nonrenewable minerals iron, sand) Land Soil Food production Soil renewal Natural gas Nutrient recycling Oil Nonrenewable energy (fossil fuels) Coal seam Natural resources Natural services Fig. 1-3, p. 8 Fig. 1-3, p. 8

6 Human activities can degrade natural capital
 By using renewable resources faster than can be replenished (ie fish, trees) (TOTC lab) And by using nonrenewable resources up

7 Solutions Solutions to problems must be scientific + political
Often trade-offs are required because solutions may require economic losses Short term vs. long term

8 Economic Gap There is a wide economic gap between rich and poor countries Economic growth is measured by

9 Changes in growth Changes in economic growth: measured by per capita GDP (why does PER CAPITA matter?) _______________ What is per capita GDP PPP? _______________________________

10 Comparison of Developed and Developing Countries, 2008

11 Which kind of growth is good?

12 1-3 How Are Our Ecological Footprints Affecting the Earth?
Concept 1-3 As our ecological footprints grow, we are depleting and degrading more of the earth’s natural capital.

13 Some Sources Are Renewable
Renewable resource E.g., forests, grasslands, fresh air, fertile soil can be replenished fairly quickly (hours up to hundred years) Sustainable yield highest which renewable resources can be used indefinitely w/out reducing available supply Environmental degradation when available supply begins to shrink 13

14 How resources become degraded

15 Some Resources Are Not Renewable
Nonrenewable resources exist in a fixed quantity; can be renewed in million to billion yrs (maybe) Energy resources Metallic mineral resources Nonmetallic mineral resources –salt, sand Reuse- Recycle-

16 Our Ecological Footprints Are Growing
Ecological footprint concept Biological capacity Ecological footprint

17 Natural Capital Use and Degradation

18 If everyone used resources the way we do in the US, the planet could only support 1.3 billion humans. (Currently the population is above 7 billion and rising. Uh oh. )

19 Cultural Changes Have Increased Our Ecological Footprints
Until 12,000 years ago: hunters and gatherers Three major cultural events Agricultural revolution Industrial-medical revolution Information-globalization revolution China - By 2020, will have leading economy in terms of GDP PPP. Pop will be 1.5 bil by 2033.   

20 1-4 What Is Pollution and What Can We Do about It?
Concept 1-4 Preventing pollution is more effective and less costly than cleaning up pollution.

21 Pollution Comes from a Number of Sources
Sources of pollution Point E.g., smokestack Nonpoint E.g., pesticides blown into the air Main type of pollutants Biodegradable Nondegradable

22 Biodegradable? Biodegradable pollutants - can break down naturally over time. Nondegradable are harmful for long periods of time. Lead, mercury, arsenic, plastics - nondegradable. Fertilizers, sewage, newspaper - biodegradable.

23 We Can Clean Up Pollution or Prevent It
Pollution cleanup (output pollution control) Pollution prevention (input pollution control)

24 Problems with cleanup only (rather than output control)

25 Experts Have Identified Five Basic Causes of Environmental Problems
Population growth Wasteful and unsustainable resource use Poverty Failure to include the harmful environmental costs of goods and services in their market prices Insufficient knowledge of how nature works

26 Some Harmful Results of Poverty

27 Affluence Has Harmful and Beneficial Environmental Effects
Harmful environmental impact due to High levels of consumption Unnecessary waste of resources Affluence can provide funding for: Developing technologies to reduce pollution, environmental degradation, resource waste

28 In the US, air and water quality have improved since 1970, and some endangered species are coming back from the brink of extinction.

29 Prices Do Not Include the Value of Natural Capital
Companies do not pay the environmental cost of resource use Goods and services do not include the harmful environmental costs Companies receive tax breaks and subsidies Economy may be stimulated but there may be a degradation of natural capital

30 Different Views about Environmental Problems and Their Solutions
Planetary management: Stewardship: Environmental wisdom:

31 1-6 What Are Four Scientific Principles of Sustainability?
Concept 1- 6 Nature has sustained itself for billions of years by using solar energy, biodiversity, population control, and nutrient cycling—lessons from nature that we can apply to our lifestyles and economies. It seems we have years to make crucial changes.

32 Studying Nature Reveals 4 Scientific Principles of Sustainability

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