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The Environment and Society

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1 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1-2

2 The Individual vs. Social Welfare
Common resources If we all use the resources without rules and regulations, they will get used up and less will be available for everyone If we divide up the resources so that everyone is responsible for a share, then the resources last longer and everyone has enough Some person or group has to take responsibility…Think of the sheep

3 Economics of the Environment: Supply and Demand
“The greater the demand for a limited supply of a [resource], the more that [resource] is worth.” In times of plenty, stuff is cheap…when things are scarce, stuff becomes expensive

4 Economics of the Environment: Cost and Benefits
When determining how much money to put into a project, the benefits of the project must be weighed against the costs This is called a “cost-benefit analysis” Costs usually end up being paid by tax dollars The tax payers usually can vote between the more expensive route that is most environmentally friendly…or the lesser expensive route that is usually not as environmentally friendly

5 Economics of the Environment: Risk Assessment
Cost-benefit analysis involves risk assessment by the consumers or tax payers They must be given an accurate depiction of the risks involved which doesn’t always happen One survey showed people believed Nuclear Power to be super risky for the community but experts place the risk value below that of riding a bicycle and getting into an accident

6 Developed Nations Higher average income per person
Slower population growth Diverse industrial economies Stronger social support systems, ie: social security EX: US, Canada, Japan, Western Europe

7 Developing Nations Lower average income per person
Simple and agriculture-based economy Rapid population growth

8 Middle-Income Countries
Somewhere between EX: Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia

9 Population and Consumption
Overpopulation problems: Forests stripped bare Topsoil exhausted leads to less agriculture Animals go extinct Malnutrition, starvation and disease Populations grow very quickly in underdeveloped nations Food production, education and job opportunities cannot keep up with the population Less than half of the 4.5 billion people in developing nations have enough food, safe drinking water and healthy sanitation

10 Life is different in Developed Nations
Pollution controls improve every year Population grows more slowly HOWEVER: Developed nations use about 75% of the Earth’s resources Developed nations only account for 20% of the Earth’s total population Consumption of resources in developed nations leads to more waste and pollution per person than underdeveloped nations Ecological footprint: “…the productive area of Earth needed to support one person in a particular country.” Accounts for crop space, grazing, forest products, housing and ocean area as well as forest area needed to absorb the air pollution created from the production of these products Ex: USA – 30 acres per person, INDIA – 2.5 acres per person

11 Sustainability Sustainability: “…the condition in which human needs are met in such a way that a human population can survive indefinitely.” As technology changes and civilizations change we must all change our usage of resources in order to sustain the human population Developed countries overuse resources… by A LOT Underdeveloped countries do as well in a different way Creating a planet where every person has what they need is a long long way from where we are now…but it’s not unachievable! We just all need to be aware of how our actions impact the Earth Think Globally, act locally!

12 Self-Sustaining Environments

13 Homework Check Chapter 1 section 2 Questions 1, 2, 4
Describe three differences between developing and developed nations using the examples in Table 3. Would you classify Mexico as a developing nation? Explain. Explain why critical thinking is an important skill in environmental science. 4) The law of supply and demand is a simplification of economic patterns. What other factors might affect the cost of a barrel of oil?

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