Presentation on theme: "S CIENCE AND THE E NVIRONMENT Chapter 1. S ECTION 1: U NDERSTANDING O UR E NVIRONMENT Environment Everything around us Includes the natural world as well."— Presentation transcript:
S ECTION 1: U NDERSTANDING O UR E NVIRONMENT Environment Everything around us Includes the natural world as well as things produced by humans
E NVIRONMENTAL S CIENCE The study of the impact of humans on the environment
T HE G OALS OF E NVIRONMENTAL S CIENCE To understand and solve environmental problems Accomplished by studying 2 main types of interactions between humans and the environment How we use natural resources How our actions alter our environment
E COLOGY VS. E NVIRONMENTAL S CIENCE The study of how things interact with each other & their nonliving environment The study of the impact of humans on the environment EcologyEnvironmental Science
E NVIRONMENTAL S CIENCE IS AN INTERDISCIPLINARY SCIENCE. Involves many fields of study Biology: the study of living organisms Earth Science: the study of the Earth’s nonliving systems and the planet as a whole Physics: the study of matter and energy Chemistry: the study of chemicals and their interactions Social Science: the study of human populations
W HAT A RE O UR M AIN E NVIRONMENTAL P ROBLEMS ? Can be grouped into 3 categories Resource depletion Pollution Loss of biodiversity
R ESOURCE D EPLETION Natural resource Any natural material that is used by humans Renewable Can be replaced relatively quickly by natural processes Fresh water, air, soil, trees, crops, energy from the sun Nonrenewable Forms at a much slower rate than the rate that it is consumed Minerals and fossil fuels
P OLLUTION An undesired change in air, water, or soil that adversely affects the health, survival, or activities of humans or other organisms Biodegradable Pollutants that can be broken down by natural processes Human sewage, food wastes Nondegradable Cannot be broken down by natural processes Mercury, lead, some plastics
L OSS OF B IODIVERSITY Biodiversity The number & variety of species that live in an area The organisms we share the world with can be considered natural resources. An extinct species: a nonrenewable resource If current rates of extinction continue, it may cause problems for human populations in the future All species have potential economic, ecological, scientific, aesthetic, and recreational value
“T HE T RAGEDY OF THE C OMMONS ” 1968, ecologist Garrett Hardin: The main difficulty in solving environmental problems is the conflict between the short-term interests of individuals and the long-term welfare of society. Someone or some group has to take responsibility for maintaining a resource. If no one takes that responsibility, the resource can be overused and become depleted.
E CONOMICS AND THE E NVIRONMENT Economic forces influence how we use resources Supply and Demand The greater the demand for a limited supply of something, the more that thing is worth Costs and Benefits Cost of environmental solutions can be high A cost-benefit analysis balances the cost of the action against the benefits one expects from it Risk Assessment Helps us create cost-effective ways to protect our health and the environment
D EVELOPED & D EVELOPING C OUNTRIES Developed Higher average incomes Slower population growth Diverse industrial economies Stronger social support systems Ex: US, Japan, Canada, countries of Western Europe Developing Lower average incomes Simple & agricultural- based economies Rapid population growth Ex: Indonesia, Ethiopia
Developed nations use about 75% of the world’s resources, even though they make up only about 20% of the world’s population. One way to express the differences in consumption between nations: Ecological footprint Shows the productive area of Earth needed to support one person in a particular country.
A KEY GOAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE The condition in which human needs are met in such a way that a human population can survive indefinitely