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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 Living in an Exponential Age Human population growth: J-shaped curve

3 Exponential Growth plays a key role in 5 important and interconnected environmental issues Population growth Resource use and waste Poverty Loss of biodiversity Global climate change

4 Biodiversity includes: Genetic variation within a species Variety of species in an area Variety of habitat types within a landscape

5 What is Environmental Science? The goals of environmental science are to learn: –how nature works. –how the environment effects us. –how we effect the environment. –how we can live more sustainably without degrading our life-support system.

6 Sustainability: The Integrative Theme Sustainability, is the ability of earths various systems to survive and adapt to environmental conditions indefinitely. The steps to sustainability must be supported by sound science.

7 Sound Science A Path to Sustainability Individuals Matter Trade-Offs Solutions Natural Capital Degradation Natural Capital Natural Capital: the natural resources and natural services that keep us and other species alive and support our economies - it is not fixed - changes in response to environmental changes

8 Environmentally Sustainable Societies … meets basic needs of its people in a just and equitable manner without degrading the natural capital that supplies these resources.

9 Some people disagree that we are living unsustainably They believe we can overcome these problems by human ingenuity, economic growth, and technological advances

10 POPULATION GROWTH, ECONOMIC GROWTH, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Economic growth provides people with more goods and services. –Measured in gross domestic product (GDP) and purchasing power parity (PPP). Economic development uses economic growth to improve living standards. –The worlds countries economic status (developed vs. developing) are based on their degree of industrialization and GDP-PPP.

11 The United Nations classifies the Worlds countries as Economically developed – 1.2 billion people U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, European countries Economically developing – 5.2 billion people Most of Africa, Asia, and Latin America Based primarily on their degree of industrialization and their per capita GDP

12 Global Outlook Comparison of developed and developing countries. Figures 1-5 and 1-6

13 Fig. 1-5, p. 11 Percentage of World's Population Developing countries Developed countries Pollution and waste Resource use Wealth and Income Population Growth 18 82 0.1 1.5 85 15 12 75 25 88

14 Comparison of developed and developing countries FeatureDevelopedDeveloping Standard of livingHighLow Per capita food intake3,100 – 3,500 cal/day (high) 1,500 – 2,700 cal/day (low) Crude birth rate15/1000 pop.33/1000 pop. Doubling timeHigh (120 years)Low (33 years) Infant mortalityLow (20/1000 births)High (90/1000 births) Life expectancy at birthHigh (72 years)Lower (57 years) IndustrializationHighLow Energy use per personHighLow Illiteracy rateLow (1% - 4%)High (25% - 75%)

15 Nonrenewable Resources Exist as fixed quantity –Becomes economically depleted. Recycling and reusing extends supply –Recycling processes waste material into new material. –Reuse is using a resource over again in the same form.

16 Common-property / Free access Resources Clean air Open ocean and its fish Migratory birds Wildlife species Publicly owned land Gases of lower atmosphere Space

17 Tragedy of the Commons Garrett Hardin (1968) wrote an article If I dont use this resource, someone else will.

18 Solutions to Common-Property Use at rates well below their estimated sustainable yield Regulate ocean fishing, grazing lands, forests Convert common-property to private ownership –Problems Private owners do not always do what is best for the natural resource Not practical for global common resource – cannot divide atmosphere, open ocean, most wildlife species, and migratory birds

19 Ecological Footprint The amount of biologically productive land and water needed to supply each person or population with the renewable resources they use and to absorb or dispose of the wastes from such resources

20 Our Ecological Footprint Humanitys ecological footprint has exceeded earths ecological capacity. Figure 1-7

21 Fig. 1-7c, p. 13 Number of Earths Humanity's Ecological Footprint Earths Ecological Capacity Year

22 Bad News It will take 1.15 planet Earths to indefinitely supply our current use of renewable resources Would take the land area of about 4 more planet Earths for the rest of the World to reach U.S. levels of consumption China has the Worlds largest population and hopes to increase its total and per capita economic growth, which will increase its ecological footprint

23 POLLUTION Found at high enough levels in the environment to cause harm to organisms. –Point source –Nonpoint source Figure 1-9

24 Two sources of Pollution Point source smokestack of a coal burning power plant Drainpipe of a factory Exhaust of an automobile Nonpoint source Pesticides sprayed in the air Runoff of fertilizers and pesticides

25 Pollution Pollutants can have three types of unwanted effects: –Can disrupt / degrade life-support systems. –Can damage health and property. –Can create nuisances such as noise and unpleasant smells, tastes, and sights.

26 ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS: CAUSES AND CONNECTIONS The major causes of environmental problems are: –Population growth –Wasteful resource use –Poverty –Poor environmental accounting –Environmental ignorance

27 Natural capital degradation The exponential increasing flow of material resources through the worlds economic systems depletes, degrades and pollutes the environment. Figure 1-11

28 Solutions: Prevention vs. Cleanup Problems with relying on cleanup: –Temporary bandage without improvements in control technology. –Often removes a pollutant from one part of the environment to cause problems in another. –Pollutants at harmful levels can cost too much to reduce them to acceptable levels.

29 Poverty and Environmental Problems 1 of 3 children under 5, suffer from severe malnutrition. Figure 1-12 and 1-13

30 Fig. 1-12, p. 18 1.1 billion (17%) Enough food for good health Adequate health care Clean drinking Water Enough fuel for heating and cooking Electricity Adequate Sanitation Number of people (% of world's population) Lack of access to 1.6 billion (25%) 2 billion (31%) 2.4 billion (37%)

31 Relationship Between Poverty and Environmental Problems Deplete and degrade forests, soil, grasslands and wildlife for short-term survival Poor people often have many children to help grow food, gather fuel, haul drinking water, tend livestock, work, and beg in streets

32 Affluenza unsustainable addiction to overconsumption and materialism

33 Resource Consumption It takes about 27 tractor trailer loads of resources per year to support one American Average U.S. citizen consumes about 35x more than the average citizen of India and 100x more than the average person in the Worlds poorest country Poor parents in a developing country would need 70-200 children to have the same lifetime resource consumption as 2 children in a typical U.S. family

34 Connections between Environmental Problems and Their Causes Figure 1-14

35 Fig. 1-14, p. 20 Developing Countries Population (P) Consumption per person (affluence, A) Technological impact per unit of consumption (T) Environmental impact of population (I) Developed Countries

36 CULTURAL CHANGES AND THE ENVIRONMENT Agricultural revolution –Allowed people to stay in one place. Industrial-medical revolution –Led shift from rural villages to urban society. –Science improved sanitation and disease control. Information-globalization revolution –Rapid access to information.

37 Aldo Leopolds Environmental Ethics Individuals matter. … land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity…

38 The End

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