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Chapter 1 Introducing Environmental Science and Stability

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1 Chapter 1 Introducing Environmental Science and Stability

2 Overview of Chapter 1 Human Impacts on The Environment
Population, Resources and the Environment Environmental Sustainability Environmental Science Assessing Environmental Problems

3 The Environment (Earth)
Life has existed on earth for 3.8 billion years Earth well suited for life Water covers ¾ of planet Habitable temperature Moderate sunlight Atmosphere provides oxygen and carbon dioxide Soil provides essential minerals for plants But humans are altering the planet; not always in positive ways

4 Human Impacts on Environment- Population
Earth’s Human Population is over 6 billion Growing exponentially Expected to add several billion more people in 21st century Increase will adversely affect living conditions in many areas of the world popclock On-line population clock: Figure: It took thousands of years for the human population to reach 1 billion (in 1800) but only 130 years to reach 2 billion (1930). It only took 30 years to reach 3 billion (1960), 15 years to reach 4 billion (1975), 12 years to reach 5 billion (1987), and 12 years to reach 6 billion (1999).

5 Population Globally, 1 in 4 people lives in extreme poverty
Cannot meet basic need for food, clothing, shelter, health Difficult to meet population needs without exploiting earth’s resources Figure: Slum in Mumbai (Bombay), India. Many of the world’s people live in extreme poverty. One trend associated with poverty is the increasing movement of poor people from rural to urban areas. As a result, the number of poor people living in or around the fringes of cities is mushrooming. Poverty is associated with low life expectancy, illiteracy, and inadequate access to health services, safe water, and balanced nutrition.

6 Gap Between Rich and Poor
Highly Developed Countries (HDC) Complex industrialized bases, low population growth, high per capita incomes Ex: US, Canada, Japan Less Developed Countries (LDC) Low level of industrialization, very high fertility rate, high infant mortality rate, low per capita income Ex: Bangladesh, Mali, Ethiopia Poor countries fall into two subcategories – moderately developed and less developed. Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, and Thailand are examples of Moderately Developed Countries. Less Developed Countries include Bangladesh, Mali, Ethiopia, and Laos.

7 Types of Natural Resources
Nonrenewable resources are replaced on a geologic time scale, and their supply diminishes with use. Renewable resources are replaced on a fairly rapid time scale, and are derived from the sun’s energy. Renewable resources, usually are potentially renewable. They must be used in a sustainable way – in a manner that gives them time to replace or replenish themselves.

8 Overpopulation People overpopulation Consumption overpopulation
Too many people in a given geographic area Problem in many developing nations Consumption overpopulation Each individual in a population consumes too large a share of the resources Problem in many highly developed nations A country is overpopulated if the level of demand on its resource base results in damage to the environment.

9 Ecological Footprint The average amount of land, water and ocean required to provide that person with all the resources they consume Earth’s Productive Land and Water 11.4 billion hectares Amount Each Person is Allotted (divide Productive Land and Water by Human Population) 1.9 hectares Current Global Ecological Footprint of each person 2.3 hectares Environmental scientist Mathis Wackernagel developed the concept of ecological footprints to help people visualize what they use from the environment. According to Wackernagel, each person has an ecological footprint, amount of productive land, fresh water, and ocean required on a continuous basis to supply that person food, wood, energy, water, housing, clothing, transportation, and waste disposal. We humans have an ecological deficit – we have overshot our allotment. We can see the short-term results around us – forest destruction, degradation of croplands, loss of biological diversity, declining ocean fisheries, and local water shortages.

10 Ecological Footprint Comparison
If everyone in the world had the same level of consumption as the average American, it would take the resources and area of 5 Earths.

11 Environmental effect of technologies
IPAT Model Measures 3 factors that affect environmental impact (I) I = P A T Environmental Impact Number of people Affluence per person Environmental effect of technologies The IPAT model, which biologist Paul Ehrlich and physicist John Holdren first proposed in the 1970’s, shows the mathematical relationship between environmental impacts and the forces driving them. The IPAT equation, though useful, must be interpreted with care, in part because we often do not understand all of the environmental impacts of a particular technology on complex environmental systems. Motor vehicles are linked not only to global warming from CO2 emissions but to local air pollution (tailpipe exhaust), water pollution (improper disposal of motor oil and antifreeze), stratospheric ozone depletion (from leakage of air conditioner coolants), and solid waste (disposal of automobiles in sanitary landfills). There are currently more than 600 million motor vehicles on the planet, and the number is rising rapidly. The three factors in the IPAT equation are always changing in relation to each other.

12 Environmental Sustainability
The ability to meet current human need for natural resources without compromising the needs of future generations Requires understanding: The effects of our actions on the earth That earth’s resources are not infinite Environmental sustainability is based in part on the following ideas: ·  We must consider the effects of our actions on the health and well-being of natural ecosystems, including all living things. · Earth's resources are not present in infinite supply. We must live within ecological limits that let renewable resources such as fresh water regenerate for future needs. ·  We must understand all the costs to the environment and to society of the products we consume. ·  We must each share in the responsibility for environmental sustainability. Many experts in environmental problems think human society is not operating sustainably because of the following human behaviors: · We are using nonrenewable resources such as fossil fuels as if they were present in unlimited supplies. ·  We are using renewable resources such as fresh water and forests faster than natural systems can replenish them ·  We are polluting the environment with toxins as if the capacity of the environment to absorb them is limitless. ·  Our numbers continue to grow despite Earth's finite ability to feed us, sustain us, and absorb our wastes.

13 Tragedy of the Commons Garrett Hardin (1915-2003)
Solving Environmental Problems is result of struggle between: Short term welfare Long term environmental stability and societal welfare Garrett used Common Pastureland in medieval Europe to illustrate the struggle Garrett Hardin (1915–2003) was a professor of human ecology at the University of California–Santa Barbara who wrote about human environmental dilemmas (Figure 1-11). In 1968 he published his classic essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” in the journal Science in which he contended that our inability to solve many environmental problems is the result of a struggle between short-term individual welfare and long-term environmental sustainability and societal welfare. In medieval Europe, the inhabitants of a village shared pastureland, called the commons, and each herder could bring animals onto the commons to graze. The more animals a herder brought onto the commons, the greater the advantage to that individual. When every herder in the village brought as many animals onto the commons as possible, the plants were killed from overgrazing, and the entire village suffered. Thus, the users inevitably destroyed the commons they depended on.

14 Sustainable Development
Economic development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising future generations The goals of sustainable development are achieving improved living conditions for all people while maintaining a healthy environment in which natural resources are not overused and excessive pollution is not generated. Three factors—environmentally sound decisions, economically viable decisions, and socially equitable decisions—interact to promote sustainable development.

15 Environmental Science
An interdisciplinary study of human relationship with other organisms and the earth Biology Ecology Geography Chemistry Geology Physics Economics Sociology Demography politics Ecology, the branch of biology that studies the interrelationships between organisms and their environment, is a basic tool of environmental science.

16 Earth As a System System Global Earth Systems Ecosystem
A set of components that interact and function as a whole Global Earth Systems Climate, atmosphere, land, coastal zones, ocean Ecosystem A natural system consisting of a community of organisms and its physical environment System approach to environmental science Helps us understand how human activities effect global environmental parameters systems that consist of many interacting parts function as a whole. Las Vegas, discussed in the chapter introduction, is an urban system that in turn is composed of smaller systems, such as the transportation and water systems; these smaller systems are linked and interact with one another in the overall urban system. Environmental scientists often use models to describe the interactions within and among environmental systems. Many of these models are computer simulations that represent the overall effect of competing factors to describe an environmental system in numerical terms. Models help us understand how the present situation developed from the past or how to predict the future course of events. In ecosystems, biological processes (such as photosynthesis) interact with physical and chemical processes to modify the composition of gases in the atmosphere, transfer energy from the sun through living organisms, recycle waste products, and respond to environmental changes with resilience.

17 Earth Systems Most of earth’s systems are in dynamic equilibrium or steady state Rate of change in one direction equals that in the other Feedback Change in 1 part of system leads to change in another Negative feedback- change triggers a response that counteracts the changed condition Positive feedback- change triggers a response that intensifies the changing condition dynamic equilibrium, in which the rate of change in one direction is the same as the rate of change in the opposite direction. Feedback occurs when a change in one part of a system leads to a change in another part. Feedback can be negative or positive. In a negative feedback mechanism, a change in some condition triggers a response that counteracts, or reverses, the changed condition; a negative feedback mechanism works to keep an undisturbed system in dynamic equilibrium. For example, consider fish in a pond. As the number of fish increases, available food decreases and fewer fish survive; thus, the fish population declines. In a positive feedback mechanism, a change in some condition triggers a response that intensifies the changing condition; a positive feedback mechanism leads to greater change from the original condition. A positive feedback mechanism can be very disruptive to an already disturbed system. For example, melting of polar and glacial ice can lead to greater absorption of solar heat by the exposed land area, which in turn leads to more rapid melting. As you will see throughout this text, many feedback mechanisms operate in the natural environment.

18 Scientific Method 1.  Recognize a question or unexplained occurrence in the natural world.   After a problem is recognized, one investigates relevant scientific literature to determine what is already known about it. 2.  Develop a hypothesis, or educated guess, to explain the problem.   A good hypothesis makes a prediction that can be tested and possibly disproved. The same factual evidence is often used to formulate several alternative hypotheses; each must be tested. 3. Design and perform an experiment to test the hypothesis.   An experiment involves collecting data by making careful observations and measurements. Much of the creativity in science involves designing experiments that sort out the confusion caused by competing hypotheses. The process never “proves” anything; instead, it disproves or falsifies alternative hypotheses until only the most plausible hypothesis is left. 4.  Analyze and interpret the data to reach a conclusion.   Does the evidence match the prediction stated in the hypothesis—that is, do the data support or refute the hypothesis? Should the hypothesis be modified or rejected based on the observed data? 5.  Share new knowledge.   Publishing articles in scientific journals or books and presenting the information at meetings permits others to repeat the experiment or design new experiments that either verify or refute the work.

19 Controls and Variables in Experiment
A factor that influences a process The variable may be altered in an experiment to see its effect on the outcome Control The variable is not altered Allows for comparison between the altered variable test and the unaltered variable test To evaluate alternative hypotheses about a given variable, we must hold all other variables constant so that they do not confuse or mislead us. To test a hypothesis about a variable, two forms of the experiment are done in parallel. In the experimental group, we alter the chosen variable in a known way. In the control group, we do not alter that variable. In all other respects the two groups are the same. We then ask, “What is the difference, if any, between the outcomes for the two groups?” Any difference is the result of the influence of that variable because all other variables remained the same. Much of the challenge of environmental science lies in designing control groups and in successfully isolating a single variable from all other variables.

20 Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
Inductive Reasoning Used to discover general principles Seeks a unifying explanation for all the data available “What does this information have in common?” Ex: FACT: Gold is a metal heavier than water FACT: Iron is metal heavier than water FACT: Silver is a metal heavier than water CONCLUSION (based on inductive reasoning): All metals are heavier than water Conclusions reached with inductive reasoning may change with new information

21 Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
Proceeds from generalities to specifics Adds nothing new to knowledge, but makes relationships among data more apparent Ex: GENERAL RULE: All birds have wings SPECIFIC EXAMPLE: Robins are birds CONCLUSION (based on deductive reasoning): All Robins have wings

22 Five Stages to Addressing An Environmental Problem
Five steps are idealistic Real life is rarely so neat Following Slides are Case Study Using the Five Stages

23 Assessing Environmental Problem Case Study: Lake Washington
Large, freshwater pond Suburban sprawl in 1940’s 10 new sewage treatment plants dumped effluent into lake Effect = excessive cyanobacteria growth that killed off fish and aquatic life

24 Assessing Environmental Problem Case Study: Lake Washington
Scientific Assessment Aquatic wildlife assessment done in 1933 was compared to the 1950 assessment Hypothesized treated sewage was introducing high nutrients causing growth of cyanobacteria Risk Analysis After analyzing many choices, chose new location (freshwater) and greater treatment for sewage to decrease nutrients in effluent

25 Assessing Environmental Problem Case Study: Lake Washington
Public Education/Involvement Educated public on why changes were necessary Political Action Difficult to organize sewage disposal in so many municipalities Changes were not made until 1963! Evaluation Cyanobacteria slowly decreased until 1975 (gone)

26 Assessing Environmental Problem Case Study: Lake Washington
Results! Nutrients in Lake Washington compared with cyanobacterial growth. (a)  Dissolved phosphorus in Lake Washington from 1955 to Note that the level of dissolved phosphorus declined in the lake as the phosphorus contributed by sewage effluent (shaded area) declined. (b)  Cyanobacterial growth from 1964 to 1975, during Lake Washington's recovery, as measured indirectly by the amount of chlorophyll, the pigment involved in photosynthesis. Note that as the level of phosphorus dropped in the lake, the number of cyanobacteria (that is, the chlorophyll content) declined.

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