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Environmental Science Is a Study of Connections in Nature

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Presentation on theme: "Environmental Science Is a Study of Connections in Nature"— Presentation transcript:

1 Environmental Science Is a Study of Connections in Nature
Everything around us, living and non-living Environmental science: interdisciplinary science connecting information and ideas from Natural sciences: (ex. biology, geology, chemistry) Social sciences: (ex. politics, economics) Humanities: ethics, philosophy

2 Environmental Science Is a Study of Connections in Nature
How nature works How the environment affects us How we affect the environment How to deal with environmental problems How to live more sustainably

3 Sustainability Sustainability: when the earth’s natural systems and human cultural systems survive, flourish, and adapt for future generations to survive My personal view as to how we should look at the problems The earth has been around for 4.5 Billion years…the earth will go on with or without us Sustainability is about what humans and societies will look like

4 From Simple Cell to Homo Sapiens
Figure 1.2: Here, the span of Homo sapiens sapiens’ time on earth is compared with that of all life beginning about 3.5 billion years ago. If the length of this time line were 1 kilometer (0.6 miles), humanity’s time on earth would occupy roughly the last 3 one-hundredths of a millimeter. That is less than the diameter of a hair on your head—compared with 1 kilometer of time. Fig. 1-2, p. 7

5 Three Principles of Sustainability
Reliance on solar energy The sun provides warmth and fuels photosynthesis (root energy source for earth) Biodiversity Astounding variety and adaptability of natural systems and species Chemical cycling / Nutrient cycling Circulation of chemicals from the environment to organisms and then back to the environment

6 Three Principles of Sustainability
Figure 1.3: Three principles of sustainability. We derive these three interconnected principles of sustainability from learning how nature has sustained a huge variety of life on the earth for at least 3.5 billion years, despite drastic changes in environmental conditions (Concept 1-1a).

7 Sustainability Has Certain Key Components
Natural capital – The resources available to us Natural resources: useful materials and energy in the air, water and earth Think about it like money in the bank earning interest Capital = Money we have available Sustainable = we spend money without losing capital (only use the interest) Unsustainable = we spend more money and leave less capital (leave less in the bank)

8 Natural Capital = Natural Resources + Natural Services
Figure 1.4: These key natural resources (blue) and natural services (orange) support and sustain the earth’s life and human economies (Concept 1-1a). Fig. 1-4, p. 9 8

9 We Are Living Unsustainably
Environmental degradation: wasting, depleting, and degrading the earth’s natural capital Happening at an accelerating rate

10 Natural Capital Degradation
Figure 1.6: Natural capital degradation. This was once a large area of diverse tropical rain forest in Brazil, but it has now been cleared to grow soybeans. According to ecologist Harold Mooney of Stanford University, conservative estimates suggest that between 1992 and 2008, an area of tropical rain forest larger than the U.S. state of California was destroyed in order to graze cattle and plant crops for food and biofuels. Fig. 1-6, p. 10

11 Natural Capital Degradation
Figure 1.9: These are examples of the degradation of normally renewable natural resources and services in parts of the world, mostly as a result of rising populations and resource use per person. Fig. 1-9, p. 13

12 Some Sources Are Renewable and Some Are Not (2)
Renewable resource Several days to several hundred years to renew E.g., forests, grasslands, fresh air, fertile soil Sustainable yield Highest rate at which we can use a renewable resource without reducing available supply 12

13 Some Sources Are Renewable and Some Are Not (3)
Nonrenewable resources Energy resources Metallic mineral resources Nonmetallic mineral resources Reuse Recycle

14 Countries Differ in Levels of Unsustainability (1)
Economic growth: increase in output of a nation’s goods and services Gross domestic product (GDP): annual market value of all goods and services produced by all businesses, foreign and domestic, operating within a country Per capita GDP: one measure of economic development

15 Countries Differ in Levels of Unsustainability (2)
Economic development: using economic growth to raise living standards More-developed countries: North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, most of Europe Less-developed countries: most countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America

16 Countries by Gross National Income per Capita
Figure 2 This map shows high-income, upper-middle income, lower-middle-income, and low-income countries in terms of gross national income (GNI) PPP per capita (U.S. dollars) in (Data from World Bank and International Monetary Fund) Supplement 8, Fig 2

17 Pollution Comes from a Number of Sources (1)
Sources of pollution Point sources E.g., smokestack Nonpoint sources E.g., pesticides blown into the air Main type of pollutants Biodegradable Nondegradable Unwanted effects of pollution

18 Point-Source Air Pollution
Figure 1.10: This point-source air pollution rises from a pulp mill in New York State (USA). Fig. 1-10, p. 14

19 Nonpoint Source Water Pollution
Figure 1.11: The trash in this river came from a large area of land and is an example of nonpoint water pollution. Fig. 1-11, p. 14

20 Overexploiting Shared Renewable Resources: Tragedy of the Commons
Three types of property or resource rights Private property Common property Open access renewable resources Tragedy of the commons Common property and open-access renewable resources degraded from overuse Solutions

21 Ecological Footprints: A Model of Unsustainable Use of Resources
Ecological footprint: the amount of land and water needed to provide you your current

22 Four Basic Causes of Environmental Problems
Population growth Wasteful and unsustainable resource use Poverty Harmful environmental costs of things we buy are not included in their price

23 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

24 IPAT is Another Environmental Impact Model
I = P x A x T I = Environmental impact P = Population A = Affluence T = Technology

25 Exponential Growth of Human Population
Figure 1.18: Exponential growth: The J-shaped curve represents past exponential world population growth, with projections to 2100 showing possible population stabilization as the J-shaped curve of growth changes to an S-shaped curve. (This figure is not to scale.) (Data from the World Bank and United Nations, 2008; photo L. Yong/UNEP/Peter Arnold, Inc.) Fig. 1-18, p. 21

26 Technology Increases Population
Figure 1.16: Technological innovations have led to greater human control over the rest of nature and to an expanding human population. Fig. 1-16, p. 19

27 IPAT Illustrated Figure 1.14: Connections: This simple model demonstrates how three factors—number of people, affluence (resource use per person), and technology—affect the environmental impact of populations in less-developed countries (top) and more-developed countries (bottom). Fig. 1-14, p. 17

28 Natural Systems Have Tipping Points
Ecological tipping point: an often irreversible shift in the behavior of a natural system Often hard for the “layperson” to see it coming because you don’t see impacts instantly Long-term climate change Over-fishing Species extinction

29 Tipping Point Figure 1.15: In this example of a tipping point, you can control the ball as you push it up to the tipping point. Beyond that point, you lose control. Ecological tipping points can threaten all or parts of the earth’s life-support system. Fig. 1-15, p. 19

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