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Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability Chapter 1.

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1 Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability Chapter 1

2 Unifying Theme  We are connected.  Being connected means we are dependant on the environment for air, water, food, shelter, energy and everything else we need to stay alive and healthy. We depend on abiotic factors such as water and air as much as we depend on biotic factors such as trees and animals. We, ourselves, are part of nature.

3 Core Case Study: Living in an Exponential Age (Page 5; Fig. 1-1)  Impact of human exponential growth on Loss of animal and plant species Loss of resources Exponential growth is the rate at which a quantity increases at a fixed percentage per unit of time such as 2% per year. Exponential growth is deceptive because it starts off slowly then doubles rapidly into an enormous number.

4 Are we pests?  In 2008 there were 6.7 billion people on the planet. Collectively, these people consume vast amounts of resources and produce huge amounts of waste. Unless death rates rise sharply, there will be 9.3 billion human beings by 2050 and most likely 10 billion by the end of this century.  This is exponential growth. Growing at this rate would be as if we added a new United States to the earth every 4 years. The impending exponential growth of the human species endangers plants and other animals.

5 Exponential Growth

6 Fig. 1-1, p. 5 2000 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Billions of people ? Industrial revolution Agricultural revolution B. C.A. D. 20002100 Time Hunting and gathering Black Death—the Plague Industrial revolution 2–5 million years 800060004000

7 1-1 What Is an Environmentally Sustainable Society?  Concept 1-1A Our lives and economies depend on energy from the sun (solar capital) and on natural resources and natural services (natural capital) provided by the earth.  Concept 1-1B Living sustainability means living off the earth’s natural income without depleting or degrading the natural capital that supplies it.

8 Environmental Science Is a Study of Connections in Nature (1)  Interdisciplinary science connecting information and ideas from Natural sciences, with an emphasis on ecology Social sciences Humanities

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

10 Major Fields of Study Related to Environmental Science

11 Environmental Science Is an Interdisciplinary Study

12 Fig. 1-2, p. 7 Philosophy Biology Ethics Chemistry Physics Political science Geology Economics Geography Demography Anthropology Ecology

13 Sustainability Is the Central Theme of This Book  Sustainability: The ability of the earth’s various natural systems, cultural systems, and economies to survive and adapt to changing environmental conditions indefinitely.  Natural capital: supported by solar capital (Page 8; Fig. 1-3) Natural resources - materials and energy in nature that are essential or useful to an organism. Natural services functions of nature such as natural purification of water or air, which support life and human economics at no cost. E.g., nutrient cycling

14 Natural Capital = Natural Resources + Natural Services

15 Fig. 1-3, p. 8 Air Air purification Climate control Water Water purification Waste treatment Nonrenewable minerals iron, sand) Natural gas Oil Soil Soil renewal Nonrenewable energy (fossil fuels) Solar capital Land Food production Nutrient recycling Coal seam Life (biodiversity) Population control Pest control Renewable energy (sun, wind, water flows) UV protection (ozone layer) Natural resources Natural services NATURAL CAPITAL Natural Capital = Natural Resources + Natural Services Fig. 1-3, p. 8

16 Nutrient Cycling

17 Fig. 1-4, p. 9 Decomposition Organic matter in animals Organic matter in plants Inorganic matter in soil Dead organic matter

18 Sustainability  Degradation of natural capital through human activities many human activities can negatively affect natural capital. Using nonrenewable resources or overusing renewable resources at a rate faster than they can be renewed by nature. Ex: harvesting desirable species from the oceans or clear cutting mature forests.  Scientific solutions science can supply solutions but is limited by a willingness to implement them. Therefore politics must play a part.

19 Environmentally Sustainable Societies Protect Natural Capital and Live off Its Income  Live off natural income one that meets the current and future basic resource needs of its people without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Basically we need to live off the interest of our investment. Living sustainably means living off natural income such a renewable resources like plants, animals, and soil. It means preserving and saving resources and living within our means.

20 Human activity and its affect on the earth’s natural capital  The bad news is we are currently living unsustainably and scientist predict the we are overusing the earth’s natural resources by 62% (Page 8; Fig. 1-3) Can we continue at this rate? We must start implementing the solutions provided by science.  Visit and cast your vote

21 Exercise your mind 1.Define environmental science and compare environmental science with ecology. 2.List the five major fields of study that contribute to environmental science and tell how they contribute. 3.Describe what it means to live sustainably and explain how our lives and economies depend on energy from the sun (solar capital) and on natural resources and natural services (natural capital) provided by the earth. Describe the impact of human exponential growth and list the current percentage of over use of natural resources. Distinguish degradation of natural capital through human activities by listing and explaining how it happens

22 1-2 How Can Environmentally Sustainable Societies Grow Economically?  Concept 1-2 Societies can become more environmentally sustainable through economic development dedicated to improving the quality of life for everyone without degrading the earth's life support systems.  The Rich & The Poor (not a new soap-opera )

23 There Is a Wide Economic Gap between Rich and Poor Countries  Economic growth is an increase in a nations output of goods and services. Country’s economic growth: measured by gross domestic product (GDP)  Changes in economic growth: measured by per capita GDP Measured on a per person basis & calculated by dividing the GDP by the midyear population of people.

24 Do the Math  The most common approach to measuring and understanding GDP is the expenditure method:  GDP = consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports)  GDP = C + I + G + (X-M)

25 How much is a $$$ worth?  Purchasing power parity (PPP) plus GDP are combined for per capita GDP PPP The value of any countries currency changes when it is used in other countries. Therefore you can buy more in some countries than in other using the same amount of currency. This is called purchasing power.

26 Why you can live like a king in Mexico  A measure of a country’s individual citizen’s purchasing power is calculated by combining the per capita GDP and the PPP to produce a number called the per capita GDP PPP.  This number tells economists what any given country’s individual citizen could buy in the United States. (Now don’t all of you rush out and become economist because of this exhilarating part of our lesson today )

27 Developed or Developing?  Economic Development – Differs from economic growth because it has the goal of using economic growth to improve overall living standards.  The UN classifies countries as developed or developing based on their degree of industrialization and their per capita GDP PPP.

28 Comparison of Developed and Developing Countries, 2008

29 Fig. 1-5, p. 11 Developing countries Percentage of World's: Population 18% 82% Population growth 0.12% 1.46% Wealth and income 15% 85% Life expectancy 77 years 67 years Resource use 12% 88% Pollution and waste 25% 75% Developed countries

30 Developing countries include:  China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Thailand & Mexico. (Most countries in Africa, Asia & Latin America)  They are characterized by having a growing per capita GDP PPP and being moderately industrialized. (Meaning the make some stuff to export and they have a low enough population that they can moderately support everyone)

31 Extreme Poverty in a Developing Country

32 Developed countries include:  USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and most European countries.  They are characterized by having a high per capita GDP PPP and being highly industrialized. (Meaning the make stuff to export and they have a low enough population that they can support everyone)

33 Extreme wealth in Dubai a developed country

34 Least developed countries include:  Low income countries such as Angola, Nigeria, Congo, Jordan, Nicaragua, & Belarus.  There are 49 countries on this list that make up 11% of the world’s population.  They are characterized by having a declining per capita GDP PPP and being unindustrialized. (Meaning they make nothing to export and they have a high population and cannot support everyone)

35 One of the Least - Poverty in the Congo

36 A World of HAVES and HAVE NOTS….  About 97% of the world’s population increase from 2008 – 2050 is projected to occur in developing countries. These countries are ill-equipped to handle such an increase.  More than half the world lives in extreme poverty and is uneducated – it is a world of HAVES and HAVE NOTS….

37 Speed and Skill  BRIC is an acronym that refers to the fast growing developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Economists predict that by 2050 the combined economies of the BRIC could eclipse the combined economies of the current richest countries of the world.  (Page 8; Fig. 1-3) What would this mean for the environment according to the figure in your book?

38 Environmentally Sustainable Economic Development  Using political and economic systems to discourage environmentally harmful and unsustainable forms of economic growth that degrade natural capital and to encourage environmentally sustainable forms of economic growth that help sustain natural capital.  What are 3 types of goods whose exponential growth would promote environmental sustainability and why?

39 1-3 How Are Our Ecological Footprints Affecting the Earth?  Concept 1-3 As our ecological footprints grow, we are depleting and degrading more of the earth’s natural capital.

40 Some Sources Are Renewable (1)  Resource Directly available for use – sunlight, wind, wild edible plants – what you find outside Not directly available for use – crops, iron ore, petrol – require effort  Perpetual resource Solar energy – the sun should be around for 6 billion more years

41 Some Sources Are Renewable (2)  Renewable resource E.g., forests, grasslands, fresh air, fertile soil  Sustainable yield  Environmental degradation

42 Degradation of Normally Renewable Natural Resources and Services

43 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 Solutions

44 II. The Environment and Society  A. The Tragedy of the Commons  In 1968, ecologist Garrett Hardin published an essay titled “The Tragedy of the Commons” which addressed the questions like how we decide how to share common resources


46 Tragedy on the Commons  conflict between 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 does, the resource is overused and becomes depleted  Hardin thought people would continue to deplete natural resources by action in their own self-interest to the point of society’s collapse

47 Tragedy on the Commons  The solution may override the interests of individuals in the short term, but it improves the environment for everyone in the long term. How can the hot topic of privatized versus public health care be likened to this analogy?

48 http://www.garretthardinsociety. org/info/ ml

49 Solutions:  Share resources at rates well below their estimated sustainable yields. Reduce and regulate. Hunting & fishing licenses and limits. Open seasons Ex: Deadliest Catch and Alaskan King Crabs.  Convert open access resources to private ownership. Reasons that if people own it they will take better care of it. It is not a good plan for resources that can’t be divided up such as air, species of wildlife, and the open ocean.

50 Some Resources Are Not Renewable  Nonrenewable resources Energy resources Metallic mineral resources Nonmetallic mineral resources  Reuse  Recycle


52 Reuse

53 Earthship – reused materials

54 Consumption of Natural Resources – developing countries

55 Consumption of Natural Resources – Developed Countries

56 Our Ecological Footprints Are Growing  Ecological footprint concept Biological capacity Ecological footprint

57 Natural Capital Use and Degradation

58 Fig. 1-10, p. 15 Total Ecological Footprint (million hectares) and Share of Global Ecological Capacity (%) United States European Union China India Japan 2,810 (25%) 2,160 (19%) 2,050 (18%) 780 (7%) 540 (5%) Number of Earths United States European Union China India Japan 4.7 9.7 1.6 0.8 4.8 Per Capita Ecological Footprint (hectares per person) Ecological footprint Earth's ecological capacity Projected footprint

59 Fig. 1-10, p. 15 Total Ecological Footprint (million hectares) and Share of Global Ecological Capacity (%) United States European Union China India Japan 2,810 (25%) 2,160 (19%) 2,050 (18%) 780 (7%) 540 (5%) United States European Union China India Japan 4.7 9.7 1.6 0.8 4.8 Per Capita Ecological Footprint (hectares per person) Number of Earths Ecological footprint Earth's ecological capacity Projected footprint Stepped Art

60 Case Study: China’s New Affluent Consumers (1)  Leading consumer of various foods and goods Wheat, rice, and meat Coal, fertilizers, steel, and cement  Second largest consumer of oil

61 Case Study: China’s New Affluent Consumers (2)  Two-thirds of the most polluted cities are in China  Projections, by 2020 Largest consumer and producer of cars World’s leading economy in terms of GDP PPP

62 Cultural Changes Have Increased Our Ecological Footprints  12,000 years ago: hunters and gatherers  Three major cultural events Agricultural revolution Industrial-medical revolution Information-globalization revolution

63 1-4 What Is Pollution and What Can We Do about It?  Concept 1-4 Preventing pollution is more effective and less costly than cleaning up pollution.

64 Pollution Comes from a Number of Sources  Sources of pollution Point E.g., smokestack Nonpoint E.g., pesticides blown into the air  Main type of pollutants Biodegradable Nondegradable  Unwanted effects of pollution

65 Point-Source Air Pollution

66 Pollution types  A. Biodegradable – harmful materials that can be broken down by natural processes. Ex. Human sewage or newspaper  B. Nondegradable – harmful materials that natural processes cannot break down. Ex. Toxic chemical element such as arsenic, lead, mercury

67 3 types of unwanted pollution effects  A. Disrupt or degrade life support systems  B. Damage wildlife and human health or property  C. Create nuisances such as noise pollution, smells, tastes or sights

68 We Can Clean Up Pollution or Prevent It  Pollution cleanup (output pollution control)  (end of the pipe solution) – cleaning up or diluting pollutants after they’ve been produced  a. Problems: it is only a temporary fix, removes the pollutant from one area only to cause a problem in another, and it is expensive or impossible.

69 We Can Clean Up Pollution or Prevent It  Pollution prevention (input pollution control)  Input Pollution Control (front of the pipe solution)– reduce or eliminates the production of pollutants  Works better and is cheaper and easier in the long run.

70 1-5 Why Do We Have Environmental Problems? (1)  Concept 1-5A Major causes of environmental problems are population growth, wasteful and unsustainable resource use, poverty, exclusion of environmental costs of resource use from the market prices of goods and services, and attempts to manage nature with insufficient knowledge.

71 1-5 Why Do We Have Environmental Problems? (2)  Concept 1-5B People with different environmental worldviews often disagree about the seriousness of environmental problems and what we should do about them.

72 Experts Have Identified Five Basic Causes of Environmental Problems  Population growth  Wasteful and unsustainable resource use  Poverty  Failure to include the harmful environmental costs of goods and services in their market prices  Insufficient knowledge of how nature works

73 Causes of Environmental Problems

74 Fig. 1-12, p. 18 Causes of Environmental Problems Population growth Unsustainable resource use Poverty Excluding environmental costs from market prices Trying to manage nature without knowing enough about it

75 Fig. 1-12, p. 18 Causes of Environmental Problems Population growth Unsustainable resource use Poverty Excluding environmental costs from market prices Trying to manage nature without knowing enough about it Stepped Art

76 Poverty Has Harmful Environmental and Health Effects  Population growth affected  Malnutrition  Premature death  Limited access to adequate sanitation facilities and clean water

77 Some Harmful Results of Poverty

78 Fig. 1-13, p. 18 2.6 billion (38%) Number of people (% of world's population) Lack of access to Adequate sanitation facilities Enough fuel for heating and cooking Electricity Clean drinking water Adequate health care Adequate housing Enough food for good health 0.86 billion (13%) 1 billion (15%) 1.1 billion (16%) 2 billion (29%)

79 Poverty  occurs when people cannot meet their basic needs of food, water, health and education.  50 % of the world’s population lives on less than $2 per day. Their focus is on getting food, water, and heat to survive. Short term need outweighs the long term concerns they might otherwise have for the environment.

80 Harmful Effects  A. Poverty leads to exponential population growth. Lack of birth control and education cause a high birth rate as well as a need for extra hands to work in fields.  B. Lack of retirement, health care, and social security encourage people to have more children so they can be caretakers of the elderly.  C. Lack of sanitation – decreases drinkable fresh water; decreases breathable air from firewood  D. Malnutrition – lack of essential protein and minerals found in foods

81 Global Outlook on Malnutrition

82 Affluenza  Affluence – Wealth; characterized by high levels of consumption and waste. An assumption that buying and possessing more will bring happiness.  It takes 27 tractor trailer loads of stuff per year to support 1 American.

83 Affluence Has Harmful and Beneficial Environmental Effects  B. Provides the luxury of being able to see beyond tomorrow and become more concerned with environmental issues.  C. Provides money for developing technologies to reduce pollution, resource waste and environment degradation.  D. Finances cleaner air, better health, better food supply, pure drinking water, protection of endangered species, reduced population growth  E. Unfortunately, it exploits resources from poorer countries

84 Low Market 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

85 How we see it…  Worldviews are a set of assumptions and values reflecting how you think the world works and what your role in the world should be. Some people are not educated and do not have broad horizons. They know only what they have experienced and have not traveled or learned about the world.

86 Different Views about Environmental Problems and Their Solutions  Environmental Worldview including environmental ethics Planetary management worldview Stewardship worldview Environmental wisdom worldview

87 3 Types of Environmental Worldviews ( Derived from the writings of Aldo Leopold father of Modern Ecology)  A. Planetary Management – we are separate from nature and nature exists to meet our needs.  B. Stewardship Worldview – we can and should manage the earth for our benefit and that we have an ethical responsibility to do so.  C. Environmental Wisdom Worldview – we are part of it, totally dependant on it, and nature exists for all species.

88 We Can Learn to Make Informed Environmental Decisions  Scientific research  Identify problem and multiple solutions  Consider human values

89 Steps Involved in Making an Environmental Decision

90 Fig. 1-15, p. 21 Identify an environmental problem Revise decision as needed Evaluate the consequences Decide on and implement a solution Project the short- and long-term environmental and economic advantages and disadvantages of each solution Propose one or more solutions Gather scientific information

91 We Can Work Together to Solve Environmental Problems  Social capital Encourages Openness and communication Cooperation Hope Discourages Close-mindedness Polarization Confrontation and fear

92 Case Study: The Environmental Transformation of Chattanooga, TN  Environmental success story: example of building their social capital  1960: most polluted city in the U.S.  1984: Vision 2000  1995: most goals met  1993: Revision 2000

93 Chattanooga, Tennessee

94 Individuals Matter: Aldo Leopold  5–10% of the population can bring about major social change  Anthropologist Margaret Mead  Aldo Leopold: environmental ethics A leader of the conservation and environmental movements of the 20 th century Land ethic Wrote: A Sand County Almanac

95 1-6 What Are Four Scientific Principles of Sustainability?  Concept 1- 6 Nature has sustained itself for billions of years by using solar energy, biodiversity, population control, and nutrient cycling—lessons from nature that we can apply to our lifestyles and economies.

96 Studying Nature Reveals Four Scientific Principles of Sustainability  Reliance on solar energy  Biodiversity  Population control  Nutrient cycling

97 Four Scientific Principles of Sustainability

98 Fig. 1-17, p. 23 Population Control Reliance on Solar Energy Nutrient Cycling Biodiversity

99 Solutions For Environmental or Sustainability Revolution

100 Fig. 1-18, p. 24 Protecting natural capital Current EmphasisSustainability Emphasis Pollution cleanup Waste disposal (bury or burn) Protecting species Environmental degradation Increasing resource use Population growth Depleting and degrading natural capital Pollution prevention Waste prevention Protecting habitat Environmental restoration Less resource waste Population stabilization

101 Cultural Changes Required (Page 24; Fig. 1-18)  1. Science suggests we have about 50 and no more than 100 years to make these changes.  2. A sustainability revolution must occur in your life time, we are in a fork in the road.  3. Everything you do or don’t do plays a role, remember INDIVIDUALS are important.  4. Don’t be immobilized with fear, gloom and doom – Be energized with HOPE and ACTION

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