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Introduction to Environmental Science

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Environmental Science"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Environmental Science

2 What is environmental science?
Environmental science is the study of the impact of humans on the environment Goals of env sci – to understand and solve environmental problems Many fields of study contribute to environmental science: Biology, earth science, physics, chemistry, social sciences

3 Let’s brainstorm – some problems in the world today and their solutions:
Environmental Problems Solutions to Problems

4 In your opinion, why have people let the environment suffer??

5 What is causing so many of our environmental problems?
Agricultural revolution and industrial revolution have allowed the human population to grow much faster than it had ever grown before. Medicine and sanitation helped increase population Increased population  increased demand for Earth’s resources! About 7.2 billion people in world today!

6 Let’s think……. What happens when there are too many people: In class?
In Livingston? In the U.S.? In the world?

7 3 main environmental problems
1. resource depletion – we are using up too many of our natural resources! 2. pollution- undesired change in air, water or soil that adversely affect health, survival or activities of humans or other organisms 3. loss of biodiversity- a decrease in number and variety of species

8 Resource Depletion Resources are depleted when a large fraction has been used up Can we deplete renewable resources? As the world’s population increases, what happens to its resources?

9 Problem 1 – Resource Depletion
Natural resource – any material that is used by humans Non-renewable resource – forms at a much slower rate than it is consumed; once supply is used up, it will take millions of years to replace it Fossil fuels minerals Renewable resource – resource that can be replaced relatively quickly by natural processes Air, water, soil, trees and crops

10 Problem 2 – Pollution What is pollution?

11 Problem 3 – Loss of Biodiversity
Biodiversity – number and variety of species Why is there a loss of biodiversity? What are some animals that are endangered or extinct? (remember our projects!)

12 The Tragedy of the Commons
Garrett Hardin said that the main difficulty in solving environmental problems is the conflict between the short-term interests of individuals and the long-term welfare of society

13 Look at the diagrams of grazing sheep….
When land was held in common, individuals tended to graze as many animals as possible. Overgrazing led to destruction of land. When commons were replaced by enclosed fields owned by individuals, people tended to graze only the number of animals that the land could support.

14 Tragedy of commons
Great pacific garbage clip Gpgp clip

15 Ecological footprint video clip Tragedy of the commons animation

16 Ecological Footprint Ecological footprint- productive area of earth needed to support one person in a particular country How much of the Earth’s resources a person/country uses Look at table, which country has largest ecological footprint? Why? Which countries have larger ecological footprints, developed or developing?

17 Simple and agriculture-based economies
Developed countries Developing countries Lower average incomes Simple and agriculture-based economies Rapid population growth Higher average incomes Slower population growth Diverse industrial economies Stronger social support systems US, Canada, Japan


19 What can YOU do to reduce your ecological footprint???

20 What is poverty? Poverty - state of being poor; the state of not having enough money to take care of basic needs such as food, clothing, and housing

21 People that live in poverty have
__________ (great/little) healthcare __________ (great/little) education __________ (great/little) access to food __________ (great/little) access to water __________ (few/many) children

22 An __________ (increase/decrease) in population creates an ___________ (increase/decrease) in resources which creates an (increase/decrease) in poverty

23 sustainability Sustainability – the condition in which human needs are met in such a way that a human population can survive indefinitely Are we living in a sustainable world right now? Sustainability is the balance between the humans and the environment!

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