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Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability.

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Presentation on theme: "Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability."— Presentation transcript:

1 Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability

2 Environmental Science: Study of Connections in Nature “The environment is everything that isn’t me.“ Interdisciplinary science connecting information and ideas from Natural sciences: ecology, biology, geology, chemistry… Social sciences: geography, politics, economics Humanities: ethics, philosophy Environmental biology: emphasizing the living aspects of environmental science

3 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

4 Principles of Sustainability Nature has sustained itself for billions of years by using solar energy, biodiversity, and nutrient cycling. Our lives and economies depend on these same principles.

5 From Simple Cell to Homo Sapiens Fig. 1-2, p. 7

6 What is sustainability? Environmental Protection Agency Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations. North Carolina State University The concept of sustainability centers on a balance of society, economy and environment for current and future health. Responsible resource management in all three areas ensures that future generations will have the resources they need to survive and thrive.

7 Nature’s Survival Strategies Follow Three Principles of Sustainability 1. Reliance on solar energy The sun provides warmth and fuels photosynthesis 2. Biodiversity Astounding variety and adaptability of natural systems and species 3. Chemical cycling (nutrient cycling) Circulation of chemicals from the environment to organisms and then back to the environment

8 Three Principles of Sustainability

9 Natural Capital Natural capital includes Natural resources—useful materials and energy in nature Natural services—important nature processes such as renewal of air, water, and soil Humans degrade natural capital Scientific solutions needed for sustaining natural capital

10 Natural Capital = Natural Resources + Natural Services Fig. 1-4, p. 9

11 Natural Capital Degradation Fig. 1-6, p. 10 What is the problem? What is the solution? What tools do we need?

12 Our Ecological Footprints Affect the Earth As our ecological footprints grow, we are depleting and degrading more of the earth’s natural capital. Environmental degradation (natural capital degradation) is the wasting, depleting, and degrading of the earth’s natural capital

13 Fig. 1-9, p. 13

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