Presentation on theme: "Sustainability and Natural Capital. "In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation... ‘What about the seventh generation?"— Presentation transcript:
"In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation... ‘What about the seventh generation? Where are you taking them? What will they have?’” from the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy
What is Sustainability? the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, thereby supporting long- term (indefinite) ecological balance No harm ! No depletion ! Indefinite balance !
What is a sustainable society? A sustainable society is one which can provide for and manage its population and economy now and in the future.
Two goals of a sustainable society are: 1. To provide all of its people with enough good food, safe shelter, clean water and air. Shanghai skyline 2. Meet the needs of its people without destroying the Earth’s Natural Capital.
Natural Capital is… the resources and ecological services provided by the earth that support and sustain the earth’s life and economies This includes: -Raw materials -Natural cycles (carbon, nitrogen etc) - Life support systems ( UV protection, biodiversity, water cleansing & climate stability
Natural Capital Resources Natural capital resources are anything obtained from the environment to meet plant, animal and human needs. Primary resources are: air, water, soil, energy and minerals. Fundamental units from which all capital is created! The 3 types of resources are perpetual, renewable, and non-renewable.
1. Renewable Resources Renewable: can be replaced fairly quickly on a human scale (e.g. a human lifetime) Examples: forests, fresh water, air, soil
2. Perpetual Resources Perpetual: renewed continuously in a human time frame Example: solar energy, wind energy
3. Non-renewable Resources Non-renewable: exist on the earth in fixed amounts Examples: fossil fuels, metals such as iron and copper Open pit mine, Australia
Natural Capital Services Natural capital services are processes performed by the environment which balance waste disposal, populations and resource use. Natural capital services affect the quality of our land, water, air, food and earth.
Natural Capital services include: Nutrient recycling Climate control Pollution control Waste treatment Biodiversity Pest and disease control Population control When we destroy our NC, we destroy the services they provide ! Wetland at the Brickworks
Example: Climate Regulation Forest cover has a lower albedo than urban concrete. Trees absorb and use certain wavelengths of light for photosynthesis while concrete absorbs shorter wavelengths and releases it over time ( later in the day and at night) urban areas are warmer! Service Provided: Trees lower overall temperature of an area, remove CO 2,, provide shade and habitat. FOR FREE!
Sustainable living runoff of pesticides, fertilizers, and animal wastes destruction of wetlands erosion of soils deforestation urban sprawl Natural capital services can also be degraded by human activity:
Sustainable living Humans are the only species on earth to deplete and waste natural capital. Sustainable living uses only perpetual or renewable resources, not non-renewable resources.
Sustainable living Sustainable living uses renewable resources only at the rate at which they can be replaced. The highest rate a renewable resource can be used without being depleted is called its sustainable yield. e.g. cod fisheries collapse in 1990s from overfishing