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Their Causes and Sustainability Environmental Problems:

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

1 Their Causes and Sustainability Environmental Problems:

2 Biologists estimate that human activities are causing premature extinction of the earth’s species at an exponential rate of 0.1% to 1% a year.

3 EXPONENTIAL GROWTH A quantity increases at a constant rate per unit of time.

4 Exponential growth plays a key role in: * population growth * resource use and waste * poverty * loss of biological diversity * global climate change xponent.html

5 Environment Everything that affects a living organism.

6 Environmental Science An interdisciplinary study that uses information from the physical sciences and social sciences to learn how the earth works, how we interact with the earth, and how to deal with environmental problems.

7 Environmentalism A social movement dedicated to protecting the earth’s life support systems for us and other species.

8 Solar Capital Energy from the sun. Solar Energy Includes direct sunlight and indirect forms of renewable solar energy such as wind power, hydropower, and biomass.

9 Natural Resources a.k.a. Natural Capital Def. – The planet’s air, water, soil, wildlife, forest, rangeland, fishery, mineral, and energy resources, and the processes of natural purification, recycling, and pest control.

10 What is an Environmental Sustainable Society? A society that meets the needs of its people for food, clean water, clean air, shelter, and other basic resources without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Living sustainably means living off natural income replenished by soils, plants, air, and water and not depleting or degrading the earth’s natural capital that supplies this biological income.

11 How rapidly is the human population growing? 1.25% a year

12 Economic Growth An increase in the capacity of a country to provide people with goods and services. Measured by the change in a country’s GDP. Economic Development The improvement of living standards by economic growth. Measured by per capita GDP.

13 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) The annual market value of all goods and services produced by all firms and organizations in operation within a country. Per capita GDP The GDP divided by the total population at midyear.

14 Developed Countries Highly industrialized. High average per capita GDP. Examples: US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Iceland.

15 Developing Countries Middle to low income. High poverty rates. Life expectancy lower than developed countries. Examples: Yemen, Ethiopia, Samoa

16 Globalization The process of social, economic, and environmental global changes that lead to an increasingly interconnected world. It involves increasing exchanges of people, products, services, capital, and ideas across international borders.

17 Resource Anything obtained in the environment to meet our needs and wants. Ex.- food, water, shelter. Perpetual Resource Renewed continuously. Ex.- solar energy, winds, tides, flowing water.

18 Renewable Resource Can be replenished fairly rapidly through natural processes. Ex.- forests, grasslands, wild animals, soil, fresh water, fresh air. Sustainable Yield The highest rate at which a renewable resource can be used indefinitely without reducing its available supply. Environmental Degradation Exceeding a renewable resources natural replacement rate.

19 Common-Property a.k.a. free-access resources. Not owned by anyone. Available to users at little or no cost. Ex.- clean air, open ocean, fish, birds, wildlife, and publicly owned land.

20 Tragedy of the Commons The degradation of renewable free-access resources.

21 Per Capita Ecological Footprint A measure of how much of the earth’s natural capital and biological income each of us uses. Humanity’s ecological footprint per person exceeds the earth’s biological capacity to replenish renewable resources and absorb waste by about 15%. Ecological Footprint is larger in developed than in developing countries. What’s your ecological footprint?

22 Nonrenewable Resources Can be depleted faster than they are formed. Examples include: Energy resources (coal, oil, natural gas) Metallic mineral resources (iron, copper, aluminum) Nonmetallic mineral resources (clay, sand, phosphates)

23 A resource becomes economically depleted when the costs of extracting and using what is left exceed its economic value. At that point, what are our options? Try to find more Recycle or reuse existing supplies Waste less Use less Try to develop a substitute Wait millions of years for more to be produced

24 Pollution The presence of substances at high enough levels in the air, water, and soil, or food to threaten the health, survival, or activities of humans or other organisms. Point sources – single, identifiable sources. Nonpoint sources – dispersed, difficult to pinpoint. Input pollution control – Prevention Output pollution control – Cleanup

25 The Big Five – Key Environmental Problems Population Growth Wasteful Resource Use Poverty Poor Environmental Accounting Ecological Ignorance

26 Environmental Worldview How you think the world works. Three types: Planetary Management Worldview Stewardship Worldview Environmental Wisdom Worldview

27 Guidelines for Working With the Earth Never leave the earth worse than you found it. Take only what you need. Do no harm. Sustain diverse living organisms. Maintain earth’s capacity for self-repair and adaptation. Do not waste; do not pollute. Decrease population; reduce poverty.

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