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Geography 210: Physical Geography


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Title: Geography 210: Physical Geography

Geography 210 Physical Geography Environmental
  • Lecture 19 A Sustainable Future

The final stretch
  • Last chapters BK 27 30
  • s sustainability
  • Last lecture Thurs 30 Nov next class!!
  • Lab Friday 01 Dec Review for final
  • Itll pay to be there ?
  • Remember, final lab grade is best 7 of 8
  • FINAL EXAM Tues 05 Dec 930-1118 am

The Economic Importance of the Environment (BK
  • Environmental Economics
  • The study of relationships of the importance of
    the environment to the economy
  • Includes
  • The impact of environment as a result of economic
  • Regulation of the economy and economic processes
  • The objective of balancing environmental and
    economic goals of society
  • Development of economic policy to minimize
    environmental degradation
  • Finding solutions to environmental problems

Environmental D-making
  • Decision making involves analysis of tangible and
    intangible factors
  • Environmental economics task develop methods of
    evaluating intangibles that
  • Provide good guidelines
  • Easy to understand
  • Quantitatively credible

Case study Can mahogany be harvested sustainably
  • A highly valued wood native to Latin America
  • Ecology affects production economics
  • Seedlings need clearings 120 yrs for marketable
  • Natural low density growth
  • Traditional logging is selective, not enough
    clearance for regrowth
  • Roads ? increased development ? rainforest
    ecosystem threatened

  • Option 1 ban all mahogany products restrict
    intl trade
  • Rainforest Action Network
  • Critics say boycott ? devalues forest ?
    encourages agriculture ? destroys forest
  • Option 2 logging carefully
  • Rio Bravo, Belize experiment remove more trees,
    but monitor ecological impacts by studying birds,
  • Cost benefit analysis of harvest methods
  • Critics say only 1/3 less destructive
  • Option 3 grow mahogany in plantations leave
    old-growth alone
  • International Institute of Tropical Forestry,
    Puerto Rico
  • May not help livelihood of Latin American people

The Environment as a Commons
  • Commons
  • Land or another resources owned publicly with
    public access for private uses
  • People using common natural resources often do
    not seek sustainability, despite long-term best

British Ocean Territory a commons
  • Great Chagos Bank largest atoll
  • Tuna fishery
  • Coral reefs
  • Biodiversity

Short-term profits vs. long-term resource
  • Profit motive alone will not always promote
    actions in best environmental interest 2
  • The tragedy of the commons Garrett Hardin,
  • Personal profit share from exploitation gtgt loss
    of resource
  • Low growth rate and thus low productivity of
  • Maximizing immediate profit can seem reasonable
    practical if low growth rate diminishes long-term
    sustainable harvest of resource

Whaling sustainability vs profits
Bowhead whales killed 1849-1914 low growth ?
  • Externality (Indirect Cost)
  • An effect not normally accounted for in the
    cost-revenue analysis of producers and often not
    recognized by them as part of their costs and
  • Costs (or benefits) that dont show up in the
    price tag
  • Direct Costs
  • Those borne by the producer and passed directly
    on to the user or purchaser
  • E.g. whaling externalities
  • Loss of revenue to tourist boats
  • Loss of ecological role in marine ecosystems
  • Without true costs revealed, consumer cannot
    behave rationally

Consider Atmospheric pollution externality
  • Problem 1 What is the true cost of clean air?
  • Everyone agrees it to be larger than zero
  • But, effectively traded and dealt with as if
    value 0
  • How to get value of clean air/water recognized
    socially gt 0?
  • Quantitative evaluation of tangible resources
    prior to development is standard procedure
  • Problem 2 Who should bear burden of these
  • Environmental ecological costs could be
    included in production costs through fees or
  • Borne by corporation and/or consumer
  • Or shared by entire society through general tax

Natural capital
  • Public service functions of Nature are often
    overlooked, and not really valued until lost from
    our environment
  • Forests absorb particulates salt marshes convert
    toxic compounds wetlands treat sewage
  • Bees pollinate an estimated 20 billion crops
    annually in US
  • Bacteria fix N and clean water air
  • Estimates of economic value 3 to 33 trillion
    per year!
  • Ecological systems providing these benefits are
    natural capital
  • But what about (intangible) beauty of naturehow
    do we arrive at a price, or assess value, of
    landscape aesthetics?

How is the future valued?
  • Can we place a value on future existence of
  • Spending present on environment diverts
    resources from other productive investment
  • With more wealth, we tend to value environmental
    assets moreso is conserving now robbing the poor
    for future rich?

General rule dont discard or destroy anything
irreplaceable if you are unsure of future value.
Risk-Benefit Analysis
  • Evaluation of the riskiness of a present action
    in terms of its possible outcomes
  • Acceptable risk is socially, ethically,
    psychologically relative
  • How much are we willing to pay to reduce risk?
  • We tend to accept higher levels of risk for
    non-essential activities (e.g. recreational
  • Impossible ethically to put value on human life,
    but we can survey amount people are willing to
    pay for certain risk reduction or probability of
    longevity (e.g. Rand Co. 32,000/life
  • The relation between risk and benefit affects our
    willingness to pay for an environmental good

Do we improve quality of life (reduce pollution)
for living or extend life expectancy regardless
of quality of life?
  • Evaluation of environmental intangibles is
    becoming more common in environmental analysis
  • When quantitative, such evaluation balances the
    more traditional economic evaluation and helps
    separate facts from emotion in complex
    environmental problems
  • Take a Closer Look at Risk Benefit analysis
    and DDT (BK 27.1 p. 593)

How Do We Achieve an Environmental Goal?
  • Means to implement a societys policies are
    policy instruments
  • Moral suasion (publicity, social pressure)
  • Direct controls (regulations)
  • Market processes (prices, taxes, subsidies,
  • Government investment (research education)
  • Many controls have been applied to the use of
    desirable resources and the control of pollution

Marginal Costs and the Control of Pollutants
  • Marginal Costs the cost to reduce one additional
    unit of pollutant
  • Often increases rapidly (e.g. exponentially for
    BOD reduction from petroleum refining) as
    reduction percentage increases
  • 3 methods of direct control of pollution
  • Setting maximum levels of emission
  • Needs careful monitoring costly, difficult
  • Requiring processes and procedures
  • Required methodology may cost lots, restrict
    production, or go obsolete
  • May increase efficiency (e.g. Japan uses only 5
    MJ/1 GDP, while US uses 12 MJ)
  • Charging fees for emission

BK Chp 30 Imagine a sustainable future
Case Planning future of Chankanab Lagoon, Mexico
Limestone geology Pollution vulnerability Importin
g sand lagoon restoration
Tourism and ecological management
Ecotopia qualities
  • A stabilized or even decreased population
  • Sustainable living resources and harvest
  • Recreation enjoyment of nature open to all,
    with minimized pollution
  • Risk of species extinction minimized
  • Enough public servicing ecosystems
  • Enough wilderness for recreation
  • Sustain representatives of natural ecosystems in
    dynamic ecological states

...if you reflect on our change from thoughtless
trash-tossing to virtually universal recycling,
or from the past in which smokers didn't hesitate
to blow smoke in anybody's face to our present
restrictions on smoking in public places, it's
clear that shared ideas about acceptable or
desirable behavior can change markedly. Such
changes occurred without anybody getting arrested
in the dark of night. Further changes will
come... Ernest Callenbach, 1975
Developing a sustainable future A new paradigm
  • Evolutionary, not revolutionary
  • Change in values involving lifestyle, social,
    economic environmental justice
  • Inclusive, not exclusive
  • All people of Earth to higher standard of living
    without compromising environ
  • Proactive, not reactive
  • Plan for change events rather than awaiting
  • Attracting, not attacking
  • Sound science appropriate values should be just
  • Assisting the disadvantaged, not taking advantage
  • All people have a right to live work in safe,
    clean environment

Planning a nations landscapes
  • What is necessary at a national scale to achieve
  • John Wesley Powells vision organized around
    watersheds, not state boundaries use but not own
    or sell water
  • 1902 Congress water rights sold large dams
    canals constructed

The Wildlands Project
  • America needs rewilding
  • Larger parks needed for umbrella species of
    large predators
  • Managed around big predators, providing core
    areas, corridors buffers
  • Controversy of science values
  • fundamental threat to democracy?
  • Flawed science?

Process of future planning
  • Two qualities of formal land use planning
  • A set of rules requiring paper work procedures
  • An imaginative attempt to use land resources in
    beautiful, economically beneficial and
    sustainable ways
  • All human civilization plans land use planning
    is a social experiement
  • Democracy involves tug-a-war between individual
    freedoms and societal welfare
  • Who speaks for nature? Who legally represents the

Regional planning (TVA)
  • 20th century experiment crossing state boundaries
  • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 1933
  • One of worlds best examples of regional planning
  • FDR vision as govern corporation with flexibility
  • Multidimensional multilevel planning to manage
    land water resources
  • Electrical power, flood control, navigation,
  • Central authority with considerable public input

Raccoon Mountain Dam
Environment law
  • US legal system derived from British common law
  • Custom, judgment, court decrees instead of
  • Protect individual freedom just give me a
    little land, a horse, and a gun and leave me
  • A caveat when individual behavior infringed on
    the property or well-being of others
  • Public trust doctrine government is public
    guardian of natural resources

History of federal environmental law
  • 3 stages
  • Convert public lands to private uses (early 19th)
  • Conserved public lands for recreation, beauty,
    historic preservation
  • National parks
  • US Forest Service
  • Primary environmental laws
  • NEPA 1969 ? Water Quality

Who stands for nature?
  • 2 widely supported moral positions
  • Public lands (resources) must be open to public
    use, and resources for economic benefit
  • Public lands should serve society first,
    individuals secondly

Skiing at Mineral King
Should our ethical values be extended to
How you can be an actor in legal processes
  • Environmental litigation more access to courts ?
  • Citizen actions
  • Environmentalism to ecotage
  • Civil disobedience

Case Protecting Forests
  • Julia Hill spent 2 years (1997-1999) in a 1000
    year old redwood tree to prevent it from being

photos 1995-2000 Shaun Walker
  • Negotiation between adversaries guided by neutral
  • Classic case Storm King Mountain, Hudson River
  • 1962 hydro plant
  • 1965 lawsuit
  • 1981 settlement

International environmental law diplomacy
  • No world government with enforcement authority
  • Agreement with multinational issues
  • Montreal Protocol, 1987, ozone
  • Antarctica White Continent

International Environmental Laws
  • Montreal protocol (1987)
  • international agreement to phase out
    stratospheric ozone destroying CFCs.
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants
  • persist in the environment, bioaccumulate through
    the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse
    effects to human health and the environment
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) liver damage,
  • Following several years of negotations, 127
    nations in 2001 adopted a treaty to greatly
    reduce the use of toxic chemicals known to
    contribute to cancer and harm the environment.
  • Kyoto Protocol (1997)
  • Reduction of CO2 air pollution
  • Not ratified by US and Australia

Global security environment
  • Terrorism comes in part from poverty,
    overcrowding, disease conflicts that have
    environmental significance
  • Over 1 billion live in poverty with little hope
  • 1992 Rio Earth Summit on Sustainable Development
    objective global environmental vs. economic
  • Wealth gap is growing
  • Environment remains under-funded
  • 100 million/yr vs. 2 billion/day

Euro Tunnel tunnel rubble to nature reserve
  • Pros cons of innovative environmental change

International Environmental Summit Meetings
  • The UN has sponsored several meetings on
    environmental issues
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992
  • The Rio Conference was a significant milestone
    that set a new agenda for sustainable
  • A major theme was perceived threat of global
  • Kyoto, Japan, 1997
  • Johannesburg, South Africa, 2002
  • Climate Change Conference, Montreal, 2005

US Role in Sustainable Development
  • Rio de Janeiro, March 24, 1992
  • The Bush I administration fears Greenhouse gas
    limits hinder economic growth
  • Kyoto, Japan, 1997
  • On October 22, 1997, Clinton announced that he
    would seek the establishment of an international
    emissions trading scheme as an alternative to
    carbon taxes as a means of reducing world
    emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • Johannesburg , 26 February 2002
  • American environmentalists urged President G. W.
    Bush to announce that he will go to Johannesburg
    to join with other countries in partnerships that
    can address the environmental challenges
    threatening long-term well-being and security.
  • G. W. Bush sent Powell
  • Current US position on sustainable development is

United Nations Climate Change Conference agrees
on future critical steps to tackle climate change
  • Montreal, 10 December 2005 - The United Nations
    Climate Change Conference closed with the
    adoption of more than forty decisions that will
    strengthen global efforts to fight climate
  • The US is remains outside of the process

Earth SummitJohannesburg, South Africa, 2002
Read Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable
Outcome of Johannesburg Summit
  • New York, 25 September 2002
  • When the United Nations General Assembly
    authorized holding the World Summit on
    Sustainable Development, it was hardly a secret
    that progress in implementing sustainable
    development has been extremely disappointing
    since the 1992 Earth Summit, with poverty
    deepening and environmental degradation
    worsening. What the world wanted, the General
    Assembly said, was not a new philosophical or
    political debate but rather, a summit of actions
    and results.
  • UN Division of Sustainable Development website

Earth Summit on Sustainable Development 2002
  • Continue work toward environmental social
    justice for all people
  • Enhance the development of sustainability
  • Minimize local, regional global environmental
  • Develop support international agreements to
    control global warming pollutants

  • Solving our environmental problems will help
    build a more secure sustainable future
  • As university graduates you will take on
    responsibility of transferring environmental
    knowledge taking responsible leadership

  • present practices of energy and resource
    consumption are non-sustainable
  • What on Earth will we leave for future

  • An estimated 80 percent of global fish stocks are
    now fished at or beyond their sustainable limit.
  • Despite the existence of alternative sources,
    more than 90 percent of paper still comes from
    trees - eating up about one fifth of the total
    wood harvest worldwide.
  • Around 1.7 billion people worldwide - more than a
    quarter of humanity are entering the "consumer
  • adopting the diets, transportation systems, and
    lifestyles that were limited to the rich nations
    of Europe, North America, and Japan during most
    of the last century.
  • In China alone, 240 million people have joined
    the ranks of consumers - a number that will soon
    surpass that in the United States.

  • We could have a sustainable world of 8 billion
    with the average standard of living now found in
    Europe for all people by
  • controlling population growth
  • increasing fuel efficiency
  • increasing reliance on renewable energies
  • controlling pollution
  • Scrubbers
  • Reforestation
  • Carbon sequestration
  • promoting environmental protection

Less is more
  • Consumption
  • "You don't own your possessions, your possessions
    own you.
  • Urban redevelopment
  • Less land consumed
  • Driving Less
  • Increased cash-flow
  • More time
  • Better health
  • auto-related injuries In 2002
  • 2.9 million nationally
  • 42,815 deaths
  • 800 / week
  • 1,400 in Ohio.
  • Less stress
  • decreased freedom?

Books on
more consumption ? more happiness
  • About a third of Americans report being "very
    happy," the same share as in 1957, when Americans
    were only half as wealthy.
  • Today, Americans are among the most worked people
    in the industrial world
  • nine more weeks on the job each year than the
    average European.

Annual Conference of The Club of Rome in
co-operation with The Arab Thought Forum "In
Search for Common Ground for Peace and
Development8-10 October, 2003Amman, Jordan
Final Statements from Annual Conference of The
Club of Rome
  • Although there was hope that the process of
    globalizing markets would lead to more equity and
    the socio-economic inclusion of the poor, this
    has not come true. On the contrary, we are facing
    the crucial fact that the rich have become
    richer, the poor poorer.
  • In the US, the top 5 percent has more wealth than
    the remaining 95 percent of the population put

Special ReportThe 400 Richest Americans09.21.06,
1000 AM ET
Closing Thoughts
  • optimistic view
  • as the human population approaches the actual
    carrying capacity, there will be sufficient
    signals and we will collectively act on those
    signals in such a way as to prevent an overshoot
    and collapse from occurring.
  • Evidence suggests we may have reached carrying
    capacity not just through population growth, but
    by increased consumption

  • signals of overshoot
  • increasing prices for natural resources, which
    encourage a reduction in use through
    conservation, recycling, and increased
  • fossil fuels we rely on for most of our energy
    are produced too slow
  • we cannot achieve a steady state condition for
    these energy resources.
  • Thus, we will ultimately have to get all of our
    energy from sustainable sources such as solar,
    wind, and nuclear sources (nuclear fusion rather
    than fission, whose waste products are too
  • Solar is the most attractive resource

  • example of how this adaptation can work
  • the case of the 1970s energy crisis
  • rapid changes occurred in response to the
    decrease in availability of petroleum.
  • Unfortunately, most of these changes were
    reversed shortly after, once the flow of oil from
    the OPEC countries continued.
  • we can change if we are convinced that we must
  • especially if it is economically favorable to

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