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BIOLOGY 157: LIFE SCIENCE: AN ENVIRONMENTAL APPROACH (Systems

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HISTORY LEADING TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS ... To solve our environmental problems (and possibly other types of problems as well) we need to: ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: BIOLOGY 157: LIFE SCIENCE: AN ENVIRONMENTAL APPROACH (Systems


1
BIOLOGY 157 LIFE SCIENCE AN ENVIRONMENTAL
APPROACH (Systems Ecosystems Modeling
Environmental Crisis)
2
Systems and Planetary Organization
  • System
  • an interconnected complex of parts and processes
    characterized by many cause-effect pathways

3
Subdividing our Planetary System (I)
  • Environment - the influences / forces /
    conditions that surround an organism
  • Biotic vs. Abiotic
  • Macroenvironment vs. Microenvironment
  • Habitat - physical place where an organism or a
    community lives
  • Macrohabitat vs. Microhabitat

4
Subdividing our Planetary System (II)
  • Atmosphere - the gaseous envelope around the
    earth
  • Hydrosphere - all the water on the earth
  • Lithosphere - the earths crust
  • Pedosphere - on land, the surface part of the
    lithosphere that has been modified by organisms
    ( the soil!)
  • Biosphere - the life layer, a hybrid region
    consisting of those portions of the atmosphere,
    hydrosphere and lithosphere that can support life
    in an active form

5
Subdividing our Planetary System (III)
6
Subdividing our Planetary System (IV) Layers of
the Atmosphere
JET STREAM
7
Subdividing our Planetary System (V)
  • Biogeographic Realms - large areas (on land)
    characterized by their flora and fauna
  • Biomes - an area (on land) whose biota is
    controlled by (and is in balance with) the
    climate and is distinguished by the dominance of
    certain plants and animals(?? Can you name some
    biomes ??)
  • Ecosystems - a unit composed of the biota and the
    environment of a particular area(?? How many
    ecosystems on the earth ??)

8
Biogeographic Realms
9
Biomes
10
Environmental Problems vs.Root Causes
  • PROBLEMS
  • Global Warming
  • Soil Erosion
  • Desertification
  • Air Pollution
  • ROOT CAUSES
  • Overpopulation
  • Overconsumption
  • Inefficiency
  • Greed

11
Eco Ethics (I)
  • FRONTIER SOCIETY ETHIC
  • ( Planetary Management Worldview)
  • Anthropocentric
  • Low Synergy
  • -------------------------------------------
  • -------------------------------------------
  • The earth has unlimited resources.
  • When resources are depleted in
  • one area, just move to another
  • area.
  • The value of ones life is
  • measured by the accumulation of
  • material things
  • SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY ETHIC
  • ( Earth-Wisdom Worldview, Stewardship Ethic ?)
  • Ecocentric / Biocentric
  • High Synergy
  • ----------------------------------------------
  • ----------------------------------------------
  • The earth has finite resources.
  • We must prevent depletion by
  • recycling and developing renewable
  • resources.
  • The value of ones life is more than
  • just the sum of ones material
  • wealth

12
Eco Ethics (II)
  • Economics is everything. It can
  • all be boiled down to the cost of
  • materials, energy and labor.
  • Humans are not a part of
  • nature. We are above nature.
  • Nature is there for us to use
  • and conquer.
  • Human activities are expected
  • to produce waste and it must
  • be tolerated.
  • New technology and new laws
  • will solve our problems the
  • majority can leave the
  • The TRUE COST must include
  • those things on the left AND also
  • take into account the costs to the
  • ecosystem and our health.
  • We are a part of nature, and
  • as such are subject to all of its
  • rules.
  • We are a part of nature. We
  • must work with and within it.
  • Waste is not to be tolerated or
  • excused. All things should be
  • recycled, reused, etc.
  • While these things may help,
  • we must all be involved in the
  • solution of problems.

13
Tragedy Of The Commons (I)
  • Garrett Hardin
  • The concept comes from the concept of common
    lands in medieval England.
  • Is this idea coming back?

14
Tragedy Of The Commons (II)
15
Environmental Crisis ???
  • The environmental crisis is real and it is VERY
    complex.
  • Why is it so complex?
  • the ecosystem itself is very complex
  • many environmental problems
  • numerous root causes
  • problems and / or root causes often interact
  • problems and / or root causes often transcend
    political boundaries
  • viable solutions may not be available AND even
    when available people may disagree on what, if
    anything, is to be done or how to best go about
    doing something

16
Solving Environmental Problems
  • must identify the major factors involved
  • must decide on a mode of action
  • must be committed to the solution
  • must allocate the necessary resources

17
Models / Modeling
  • When investigating something (e.g. as in an
    attempt to solve some type of problem) one
    usually acquires a large amount of data. To try
    to make some sense from the many components to
    our problem we usually must construct some type
    of MODEL.
  • DEFINITION - A Model is a physical or abstract
    representation of the structure of a real system.
  • Some models may be quite simple while others may
    be quite complex.
  • Models do NOT have to be mathematical but most
    will need to be if they are to be of any real use.

18
Examples Of Models (I)
  • The generalized equations shown below are
    examples from chemistry of very simple models.
  • A B ? C
  • A B ?? C D

19
Examples Of Models (II)
20
Examples Of Models (III)
21
Examples Of Models (IV)
22
Examples Of Models (V)(Text, chapter 15)
23
Parts Of A Model
  • No matter how complex a model might appear,
    there are, at most, three main components.
  • Variable ( systems variable)a number
    representing the state of a particular component
    in the model
  • Transfer Functiona number representing the flow
    or exchange between compartments (between
    variables) of a model.
  • Forcing Functiona number representing the
    magnitude of some particular thing which
    affects a system but is NOT affected back by the
    system (may be present or absent).

24
Feedback Loops In A System
  • The parts of a model (variables, etc.) are
    interconnected in various ways and usually have
    effects on each other. They form pathways. Some
    of these become FEEDBACK LOOPS. These loops can
    be
  • NEGATIVEtends to keep things the same (at or
    near the set point)
  • POSITIVEmoves things away from the set point

25
Building A Model For Population Growth (I)
  • Factors which could account for increase /
    decrease in population size
  • 1) BIRTH RATE (a measure of fertility)the number
    of births is affected by the number of people
    present nutritional status (famine or plenty of
    food) degree of medical technology as it might
    relate to treating infertility or to providing
    means of birth control
  • 2) SURVIVABILITYmedical advances which allow for
    more people to live to reproductive maturity and
    / or to just live longer
  • 3) FOOD AVAILABILITYagricultural productivity,
    distribution networks, income

26
Building A Model For Population Growth (II)
  • 4) SOCIETAL INFLUENCESReligion, Pride,
    Nationalism, Political Views, Economics, etc. can
    influence whether or not large or small families
    are "in".
  • 5) RESOURCE AVAILABILITYResources can affect the
    ability to develop and support technology or to
    trade for technology and / or food necessary to
    support the population.
  • 6) ENVIRONMENTIncluding disasters such as
    droughts, floods, plagues, crop failure from
    pests, war, pollution, etc. - all can affect the
    ability to support a larger population

27
Building A Model For Population Growth (III)
  • Now, think for a minute how you would go about
    connecting these. Remember some may connect to
    quite a few. Then think about the magnitude (the
    size or degree) of the effect that each would
    have. Remember, we might have to add a few more
    factors to this in order to make it a reasonably
    'good' model.

28
HISTORY LEADING TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS
  • To look at the development of the environmental
    problem we might find it advantageous to look at
    our 'roots'. That is to say we should look at
    the evolution of our species and the development
    of various major societal periods in the recent
    history of Humans.

29
HUMAN preHISTORY
30
LUCY SKELETON
31
RECENT EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY LEADING TO MODERN
HUMANS
  • Dryopithecus (25mya) (Dawn Ape)
  • Australopithecus (4-5mya)
  • Homo habilis (2.5mya 1st humans
    'Lucy')
  • Homo erectus (1.5mya)
  • Homo sapiens (0.2 mya) (
    200,000 ya)
  • (Cromagnon or
    'modern humans,
    about 40,000ya)
  • In the last 40,000 years (or even a bit longer)
    it has been much more cultural and technological
    changes rather than physical (or mental)
    evolution that has accounted for the changes we
    see in humans and their societies.

32
HUMAN 'SOCIETAL' SYSTEMS (I)
  • 1) Hunter-Gatherer Societypopulations more or
    less NOMADIC more than 10,000 years ago
    minimal impact due to small population size
    minimal possessions, minimal resource use, thus
    also providing for minimal impact slow pop.
    growth rate
  • 2) Agricultural Societypopulations sedentary
    started about 10,000 years ago
  • Subsistencefed your own family villages small,
    impacts a bitlarger than H-G but still generally
    minimal
  • Surplus (starting approx. 5,000 years
    ago)allowed for or resulted in city formation,
    resource movement (depletion - pollution),
    changes in ideas, specialization, crafts, etc.

33
HUMAN 'SOCIETAL' SYSTEMS (II)
  • 3) Industrial Society
  • a) EARLY --- 1760's to WWII
  • b) LATE --- Post WWII
  • The use of resources, pollution, dislocations,
    population growth, etc. accelerates with each
    stage and it is not an arithmetic progression,
    but rather it is generally a logarithmic
    progression.

34
IMPACTS OF SOCIETIES
35
TO SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS
  • To solve our environmental problems (and possibly
    other types of problems as well) we need to
  • 1) adopt a high synergy sustainable society ethic
  • 2) control population size
  • 3) use resources wisely (reduce amounts required
    by using only where and when necessary and
    by using only the amounts really necessary)
  • 4) reuse and recycle
  • 5) use renewable resources whenever possible
    (e.g. - solar energy instead of coal and oil)

36
ADDITIONAL things from chapter 15 for YOU to
investigate
  • 1) What does the EPA do?
  • 2) What is Adaptive Management?
  • 3) Compare and Contrast Environmental
    Literacy and Environmental Policy
  • 4) BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS Google Wikipedia
    for the terms wicked problem and
    precautionary principle. What
    relationships might these have to the
    information in chapter 15?
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