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What Is Environmental Science?

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Earth is a closed system. ... Supply and Demand The Law of Supply and ... Population and Consumption Almost all environmental problems can be traced to two ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: What Is Environmental Science?


1
What Is Environmental Science?
  • The study of the biotic and abiotic factors
    affecting an organism
  • Includes studying the impact of humans

2
Goal of Environmental Science
  • Understand and solve environmental problems by
    studying
  • Use of natural resources.
  • Our impact on the environment.

3
Many Fields of Study
  • Interdisciplinary Science
  • Biology, Earth Science, Physics, Chemistry and
    Sociology

4
Many Fields of Study
5
Wildlife Management Endangered Species
  • Describes earliest human communities
  • Major impact on environment

6
Wildlife Management Endangered Species
  • Extinction of several large mammals
  • giant sloths
  • giant bison
  • mastodons
  • cave bears
  • saber-toothed cats

7
The Agricultural Revolution
  • Agriculture - the raising of crops and livestock
    for food or for other products that are useful to
    humans.
  • Started over 10,000 years ago.

8
The Agricultural Revolution
  • Population explosion!
  • Major geographical changes

9
The Agricultural Revolution
  • Changed the foods we eat.
  • Plants we grow and eat today are descended from
    wild plants.

10
The Agricultural Revolution
  • Destruction of natural habitats

11
The Agricultural Revolution
  • Slash-and-burn technique
  • Not a long-term solution.

12
The Industrial Revolution
  • Shift in energy sources
  • Dramatic change in society

13
The Industrial Revolution
  • Impact on
  • Factories
  • Farms
  • Urban populations

14
Improving the Quality of Life
  • Positive result of Industrial Revolution
  • Technology
  • Health

15
Improving the Quality of Life
  • Increased conveniences vs. Environmental harm
  • Creation of artificial substances
  • Pollution
  • Habitat loss

16
Improving the Quality of Life
  • Much of environmental science is concerned with
    problems associated with the Industrial
    Revolution.

17
Spaceship Earth
  • How is Earth like a spaceship?
  • Earth is a closed system.

18
Spaceship Earth
  • Potential problems of a closed system
  • Limited resources.
  • Waste disposal

19
Spaceship Earth
  • Environmental problems can occur on different
    scales
  • local
  • regional
  • global

20
Population Growth
  • Unprecedented population growth!

21
Population Growth
  • Need to feedcauses environmental disaster
  • habitat destruction
  • pesticide pollution

22
Population Growth
  • Projected population growth in the 21st century
  • possibly 12 BILLION
  • more pressure on environment for resources

23
Resource Depletion
  • Natural Resources - any natural materials used by
    humans.
  • Natural resources
  • renewable
  • nonrenewable

24
Resource Depletion
  • Renewable resources can be created relatively
    quickly by natural processes.
  • Nonrenewable resources created at a much slower
    rate than they are consumed.

25
Resource Depletion
  • When are resources considered depleted?
  • How long does it take to replace nonrenewable
    resources?
  • Is it ok to deplete renewable resources?

26
Pollution
  • Pollution - an undesirable change in the natural
    environment caused by harmful substances

27
Pollution
  • Two main types of pollutants
  • Biodegradable
  • Nondegradable

28
Pollution
  • Are degradable pollutants a problem?
  • Whats the danger of non-degradable pollutants?

29
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30
The Tragedy of the Commons
  • Ecologist Garrett Hardin published an essay that
    argued that the main difficulty in solving
    environmental problems is the conflict between
    the short-term interests of the individual and
    the long-term welfare of society.
  • The example he used was the commons (areas of
    land that belonged to the whole village).

31
The Tragedy of the Commons
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • It was in the best interest of the individual to
    put as many animals in the commons as possible.
  • However, if too many animals grazed on the
    commons, they destroyed the grass.
  • Once the grass was destroyed, everyone suffered
    because no one could raise animals on the
    commons.

32
Tragedy of the Commons
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • The commons were eventually replaced by closed
    fields owned by individuals.
  • Owners were now careful not to put too many
    animals on their land, because overgrazing
    wouldnt allow them to raise as many animals next
    year.
  • Hardins point was that people must take
    responsibility for maintaining a resource or it
    will become depleted.

33
Tragedy of the Commons
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • Hardins point can be applied to our natural
    resources.
  • Humans live in societies, and in societies, we
    solve environmental problems by planning,
    organizing, considering the scientific evidence,
    and proposing a solution.
  • The solution may be to override short-term
    interests of individuals and improve the
    environment for everyone in the long term.

34
Supply and Demand
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • The Law of Supply and Demand states that as
    demand for a good or service increases, the value
    of the food or service also increases.
  • An example is the world oil production.

35
Costs and Benefits
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • The cost of environmental solutions can be high.
  • A cost-benefit analysis balances the cost of the
    action against the benefits one expects from it.
  • The results depend on who does the analysis. For
    example, pollution control may be too costly to
    an industry, but to a nearby community, the price
    may be worth it.
  • Often, environmental regulations are imposed on
    the consumer or taxpayer.

36
Risk Assessment
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • One cost of any action is the risk of an
    undesirable outcome.
  • Risk assessment is a tool that creates cost
    effective ways to protect our health and
    environment.
  • To come up with an effective solution to an
    environmental problem, the public must perceive
    the risk accurately.

37
Developed and Developing Countries
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • The unequal distribution of wealth and resources
    around the world influence the environmental
    problems and solutions a society can make.
  • Developed countries have higher incomes, slower
    population growth, diverse industrial economies,
    and stronger social support.
  • Developing countries have lower average incomes,
    simple agriculture-based communities, and rapid
    population growth.

38
Population and Consumption
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • Almost all environmental problems can be traced
    to two causes
  • The human population in some areas is growing too
    quickly for the local environment to support.
  • People are using up, wasting, or polluting many
    natural resources faster than they can be
    renewed, replaced, or cleaned up.

39
Local Population Pressures
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • When the population in an area grows rapidly,
    there may not be enough natural resources for
    everyone to live a healthy, productive life.
  • In severely overpopulated regions, forests are
    stripped, topsoil is exhausted, and animals are
    driven to extinction.
  • Malnutrition, starvation, and disease can be
    constant threats.

40
Local Population Pressures
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • In developing countries, millions of people are
    starving.
  • Yet these human populations tend to the grow the
    fastest.
  • Food production, education, and job creation
    cannot keep pace with the population growth, so
    each person gets fewer resources as time goes by.

41
Consumption Trends
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • To support high quality of life, developed
    countries use more resources.
  • Developed nations use about 75 of the worlds
    resources, though they make up 20 of the worlds
    population.
  • This rate of consumption creates more waste and
    pollution per person then in developing
    countries.

42
Consumption Trends
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
43
Ecological Footprints
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • Ecological footprints - calculations that show
    the area needed to support one person.
  • An ecological footprint estimates the land used
    for crops, grazing, forests products, and
    housing.
  • It also includes the ocean area used to harvest
    seafood and the forest area needed to absorb air
    pollution.

44
Ecological Footprints
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • An ecological footprint is one way to express the
    differences in consumption between nations.

45
Critical Thinking and the Environment
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • People may feel passionately about their cause
    and mislead people about the issue.
  • Research done by scientists is used by others to
    make a political point or can be misinterpreted
    to support controversial data.

46
Critical Thinking and the Environment
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • The economic aspect of an environmental issue may
    be oversimplified.
  • The media often sensationalizes environmental
    issues.
  • For these reasons and others you must use
    critical thinking skills to make decisions about
    environmental issues.

47
Critical Thinking and the Environment
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • Remember a few things as you explore
    environmental science further
  • listen to many viewpoints of issues.
  • investigate sources of information.
  • gather all information before drawing a
    conclusion.

48
A Sustainable World
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • Sustainability - capacity for a population to
    survive indefinitely.
  • Sustainability is a key goal of environmental
    science.

49
A Sustainable World
Section 2 The Environment and Society
Chapter 1
  • A sustainable world changes as technology
    advances.
  • Our current world is not sustainable because
    developed countries are using resources faster
    than they can be replaced.
  • Achieving a sustainable world requires
    individual, industry and government
    participation.
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