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Title: Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability


1
Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and
Sustainability
  • Chapter 1

2
Unifying Theme
  • We are connected.
  • Being connected means we are dependant on the
    environment for air, water, food, shelter, energy
    and everything else we need to stay alive and
    healthy. We depend on abiotic factors such as
    water and air as much as we depend on biotic
    factors such as trees and animals. We,
    ourselves, are part of nature.

3
Core Case Study Living in an Exponential Age
(Page 5 Fig. 1-1)
  • Impact of human exponential growth on
  • Loss of animal and plant species
  • Loss of resources
  • Exponential growth is the rate at which a
    quantity increases at a fixed percentage per unit
    of time such as 2 per year. Exponential growth
    is deceptive because it starts off slowly then
    doubles rapidly into an enormous number.

4
Are we pests?
  • In 2008 there were 6.7 billion people on the
    planet. Collectively, these people consume vast
    amounts of resources and produce huge amounts of
    waste. Unless death rates rise sharply, there
    will be 9.3 billion human beings by 2050 and most
    likely 10 billion by the end of this century.
  • This is exponential growth. Growing at this rate
    would be as if we added a new United States to
    the earth every 4 years. The impending
    exponential growth of the human species endangers
    plants and other animals.

5
Exponential Growth
6
13
12
11
10
9
?
8
7
Billions of people
6
5
4
3
Industrial revolution
2
Black Deaththe Plague
1
0
2000
2000
2100
25 million years
8000
6000
4000
B. C.
A. D.
Time
Industrial revolution
Agricultural revolution
Hunting and gathering
Fig. 1-1, p. 5
7
1-1 What Is an Environmentally Sustainable
Society?
  • Concept 1-1A Our lives and economies depend on
    energy from the sun (solar capital) and on
    natural resources and natural services (natural
    capital) provided by the earth.
  • Concept 1-1B Living sustainability means living
    off the earths natural income without depleting
    or degrading the natural capital that supplies it.

8
Environmental Science Is a Study of Connections
in Nature (1)
  • Interdisciplinary science connecting information
    and ideas from
  • Natural sciences, with an emphasis on ecology
  • Social sciences
  • Humanities

9
Environmental Science Is a Study of Connections
in Nature (2)
  • How nature works
  • How the environment affects us
  • How we affect the environment
  • How to deal with environmental problems
  • How to live more sustainably

10
Major Fields of Study Related to Environmental
Science
11
Environmental Science Is an Interdisciplinary
Study
12
Ethics
Philosophy
Biology
Political science
Ecology
Economics
Chemistry
Demography
Physics
Geology
Anthropology
Geography
Fig. 1-2, p. 7
13
Sustainability Is the Central Theme of This Book
  • Sustainability The ability of the earths
    various natural systems, cultural systems, and
    economies to survive and adapt to changing
    environmental conditions indefinitely.
  • Natural capital supported by solar capital (Page
    8 Fig. 1-3)
  • Natural resources - materials and energy in
    nature that are essential or useful to an
    organism.
  • Natural services functions of nature such as
    natural purification of water or air, which
    support life and human economics at no cost.
  • E.g., nutrient cycling

14
Natural Capital Natural Resources Natural
Services
15
NATURAL CAPITAL

Natural Capital Natural Resources Natural
Services
Solar capital
Air
Air purification
Renewable energy (sun, wind, water flows)
Climate control
UV protection (ozone layer)
Life (biodiversity)
Water
Population control
Water purification
Waste treatment
Pest control
Nonrenewable minerals iron, sand)
Land
Soil
Food production
Soil renewal
Natural gas
Nutrient recycling
Oil
Coal seam
Nonrenewable energy (fossil fuels)
Natural resources Natural services
Fig. 1-3, p. 8
Fig. 1-3, p. 8
16
Nutrient Cycling
17
Organic matter in animals
Dead organic matter
Organic matter in plants
Decomposition
Inorganic matter in soil
Fig. 1-4, p. 9
18
Sustainability
  • Degradation of natural capital through human
    activities
  • many human activities can negatively affect
    natural capital. Using nonrenewable resources or
    overusing renewable resources at a rate faster
    than they can be renewed by nature. Ex
    harvesting desirable species from the oceans or
    clear cutting mature forests.
  • Scientific solutions
  • science can supply solutions but is limited by a
    willingness to implement them. Therefore
    politics must play a part.

19
Environmentally Sustainable SocietiesProtect
Natural Capital and Live off Its Income
  • Live off natural income
  • one that meets the current and future basic
    resource needs of its people without compromising
    the ability of future generations to meet their
    needs. Basically we need to live off the
    interest of our investment.
  • Living sustainably means living off natural
    income such a renewable resources like plants,
    animals, and soil. It means preserving and
    saving resources and living within our means.

20
Human activity and its affect on the earths
natural capital
  • The bad news is we are currently living
    unsustainably and scientist predict the we are
    overusing the earths natural resources by 62
    (Page 8 Fig. 1-3) Can we continue at this rate?
    We must start implementing the solutions
    provided by science.
  • Visit www.academic.cengage.com/biology/miller and
    cast your vote ?

21
Exercise your mind
  • Define environmental science and compare
    environmental science with ecology.
  • List the five major fields of study that
    contribute to environmental science and tell how
    they contribute.
  • Describe what it means to live sustainably and
    explain how our lives and economies depend on
    energy from the sun (solar capital) and on
    natural resources and natural services (natural
    capital) provided by the earth.
  • Describe the impact of human exponential growth
    and list the current percentage of over use of
    natural resources.
  • Distinguish degradation of natural capital
    through human activities by listing and
    explaining how it happens

22
1-2 How Can Environmentally Sustainable Societies
Grow Economically?
  • Concept 1-2 Societies can become more
    environmentally sustainable through economic
    development dedicated to improving the quality of
    life for everyone without degrading the earth's
    life support systems.
  • The Rich The Poor (not a new soap-opera ?)

23
There Is a Wide Economic Gap between Rich and
Poor Countries
  • Economic growth is an increase in a nations
    output of goods and services.
  • Countrys economic growth measured by gross
    domestic product (GDP)
  • Changes in economic growth measured by per
    capita GDP
  • Measured on a per person basis calculated by
    dividing the GDP by the midyear population of
    people.

24
Do the Math
  • The most common approach to measuring and
    understanding GDP is the expenditure method
  • GDP consumption gross investment government
    spending (exports - imports)
  • GDP C I G (X-M)

25
How much is a worth?
  • Purchasing power parity (PPP) plus GDP are
    combined for per capita GDP PPP
  • The value of any countries currency changes when
    it is used in other countries. Therefore you can
    buy more in some countries than in other using
    the same amount of currency. This is called
    purchasing power.

26
Why you can live like a king in Mexico
  • A measure of a countrys individual citizens
    purchasing power is calculated by combining the
    per capita GDP and the PPP to produce a number
    called the per capita GDP PPP.
  • This number tells economists what any given
    countrys individual citizen could buy in the
    United States.
  • (Now dont all of you rush out and become
    economist because of this exhilarating part of
    our lesson today ?)

27
Developed or Developing?
  • Economic Development Differs from economic
    growth because it has the goal of using economic
    growth to improve overall living standards.
  • The UN classifies countries as developed or
    developing based on their degree of
    industrialization and their per capita GDP PPP.

28
Comparison of Developed and Developing Countries,
2008
29
Percentage of World's
18
Population
82
0.12
Population growth
1.46
Life expectancy
77 years
67 years
85
Wealth and income
15
Resource use
88
12
75
Pollution and waste
25
Developing countries
Developed countries
Fig. 1-5, p. 11
30
Developing countries include
  • China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Thailand Mexico.
    (Most countries in Africa, Asia Latin America)
  • They are characterized by having a growing per
    capita GDP PPP and being moderately
    industrialized.
  • (Meaning the make some stuff to export and they
    have a low enough population that they can
    moderately support everyone)

31
Extreme Poverty in a Developing Country
32
Developed countries include
  • USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and
    most European countries.
  • They are characterized by having a high per
    capita GDP PPP and being highly industrialized.
  • (Meaning the make stuff to export and they have
    a low enough population that they can support
    everyone)

33
Extreme wealth in Dubai a developed country
34
Least developed countries include
  • Low income countries such as Angola, Nigeria,
    Congo, Jordan, Nicaragua, Belarus.
  • There are 49 countries on this list that make up
    11 of the worlds population.
  • They are characterized by having a declining per
    capita GDP PPP and being unindustrialized.
  • (Meaning they make nothing to export and they
    have a high population and cannot support
    everyone)

35
One of the Least - Poverty in the Congo
36
A World of HAVES and HAVE NOTS.
  • About 97 of the worlds population increase from
    2008 2050 is projected to occur in developing
    countries.
  • These countries are ill-equipped to handle such
    an increase.
  • More than half the world lives in extreme
    poverty and is uneducated it is a world of
    HAVES and HAVE NOTS.

37
Speed and Skill
  • BRIC is an acronym that refers to the fast
    growing developing economies of Brazil, Russia,
    India, and China. Economists predict that by
    2050 the combined economies of the BRIC could
    eclipse the combined economies of the current
    richest countries of the world.
  • (Page 8 Fig. 1-3) What would this mean for the
    environment according to the figure in your book?

38
Environmentally Sustainable Economic Development
  • Using political and economic systems to
    discourage environmentally harmful and
    unsustainable forms of economic growth that
    degrade natural capital and to encourage
    environmentally sustainable forms of economic
    growth that help sustain natural capital.
  • What are 3 types of goods whose exponential
    growth would promote environmental sustainability
    and why?

39
1-3 How Are Our Ecological Footprints Affecting
the Earth?
  • Concept 1-3 As our ecological footprints grow,
    we are depleting and degrading more of the
    earths natural capital.

40
Some Sources Are Renewable (1)
  • Resource
  • Directly available for use sunlight, wind, wild
    edible plants what you find outside
  • Not directly available for use crops, iron ore,
    petrol require effort
  • Perpetual resource
  • Solar energy the sun should be around for 6
    billion more years

41
Some Sources Are Renewable (2)
  • Renewable resource
  • E.g., forests, grasslands, fresh air, fertile
    soil
  • Sustainable yield
  • Environmental degradation

42
Degradation of Normally Renewable Natural
Resources and Services
43
Overexploiting Shared Renewable Resources
Tragedy of the Commons
  • Three types of property or resource rights
  • Private property
  • Common property
  • Open access renewable resources
  • Tragedy of the commons
  • Solutions

44
II. The Environment and Society
  • A. The Tragedy of the Commons
  • In 1968, ecologist Garrett Hardin published an
    essay titled The Tragedy of the Commons which
    addressed the questions like how we decide how to
    share common resources

45
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46
Tragedy on the Commons
  • conflict between short-term interests of
    individuals and the long-term welfare of society
  • someone or some group has to take responsibility
    for maintaining a resource, if no one does, the
    resource is overused and becomes depleted
  • Hardin thought people would continue to deplete
    natural resources by action in their own
    self-interest to the point of societys collapse

47
Tragedy on the Commons
  • The solution may override the interests of
    individuals in the short term, but it improves
    the environment for everyone in the long term.

How can the hot topic of privatized versus public
health care be likened to this analogy?
48
http//www.garretthardinsociety.org/info/cartoon_c
ommons1.html
49
Solutions
  • Share resources at rates well below their
    estimated sustainable yields. Reduce and
    regulate. Hunting fishing licenses and limits.
    Open seasons Ex Deadliest Catch and Alaskan
    King Crabs.
  • Convert open access resources to private
    ownership. Reasons that if people own it they
    will take better care of it. It is not a good
    plan for resources that cant be divided up such
    as air, species of wildlife, and the open ocean.

50
Some Resources Are Not Renewable
  • Nonrenewable resources
  • Energy resources
  • Metallic mineral resources
  • Nonmetallic mineral resources
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

51
(No Transcript)
52
Reuse
53
Earthship reused materials
54
Consumption of Natural Resources developing
countries
55
Consumption of Natural Resources Developed
Countries
56
Our Ecological Footprints Are Growing
  • Ecological footprint concept
  • Biological capacity
  • Ecological footprint

57
Natural Capital Use and Degradation
58
Total Ecological Footprint (million hectares) and
Share of Global Ecological Capacity ()
Per Capita Ecological Footprint (hectares per
person)
United States
2,810 (25)
9.7
United States
European Union
European Union
4.7
2,160 (19)
China
China
1.6
2,050 (18)
India
India
780 (7)
0.8
Japan
Japan
540 (5)
4.8
Projected footprint
Earth's ecological capacity
Number of Earths
Ecological footprint
Fig. 1-10, p. 15
59
Stepped Art
Fig. 1-10, p. 15
60
Case Study Chinas New Affluent Consumers (1)
  • Leading consumer of various foods and goods
  • Wheat, rice, and meat
  • Coal, fertilizers, steel, and cement
  • Second largest consumer of oil

61
Case Study Chinas New Affluent Consumers (2)
  • Two-thirds of the most polluted cities are in
    China
  • Projections, by 2020
  • Largest consumer and producer of cars
  • Worlds leading economy in terms of GDP PPP

62
Cultural Changes Have Increased Our Ecological
Footprints
  • 12,000 years ago hunters and gatherers
  • Three major cultural events
  • Agricultural revolution
  • Industrial-medical revolution
  • Information-globalization revolution

63
1-4 What Is Pollution and What Can We Do about It?
  • Concept 1-4 Preventing pollution is more
    effective and less costly than cleaning up
    pollution.

64
Pollution Comes from a Number of Sources
  • Sources of pollution
  • Point
  • E.g., smokestack
  • Nonpoint
  • E.g., pesticides blown into the air
  • Main type of pollutants
  • Biodegradable
  • Nondegradable
  • Unwanted effects of pollution

65
Point-Source Air Pollution
66
Pollution types
  • A. Biodegradable harmful materials that can be
    broken down by natural processes. Ex. Human
    sewage or newspaper
  • B. Nondegradable harmful materials that
    natural processes cannot break down. Ex. Toxic
    chemical element such as arsenic, lead, mercury

67
3 types of unwanted pollution effects
  • A. Disrupt or degrade life support systems
  • B. Damage wildlife and human health or property
  • C. Create nuisances such as noise pollution,
    smells, tastes or sights

68
We Can Clean Up Pollution or Prevent It
  • Pollution cleanup (output pollution control)
  • (end of the pipe solution) cleaning up or
    diluting pollutants after theyve been produced
  • a. Problems it is only a temporary fix,
    removes the pollutant from one area only to cause
    a problem in another, and it is expensive or
    impossible.

69
We Can Clean Up Pollution or Prevent It
  • Pollution prevention (input pollution control)
  • Input Pollution Control (front of the pipe
    solution) reduce or eliminates the production of
    pollutants
  • Works better and is cheaper and easier in the
    long run.

70
1-5 Why Do We Have Environmental Problems? (1)
  • Concept 1-5A Major causes of environmental
    problems are population growth, wasteful and
    unsustainable resource use, poverty, exclusion of
    environmental costs of resource use from the
    market prices of goods and services, and attempts
    to manage nature with insufficient knowledge.

71
1-5 Why Do We Have Environmental Problems? (2)
  • Concept 1-5B People with different environmental
    worldviews often disagree about the seriousness
    of environmental problems and what we should do
    about them.

72
Experts Have Identified Five Basic Causes of
Environmental Problems
  • Population growth
  • Wasteful and unsustainable resource use
  • Poverty
  • Failure to include the harmful environmental
    costs of goods and services in their market
    prices
  • Insufficient knowledge of how nature works

73
Causes of Environmental Problems
74
Causes of Environmental Problems
Population growth
Unsustainable resource use
Poverty
Excluding environmental costs from market prices
Trying to manage nature without knowing
enough about it
Fig. 1-12, p. 18
75
Causes of Environmental Problems
Population growth
Unsustainable resource use
Poverty
Excluding environmental costs from market prices
Trying to manage nature without knowing
enough about it
Stepped Art
Fig. 1-12, p. 18
76
Poverty Has Harmful Environmental and Health
Effects
  • Population growth affected
  • Malnutrition
  • Premature death
  • Limited access to adequate sanitation facilities
    and clean water

77
Some Harmful Results of Poverty
78
Lack of access to
Number of people ( of world's population)
Adequate sanitation facilities
2.6 billion (38)
Enough fuel for heating and cooking
2 billion (29)
2 billion (29)
Electricity
Clean drinking water
1.1 billion (16)
Adequate health care
1.1 billion (16)
Adequate housing
1 billion (15)
Enough food for good health
0.86 billion (13)
Fig. 1-13, p. 18
79
Poverty
  • occurs when people cannot meet their basic needs
    of food, water, health and education.
  • 50 of the worlds population lives on less than
    2 per day. Their focus is on getting food,
    water, and heat to survive. Short term need
    outweighs the long term concerns they might
    otherwise have for the environment.

80
Harmful Effects
  • A. Poverty leads to exponential population
    growth. Lack of birth control and education
    cause a high birth rate as well as a need for
    extra hands to work in fields.
  • B. Lack of retirement, health care, and social
    security encourage people to have more children
    so they can be caretakers of the elderly.
  • C. Lack of sanitation decreases drinkable
    fresh water decreases breathable air from
    firewood
  • D. Malnutrition lack of essential protein and
    minerals found in foods

81
Global Outlook on Malnutrition
82
Affluenza
  • Affluence Wealth characterized by high levels
    of consumption and waste. An assumption that
    buying and possessing more will bring happiness.
  • It takes 27 tractor trailer loads of stuff per
    year to support 1 American.

83
Affluence Has Harmful and Beneficial
Environmental Effects
  • B. Provides the luxury of being able to see
    beyond tomorrow and become more concerned with
    environmental issues.
  • C. Provides money for developing technologies to
    reduce pollution, resource waste and environment
    degradation.
  • D. Finances cleaner air, better health, better
    food supply, pure drinking water, protection of
    endangered species, reduced population growth
  • E. Unfortunately, it exploits resources from
    poorer countries

84
Low Market Prices Do Not Include the Value of
Natural Capital
  • Companies do not pay the environmental cost of
    resource use
  • Goods and services do not include the harmful
    environmental costs
  • Companies receive tax breaks and subsidies
  • Economy may be stimulated but there may be a
    degradation of natural capital

85
How we see it
  • Worldviews are a set of assumptions and values
    reflecting how you think the world works and what
    your role in the world should be. Some people
    are not educated and do not have broad horizons.
    They know only what they have experienced and
    have not traveled or learned about the world.

86
Different Views about Environmental Problems and
Their Solutions
  • Environmental Worldview including environmental
    ethics
  • Planetary management worldview
  • Stewardship worldview
  • Environmental wisdom worldview

87
3 Types of Environmental Worldviews
  • (Derived from the writings of Aldo Leopold father
    of Modern Ecology)
  • A. Planetary Management we are separate from
    nature and nature exists to meet our needs.
  • B. Stewardship Worldview we can and should
    manage the earth for our benefit and that we have
    an ethical responsibility to do so.
  • C. Environmental Wisdom Worldview we are part
    of it, totally dependant on it, and nature exists
    for all species.

88
We Can Learn to Make Informed Environmental
Decisions
  • Scientific research
  • Identify problem and multiple solutions
  • Consider human values

89
Steps Involved in Making an Environmental Decision
90
Identify an environmental problem
Gather scientific information
Propose one or more solutions
Project the short- and long-term environmental
and economic advantages and disadvantages of each
solution
Decide on and implement a solution
Evaluate the consequences
Revise decision as needed
Fig. 1-15, p. 21
91
We Can Work Together to Solve Environmental
Problems
  • Social capital
  • Encourages
  • Openness and communication
  • Cooperation
  • Hope
  • Discourages
  • Close-mindedness
  • Polarization
  • Confrontation and fear

92
Case Study The Environmental Transformation of
Chattanooga, TN
  • Environmental success story example of building
    their social capital
  • 1960 most polluted city in the U.S.
  • 1984 Vision 2000
  • 1995 most goals met
  • 1993 Revision 2000

93
Chattanooga, Tennessee
94
Individuals Matter Aldo Leopold
  • 510 of the population can bring about major
    social change
  • Anthropologist Margaret Mead
  • Aldo Leopold environmental ethics
  • A leader of the conservation and environmental
    movements of the 20th century
  • Land ethic
  • Wrote A Sand County Almanac

95
1-6 What Are Four Scientific Principles of
Sustainability?
  • Concept 1- 6 Nature has sustained itself for
    billions of years by using solar energy,
    biodiversity, population control, and nutrient
    cyclinglessons from nature that we can apply to
    our lifestyles and economies.

96
Studying Nature Reveals Four Scientific
Principles of Sustainability
  • Reliance on solar energy
  • Biodiversity
  • Population control
  • Nutrient cycling

97
Four Scientific Principles of Sustainability
98
Reliance on Solar Energy
Biodiversity
Population Control
Nutrient Cycling
Fig. 1-17, p. 23
99
Solutions For Environmental or Sustainability
Revolution
100
Current Emphasis
Sustainability Emphasis
Pollution cleanup
Pollution prevention
Waste disposal (bury or burn)
Waste prevention
Protecting species
Protecting habitat
Environmental degradation
Environmental restoration
Increasing resource use
Less resource waste
Population growth
Population stabilization
Depleting and degrading natural capital
Protecting natural capital
Fig. 1-18, p. 24
101
Cultural Changes Required (Page 24 Fig. 1-18)
  • 1. Science suggests we have about 50 and no
    more than 100 years to make these changes.
  • 2. A sustainability revolution must occur in
    your life time, we are in a fork in the road.
  • 3. Everything you do or dont do plays a role,
    remember INDIVIDUALS are important.
  • 4. Dont be immobilized with fear, gloom and
    doom Be energized with HOPE and ACTION
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