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Title: Environmental%20Problems,%20Their%20Causes,%20

Environmental Problems, Their Causes,
  • An Introduction to Environmental Science

What is environmental science?
  • Interdisciplinary science
  • Natural sciences social sciences

  • Study Env. Sci. to understand
  • How Earth works
  • How we affect the environment
  • How to deal with env. probs. we face
  • We are conducting an experiment with no chance to
    start the experiment over.

6 Important Environmental Issues
  • Population growth
  • Increasing resource use
  • Global climate change ? political issuewhy?
    even if its just cyclical, it seems to be
  • Premature extinction of plants animals
  • Pollution
  • Poverty
  • ALL ARE INTERCONNECTED and are growing

Environmentally Sustainable Society
  • Satisfies basic needs (food, clean water, clean
    air, shelter) without depleting or degrading
    natural resourcesfor now or later!
  • Protect Your Capital
  • Again, we are experimenting with only 1 chance to
    get it right!

Problems with sustainability?
  • Are environmentalists exaggerating?
  • Can technology fix it?
  • Will human ingenuity fix it?

Rule of 70
  • 70 / growth rate doubling time

  • GNP Gross National Product
  • GDP Gross Domestic Product
  • GWP Gross World Product
  • Per capita GNP GNP / Pop.

Developed Countries
  • Have 85 of worlds wealth
  • Use 88 of natural resources
  • Generate 75 of pollution wastes
  • Are 20 of worlds total population
  • (about 1.4 billion)
  • U.S., Canada, Japan, Europe, Australia, New

Developing Countries
  • Have 15 of worlds wealth
  • Use 12 of natural resources
  • Are 80 of worlds total population
  • (about 5.6 billion)
  • Africa, Asia, Latin America

Where do developed countries send their wastes?
  • U.S. sends metals, plastics, paper to China
  • China cant get natural resources fast enough
  • Old computers dumped in India
  • U.S. companies go to countries with little env.
    laws. to get or give

Environmentally Sustainable Economic Development
  • Economic rewards for env. Beneficial
    sustainable forms of economic growth ? i.e. do it
    the right way increases
  • Economic penalties?

Environmental Effects of Poverty?
  • Nearly 1.5 billion are hungry or malnourished and
    lack access to clean drinking water, decent
    housing, and adequate health care
  • 1 in 3 lack fuel to keep warm, cook food (no
    access to electricity)
  • 2/3 lack sanitary toilets (still some
    straightpipes in Appalachia)
  • 1 in 4 adults cannot read or write
  • 1 in 2 survive on 1-3 a day!

Poor Parents have many children. Why?
  • Help grow food
  • Help gather fuel
  • Help haul drinking water
  • Help tend livestock
  • Work
  • Beg in streets
  • Take care of parents (no strong social support
  • Culture Religion

  • So, how are poverty env. problems related?
  • Cant worry about long-term effects of

  • Globalization process of global social,
    economic, and environmental change that leads to
    an increasingly integrated world
  • Communication, travel

  • Resources anything obtained from env. to meet
    needs and wants
  • Perpetual renewed continuously and not really
    affected by humans (sun, wind)
  • Renewable renewed fairly rapidly
  • Nonrenewable not renewed on a reasonable time

  • Whats Environmental Science?
  • Interdisciplinary, how Earth works, how we affect
  • Major Issues
  • Population growth, resource use, global climate,
    change, mass extinction, pollution, poverty
  • Sustainability- meet basic needs without
    degrading for future generations
  • Problems
  • Are environmentalists exaggerating?
  • Population Growth (rule of 70)
  • Developing vs. Developed countries- both have
    problems, just diffent
  • Environmental effects of poverty
  • Globalization Resource use

Environmental Degradation
  • Urbanization of productive land
  • Waterlogging and salt buildup in soil
  • Excessive topsoil erosion
  • Deforestation
  • Groundwater depletion
  • Overgrazing of grasslands by livestock
  • Reduction in earths biodiversity (largely due to
    habitat loss/human expansion)
  • Pollution
  • Why all the worry with soil/land?

  • Natural
  • Human Activities (Anthropogenic)
  • Burning fossil fuels ? increase in CO2, acid
  • Chemical runoff ? biomagnification/eutrophication
  • Point Source vs. Nonpoint Source

What to do?
  • Prevention
  • Focus efforts here
  • Cleanup
  • Not AS good of a solution because
  • Temporary bandage, must be repeated
  • Removes pollution from one place to another
  • Case study BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 2010
  • Lasted 87 days, may even still be leaking
  • 4.9 million barrels of oil (210 million gallons)
  • Oil/dispersant mixture still affecting gulf
    wildlife and coastal ecosystems

The Government can help!
  • Discourages pollution by
  • Offering Incentives for sustainable practices
  • subsidies tax write-offs
  • Enforcing regulations on degrading practices
    coupled with taxes/fines.

Estimating Environmental Impact
  • P x A x T I
  • Ppopulation size
  • Aaffluence (consumption per person)
  • Ttechnology (impact per unit of consumption)
  • Ienvironmental impact
  • Developing vs. Developed Impact, p. 13

Human History in the Environment
  • Up until 10-12,000 ya Hunter-gatherers
  • 10-12,000 ya Agricultural Revolution
  • Slash-and-Burn Cultivation
  • Shifting Cultivation (Sand Co. Commons)
  • 1700-1800s Industrial Revolution
  • Rapid expansion in the production, trade, and
    distribution of material goods
  • Coal
  • Sharp increase in human population (continues
  • Since 1950 Information Globalization
    Revolution (positive and negative affects)

BIG questions
  • Better or worse? p. 17
  • 1992 Warning from scientists around the world p.
  • Call for Sustainability Revolution
  • Goals/Priorities must shift!
  • The rest of the course will present a more
    detailed analysis of these problems, the
    controversies they have created, and solutions
    proposed by analysts.
  • Try NOT to be overwhelmed by bad news
  • There is also some great news
  • Learning a great deal about how nature works
  • Have numerous solutions available
  • Make creative use of our economic and political
    systems to implement
  • Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
    committed citizens can change the world. Indeed,
    it is the only thing that ever has.
  • Margaret Mead

To prepare for test
  • Review Qs p. 19-21, 1-25
  • Choose 6 (of 8) Critical Thinking Qs p. 21-22
  • Due day of test, beginning of class
  • Study
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