Unit 1 Intro

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Transcript Unit 1 Intro

Do Now:
Last week Hurricane Isaac churned
threw the Gulf of Mexico disrupting oil
production for days. How did this
hurricane impact the lives of almost
everyone living in the United States?
Unit 1
Aim: What are Environmental
Problems, their Causes, and
I. Environmental Science
considers everything that affects a living
How earth/nature works
How the environment affects us
How we affect the environment
How to deal with environ. problems
How to live more sustainably
This makes it an interdisciplinary science
Environmental Science is
A. Environmentalism
a social movement dedicated to protecting
life support systems for all species.
B. Environmental Worldviews
and Ethics
People often disagree about the
seriousness of environmental problems
and what we should do about them.
This leads them to have a certain view
about the world and how these
problems should be solved
1. Types of Environmental
The planetary management worldview
holds that nature exists to meet our needs.
The stewardship worldview holds that
we manage the earth, but we have an ethical
responsibility to be stewards of the earth.
The environmental worldview holds
that we are connected to nature and that
nature exists for all species equally.
II. Environmental Problems
A. Environmental problems are caused by:
Population growth.
Wasteful/Unsustainable resource use.
Poor environmental accounting.
Ecological ignorance.
B. Solving an
Do Now:
Earth has existed for over 6 billion
years, maintaining a natural balance
within itself until the last 200 years. How
was the Earth able to do this and why
can it not anymore?
Aim: How can we become an
environmentally sustainable
II. Being an environmentally
sustainable society
Living off earth’s natural income without
degrading or depleting the natural capital
that supplies it.
Our lives and economies depend on:
– solar capital: energy from the sun
– natural capital: natural resources and natural
services provided by the earth.
A. Nature’s Sustainability
Nature has sustained itself for billions of
years by using solar energy,
biodiversity, population control, and
nutrient cycling
We can use these lessons from nature
and apply them to our lifestyles and
A path toward sustainability …
what’s involved?
Natural capital—natural resources (ex. air) and natural services
(ex. water cycle) that keep us and other species alive.
Natural capital degradation—when human activities cause
resources to become degraded or depleted due to unsustainable
Solutions—a plan to end degradation of natural resources or any
problem affecting the Earth.
Trade-offs— compromises made to resolve conflicts when every
one does not agree on the same solution.
Individual efforts—people search for solutions to environmental
problems and bring these ideas to light.
Natural Capital Picture
Environmental degradation
occurs when resource use exceeds rate of
leaves the resource depleted and nutrient
deprived if nutrient/growth cycle is not
allowed to complete
Ecological Footprint based on resource use
B. What are four scientific
principles of sustainability?
1. Nutrient Cycling Replenishes Resources
2. Solar Energy Increases
When there is more sunlight, plants are
able to grow more, more animals can
feed off of them, and more higher level
animals can feed off of those animals,
and the circle continues
3. Biodiversity Ensures
The greater the number of species in a
population, the greater the chance of
survival due to larger gene pools that
can adapt to a changing environment
4. Population Control
Maintains Food Chains
Predator-prey interactions impact populations
by attempting to stabilize population sizes
– Increasing predator pop’n size, decrease prey
pop’n size
– Decreasing predator pop’n size, increase pre
pop’n size
– When this goes to the extreme, certain species
whose sizes drop too low, and their only options
are to leave or to go extinct which disrupts food
webs and chains
C. Sustainable Yield
is the highest rate of use of a resource using
an indefinite scale without degradation or
the point where resource consumption needs
to slow down and level off or else it will
start to become degraded then depleted
If we are living beyond the earth’s
biological capacity, why do you think the
human population and per capita
resource consumption are still growing
Take out a piece of paper:
1. Rank what you perceive to be the three
greatest environmental crises facing your
generation and why they are important
– 1.
– 2.
– 3.
2. Get in small groups of 3 students
Compare your lists
Make a master list of 3 crises you all agree
Determine 2 potential solutions to your 3
Which issue is most pressing?
developed countries (p. 10)
nonrenewable resources (p. 13)
developing countries (p. 11)
output pollution control (p. 17)
ecological footprint (p. 14)
per capita ecological footprint (p. 14)
ecology (p. 7)
per capita GDP (p. 10)
economic development (p. 10)
perpetual resource (p. 12)
environment (p. 6)
planetary management worldview (p. 20)
environmental degradation (p. 12)
point sources (p. 16)
environmental ethics (p. 20)
pollution (p. 16)
environmental science (p. 6)
pollution cleanup (p. 17)
environmental wisdom worldview (p. 20)
pollution prevention (p. 17)
environmental worldview (p. 20)
poverty (p. 18)
environmentalism (p. 8)
recycling (p. 13)
envirlon’lly sustainable economic development (p. 11)
envirlon’lly sustainable society (p. 9)
renewable resource (p. 12)
exponential growth (p. 5)
resource (p. 12)
gross domestic product (GDP) (p. 10)
reuse (p. 13)
input pollution control (p. 17)
social capital (p. 20)
natural capital (p. 9)
solar capital (p. 9)
nonpoint sources (p. 16)
stewardship worldview (p. 20)
sustainability (durability) (p. 8)
sustainable yield (p. 12)