Environmental Science

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Transcript Environmental Science

Understanding Our
What is Environmental Science
Environment –
1. circumstances or conditions that surround an
organism or group of organisms
2. the complex of nature and social/cultural
conditions that affect an individual or a
Environmental Science - systemic study of
the physical and biological factors involved
in the status of the environment
Environments vary in their
relationship of Living and NonLiving
History of Environmental Concern
History Deep with Nature Protection
– Plato & The Greeks (4th century B.C.: recognized the
toll of building civilizations on the environment
– British & French (1700’s): earliest studies,
recognized that damage to environment can affect both
the economy and ultimately the people of society
– Pierre Poivre: was appalled at the environmental and
social destruction on the Mauritius Island in the Indian
Pierre Poivre was
devastated by the
extinction of the
Dodo Bird on the
Mauritius Island
The dodo became extinct in 1662
The dodo was a large fat flightless bird the size of
a turkey that lived on the island of Mauritius in the
Indian Ocean. This slaughter was exacerbated by
predation of both eggs and chicks by the cats, rats,
pigs and monkeys that were brought to the island
by the early French settlers. Being a ground
nesting bird, the nests were easy prey.
Different Attitudes Towards Nature
Pragmatic Resource Conservation
a.k.a. “Utilitarian Conservation”
Resources should be usedfor the greater good, for the
greatest number for the longest time.
“not because they are beautiful or because they shelter
wild creatures…but only to provide homes and jobs for
Marsh “Man and Nature” (1864): called on nations
to preserve forests and reserves
Teddy Roosevelt
Policies of Forest Services
Moral/Aesthetic Nature Preservation
“Biocentric Preservation” John Muir (1900):
nature and all organisms deserve to exist for its
own sake, regardless of human needs
“Altruistic Preservation” fundamental right of
other organisms to exist with humans on earth
Modern Environmentalism
Industrial Revolution (1880’s): Deforestation and coal
burning smoke have major affect
Environmentalism (Rachel Carson - 1962): educate
general public about the threat of pollution and toxic
chemicals to humans and to other species. First to link
environmental resources and pollution.
Environmental Activism expanded 1960-70 to include
human population growth, atomic weapons testing and
power, fossil fuel extraction, recycling, pollution,
wilderness protection etc.
Global Concerns “Global Environmentalism”
The Global Village (McLuhan - 1960): All nations of
the world are interconnected through the global
United Nations: now plays a role in diplomatic
relationships between countries in reaching agreements
on economy, culture, politics, science, and the
Current Conditions
A Marvelous Planet
Conditions of Earth Suited for Life:
Temperature, atmosphere, and water
Incredible Diversity of Life Forms: Viruses,
bacteria, protists (paramecia & amoeba),
insects, algae, fungus, plants, animals
North/South: Divided World
Rich and Poor Countries
“Rich Countries”: 20% of humans live in 20
rich countries with per capita income greater
than $10,000 per year
GNP= $22,634
“Poor Countries”: 80% of humans live in
other countries with per capita income
averaging about $176 per year
Average Indicators of Quality
of Life for Rich and Poor
Life expectancy
49 years
77 years
Infant Mortality
per 1000 live births
Child deaths
per 1000 before age 5
Percent of calories
Needed for healthy life
Safe drinking water
Female literacy
Birth rate
Who Uses Most of Earth’s Resources?
United States: 5% of Consumes
human population –
26% of all oil
US: 300 million
24% aluminum
World: 6 Billion
consumes 25% of world 20% copper
19% nickel
produces 30 - 40% of the
industrial waste
13% steel
50 of all toxic
26% nitrogen
25% sulfur
22% chloroflurocarbons
22% carbon
Political Economies of the World
First World: industrialized, market-oriented
economies (US, Japan, Western Europe,
Australia, New Zealand, Korea….)
Second World: countries becoming
industrialized, market-oriented economies
(Vietnam, China, North Korea….)
Third/FourthWorld: countries moving toward
stronger economies with political change
Human Development
Human Development Index
HDI : a scale of 0 - 1 indicating level of
literacy, health, and economic well-being
Discrepencies in Development
Gender: role/status of women/men different
around the world
Race/Religion: role/status of some races and
religions not equal around the world
Sustainable Development
Is Sustainable Development Possible?
definition: “meeting the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
Area of hot debate: not all scientists agree that we can maintain
our present lifestyles and still maintain a balanced earth
Indigenous People
10% of world pop
are guardians of little disturbed habitats that are refuge for rare
and endangered species and undamaged ecosystems
have valuable ecological wisdom
The 20/20 Compact for Human Develop.
UN Summit for Social Development (1995):
Agreement to try to provide basic human needs
for the world population:
 literacy
rates for boys and girls
 family planning for those who choose it
 water and sewerage
 employment
 nutrition
Current Environmental Dilemmas
Acute Poverty: 20% of the population lack access to
adequate food, decent housing, basic sanitation, clean water,
education, clean water, education, medical care
The worlds poorest countries are in Africa and has an annual
per capita GNP of less than $300.
Poor environmental quality contributes to 25% of all
preventable illnesses in the world today (UN)
Pesticide Poisining is correlated with birth defects, cancer
and genetic mutations
Marine Pollution: 80% comes from land-based sources.
Developing Nations dump raw sewage and chemicals
into the oceans
50% of coastal ecosystems are degraded by human actitity.
Current Environmental Dilemmas
Polluted water causes water related diseases and >
5 million deaths
Air Pollution causes 60,000 Premature Deaths in
U.S. (American Lung Ass’t)
Species Reduction or Extinction 75% of the
world’s fisheries require immediate steps to
freeze or reduce fishing to ensure a future supply
of fish (UN).
Human Population Size and Growth
Current Environmental Dilemmas
Loss of or degradation of Arable land >40%
Greenhouse Gases: 6.6 tons emitted per person per
year largely form cars.
Destruction of Forest > 50% of world forest are
species extinction 75 per day (The Ecologist).
Non-governmental regulation is inefficient and
does not promote sustainable use of energy and
Signs of Hope
Population Growth: Birth control and Planned
Parenthood is helping to reduce birth rate in
some areas
Food and Water Availability: Genetics and
conservation farming feeding more per acre
Energy Resources: Alternative energy
resources (wind, solar and green) being
Environmental Perspectives
Pessimism and Outrage
Technological Optimist
Cornucopian fallacy