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Environmental Sustainability - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Sustainability and the Environment. A global and personal perspective. The Sustainability Triangle . Social Equity . The quest for sustainability. Economic Environmental

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Sustainability and the environment l.jpg
Sustainability and the Environment

A global and personal perspective

The sustainability triangle l.jpg
The Sustainability Triangle

Social Equity

The quest for sustainability

Economic Environmental

Vitality Integrity

Living more environmentally sustainably means thinking about l.jpg
Living More Environmentally Sustainably means thinking about;

  • Society (population and personal impact)

  • Economics (what is the bottom line?)

  • Ecology (the good and the bad stuff)

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Key Issues about;

  • Resources (not enough good stuff)

  • Pollution (too much bad stuff)

Our “stuff” is moving from a source to a sink too fast!

We are using up the resources upon which we depend l.jpg
We are using up the resources upon which we depend. about;

The “source” of

resources is limited.

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Global Water Shortage about;

Today, 1.4 billion people do not have safe water.

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Who is using all the water? about;

Agriculture, through crop irrigation consumes 80 to 85% of the fresh water resources of the United States.

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Soil is running away! about;

Half of the cropland in the US is eroding at rates faster than they are being replaced. About 75% of US

topsoil has already

been lost.

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And the big one! about;

Humankind expends in one year an amount of fossil fuel that it took nature roughly a million years to produce.

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After we use it, we throw it “away”. about;

The “sink” is also


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  • The majority of solid waste is sent to landfills about;

  • We dispose of wastes by dumping them on land or in the oceans, placing them in landfills, or burning them via incinerators.

  • Americans produce about 1500 pounds of “garbage” each per year.

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Waste Streams about;

  • Major components of municipal solid waste by weight:

    • 25% - paper and paperboard

    • 19% - food wastes

    • 13% - yard wastes

    • 12% - plastics

    • At least half of the municipal solid waste could be recycled or composted.

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Chemicals are everywhere about;

Since WWII we have produced about 70,000 new chemicals.

There is no place that is clean on earth

About 80% of adults and 90% of children have pesticide residues in their bodies.

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Urban Air Pollution about;

Denver study – homes near busy streets – 6X cancer rate in kids

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World Carbon Emissions, 1950-2000 about;

From Fossil Fuel Burning



Carbon dioxide release by Americans is 2X in Japan or the UK

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Environmental and Resource Use Problems warming!

  • Rapid population growth

  • Unsustainable resource use

  • Poverty

  • Not including the environmental costs of economic goods and services in their market prices

  • Trying to manage and simplify nature with too little knowledge about how it works

  • What are the

    Root Causes?

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World Population warming!











Billions of people









Black Death–the Plague



2-5 million











Hunting and


Agricultural revolution



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Population is out of control! warming!

  • Yesterday at 1:15pm there were 6,402,138,088 people on the planet and we were adding about 3 every second! (Remember 6.4 billion).

  • It took 4 million years to reach a population of 1 billion (1804).

  • It took 123 years to add the second billion.

  • We will add the next billion in 12 years.

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Two problems…. warming!

  • Too many people (global)

  • Impact per person (developed countries)

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Ecological Footprint warming!: A measure of the “load” imposed by a given population on nature, or the land necessary to sustain resource consumption and waste discharge.

Our Ecological Footprint, by M. Wackernagel and W. Rees

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Footprint data for 8 countries warming!

Footprint data for 8 countries

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… selfishness warming!… greed… disconnection with nature??

Is that the whole story? How about….

One of the problems is simply the way we think about the world l.jpg
One of the problems is simply the way we warming!think about the world!

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Mental Models at work today warming!

The world was made for humans to use

One person can’t really make a


Resources will run out anyway, so I

might as well get my share now

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We need to look deeper! warming!




Mental Models

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Question Assumptions about: warming!

Economy –limited & expanded

sense of self

Equity – hierarchy & holarchy

Environment – flow through & cycles

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We see the world as a system of one-way “throughput” warming!

One way ticket!

Dig it up

Use it up

Dump it out

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This “seems” normal warming!

Pollution, Waste

and Environmental




Goods and


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But there are limits … warming!

Both the source and the sink!

Source is limited

Sink is limited

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The answer is to think in cycles! warming!

A return ticket!

Send it back

Dig it up

Use it

Use it again

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Tomorrow’s Material Cycle warming!

Goods and




Reduce Use of

Natural Resources

Recover Technical Nutrients

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“Next Industrial Revolution” warming!

William McDonough proposes moving from “cradle to grave” manufacturing systems to “cradle to cradle”

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Feedback loops are powerful warming!

Vicious cycles

Hate breeds hurt - hurt breeds hate…


Virtuous cycles

Eastern European democracy “explodes”

Open the door for the next person

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Downward spirals warming!

  • Erosive assumptions

    • believed

  • Hope withers

  • Individuals give up hope

  • Possibilities diminish

  • Erosive assumptions

  • believed

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Spirals of Hope warming!

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Thinking in cycles & spirals warming!

The circle of life

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Spirals of Hope warming!

Seeing Nature by Paul Krafel