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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
Sustainability and the Environment

A global and personal perspective

the sustainability triangle
The Sustainability Triangle

Social Equity

The quest for sustainability

Economic Environmental

Vitality Integrity

living more environmentally sustainably means thinking about
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)
key issues
Key Issues
  • 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
We are using up the resources upon which we depend.

The “source” of

resources is limited.

global water shortage
Global Water Shortage

Today, 1.4 billion people do not have safe water.

who is using all the water
Who is using all the water?

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

soil is running away
Soil is running away!

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.

and the big one
And the big one!

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

after we use it we throw it away
After we use it, we throw it “away”.

The “sink” is also

limited.

slide17
The majority of solid waste is sent to landfills
  • 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.
slide18
Waste Streams
  • 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.
chemicals are everywhere
Chemicals are everywhere

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.

slide20
Urban Air Pollution

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

slide22
World Carbon Emissions, 1950-2000

From Fossil Fuel Burning

Million

Tons

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

environmental and resource use problems
Environmental and Resource Use Problems
  • 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?

world population
World Population

16

15

?

14

13

12

11

?

10

9

Billions of people

8

?

7

6

5

4

3

2

Black Death–the Plague

1

0

2-5 million

years

8000

6000

4000

2000

2000

2100

B.C.

A.D.

Time

Hunting and

gathering

Agricultural revolution

Industrial

revolution

population is out of control
Population is out of control!
  • 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.
two problems
Two problems….
  • Too many people (global)
  • Impact per person (developed countries)
slide28
Ecological Footprint: 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

footprint data for 8 countries
Footprint data for 8 countries

Footprint data for 8 countries

selfishness greed disconnection with nature
… selfishness… greed… disconnection with nature??

Is that the whole story? How about….

mental models at work today
Mental Models at work today

The world was made for humans to use

One person can’t really make a

difference

Resources will run out anyway, so I

might as well get my share now

we need to look deeper
We need to look deeper!

Actions

Patterns

Structures

Mental Models

question assumptions about
Question Assumptions about:

Economy –limited & expanded

sense of self

Equity – hierarchy & holarchy

Environment – flow through & cycles

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

One way ticket!

Dig it up

Use it up

Dump it out

this seems normal
This “seems” normal

Pollution, Waste

and Environmental

Disturbances

Natural

Resources

Goods and

Services

but there are limits
But there are limits …

Both the source and the sink!

Source is limited

Sink is limited

the answer is to think in cycles
The answer is to think in cycles!

A return ticket!

Send it back

Dig it up

Use it

Use it again

tomorrow s material cycle
Tomorrow’s Material Cycle

Goods and

Services

Natural

Resources

Reduce Use of

Natural Resources

Recover Technical Nutrients

next industrial revolution
“Next Industrial Revolution”

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

feedback loops are powerful
Feedback loops are powerful

Vicious cycles

Hate breeds hurt - hurt breeds hate…

Addictions

Virtuous cycles

Eastern European democracy “explodes”

Open the door for the next person

downward spirals
Downward spirals
  • Erosive assumptions
    • believed
  • Hope withers
  • Individuals give up hope
  • Possibilities diminish
  • Erosive assumptions
  • believed
slide46
Spirals of Hope

Seeing Nature by Paul Krafel

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