1. Environmental Science . Biodiversity Depletion Habitat destruction Habitat degradation Extinction. Air Pollution Global climate change Stratospheric ozone depletion Urban air pollution Acid deposition Outdoor pollutants Indoor pollutants Noise. 1. Major Environmental Problems.
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1 Environmental Science • Biodiversity Depletion • Habitat destruction • Habitat degradation • Extinction • Air Pollution • Global climate change • Stratospheric ozone depletion • Urban air pollution • Acid deposition • Outdoor pollutants • Indoor pollutants • Noise 1 Major Environmental Problems • Water Pollution • Sediment • Nutrient overload • Toxic chemicals Infectious • agents • Oxygen depletion • Pesticides • Oil spills • Excess heat
Tools To Study The Environment • The nature of environmental science • The scientific method and the scientific process • Natural resources and their importance • Culture and worldviews • Environmental ethics • Sustainability
The “environment” • Consists of both: • Biotic factors (living things) • and • Abiotic factors (nonliving things) that surround us and with which we interact.
Humans and the environment • We humans exist within the environment and are a part of the natural world. • Like all other species, we depend for our survival on a properly functioning planet. • Thus, our interactions with our environment matter a great deal.
Natural resources • Renewable resources like sunlight cannot be depleted. • Nonrenewable resources like oil CAN be depleted. • Resources like timber and clean water are renewable only if we do not overuse them. Figure 1.1
Global human population growth • Our population has skyrocketed to over 6 billion. • The agricultural and industrial revolutions drove population growth. Figure 1.2
Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) • Population growth will lead to starvation, war, disease. • Death rates check population unless birth rates are lowered. • In our day, Paul Ehrlich (The Population Bomb, 1968) is called “neo-Malthusian.” Figure 1.3
The tragedy of the commons • Garrett Hardin, 1968: • In a “commons” open to all, unregulated use will deplete limited resources. Figure 1.4
Environmental science • How does the natural world work? • How does our environment affect us? • How do we affect our environment? • Applied goal: Developing solutions to environmental problems.
What is an “environmental problem?” • Definitions differ. • The pesticide DDT: • was thought safe in 1945 • is known to be toxic today • but is used widely in Africa to combat malaria Figure 1.5
Environmental science • … can help us avoid mistakes made by past civilizations. • On Easter Island, people annihilated their culture by destroying their environment. From The Science behind the Stories
Environmental science • … is an interdisciplinary field, drawing on many diverse disciplines. Figure 1.6
Environmental science • … is NOT the same as environmentalism. • It is science, NOT advocacy. Figure 1.7
Science • A systematic process for learning about the world and testing our understanding of it • A dynamic process of observation, testing, and discovery • And the accumulated body of knowledge that results from this process
Applications of science • Policy decisions and management practicesare applications of science. • Prescribed burning, used to restore forest ecosystems altered by human suppression of fire. Figure 1.8a
Applications of science • Technology is another application of science.Energy-efficient methanol-powered fuel cell car from DaimlerChrysler Figure 1.8b
Scientific method: Assumptions • Fixed natural laws govern how the universe works • All events arise from causes, and cause other events • We can use our senses and reason to detect and describe nature’s laws
Scientific method • A step-by-step method for testing ideas with observations. Figure 1.9
Scientific Method • Observations are anything you can sense? • How do you sense things? • See, hear, smell, touch, taste • ESP????
Scientific Method • Observations must be Measurable Repeatable Controllable
Scientific Method • Hypotheses are tentative explanations of the observations or educated guesses. • Predictions result from hypotheses and are usually seen in the form of if then statements. • For example, My car won’t start is an observation. The battery in my car is dead is a hypothesis. If I replace my car battery with a brand new battery then it will start is a prediction.
Scientific method • Scientists use educated guesses called hypotheses to generate predictions • that are then tested experimentally. • Results may reject or fail to reject a hypothesis. • Results never confirm a hypothesis, but only lend support to it by failing to reject it. This means we never prove anything with this method.
Experiments Natural or correlational ones are often necessary. • Manipulative experiments are strongest. Figure 1.10
Scientific process • Peer review, publication, and debate are parts of the larger scientific process. Figure 1.11
Hypothesis, theory, and paradigm • Hypothesis = an educated guess, to be tested • Theory = a well-tested and widely accepted explanation of the observations, validated by much previous research • Paradigm = a dominant view. May shift if new results show old results or assumptions to be wrong
Scientific Method • Feedback is the most important feature of the scientific method. • It allows for self reflection. • It lets us look at the data from different points of view. • It allows us to test different but related hypotheses. • It creates opportunities to find multiple reasons to confirm our hypothesis.
Ethics Ethics is a discipline that deals with how we value and perceive our environment. Ethics influence our decisions and actions. Figure 2.1
Worldview • Worldview = a person’s or group’s beliefs about the meaning, purpose, operation, and essence of the world.
Some questions in environmental ethics Should the present generation conserve resources for future generations? Are humans justified in driving other species to extinction? Is is OK to destroy a forest to create jobs for people? Is it OK for some communities to be exposed to more pollution than others?
Environmental Ethics • Moral = the distinction between right and wrong • Values = the ultimate worth of actions or things • What is instrumental value? • What is intrinsic value?
Environmental Ethics • is concerned with the moral relationships between humans and the world around us. Do we have special duties, obligations, or responsibilities to other species or nature in general? Are our dispositions towards humans different than towards nature? How are they different? Are there moral laws objectively valid and independent of cultural context, history, situation, or environment?
Environmental Ethics • Universalists • Relativists • Nihilists • Utilitarians
Environmental Ethics • Universalists • Fundamental principles of ethics are universal, unchanging, and eternal. • The rules of right and wrong are valid regardless of our interests, attitudes, desires or preferences. • Revealed by God? • Revealed by discovery? • Plato, Kant
Environmental Ethics • Relativists • Moral principles are always relative to a particular person, society, or situation. Ethical values are contextual, that is they depend on the person, the society, or the situation. There is right and wrong or at least better or worse but no principles are absolute regardless of context. • Sophists
Environmental Ethics • Nihilists • The world makes no sense at all! Everything is completely arbitrary, there is no meaning or purpose to life other than the instinctive struggle for survival. There is no reason to behave morally. Might is right. The is no such thing as the good life. Life is uncertain full of pain and despair. • Schopenhauer
Environmental Ethics • Utilitarians • An action is right that produces the greatest good for the greatest number of people. • Goodness = Happiness Happiness = Pleasure • Bentham (Plato, Socrates, Aristotle) • John Stuart Mill held that the greatest pleasure is to be educated and to act according to enlightened, humanitarian principles
Environmental Perspectives (World views) • Worldview = a person’s or group’s beliefs about the meaning, purpose, operation, and essence of the world. • There are lots of them
Three ethical worldviews Figure 2.4
Environmental Perspectives • Domination • Stewardship • Biocentrism • Ecocentrism • Ecofeminism • Scientific Process • Sustainability • Critical Thinking
Environmental Perspectives • Domination • “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” Gen 1:28 • Stewardship • Responsibility to manage and care for a particular place. As custodians of resources, they see their proper role as working together with human and nonhuman forces to sustain life. • Humility and reverence are essential in this worldview
Environmental Perspectives • Biocentrism • Life centered, all organisms have some intrinsic values and rights. Biodiversity is the highest ethical value in nature. Individuals and populations are the basic units of biodiversity.
Environmental Perspectives • Ecocentrism • Ecologically centered, because • individuals are doomed to suffering and pain • evolution, adaptation, and biogeochemical cycles are really more important than individuals. • The whole ecosystem is more important than the individuals and populations that make up the ecosystem. • Moral values for ecological process and systems
Environmental Perspectives • Ecofeminism • Western civilization in opposition to nature • life is interconnected • maintenance of diversity • restructuring human society • Bounty rather than scarcity • Cooperation rather than competition • A network of personal relationships rather than isolated egos
Environmental Perspectives • The Scientific Process at work • 1. Provides a linear path to knowledge with positive and negative feedback loops. • 2. Requires repeated observation of the same thing, over and over again. • 3. Some times repeated observations are not possible. • 4. Need to be able to measure something. (testable?) • 5. Need to be able to control things. • 6. Need to be able to define things. • 7. Can’t Prove something to be true only that it is false • 8. Feedback goes on at each level in the scientific method.
Environmental Perspective • Sustainability • Refers to whether a process can be continued indefinitely without depleting the energy or material resources on which it depends. Sustainable agriculture maintains the integrity of the soil and water resources as well as genetic diversity of the germ plasm. Sustainable development provides people with a better life without sacrificing or depleting resources or causing environmental impacts that will undercut future generations. Sustainable society sustainable yield.
Environmental Perspective • Sustainability based on ecosystem processes • A recycling of elements • Sunlight as a source of energy • Carrying capacities are realized and maintained • Biodiversity is maintained
Environmental Perspectives • Critical Thinking • Elements of thought • Intellectual standards
Early environmental philosophers The industrial revolution inspired reaction.
The preservation ethic John Muir (right, with President Roosevelt at Yosemite) advocated preserving unspoiled nature, for its own sake and for human fulfillment. Figure 2.5
The conservation ethic Gifford Pinchot advocated using natural resources, but exploiting them wisely, for the greatest good for the greatest number for the longest time. Figure 2.6