HONR 297Environmental Models Chapter 1: Introduction
Objectives • This course has three objectives. • Provide an in-depth introduction to several very important environmental issues. • Show how mathematical models are used routinely to help analyze these issues. • Interpret these issues (to the extent possible) in the context of our own lives!
Key Idea (Theme) in the Course • Every environmental issue has quantitative aspects. • By trying to make precise quantitative statements about environmental problems, we are led to a more precise and refined understanding of the underlying problems themselves!
Environmental Practices • Here are some examples of practices that until “recently” (1980’s – present) were routinely accepted and widely practiced. • Disposal of garbage and other wastes in landfills. • Use of buried underground storage tanks (often made of steel) for fuel oil and other chemicals. • Allowing untreated sewage to enter lakes, rivers, etc. • Disposal of byproducts from power plants (nuclear, coal, etc.) via tall smoke stacks, cooling towers, etc. • Natural resource consumption – food, water, fuel, etc. • Use of chemicals – industrial, personal, etc. • Are they still practiced? …
Questions! • What are examples of each of the above environmental practices? • Are they still relevant today?
My answers – ones I thought of! • Coke plant demolition – south side of Indianapolis (June 2013) • Pleasant Run Creek – raw sewage runoff – Indianapolis • Pittsburgh sewage in water (July 2013) • I-69 extension • IN coal plants – air near worst in nation (February 2013, March 2014)
My answers – ones I thought of! • Chinese cities air quality (March 2014) • Northwest IN steel mills • Muncie – battery plants, abandoned factories • BSU power plant • BP oil leak – Gulf of Mexico (April 2010) • CA refinery fire (August 2012) • WI oil spill (July 2012) • Quebec Train Derailment (July 2013)
My answers – ones I thought of! • Fish kills in White River • VX nerve gas disposal – Newport IN • Japan – earthquake, tsunami, and resulting Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster (March 2011) • Volcanic eruptions, disruption of air travel • Tornados, resulting devastation and cleanup • Exhaust from cars, trucks, planes, trains, homes, factories, etc. • Erin Brockovich – PG&E California case
Contributing Factors • In the 1950’s – 1970’s, when many or most of the above practices were standard and unchecked, what were some of the contributing factors? • Industrial development • International competitiveness • Living standard increases • Rebuilding (especially after WW II and the Korean war) • Cold war – arms race between US and Soviet Union • Vietnam War • Others? …
Increased Awareness • What caused people to become more concerned with environmental issues? • Major disasters, including: • Amoco Caditz (Oil Spill) (1978) • Exxon Valdez (Oil Spill) (1989) • Love Canal (Chemicals) (1978) Video 1Video 2 • Three Mile Island (Nuclear) (1979) • Bhopal India (Chemicals) (1984) • Chernobyl (Nuclear) (1986) • Rhine River (Chemicals) (1986) • More recent disasters …
What has happened as a Result? • Heightened public awareness and concern • Changes in how individuals and business interact with the environment • Government regulatory agencies have improved their systems of regulations to protect the environment • Businesses have changed their practices significantly, due to • New regulations • Potential liability and cleanup costs • Financial impacts, both direct and indirect, which concern boards and CEO’s • Makes good business sense – people view environmentally friendly companies and products in a more positive light – more recent development
Dealing with Environmental Problems • Today, we are more aware of environmental issues caused by both past and present practice. • However, we still need to find ways to “fix” those problems that exist or prevent future problems from occurring. • This is not an easy task – what do we do with the byproducts of fixing an environmental problem?
Bottom Line • Environmental issues are • Very complex • Hard to solve • Solutions involve tradeoffs • Involve many people • Engineers • Consultants • Scientists • Civic leaders • Citizens • Lawyers • Journalists • Etc. …
Course Focus • In this course we will focus on “everyday” environmental issues that are likely to arise where we live (city, town, nearby urban center, etc.). • In particular, we will look at issues related to ground water, air quality, and hazardous materials management!
Homework • Read Hadlock – Chapter 1
References • News Articles and Wikipedia Web Pages • http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/triathletes-concerned-about-pittsburgh-water-conditions-and-health-697372/ • http://www.wibc.com/news/story.aspx?ID=1753848 • http://www.wthr.com/story/21051655/13-investigates-indianas-toxic-air-pollution-air-quality • http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/28/world/asia/most-chinese-cities-fail-pollution-standard-china-says.html?_r=0 • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill
References • News Articles and Wikipedia Web Pages • http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/08/05/chevron-2m-fire/2620303/ • http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/29/nation/la-na-nn-enbridge-wisconsin-oil-spill-20120729 • http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/07/27/victims-of-quebec-train-derailment-honored-at-mass/2592767/ • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster • http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/milwaukee-marks-20-years-since-cryptosporidium-outbreak-099dio5-201783191.html
References • YouTube and Animal Planet Videos • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RawzI4txpQ • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iSFgZ-SlaU • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kjobz14i8kM • http://animal.discovery.com/tv-shows/monsters-inside-me/videos/cryptosporidium-outbreak.htm • Charles Hadlock, Mathematical Modeling in the Environment, Chapter 1