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Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability PowerPoint Presentation
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Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability

Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability

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Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability

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  1. Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability Chapter 1

  2. Living More Sustainability • Environment • Ecology • Environmental Science • Environmentalism

  3. Question #1:What are the 6 major themes of this book?

  4. Central Theme • Sustainability • The ability of earth’s various systems (including human systems & economies) to survive & adapt to changing environmental conditions • Living w/o degrading • (Degrading = using resources faster than they can renew themselves)

  5. Path to Sustainability: Sub-Themes A Pa t h t o S u s t a i n a b i l i t y Natural Capital Natural Capital Degradation Solutions Trade-Offs Individuals Matter S o u n d S c i e n c e Fig. 1-2, p. 7

  6. Sub-Themes • Natural Capital • resources & natural processes that sustain life • Natural Capital Degradation • Using resources faster than nature can replace them • Solutions • Search for solutions • Trade-Offs • Compromise helps us resolve conflicts • Individuals Matter • Individuals/groups can work together to bring about political or social change necessary to solve problems • …. Sound Science

  7. = + NATURAL CAPITAL NATURAL RESOURCES NATURAL SERVICES NATURAL RESOURCES NATURAL SERVICES Air Water Soil Land Life (biodiversity) Nonrenewable minerals (iron, sand) Renewable energy (sun, wind, water flows) Nonrenewable energy(fossil fuels, nuclear power) Air purification Water purification Soil renewal Nutrient recycling Food production Pollination Grassland renewal Forest renewal Waste treatment Climate Control Population control(species interactions) Pest control NATURAL CAPITAL = + Sustainability & Natural Capital Sustainability = Living w/o degrading our natural capital!!!

  8. Question #2:What is an environmentally sustainable society?

  9. Solutions to Environmental Problems Environmentally Susutainable Society A society that meets the basic needs (food/water/shelter/etc) of its people, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs • Protects biodiversity & natural capital (recycling / clean energy)

  10. Natural Capital • Capital = wealth • Invested capital provides financial income • Natural Capital provides “Biological income” for us to live off of Fig. 1-3, p. 7

  11. Example • Imagine you win $1 million in a lottery. If you invest this money and earn 10% interest a year, you will have sustainable financial income of $100,000. if you spend $200,000 per year, your $1 million will be gone early in the 7th year (degraded capital) • Even if you spent $110,000 a year you would be bankrupt in the 18th year. • Protect your capital!!! Live off the income it provides.

  12. Question #3:How fast is the human population increasing?

  13. World Population ? Billions of people Black Death—the Plague Time Hunting and gathering Agricultural revolution Industrial revolution Fig. 1-1, p. 1

  14. World Population Growth • Exponential growth (1.2%) • Growth has slowed, but still increasing • ~80 million people added annually Fig. 1-1, p. 1

  15. Problems with Population Growth • Poverty • 1 in 2 workers makes less than $2/day • Extinction and Biodiversity Loss • Deforestation / land clearing for crops & settlement / topsoil erosion / wetland destruction / coral reefs • Climate changes • Burning fossil fuels & clearing forests • Will disrupt economies • Good news: possible solutions

  16. Question #4:What is the difference between economic growth and economic development?

  17. Economics • Economic growth – increase in the capacity of a country to provide people with goods and services. • Requires: population growth / increased production & consumption • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the annual market value of all goods and services produced by all firms and organizations in a country. • Per capita GDP – the GDP divided by the total population midyear.

  18. Economics • Economic development – the improvement of human living standards by economic growth • Developed vs. developing countries • United Nations Classification: • How industrialized nation is • Per capita GDP • Middle class income

  19. Economics • Developed (1.2 billion people) • highly industrialized / high per capita GDP • US, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, countries of Europe • Developing (5.3 billion people) • 97% of population growth expected here!!! • moderately industrialized / low income • Africa, Asia, & Latin America

  20. Developed Countries

  21. Human Population Growth World total Developing countries Population (billions) Developed countries Year 97% of world’s population growth expected in developing nations. Fig. 1-5, p. 9

  22. Global Outlook Percentage of World's 19 Population 81 0.1 Population growth 1.5 Wealth and income 85 15 88 Resource use 12 75 Pollution and waste 25 Developed countries Developing countries Fig. 1-4, p. 9

  23. Why do we Study Economic Development? Trade-Offs Economic Development Good News Bad News Global life expectancy doubled since 1950 Infant mortality cut in half since 1955 Food production ahead of population growth since 1978 Air and water pollution down in most developed countries since 1970 Number of people living in poverty dropped 6% since 1990 Life expectancy 13 years less in developing countries than in developed Countries Infant mortality rate in developing countries over 9 times higher than in developed countries Harmful environmental effects of agriculture may limit future food production Air and water pollution levels in most developing countries too high Half of world's workers trying to live on less than $2 (U.S.) per day Fig. 1-6, p. 10

  24. Question #5:What are the earth’s main types of resources? How can they be depleted or degraded?

  25. 3 Types of Resources • Perpetual – renewed continuously • Renewable – replenished fairly rapidly through natural processes • Replenished as long as it’s not used faster than nature can replace it • Nonrenewable – exist in a fixed quantity on Earth • Takes millions/billions of years to renew

  26. Examples of Resources • Perpetual Resources • Solar Energy / Wind / Flowing Water • Renewable Resources • Forests, grasslands, wild animals, fresh water, fresh air, fertile soil • Nonrenewable Resources • Coal / oil / natural gas (fossil fuels), salt, clay, sand, etc

  27. Perpetual and Renewable Resources • Sustainable yield – highest rate @ which we can use a resource indefinitely w/o reducing its availability • Environmental degradation – using a resource faster than it can be replaced naturally • Causes supply to shrink • Examples: urbanizing productive land, excessive topsoil erosion, pollution, deforestation, overgrazing, loss of biodiversity by habitat loss

  28. Tragedy of the Commons • Tragedy of the Commons – “If I don’t use it someone else will…” mentality • “The little bit I use or pollute is not enough to matter” • When a resource is ruined, no one can benefit from it -> this is the tragedy!

  29. Nonrenewable Resources • Energy resources • oil/coal/natural gas – fossil fuels (can’t recycle) • Metallic mineral resources • iron, copper, aluminum (can recycle) • Nonmetallic mineral resources • salt, clay, sand, phosphates (too costly / difficult to recycle) • Economic depletion • Resource can be depleted to the point where it costs too much to obtain what’s left • Recycling and reuse • Processing nonrenewable waste materials into useable materials

  30. Ecological Footprint

  31. Ecological Footprint • Per Capita Ecological Footprint • The amount of biologically productive land & water needed to supply each person w/ the resources he or she uses, & to absorb the waste from this resource use • We are using renewable resources 21% faster than the Earth can replace them • It would take 1.21 planet Earths to support our current production & consumption rates forever

  32. U.S. Ecological Footprint If they rest of the world caught up to our consumption rates, we would need 4 earths to support us!!!

  33. Ecological Footprint Fig. 1-7, p. 11

  34. Global Ecological Footprints

  35. Question #6:What are the main types of pollution, and what can you do about pollution?

  36. Pollution • What is pollution? • Any addition to air, water soil or food that threatens health, survival, or activities, of humans or other organisms.

  37. Natural Pollution

  38. Types of Pollution • Point Sources • single identifiable source • Nonpoint Sources • dispersed and hard to identify

  39. Solutions to Pollution • Pollution prevention (input control) • Reduces or eliminates production of pollutants • Works better & is CHEAPER • Pollution cleanup (output control) • Cleaning up or diluting pollutants after they’re produced • Disadvantages of output control • Temporary fix • Clean up of one area pollutes another • COSTS TOO MUCH AFTER THE FACT!!!


  41. Question #7:What are the harmful environmental effects of poverty and affluence?

  42. Environmental Problems: Causes and Connections • Poverty & Population Growth • Desperate for survival, the world’s poor deplete & degrade their environment for short term survival • Don’t have the luxury to think about sustainability when worried about survival

  43. Poverty & Premature Death Malnutrition Susceptibility to Disease Lack of Clean Drinking Water Respiratory Disease from bad air Fig. 1-12, p. 15

  44. Some Harmful Results of Poverty Lack of access to Number of people (% of world's population) Adequate sanitation 2.4 billion (37%) Enough fuel for heating and cooking 2 billion (31%) Electricity 1.6 billion (25%) Clean drinkingwater 1.1 billion (17%) Adequate health care 1.1 billion (17%) Enough food for good health 1.1 billion (17%) Fig. 1-11, p. 14

  45. Economics and Ethics • Affluenza – addiction to consumption • Unsustainable resource use! Takes 27 tractor trailer loads of resources per year for one American!!!

  46. Global Marketing & Affluenza We have been programmed to consume! • Styles change every year!

  47. What can be done? • Admit there’s a problem • Do I need this or just want it? • Second hand / borrow • Law of Progressive Simplification – transfer of energy from material to nonmaterial things.

  48. Positive Effects of Affluenza • Benefits • Affluent countries have more money available for improving environmental quality • Cleaner air / water • More food • Recycling

  49. Question #8:What are the basic causes of today’s environmental problems, and how are these causes connected?

  50. 5 Major Causes of Environmental Problems • Population Growth • Wasteful Resource Use • Poverty • Poor Environmental Accounting • Ecological Ignorance