1 / 68

Lecture Outlines Chapter 6 Environment: The Science behind the Stories 4th Edition Withgott/Brennan

Lecture Outlines Chapter 6 Environment: The Science behind the Stories 4th Edition Withgott/Brennan. Culture, worldviews, and choices Environmental ethics Economics and the environment Classical and neoclassical economics Economic growth, well-being, and sustainability

Download Presentation

Lecture Outlines Chapter 6 Environment: The Science behind the Stories 4th Edition Withgott/Brennan

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author. Content is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only. Download presentation by click this link. While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server. During download, if you can't get a presentation, the file might be deleted by the publisher.


Presentation Transcript

  1. Lecture Outlines Chapter 6 Environment:The Science behind the Stories 4th Edition Withgott/Brennan

  2. Culture, worldviews, and choices Environmental ethics Economics and the environment Classical and neoclassical economics Economic growth, well-being, and sustainability Environmental and ecological economics This lecture will help you understand:

  3. Central Case: The Mirrar Clan Confronts the Jabiluka Uranium Mine • Commercially valuable uranium deposits in Australia occur on sacred Aboriginal land • The Mirrar oppose the mine for economic, social, cultural, spiritual, ethical, and health reasons • Despite the economic benefits of jobs, income, development, and a higher standard of living Mining options may be revisited due to increased uranium prices

  4. Ethics and economics involve values • Both disciplines deal with what we value • Values affect our decisions and actions • Solving environmental problems needs more than understanding how natural systems work • Values shape human behavior • Ethics and economics give us tools to pursue the “triple bottom line” of sustainability • Environmental, economic, social

  5. Culture and worldview • Our relationship with the environment depends on assessments of costs and benefits • But culture and worldview also affect this relationship • Culture = knowledge, beliefs, values, and learned ways of life shared by a group of people • Worldview = a person’s or group’s beliefs about the meaning, operation, and essence of the world • How a person sees his or her place in the world People draw dramatically different conclusions about a situation based on their worldviews

  6. Worldviews differ among people • Well-meaning people can support or oppose an action • Some support uranium mines • Jobs, income, energy, economic growth • Opponents see other impacts • Destroyed land, pollution, radiation poisoning • Community disruption, substance abuse, crime, etc.

  7. Culture and worldviews affect perceptions • The landscape is a sacred text to Australian Aborigines • Holding their beliefs and values • Equal to the Christian Bible or Islamic Koran • Spirit ancestors leave signs and lessons in the landscape • Aborigines construct mental maps of their surroundings in “walkabouts”

  8. Many factors shape worldviews • Religious and spiritual beliefs shape our worldview and perception of the environment • Community experiences shape attitudes • Political ideology: government’s role in protecting the environment • Economics • Vested interest = the strong interest of an individual in the outcome of a decision • Results in gain or loss for that individual

  9. Environmental ethics • Ethics = the study of good and bad, right and wrong • Moral principles or values held by a person or society • Promoting human welfare, maximizing freedom, minimizing pain and suffering • Relativists = ethics varies with social context • Universalists = right and wrong remains the same across cultures and situations • Ethics is a prescriptive pursuit: it tells us how we ought to behave

  10. Ethical standards: judging right and wrong • Ethical standards = criteria that help differentiate right from wrong • Categorical imperative: the golden rule • Most world religions teach this same lesson • How would you feel if your sacred homeland was defiled with a uranium mine? • Principle of utility = something right produces the most practical benefits for the most people • A uranium mine could benefit thousands of people

  11. We value things in two ways • Instrumental (utilitarian) value: valuing something for its pragmatic benefits by using it • Animals are valuable because we can eat them • Intrinsic (inherent) value: valuing something for its own sake because it has a right to exist • Animals are valuable because they live their own lives • Things can have both instrumental and intrinsic value • But different people emphasize different values • How we value something affects how we treat it

  12. Environmental ethics • Environmental ethics = application of ethical standards to relationships between human and nonhuman entities • Hard to resolve: it depends on the person’s ethical standards and domain of ethical concern Should we save resources for future generations? When is it OK to destroy a forest to create jobs? Is it OK for some communities to be exposed to more pollution? Should humans drive other species to extinction?

  13. We have expanded our ethical consideration • People have granted intrinsic value and ethical consideration to more and more people and things • Including animals, communities, and nature • Animal rights activists voice concern for animals that are hunted, raised in pens, or used for testing • Rising economic prosperity broadens our ethical domain • Science shows people are part of nature • All organisms are interconnected • Non-Western cultures often have broader ethical domains

  14. Three ethical perspectives • Anthropocentrism = only humans have intrinsic value • Biocentrism = some nonhuman life has intrinsic value • Ecocentrism = whole ecological systems have value • A holistic perspective that preserves connections

  15. History of environmental ethics • Christianity’s attitude toward the environment: anthropocentric hostility or stewardship? • The Industrial Revolution increased consumption and pollution • John Ruskin: people no longer appreciated nature • Transcendentalism = nature is a manifestation of the divine • People need to experience nature • Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau’sWalden

  16. The preservation ethic • Unspoiled nature should be protected for its own intrinsic value • John Muir had an ecocentric viewpoint • He was a tireless advocate for wilderness preservation

  17. The conservation ethic • Use natural resources wisely for the greatest good for the most people (the utilitarian standard) • Gifford Pinchot had an anthropocentric viewpoint

  18. The land ethic • Healthy ecological systems depend on protecting all parts • Aldo Leopold believed the land ethic changes the role of people from conquerors of the land to citizens of it • The land ethic can help guide decision making

  19. Deep ecology, ecofeminism, and justice • Some scholars feel that male-dominated societies cause both social and environmental problems • Domination and competition degrade women and the environment • Ecofeminism = the female worldview interprets the world through interrelationships and cooperation • More compatible with nature • Environmental justice = the fair and equitable treatment of all people regarding environmental issues • The poor and minorities have less information, power, and money

  20. Environmental justice (EJ) • The poor and minorities are exposed to more pollution, hazards, and environmental degradation North Carolina wanted to put a toxic waste site in the county with the highest percentage of African Americans

  21. Environmental justice and Native Americans • From 1948 to the 1960s, neither the U.S. government nor industry provided Navajo miners with information or protection

  22. Significant inequities still remain • Significant inequities remain despite progress toward racial equality • Economic gaps between rich and poor have widened • Minorities and the poor still suffer substandard environmental conditions • Poor Latino farm workers in California suffer from unregulated air pollution (dairy and pesticide emissions) • Organized groups convinced regulators to enforce the Clean Air Act and state legislatures to pass new laws

  23. Environmental justice and Hurricane Katrina People most affected by the hurricane and its aftermath were poor and nonwhite

  24. Environmental justice: an international issue • Wealthy nations impose pollution on poorer nations • Hazardous waste is expensive to dispose of • Companies pay poor nations to take the waste • It is dumped illegally • It may be falsely labeled as harmless or beneficial • Workers are uninformed or unprotected • The Basel Convention prohibits international export of waste • But illegal trade and dumping continue • The United States has not ratified this treaty

  25. The environment vs. economics • Friction occurs between ethical and economic impulses • Is there a trade-off between economics and the environment? • People say protection costs too much money, interferes with progress, or causes job loses • But environmental protection is good for the economy • Traditional economic thought ignores or underestimates contributions of the environment to the economy • Human economies depend on the environment

  26. Uranium mining: ethics vs. economics • Uranium mining provides jobs and income • Unemployment is above 16% among Aborigines • 20% of mine employees are Aboriginal

  27. Economics • Economics studies how people use resources to provide goods and services in the face of demand • Most environmental and economic problems are linked • Root oikos, meaning “household,” gave rise to both ecology and economics • Economy = a social system that converts resources into: • Goods: manufactured materials that are bought, and • Services: work done for others as a form of business

  28. Types of modern economies • Subsistence economy = people get their daily needs directly from nature or their own production • They do not purchase or trade products • Capitalist market economy = buyers and sellers interact to determine prices and production of goods and services • Centrally planned economy = the government determines how to allocate resources • Mixed economy = governments intervene to some extent • Unregulated financial practices caused the 2009 recession

  29. Governments intervene in a market economy • Even in mixed market economies, governments intervene to: • Eliminate unfair advantages held by single buyers or sellers • Provide social services (national defense, medical care, education) • Provide safety nets for elderly, disaster victims, etc. • Manage the commons • Mitigate pollution and other threats to health and quality of life

  30. The economy exists within the environment • Economies receive inputs (resources) • Process them • Discharge outputs (waste) • Traditional economics • Ignores the environment • Resources are “limitless” • Wastes are absorbed at no cost

  31. Environmental view of economics Human economies exist within, and depend on, the environment for goods and services

  32. Environmental systems support economies • Environmental goods = natural resources (sun’s energy, water, trees, rocks, fossil fuels) • Ecosystem services = essential services support the life that makes economic activities possible * Soil formation * Pollination * Water purification * Nutrient cycling * Climate regulation * Waste treatment • Economic activities affect the environment • Depleting natural resources, generating pollution • 15 of 24 ecosystem services are being degraded or used unsustainably

  33. Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” • Classical economics: when people pursue economic self-interest in a competitive marketplace • The market is guided by an “invisible hand” • Society benefits • This idea is a pillar of free-market thought today • It is also blamed for economic inequality between rich and poor • Critics feel that market capitalism promotes environmental degradation

  34. Neoclassical economics includes psychology • What psychological factors underlie consumer choices? • Market prices reflect supply vs. demand • Buyers vs. sellers • The “right” quantities of a product are produced • “Optimal” levels of pollution, resource use The market favors equilibrium between supply and demand

  35. Cost-benefit analysis • Cost-benefit analysis = costs of a proposed action are compared to benefits that result from the action • If benefits > costs: pursue the action • Cost-benefit analysis is controversial: not all costs and benefits can be identified or defined • It is easy to quantify wages paid to miners • But hard to assess the cost of a scarred landscape • Monetary benefits are overrepresented • Analysis is biased in favor of economic development • Biased against environmental protection

  36. Capitalist market systems operate according to neoclassical economics Enormous wealth and jobs are generated Environmental problems are also created Assumptions of neoclassical economics: Resources are infinite or substitutable Costs and benefits are internal Long-term effects are discounted Growth is good Neoclassical economics

  37. Assumption: resources are infinite • Economic models treat resources as substitutable and interchangeable • A replacement resource will be found • Goods and services are treated as “free gifts of nature” • Infinitely abundant, resilient, and substitutable • But Earth’s resources are limited • Nonrenewable resources can be depleted • Renewable resources (e.g., forests) can also be depleted

  38. Only the buyer and seller experience costs and benefits Pricing ignores social, environmental, or economic costs of pollution and degradation Externalities = costs or benefits involving people other than the buyer or seller External costs = borne by someone not involved in a transaction Health problems, resource depletion, property damage Governments develop laws and regulations But how do you assign monetary value to illness? Assumption: costs and benefits are internal

  39. People suffer external costs External costs include water pollution, health problems, property damage, and harm to other organism

  40. A future event counts less than a present one Discounting = short-term costs and benefits are more important than long-term costs and benefits Present conditions are more important than future ones Cutting trees now brings in more money than cutting them in the future Policymakers ignore long-term consequences of actions Puts costs of degradation, resource depletion, pollution on to future generations Assumption: discounted long-term effects

  41. Assumption: growth is good • Economic growth = an increase in an economy’s production and consumption of goods • It is necessary to maintain social order • Promoting economic growth creates opportunities for poor to become wealthier • Progress is measured by economic growth • But economic activity and true wealth are not the same • Affluenza = material goods do not always bring contentment • Runaway growth can destroy our economic system

  42. We live in a growth-oriented economy • Growth is used to measure progress • All economic growth is seen as good and necessary • Economic growth is always good news • Modern global economic growth is unprecedented • Higher trade, production, amount and value of goods • The United States has a “more and bigger” attitude • Americans are in a frenzy of consumption

  43. The dramatic rise in per-person consumption has severe environmental consequences Is the growth paradigm good for us?

  44. Can growth go on forever? • Economic growth comes from: • Increased inputs (labor, natural resources) • Economic development = improved efficiency of production (technology, ideas, equipment) • Uncontrolled economic growth is unsustainable • Technology can push back limits, but not forever • Efficient resource extraction and production perpetuate the illusion that resources are unlimited • Many economists believe technology can solve anything

  45. Cornucopians vs. Cassandras • Cornucopians = economists, businesspeople, policymakers • Improved technology allows continued economic growth • Human innovation, technologies, and market forces increase access to resources and avoid depletion • Cassandras = scientists and others • Limits to Growth, Beyond the Limits, Limits to Growth: The Thirty-year Update • Computer models predict economic collapse as resources become scarce

  46. Computer simulations project future trends Results of policies of sustainability Current consumption patterns predict economic collapse

  47. Other types of economies • Environmental economics = unsustainable economies have high population growth and inefficient resource use • Modify neoclassical economics to increase efficiency • Calls for reform • Ecological economics = civilizations cannot overcome environmental limitations • Endless economic growth is not possible • Calls for revolution • Steady-state economies mirror natural ecological systems—they neither grow nor shrink

  48. A steady-state economy • As resources became harder to find, economic growth slows and stabilizes (John Stuart Mill, 1806–1873) • Individuals and societies exist on steady flows of natural resources • Herman Daly does not think a steady state will evolve on its own • We must fundamentally change our economics • This does not mean a lower quality of life • Technology and behavior will enhance sustainability

  49. Measuring economic progress: GDP • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) = the total monetary value of goods and services a nation produces • Does not account for nonmarket values • Does not express only desirable economic activity • Pollution, oil spills, disasters, etc. increase GDP

  50. GPI: An alternative to the GDP • Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) = differentiates between desirable and undesirable economic activity • Positive contributions (e.g., volunteer work) not paid for with money are added to economic activity • Negative impacts (crime, pollution) are subtracted In the United States, GDP has risen greatly, but not GPI

More Related