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Environmental Perspectives. For much of history, our viewpoint has been that the Earth’s resources are unlimited and that we can exploit them with no fear of them running out. The human population was small. For all practical purposes, that viewpoint served us well.

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slide2
For much of history, our viewpoint has been that the Earth’s resources are unlimited and that we can exploit them with no fear of them running out.
  • The human population was small.
  • For all practical purposes, that viewpoint served us well.
  • But the Industrial Revolution has changed everything.
jared diamond
Jared Diamond
  • Wrote Guns, Germs and Steel
  • Premise is that because Eurasia is aligned with a long east-west axis in its landmass, Europeans became the dominant civilization.
  • Also asserted that Eurasian animals – cattle and sheep – were easier to domesticate.
slide4
Also wrote Collapse
  • Examines why civilizations have declined, and determines that destruction of the environment was key.
  • Asserts 8 factors have contributed to the collapse of past societies:
    • Deforestation and habitat destruction
    • Soil problems
    • Water management problems
    • Overhunting
    • Overfishing
    • Effects of introduced species on native species
    • Human population growth
    • Increased per capita impact of people
says 4 new factors may contribute to the collapse of present day societies
Says 4 new factors may contribute to the collapse of present-day societies:
  • Human-caused climate change
  • Build-up of toxic chemicals in the environment
  • Energy shortages
  • Full human utilization of the Earth’s photosynthetic capacity
anthropocentric or technocentric worldview
Anthropocentric or Technocentric Worldview
  • Human-centred
  • Nature is there to benefit mankind.
  • Humans are not dependent on nature.
  • Most people in MEDCs (more economically developed countries) hold this view.
  • Includes the cornucopian (technology will always solve our problems) and the environmental management (stewardship) worldviews.
ecocentric worldview
Ecocentric Worldview
  • Life-centred
  • Respects the rights of nature and acknowledges the dependence of humans on nature.
  • Includes the soft technologists (favor small-scale, local action) and the deep ecologists (value nature more than humanity).
communism and capitalism
Communism and Capitalism
  • Communists claimed it was the antidote to environmental degradation.
  • After the Berlin Wall fell in Germany in 1989, western journalists got to see the results of communism.
  • Communist East Germany was a heavily polluted country.
  • The Buna chemical works was dumping 10 times more mercury into a river in a day than a comparable West German plant did in a year.
native american worldview
Native American Worldview
  • There are many, but broad generalizations may be made.
  • Contrary to popular belief, may or may not be environmentally-friendly, though their population was so low they had minimal long-lasting effects.
  • Tend to hold property in common, have a subsistence economy, barter for goods, and low technology.
  • Hold that animals and plants as well as object have a spirituality.
buddhist environmental worldview
Buddhist Environmental Worldview
  • Believe all sentient beings share the Earth and are co-dependent.
  • Humans are not more important than other living things.
modern western worldview
Modern Western Worldview
  • Vary from we are “masters of the Earth” to we have a responsibility to be “Good Stewards of the Earth.”
  • Modern environmental views spring from the Western tradition.
shades of green
Shades of Green
  • Dark Green: Dissenters seeking political change in a radical way as they believe economic development and industrial growth are bad.
  • Light Green: Do not want to work politically for a change but change their own lifestyles to use fewer resources.
  • Bright Green: Believe that technology and wise behavior changes we can have economic growth, a better lifestyle, be happier, and use less resources. Creativity and innovation are the keys to a better future.