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ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE. CH.1 “our changing environment”. The big picture. Human population  Earth’s natural resources  pollution  in air, water, or soil and harms humans or other living organisms. How can humans impact the environment less?.

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environmental science



“our changing environment”

the big picture
The big picture
  • Human population  Earth’s natural resources  pollution  in air, water, or soil and harms humans or other living organisms.
  • How can humans impact the environment less?

Env. Sci. is the study of the relationship between humans and the environment (both biotic and abiotic factors)

  • It is interdisciplinary - science (ecology, chemistry, agriculture) and social sciences (geography, populations, politics, economics, ethics)
  • Are there solutions to all environmental problems?
    • All solutions have consequences for someone/something/organism
types of environmental issues
Types of environmental issues
  • List any 5 environmental issues that you can think of and identify if you think it is a global, regional, or local issue.
environmental solutions
Environmental solutions
  • No perfect – there’s a cost (may/maybe not financial) for everything
  • All about BALANCE and TRADE-OFFS: cost v. benefit
  • Examples – setting aside park reserves for animals by uprooting people, switching to wind/solar energy hurts the economic gain of oil companies, eggs of free-range chickens cost more money
the environment earth
The Environment (Earth)
  • Life has existed on earth for 3.8 billion years
  • Earth well suited for life
    • Water covers ¾ of planet
    • Habitable temperature
    • Moderate sunlight
    • Atmosphere provides oxygen and carbon dioxide
    • Soil provides essential minerals for plants
  • But humans are altering the planet; not always in positive ways
what is the significance
What is the significance?
  • 1999 – 6 billion
  • 1987 – 5 billion
  • 1975 – 4 billion
  • 1960 – 3 billion
  • 1930 – 2 billion
  • 1800 – 1 billion
human impacts on environment population
Human Impacts on Environment- Population
  • Earth’s Human Population is 7 billion
    • Growing exponentially
  • Increase will adversely affect living conditions in many areas of the world
  • Globally, 1 in 4 people lives in extreme poverty
    • Cannot meet basic need for food, clothing, shelter, health
  • Difficult to meet population needs without exploiting earth’s resources
gap between rich and poor
Gap Between Rich and Poor
  • Highly Developed Countries (HDC)
    • Complex industrialized bases, low population growth, high per capita incomes
    • Ex: US, Canada, Japan
  • Less Developed Countries (LDC)
    • Low level of industrialization, very high fertility rate, high infant mortality rate, low per capita income
    • Ex: Bangladesh, Mali, Ethiopia
  • People overpopulation
    • Too many people in a given geographic area
    • Problem in many developing nations (like Nigeria and India)
  • Consumption overpopulation
    • Each individual in a population consumes too large a share of the resources
    • Problem in many highly developed nations (like US)
what is the significance1
What is the significance?
  • 1999 – 6 billion
  • 1987 – 5 billion
  • 1975 – 4 billion
  • 1960 – 3 billion
  • 1930 – 2 billion
  • 1800 – 1 billion
worth revisiting
Worth revisiting…
  • ¼ have no access to clean water/live in extreme poverty
  • Why does this matter? And what’s the solution?
    • Reduces life expectancy, increased illiteracy, insufficient access to health services, safe water and balanced nutrition.
    • Ecological problem - how to feed all these people without destroying ecosystems
    • Current birth rate – 3 per family
    • Solution = family planning
ecological footprint
Ecological Footprint
  • The average amount of land, water and ocean required to provide that person with all the resources they consume
ipat model

Affluence per person (consumption of resources)

Environmental Impact

I = P A T

Environmental effect of technologies used to get/consume resources

Number of people

IPAT Model
  • Measures 3 factors that affect environmental impact (I)
environmental sustainability
Environmental Sustainability
  • The ability to meet current human need for natural resources without compromising the needs of future generations
  • Requires understanding:
    • The effects of our actions on the earth
    • That earth’s resources are not infinite
sustainable development
Sustainable Development
  • Economic development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising future generations
examples of human impact on the environment
Examples of human impact on the environment
  • Endocrine disrupters
    • Ex: many chlorine containing compounds (PCBs and dioxins), lead, mercury, DDT, phthalates
  • Overfishing
    • Closed Georges Bank fishery due to low fish #s
    • Results: lost jobs, more regulation (Magnuson-Stevens Fishery conservation and Management Act)
  • Declining Bird populations
    • Losing habitat, forest fragmentation (increases forest edge), nest parasitism (ex. Cowbirds)
  • Reintroducing Wolves to Yellowstone
    • To restore ecosystem and remove wolf from endangered species list, opposed by farmers/ranchers

Introduction of Invasive species

    • Ex: ballast water, zebra mussels
    • Common traits: good food supply, no predators, high reproductive rates
  • Stratospheric Ozone depletion
    • CFCs (stable!) from cooling agent Freon in refrigerators, air conditioners, aerosol propellants
  • Global Climate Warming/Increasing Carbon dioxide Levels
    • CO2 from burning fossil fuels and burning forests
    • Kyoto Protocol
  • Destroying Tropical Rain Forests
    • For agriculture and pasture
    • Ex: Amazon in Brazil
    • Destroys habitat for organisms (ex songbirds), erosion into local water, loss of filtration and water flow regulation, CO2