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Chapter 1

Introducing Environmental
Science and
Sustainability

Overview of Chapter 1

Human Impacts on The


Environment
Population, Resources and the
Environment
Environmental Sustainability
Environmental Science
Addressing Environmental
Problems

The Environment (Earth)

Life has existed on earth for 3.8


billion years
Earth well suited for life

Water covers 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

Human Impact on the


Environment

Satellite view of North America


at night

Human Impacts on
Environment Population

Earths Human Population is over 7


billion
Growing exponentially
Expected
to
add several
billion more
people in 21st
century

Population(Village of
100)

1 in 4 people live
in extreme poverty

Cannot meet basic


need for food,
clothing, shelter,
health

Difficult to meet
population needs
without exploiting
earths resources

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

Types of Natural
Resources

Overpopulation

People overpopulation

Too many people in a given geographic


area
Problem in many developing nations

Consumption overpopulation

Each individual in a population


consumes too large a share of the
resources
Problem in many highly developed
nations

Ecological Footprint
The average amount of land, water
and ocean required to provide that
person with all the resources they
consume
Earths Productive Land and 11.4
Water
billion
hectares
Amount Each Person is
1.8
Allotted (divide Productive hectares
Land and Water by Human
Population)
Current Global Ecological
2.7

Ecological Footprint
Comparison

IPAT Model

Measures 3 factors that affect


environmental impact (I)
Environmental
Impact

Affluence per
person

I=P A
Number
of people

T
Environmental
effect of
technologies

Environmental
Sustainability

Environmental
Sustainability
The ability to meet

current
human need for natural
resources without compromising
the needs of future generations
Requires
understandin
g:

The effects
of our
actions on
the earth
That earths

Tragedy of the
Commons

Garrett Hardin (1915-2003)


Solving Environmental Problems is
result of struggle between:

Short term welfare


Long term environmental stability and
societal welfare

Common pool resources


Garrett used Common Pastureland in
medieval Europe to illustrate the
struggle

Sustainable Development

Economic development that meets


the needs of the present
generation without compromising
future generations

Environmental science:
how does the natural
Environment impacts Humans
world
work?
It has an applied goal: developing

solutions to environmental problems

An interdisciplinary field
Natural sciences: information
about the world
Environmental Science programs
Social sciences: values and human
behavior
Environmental Studies programs

Environmental science is not


environmentalism
Environmental

science

The pursuit of knowledge


about the natural world
Scientists try to remain
objective

Environmentalism

A social movement
dedicated to protecting
the natural world

Environmental Science

An interdisciplinary study of
human relationship with other
organisms and the earth

Biology
Ecology
Geography
Chemistry
Geology

Physics
Economics
Sociology
Demography
Politics

Earth As a System

System

Global Earth Systems

Climate, atmosphere, land, coastal zones,


ocean

Ecosystem

A set of components that interact and


function as a whole

A natural system consisting of a community


of organisms and its physical environment

System approach to environmental


science

Helps explain how human activities affect


global environmental parameters

Earth Systems

Most of earths systems are in


dynamic equilibrium or steady
state

Rate of change in one direction


equals that in the other

Feedback

Negative feedback- change


response that counteracts
changed condition
Positive feedback- change
response that intensifies
changing condition

triggers a
the
triggers a
the

Feedback

Scientific Method

Controls and Variables in


Experiment

Variable

A factor that influences a process


The variable may be altered in an
experiment to see its effect on the
outcome

Control

The variable is not altered


Allows for comparison between the
altered variable test and the
unaltered variable test

Inductive and Deductive


Reasoning

Inductive Reasoning

Used to discover general principles


Seeks a unifying explanation for all
the data available
Ex:

FACT: Gold is a metal heavier than water


FACT: Iron is metal heavier than water
FACT: Silver is a metal heavier than water
CONCLUSION (based on inductive reasoning):
All metals are heavier than water

Conclusions reached with inductive


reasoning may changed with new
information

Inductive and Deductive


Reasoning

Deductive Reasoning

Proceeds from generalities to specifics


Adds nothing new to knowledge, but
makes relationships among data more
apparent
Ex:

GENERAL RULE: All birds have wings


SPECIFIC EXAMPLE: Robins are birds
CONCLUSION (based on deductive reasoning):
All Robins have wings

Five Stages to
Addressing An
Environmental
Problem
Five steps

are
idealistic
Case Study:
Lake
Washington

Assessing Environmental
Problem
Case Study: Lake
Large, freshwater pond
Washington

Suburban sprawl in
1940s

10 new sewage treatment


plants dumped effluent
into lake

Effect = excessive
cyanobacteria growth
that killed off fish
and aquatic life

Assessing Environmental
Problem
Case
Study: Lake
Scientific Assessment
Aquatic wildlife assessment done in 1933
Washington

was compared to the 1950 assessment


Hypothesized treated sewage was
introducing high nutrients causing growth
of cyanobacteria

Risk Analysis

After analyzing many choices, chose new


location (freshwater) and greater
treatment for sewage to decrease
nutrients in effluent

Assessing Environmental
Problem
Case
Study:
Lake
Public Education/Involvement
Washington
Educated public on why changes were
necessary

Political Action

Difficult to organize sewage


disposal in so many municipalities
Changes were not made until 1963!

Evaluation

Cyanobacteria slowly decreased


until 1975 (gone)

Assessing Environmental
Problem
Case
Study:
Lake
Results
Washington