Exam #1 Env Bio
Def of Sustainability
the ability of the earth’s various natural systems and human cultural systems and economies to to survive and adept to changing environmental conditions indefinitely
3 Keys Principle of Sustainability:
1) Solar Energy
2) Biodiversity
3) Chemical Cycling
Solar Energy
-warms earth,
-provides energy for plants to make food for other organisms,
-powers wind
-powers the hydrological cycle- flowing water
-provides energy- wind and water into electricity
Biodiversity
-large variety of species
-many ecosystems (deserts, forests, oceans, grasslands)
-species and systems renew soil and purify air and water
Chemical Cycling
-natural processes recycle nutrients
-recycling is necessary b/c there is a fixed supply of nutrients on earth
-nutrients cycle from living to nonliving environment and back
-chemical cycles are necessary to sustain life
Environmental Science
interdisciplinary study of how humans interact with the living and nonliving parts of their environment
-natural sciences
-social
-humanities
Environment
everything around us
Ecology
how living organism interact with one another and their environment
Organisms
any form of life
Species
group of organisms with specific traits that can reproduce
Ecosystem
community of varying species interacting with one another and the chemical and physical factors of the non-living environment
Environmentalism
movement to protect the Earth
Natural Capital
supports all life
-natural resources
-natural services
-solar energy (photosynthesis)
-human activities degrade natural capital
-natural resources + natural services
Natural Resources
-renewable: air, water, soil, plants
-nonrenewable: mineral, oil, coal
-anything obtained from the environment to meet our needs and wants
Perpetual: renewed continuously
Functions of Nature (Natural Services)
-purification of air, water
-nutrient cycling: circulation of chemicals from the environment to organisms and back to the environment
Degradation of Natural Capital
-using renewable natural resources faster than they can regenerate
What does an environmentally sustainable society do?
meets current and future resource needs of its people, while not jeopardizing those resources for future generations
What does living sustainability survive on?
Living on natural income only
Sustainability Yield
highest rate at which a renewable resource can be used indefinitely, without reducing supply
Environmental Degradation
use exceeds natural replacement rate
Tragedy of the Commons
Garret Hardin
-users share a common or open-access resource
-focus on selfish, short term gain
-works only with small group
-as # grows, resources deplete and no one benefits
Solutions : use below their sustainable yield, convert open-access areas to private ownerships
Ecological Footprint
the amount of biologically productive land and water needed to indefinitely supply the people in a given area with renewable resources; included land and water necessary to absorb and recycle waste and pollution
Per capita ecological footprint
average ecological footprint of an individual in a given area
Ecological deficit
total ecological footprint great than biological capacity for resource renewal and absorption of wastes and pollution
-88% of high income countries
Ecological Footprints of Nations Vary
US, Japan, New Zealand, Europe:
-18% of world population
-Use 88% of world’s resources
-Create 75% of world’s population and waste
IPAT Environmental Impact
I= P x A x T
I = environmental impact
P = population size
A = affluence of population
T = technology influence
Developing Countries
82% world population
middle: Brazil, China, India
least developed: Haiti Nigeria, Nicaragua
-use far fewer resources per capita than developed countries
Pollution
contamination of the environment by a chemical or other agent such as as noise or heat that is harmful to health, survival, or activities of humans or other organisms
– can enter naturally or through human activities
Sources of Pollutants
Point Sources: single identifiable source (power plant)
Non-point Sources: dispersed and difficult to to identify (pesticides)
Issues with Pollution Cleanup
-temp bandage as long as population and consumption levels grow w/out adv pollution tech
-places pollution from one area to another
-dispersed costs too much to reduce to acceptable levels
-prevention is cheaper
Causes of Environmental Problems
-population growth
-poverty
-wasteful and unsustainable use
-failure to include COGandS in market prices
Exponential Growth
occurs when a quantity increases at a fixed percentage per unit time
Poverty
-people unable to meet basic needs for food, water, shelter, health, education
-1.4 billion in extreme poverty
-desperate for short term survival, not long term environmental quality
Affluence
-high consumption and waste of resources
-resources anywhere from world and no negatives
-better education, money to protect resources, R of technology
-reduced population growth
Full cost of Resource
-companies providing goods by using resources not required to pay for harmful environmental costs
-COGandServices do not include the value of natural capital and environmental costs
3 Big Ideas for Sustainability
1) Rely more on renewable energy from the sun
2) Protect biodiversity
3) Do not disrupt earth’s natural chemical cycles
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