Intro to Conservation
Natural
Existing in or caused by nature. Are humans included in your definition of natural? Are natural things always good for you?
Resource
Something that meets a need. In the past, it was always just human needs. Does this mean only HUMAN needs? What do you think?
Conservation
From the word “conserve”
Conserve: to reserve for later use; to keep safe and sound; to avoid wasteful or destructive use. It includes BOTH management (hands on) & preservation (implies hands off).
Management
Management is the more ACTIVE part of conservation (“management” comes from mano = hand). It involves handling something: nurturing, growing, cutting, weeding, thinning, feeding…even culling (removing members from a herd or flock).
Policy
A set of norms, rules or laws adopted by an individual, group or government. Policies include conventions, laws, regulations, enforcement, & contracts—as well as partnerships and collaboration.
What policies do you have? Personal “policies” can be handy. Can you think of an example?
Preservation
From the word “preserve” = to pickle, can or freeze
-True preservation means untouched by humans—including hikers!
-Recreationists have major impacts on “preserved” areas
-Nature itself does not “preserve” areas. Give an example of one of nature’s destructive forces. Preservation is one means of conserving resources. and a very important one. Many studies have proven the value of nature to our mental and physical health. Parks and wilderness areas are essential, but preserves put nature in a museum (look but don’t touch). This adds to the belief that nature is NICE, but not ESSENTIAL (psst: it’s essential…). We can “save it all” and expect our own species to survive. Note also that every species, even an amoeba, has an impact on its environment.
Exploitation
Resources are exploited when they are OVER-harvested— when more than the sustained yield is harvested OR when impacts are not sustainable.
Exploiters see nature as simply a building supply yard for humans. They see humans as superior to the rest of creation.
Preservation and Exploitation have what in common?
Both preservation and exploitation see Nature as “over there” — separate from human life. Preservationists see it as a “museum.” Exploiters see it as a “shopping mall.” Neither view sees humans as part of nature and nature as part of us.
Renewable Resources
Give an example. Are renewable resources just things that GROW?
Nonrenewable resources
Resources that cannot be renewed on a human timescale.
Examples on nonrenewable resources
Oil, diamonds, copper are nonrenewable. Many metallic minerals are nonrenewable, but they CAN be recycled. Coal & oil are nonrenewable and cannot be recycled.
Are endangered species renewable?
No
Is old growth timber that is over 800 years old renewable?
Some would argue that old growth is nonrenewable. However, even ancient stands of trees will eventually die. Some, like the huge eucalyptus trees in Tasmania, will not grow in their own understory. They require full sun for their seedlings to grow, so to perpetuate the forest, you might need to remove enough trees for sun to get to the seedlings to start a new forest.
Are thin soils on steep ground renewable?
Not on a human timescale.
Are people who still live as hunters and gatherers a nonrenewable resource?
Some would argue that they are nonrenewable and that their way of life should be protected just as we would protect an area like Yellowstone.
Perpetual Resources
A source of ENERGY where the SOURCE is unaffected, no matter how much we use
(there may be other impacts, however). The name comes from Latin, “perpetuus” which means continuous.
Examples of perpetual resources
Solar power, wind, tides, flowing water, geothermal energy. Note that these are all sources of ENERGY.
What is “sustainable” development?
“..development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”
—World Commission on the
Environment and Development
Principles of sustainability
By priority: REDUCE, REUSE, then RECYCLE.
Reduce dependence on non-renewable, non-reusable materials (eg coal, oil), as these will run out. Use fewer toxic materials.
Reuse and recycle paper, metals, plastics, etc.
Harvest renewable resources no faster than they can be renewed, or they will run out.
Produce wastes no faster than nature can absorb or break them down, or we will poison our own habitat.
What is Zero Waste?
In the natural world, “waste equals food”—the waste of one organism becomes food for another. This is a zero waste system.
It is a closed loop. Think of a space ship where nothing is discarded.
All wastes are viewed as a “potential resource” for another useful product.
If we cannot reuse, recycle, compost, or use an item for energy—we shouldn’t make it in the first place.
Zero Waste strategies consider the entire life-cycle of products
Even WALMART has made a commitment to producing Zero Waste by 2020.
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