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Sustainability - The Issues
 

Sustainability - The Issues

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Brief look at some of the global issues of sustainability

Brief look at some of the global issues of sustainability

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Sustainability - The Issues Sustainability - The Issues Presentation Transcript

  • Sustainability Why are you here? Anna Hughes, Otago Polytechnic 2009
    • Today’s reality – alarm bells ringing
    • The big trends behind sustainability
    Why are you here?
  • Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11 
  • Germany : The Melander family of Bargteheide Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07
  • United States : The Revis family of North Carolina  (Sure hope  most  American Families eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less junk food than this family.) Food expenditure for one week $341.98
  • Mexico : The Casales family of Cuernavaca Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09  
  • Poland : The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27 
  • Egypt : The Ahmed family of Cairo Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53 
  • Ecuador : The Ayme family of Tingo Food expenditure for one week: $31.55
  • Bhutan : The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
  • Chad : The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp  Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23  
  • Species Extinction
    • In the 19th century, 1 species became extinct every year
    • This rate jumped to 1,000/year in 1975,
    • And to 40,000 /year by 2000
    Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
  • Desertification
    • 1/3 of the Earth’s surface is at risk of desertification
    • from the mid-1990s to 2000, 3,436 sq. km. have turned into deserts each year (up from 2,100 during the
    • 1980s, and 1,560 during the 1970s)
    “ It’s a creeping catastrophe. Entire parts of the world might become uninhabitable.” -UN spokesman Source: World Resources Institute
  • Rise in CO2 Levels
    • Before the industrial age the CO2 levels stood at 280 parts per million. In 2004 it was 379 ppm. This change has occurred at least 10 times faster than any increase in the last 500,000 years.
    Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, World Meteorological Association and UNEP
  • Increase in Pesticide Use There is considerable evidence that widely used pesticides may suppress immune responses to bacteria, viruses, parasites, and tumors, making people significantly more vulnerable to disease. 99% of Americans, including all children born in recent years, had DDT residues, a pesticide banned since 1972! Source: World Resources Institute
  • Increase in Heavy Metals 98,000 pounds of mercury are emitted by hundreds of coal-burning plants across the U.S.A. When mercury-contaminated effluent seeps into rivers, a compound named methylmercury, a neurotoxin, forms which is highly toxic to human cognitive function and of course to the fish.
  • Increase in Flame Retardants PBDE concentrations in the ringed seal, native to Canada, are doubling every 4 to 5 years Source: Ikonomou, Rayne and Addison
  • Social Inequity
    • If the global population were reduced to a scale of 100 villagers*:
    • 47 live on less than $2.00 per day
    • 41 lack access to basic sanitation
    • 17 are unable to read
    • 13 suffer from malnutrition
    • 4 are internet users
    • 2 have a college education
    • 6 would own 59% of the wealth
    Source: www.populationconnection.org
  • Ecological overshoot Copyright © The Global Footprint Network
  • What is Ecological Overshoot?
    • Dividing the 11.2 billion hectares available by the global population indicates that there are on average 1.8 bio-productive hectares per person on the planet.
    • The 2004 Living Planet Report indicates that the actual usage was 13.5 billion global hectares or 2.2 hectares per person – more than a 20% overshoot. The overshoot result indicates that our annual draw down of natural capital is liquidating natural capital income, as well as reducing natural capital itself.
    • Such an overshoot is ecologically unsustainable.
  • What is Ecological Overshoot? – cont.
    • Time series of the global Ecological Footprint indicate that human activities have been in an overshoot position for approximately three decades, and the overshoot is increasing over time.
    • Empirically demonstrating that ecological overshoot is now occurring by a significant margin is a major contribution to our understanding that we are exceeding sustainable ecological scale on a global level, and by roughly how much.
    • The implications of these results are even more urgent when we realize that the Ecological Footprint is likely an underestimate of the actual demands we place on the earth’s ecosystems.
  • Ecological overshoot Copyright © The Global Footprint Network
  • Ecological overshoot Copyright © The Global Footprint Network
  • Ecological overshoot Copyright © The Global Footprint Network
  • Rainforests
    • Over the last 50 years, we have “lost” over 50% of the Earth’s rainforest cover
  • What we had What we have left
  • Population
  • Population Explosion
    • It is defined by the geometric expansion of a biological population, especially the unchecked growth in human population resulting from a decrease in infant mortality and an increase in longevity .
    Source: Strange Maps
  • Be fruitful and multiply… Now divide resources!
  • The Numbers
    • World population is currently growing by approximately 75 million people per year.
    • Net growth by mid-century is predicted by the United Nations' medium variant to be about 33 million per year.
    • The high projection variant is 92 million, while the low is -13 million.
    • And at the constant fertility variant (current rates) there would be 169 million people added each year by 2050, which would result in a total world population of about 11,858 million people.
  • Causes
    • Until recently, birth rates and death rates were about the same, keeping the population stable. People had many children, but a large number of them died before age five.
    • During the Industrial Revolution, a period of history in Europe and North America where there were great advances in science and technology, the success in reducing death rates was attributable to several factors:
    • In-creases in food production and distribution;
    • Improvement in public health (water and sanitation);
    • Medical technology (antibiotics); and
    • Gains in education and standards of living within many developing nations.
  • Causes cont.
    • Without these attributes present in many children's lives, they could not have survived common diseases like measles or the flu. People were able to fight and cure deadly germs that once killed them.
    • Technology allowed people to produce more and different kinds of food. These discoveries and inventions spread throughout the world, lowering death rates and improving the quality of life for most people.
  • It is a Numbers Game
    • The ‘big’ issue is not only the increasing population, but how much each of these individuals demand.
    • Despite rising consumption in the developing world, industrial countries remain responsible for the bulk of the world’s resource consumption—as well as the associated global environmental degradation.
    • Consumption patterns of Western countries is extremely high as you will have seen by undertaking your own ecological footprint, however the demand of many millions of people from developing countries such as India and China are striving to catch up with the Western world.
    more than just ^ more than just
  • Growing water demand
  • Growing Consumption Habits
    • “ By virtually any measure—household expenditures, number of consumers, extraction of raw materials—consumption of goods and services has risen steadily in industrial nations for decades, and it is growing rapidly in many developing countries.”
    • The United States, with less than 5 % of the global population, uses about a quarter of the world’s fossil fuel resources—burning up nearly 25 % of the coal, 26 % of the oil, and 27 % of the world’s natural gas.
    • As of 2008, New Zealanders own 3.8 million cars. As of 18.12.08 there are 4,291,000 people. That means there are almost as many cars as there are people in NZ
    • New houses in the U.S. were 38 % bigger in 2002 than in 1975, despite having fewer people per household on average.