● Crude Birth Rate: Number of live births per 1000 people per year. Also known as Natality.
● Crude Death Rate: Number of deaths per 1000 people per year. Also known as Mortality.
● IMR. Crude death rate of infants less than one year of age. (Infant Mortality Rate)
● CMR. Crude death rate of children below the age of 5. (Child Mortality Rate)
● Fertility Rate. Average number of births a woman has in her childbearing years.
● Life Expectancy. Average number of years of life remaining at a given age, usually measured
at birth. E being the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x.
● Annual growth rate: crude birth rate - crude death rate (expressed as a %
● Population Pyramids are important to show the structure of a population in terms of sex and
age. They show trends in Birth rate, death rate, and life expectancy. They can also project
population momentum and show population projections.
○ Population Momentum is the rate of the change of a population. It is how populations
continue to grow even if the fertility rate drops because there’s a lot of people at
child-bearing age so it takes a little while longer for the rate to drop.
○ Population Projections can be determined from population pyramids by looking at
the gradient of the slopes. They show how a population might look in the future.
● To analyze population pyramids you have to look out for certain characteristics outlined in
the images below. Something else you should look out for is the scale and in what units the
population is being measured in. For example it could be thousands, millions, a percentage,
Global Population Change
Africa has had the highest growth in the past 100 years. Following is South America and Asia. Europe
and North America have grown very little. The global population is said to have grown exponentially.
People suspect that it’ll level off at around 12 billion. Effects of this are:
● Pressure on governments to provide for their population.
● Pressure on the environment.
● Greater risk of famine and malnutrition as we consume all of our resources.
● Greater disparities between MEDCs and LEDCs.
LEDC= LESS ECONOMICALLY DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
MEDC- More economically developed countries
In population pyramids there are usually some form of bulges or indents on either one or both sides
of the graph. Reasons for this may be:
● High/Low birth rate or death rate
● High/Low life expectancy
● Baby boom
● Government policies (pro-/anti- natalist)
● Immigration/Emigration (Emigrationisthe act and the phenomenonof leaving one's native country to settlein
another country. It isthesame as immigrationbut from theperspectiveof thecountry of origin.)
● Communities of certain types of people (elder, women, economically active, etc)
Factors that affect high birth rates are:
● primary based economy (more children are needed for labor)
● traditional female role (in some cultures, women’s jobs are only to have babies)
● lack of education (some women don’t know about contraceptives)
● need for children caring for elderly (some societies want the children to take care of the
elderly in their old ages)
● large families (in some countries, having a large family is traditional)
● pronatalist policies (the government wants to increase the birth rate)
● Youthful marriages, this is when, in some societies, where young women are married off by
their parents to a man whom is much older and has usually more money than the child bride.
The BR will increase due to the child being used to create children at a high rate as the, most
likely, abusive husband forces it upon her.
Factors that affect low birth rates are:
● Availability of contraceptives (people have sex without unplanned babies)
● Good education (people know how to use contraceptives and what’s best for them)
● Low IMR/CMR (less infants and children dying means women don’t need to have more
children to compensate for the children that they would’ve had if the IMR/CMRs were higher)
● Female emancipation (women can have careers instead of kids)
● By Delaying Marriage, the amount of time for the increasing in wealth for the child increases.
This therefore will mean that by the time the child comes the money is more sufficient and
there is no need for a couple to have more children to support themselves.
● Developed economy (instead of a primary-based economy where children are needed for
labor, a secondary, tertiary, or even quaternary based economy doesn’t require children.
Also, families make more money in their own jobs. This also makes children more expensive
● Better care for dependents (children aren’t needed to care for their elders).
● Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is the average number of children a woman would be expected to
have if she survives childbirth.
Factors which affect high or low fertility rates include
○ Urbanization (family planning and need or want of children)
○ Importance of children (are we assets or are we costly?)
○ Education/Employment opportunities for women
○ Infant Mortality Rate (a country may have a high TFR but their IMR may also be pretty
○ Average Age of marriage
○ Availability of abortions and contraceptives.
● Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is the average number of children a woman would be expected to
have if she survives childbirth.
Life expectancy is the average number of years a person is expected to live from birth if
demographics stay the same.
● Factors that affect life expectancy are:
○ Age (the older you get, the less years you’re expected to live)
○ Sex (women live 5 years longer than men)
○ Residence (depending on where you live, the life expectancy changes. eg. As you go
East on London’s Jubilee Line, the life expectancy drops a year.
○ Occupation (some jobs are more dangerous compared to others duh.)
○ Nourishment (undernourishedand overnourishedpeople have bad health and are
more likely to die)
○ Accommodation (if you live in a slum or in poverty then there’s generallypretty bad
○ Literacy (people who are illiterate don’t have good education and therefore don’t
make the best possible life decisions in terms of health, occupation, housing, etc.
○ Growth Rate is measured by the formula:
○ r = (end population - initial population)/ initial population.
Responses to High and Low Fertility
Dependency and Aging Ratios
○ Dependent population is the population dependent on the economically active.
○ Population below 15 AND above 65 (depends on retiring age in that specific nation.)
○ Very crude due to different ages of economically active in different countries/
regions and cultures.
○ Useful measure to compare countries or track changes
○ High proportion of elderly in MEDCs
○ High proportion of youth in LEDCs
○ Often displayed on a triangular graph (Three-variable data)
● Ageing Ratios
○ Number of people aged 65+ for every 100 people aged 20-64
○ Europe - 23 of world’s 25 oldest countries
○ Acts as an indicator of the balance between the economically active and the older
population they must support
○ Varies widely from 6 per 100 workers in Kenya to 33 in Italy and Japan
Aging Population: Japan
● Japan is a country in Eastern Asia which has an ageing population or how it is known in
Japanese as kōreikashakai, 高齢化社会.
● The population is 127 million, more than ¼ of the population is over 60. This could lower
● Causes of the Aging Population
○ The life expectancy of Japan is one of the highest in the world, at 82.59 years.
○ It has a total fertility rate of only 1.39. (Remember: Replacement rate is 2.1, so this is
○ Traditional beliefs that overpopulation disrupts the natural balance.
○ High quality education
○ Late marriages
○ Female emancipation and focus on careers
○ High cost of childcare and education
● Effects of an Aging Population:
○ Japan has the highest proportion of old dependents (about 23%) and the lowest
proportion of young dependents (about 13%) in the world.
○ Nearly 30% of government funding goes towards social welfare.
○ Population will shrink from 127 to 90 million by 2055 if conditions stay the same.
○ Strange social phenomena
● Possible solutions:
○ Immigration (at least 10 million) to prevent future population and economic decline
but Japanese are against the idea of multiculturalism.
○ Long term care insurance for elderly based on need. This is funded mostly by taxes,
and only 10% by users which is affordable.
● Migration is the movement of people, involving a permanent (more than 1 year) change of
residence. It can be internal or external, and voluntary or forced.
General Push and Pull Factors
● Voluntary Migration
■ Opportunities for work (Polish workers to UK)
■ Higher pay (British doctors to the US)
■ Tax Avoidance (British rock stars to the US, or even Brits to Monaco)
○ Education (Better Schools, Cheaper)
○ Family (Family located in another country)
○ Lifestyle (Retirement to warmer climates, social amenities eg Medical Spas)
● Forced Migration
○ Political (Discrimination from government - Kosovo Albanians)
○ War (Chechnya)
○ Famine (Ethiopia in Sudan)
○ Disasters (Volcanic Eruptions)
○ Slavery (human trafficking)
○ Political instability
● Barriers to leaving/arriving
○ Political (Immigrant Quotas)
○ Lack of money
○ Lack of education/ skills
○ Lack of awareness of opportunities
○ Threat of family division
○ Racial Tension
● Return Migration
○ Earned sufficient money to return
○ Reunited with family
○ Government restrictions heightened
○ Causes of initial problems gone
Main trends in migration
● Globalization of migrant labor
● Acceleration of migration (happening more and more)
● Differentiation of migration into different types (more reasons)
● Feminization of migration as females become more emancipated.
Case Study: Mexicans to the USA (LEDC to MEDC)
● Numerous Mexicans head to the USA (260,000 a year on average)
○ Job opportunities are much higher (can improve their lives significantly)
○ On a whole, it is much safer than Mexico to raise a family, with overall better public
facilities to help the family. Hospitals & Schools are significantly better.
○ They leave due to the high rates of crime in Mexico, drug use and corruption are also
○ Many also go to learn new skills which they can then bring back home and help their
○ Remittances, (like with the Poles) are extremely important.
■ $16 billion was sent back to Mexico in 2012.
● Illegal Immigration:
○ 3 Million Illegal Mexicans in California ALONE.
○ 2 Million Illegal Mexican Children in Schools nationwide. The children cost 20 to 25%
more “expensive” than an average child due to the fact that they do not speak English
fluently and require extra classes.
○ 80% of migration is Illegal.
■ Has been occurring for generations.
○ The USA appeals to them due to the already, large, and well established Spanish
speaking populations in states such as Texas and California.
● What’s the deal with them?:
○ Nation as a whole, benefits from the immigrants. As seen above with the Poles, the
Mexicans are willing to work in jobs which the average American may not want. Jobs
such as cleaners, housemaids in Hotels.
○ However, within a small urban area, there are no direct advantages. They are able to
take up jobs from the small LOCAL “market”.
○ On these 2 levels above, the taxes that are paid are less than the benefits.
○ On a Federal Level: More taxes than benefits for the Mexicans.
● Seasonal Migration:
A common trait occurring is when immigrants come to the USA during specific times of the year,
usually in groups. They work extremely hard during this time and then head back home for the
remainder of the year, bringing the fruits of their labour with them.
Gender and Change
● Culture and Status
○ Women have less personal autonomy and less influence in decision making
○ Women have fewer resources
○ Religion reduces status of women
○ Educating girls reduces fertility, IMR and CMR, increases labor force participation,
increases educational investment in children.
○ Men have higher literacy rates than women. (84.9% / 72.1%). In India, 70% of the
illiterate population is female.
○ LEDC countries men are more likely to go to Higher Level schooling, females drop
○ MEDCs females outnumber males in university enrollments
● Birth Rates and Family Size
○ China 119 males to 100 females - by 2020 there will be 30 million extra males.
○ Family size relates to male births.
● Health and Life Expectancy
○ 5 years longer life expectancy in women than men.
○ 1600 women, 10000 newborn children die everyday (99% in developing world).
○ 61% HIV patients in Sub Saharan Africa are women.
○ 14 million teen girls are mothers every year (90% happens in LEDCs)
○ NOT using womens skills costs Asia-Pacific region $41-46 billion.
○ ⅓ women in workforce Middle East. (47% in Singapore)
○ Glass Ceiling problem; unequal opportunities, women are underrepresented in
○ Women receive less wages for same work that men do.
○ Women have an increasing percentage of ‘status’ professions in LEDCs.
○ Women work ‘double days’ (taking care of family + professional work)
● Empowerment, Legal Rights and Land Tenure
○ In all regions women are underrepresented in power positions but in most regions
this is improving.
○ Microcredit (Bangladesh) allows women to control their lives.
○ Women are discriminated against in regards to the legal system + owning land.
○ Varied patterns, different genders migrate more in different places and benefit more.
○ Kenya 87% women in rural areas, 54% men.
Topic 2 - Disparities in Wealth and Development
Measurement of Regional and Global Disparities
● IMR: Infant mortality rate - number of children under the age 5 dying per 1000 live infants.
● HDI: Human Development Index
○ Health: Life Expectancy at birth
○ Income: GNI pc PPP
○ Education: (2/3) Adult Literacy Rate + (1/3) Child Literacy Rate
● GNI: Gross National Income
● GNH: Gross National Happiness
The Value of Indices:
Certain indices are more advantageous than others. Each indice has been created to show a certain
factor. For example, with GNI, the main advantage is that it shows clearly the general income of an
area. However, a downfall to this may be that it only looks at one aspect. When comparing disparities
between countries, it is important to consider as many different factors as possible. This is one of the
main strengths of the HDI. It compares the three MAIN indicators of human development; health,
income, and education. Some other indicators may not seem as accurate at others yet can still tell us
important information. GNH doesn’t seem as well-founded yet it still has potential in giving critical
information about the quality of life of the people living in a certain country.
Marginalization refers to as social exclusion as a concept used to characterize forms of social
disadvantages and relegation to the fringe of society. Processes in which individuals or entire
communities of people are blocked from rights, opportunities and resources. eg Housing,
employment, health care, democratic participation.
Origin of Disparities
A way to remember: Please Let People Everywhere Eat Ice-cream
● Place of Residence: The place where a person lives shows what type of community they’re
● Land Tenure: The ability to own land shows how wealthy they may be.
● Parents Education: The standard of education in which their parents have.
● Ethnicity: Some races may be discriminated against by other races. This deals with
Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Asian, etc.
● Employment: People who have/or are able to get a job compared to those who are
● Income: How much money they are able to earn. If they have access to basic amenities or
can afford to live a more luxuriouslifestyle compared to others.
Disparities and Change
The 8 MDG’s (Millennium Development Goals) are a measure of human development via social,
educational, economical, and environmental problems. They are aimed mainly towards developing
countries for the exception of goal 7.
These eight goals were created to work towards eradicating extreme poverty around the world. They
are meant to be completed by 2015 yet in reality, most goals are not going to met worldwide by this
deadline. However, as of 2013, the goal which has been achieved to the greatest degree is goal 2,
achieve universal primary education. All regions of the world seem to have gotten high enrollment
other than Sub-Saharan Africa.
What can increase life expectancy?
● Improved diet and increased food production
● Better provision of clean water
● Immunisation programmes to eliminate diseases like small-pox and reduce others like
● Better medical care
● Improved postnatal care (reduced infant and child mortality)
● Better education about diet, hygiene, etc.
● Higher standard of living
Trends in Life Expectancy
● Most regions have increasing life expectancy.
● Indigenous populations are decreasing
● Some regions are decreasing due to presence of HIV/AIDS.
● MEDCs are attaining higher quality health services and higher qualities of life
● This is a way to measure the distribution of wealth in society.
● Makes use of the Lorenz Curve to show the distribution.
● If the Gini coefficient is 0, that means perfect equality, while the closer it gets to 100 the more
unequal the distribution is. (perfect inequality)
● Can be measured by:
○ Adult literacy
○ Percentage of students in all stages of education
○ Percentage of university graduates
○ Education spending
○ Pupil teacher ratios
○ Male/female education equality
● Education is an important factor as:
○ If people can read and write they are less likely to be exploited because they know
what they are being asked to do and/or what to sign
○ They understand the importance of family planning and can reduce fertility rates and
○ They understand the importance of health, diet and medicine. They will know how to
prevent diseases e.g. HIV and malaria, how to remain fit and healthy by eating a good
diet and how to cure diseases when sick.
○ They have a better chance of getting a higher paid job.
○ They have a better chance of being independent and not relying on a husband/wife,
their family, community or country.
● Trade and Access to Markets
○ MEDCs account for 75% of world trade and 80% of world exports.
○ The flow of profits from TNCs (transnational corporations) is generallyback to MEDCs.
○ The IMF (International Monetary Fund) and WTO (WorldTrade Organization) are the
main regulatory bodies.
○ There exist groups of countries (trading blocs) that have decided to mostly trade with
each other and have made it difficult for other countries to trade with them because
of strict regulations. Eg: NAFTA (North American Free Trade Association), EU
○ Most stock and capital exchange occurs between international banks in global MEDC
cities such as Paris, Frankfurt, and New York.
● Fair Trade
○ This is trade that attempts to be socially, economically, and environmentally
responsible. This is trade in which companies take responsibility for the wider impact
○ Fair Trade organizations fight for better working conditions for laborers, higher wages,
less environmental destruction, and open access to global markets.
○ It has resulted in higher productivity and sales but also greater prices in MEDCs
because of the stricter requirements that affect LEDCs (no pesticides/child workers).
○ The transfer of money and/or goods by foreign workers to their home countries
○ Extremely effective because it transfers money directly to where lower income
people are living where it can be used immediately for their needs.
● Debt Relief
○ When the countries that loaned money to others decide that it is no longer necessary
for the country to repay its debt.
○ Structural Adjustment Programs as seen in the Mauritania case study.
○ The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC), launched by the IMF to relieve
certain countries from their debt and to promote reform policies for growth, human
development, and poverty reduction.
○ Aid is effective when it:
■ Provides humanitarian relief
■ Provides external resources for investment and finance projects
■ Expand infrastructure
■ Supports effective economic and social policies
○ Aid is ineffective when it:
■ Allows countries to postpone improving economic policies
■ Replaces domestic saving, FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), and commerce, as
main sources of income
■ Promotes dependency
■ Lowers agricultural prices, leading to eventual famine
■ Is unpredictable.
■ Doesn’t reach those who need it (unlike remittances).
● Structural Adjustments Programmes (SAP’s)
○ Designed to cut governmental expenditure
○ Reduces the amount of state intervention in the economy.
○ The programme will also help to promote liberalization.
○ Promote international trade, France is their key partner.
○ They consist of 4 elements.
■ Greater use of a country’s resource base.
■ Policy reforms to increase economic efficiency.
■ Generation of foreign income through the diversification of the economy and
■ Reducing the active role of the state.
○ Stabilization Methods: Short Term STEPS to stop the further deterioration of the
economy. eg: Wage freeze, reduced subsidies on food health, etc.
○ Adjustment measures: Longer term POLICIES to boost economic competitiveness.
eg: Tax reductions, export promotion, downsizing of the civil service, privatization and
● Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative
○ Launched in 1996 by IMF (International Monetary Fund)
○ 2 main goals:
■ To relieve certain low income countries of their unsustainable debt to donors.
To promote reform and sound policies for growth, human development and poverty
Debt Relief is a 2 stage process.
If the country is following ways to lower their debt, they will get something called debt
After a while the country will get at least 90% debt relieffrom bilateral and multinational
creditors to make the country have a lower level of debt.
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Topic 3 - Patterns of Environmental Quality and Sustainability
Atmosphere and Change
● Global Warming: The increase in global temperature since the 1980s.
● Energy Balance: The balance between the incoming energy from the sun and the outgoing
energy from the atmosphere. Climate change is altered by shifting this balance.
● Albedo: The Earth’s reflectivity.
● Greenhouse Effect: The process by which gases allow short wave radiation to pass through
the atmosphere and gases trap long wave radiation in the earths atmosphere.
● Enhanced Greenhouse Effect: The increasing amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide,
methane, and chlorofluorocarbons from agriculture, land use changes, industry, transport,
● Greenhouse Gases: Any gas that absorbs and emits radiation in the thermal infrared range.
The gases include: Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrous
Oxide, water vapour and Ozone.
Causes of Global Warming Effects of Global Warming
● Increase in emission of greenhouse
gases, specifically carbon dioxide.
● Drastic increase in human activity.
● Rise in sea-levels and flooding
● Increase in storm activity
● Changes in agricultural patterns
● Loss of industry
● Reduced rainfall
● Extinction of wildlife (loss of biodiversity)
● Human deaths
● Diseases (eg skin cancer)
● Renewable energies
● Hybrid transport
● Reduce, reuse, recycling of resources
● Afforestation + Reforestation
● Carbon sequestration (trapping)
● International agreements (Kyoto
● Sea defences
● Disease treatment
● Desalination of water
Soil and Change
Explain the causes of soil degradation
● Soil degradation: It is the decline in quantity and quality of soil. It includes erosion by wind
and water, biological degradation (loss of humus and plant/animal life), physical degradation
(loss of structure, permeability), chemical degradation (acidification, declining fertility, pH,
● Acidification: Decrease in pH of the soil causing harmful effects on vegetation which may
trigger the circulation of toxic metals.
● Permeability: The property of soil to allow fluids to pass through it.
● Salinisation: The build-up of salts in or at the surface of the soil.
● Soil Exhaustion: The loss of nutrients in soil from farming the same crop continuously
● Horizons: A specific layer in the soil.
● Accelerated Erosion: Refers to an essentially natural process occurring at an increased rate
under conditions of ecological disequilibrium.
● Leaching: Natural process by which water soluble substances are washed out from soil.
The Universal Soil Loss Equation is A = RKLSCP. We use it to predict how much soil erosion occurs in
an area based off 5 key factors.
Erosivity of the soil (R) How vulnerable the soil is to being eroded
because of rainfall. More rainfall causes more
Erodibility (K) How susceptible the soil is to erosion. Soils
with high infiltration rates and strong
structure are less susceptible to erosion.
Length-Slope Factor (LS) The length and steepness of the soil.
Crop Management (C) Type of crop being grown and farming
Soil Conservation (P) Type of conservation method used.
Natural Causes of Soil Erosion:
● Rising Temperatures: makes it harder for vegetation to grow, thus reducing vegetation cover
and increasing risk of wind or water erosion.
● Falling Rainfall: Reducing rainfall makes it harder for veg to grow, making soil more
● Flash floods: Rainfall leads to erosion of topsoil and land degradation.
● Wind: Wind erosion increases.
● Topography: Flatter land is less vulnerable to water erosion but more to wind erosion. Vice
versa for land with more relief.
Cultural Causes of Soil Erosion:
● Overgrazing: Allowing livestock to graze means that vegetation is stripped.
● Over Cultivation: Farming land too intensively so nutrients can’t regenerate.
● Deforestation: Land receives less nutrients and it is more vulnerable due to no interception
of wind or water erosion and less stability from the root systems.
● Overpopulation: More people means a higher demand for agri products and more
● Fertiliser/Pesticides/HYV/GM Crops: Encouraged overcultivation, loss of nutrients.
● Industry: Chemicals, metals, pollutants leak from industry cause degradation.
● Unsustainable Water Use: Arid land develops around used water sources.
● Vehicle Use: Increased used of vehicles across terrain damaging topsoil.
● Conflict: Bio/chemical weapons degrade soil.
Discuss the environmental and socio-economic consequences of this process, together with
● Desertification: As land becomes more arid, degraded, loses nutrients it cannot support
vegetation and turns into a desert.
● Reducing Crop Yields: The amount of crops that land can support will reduce. Leads to
famine and decline in profits.
● Conflict: can arise over loss of resources.
● Famine: Less crops, less food, more hungry.
● Increased use of chemicals: Fertilisers may be used instead of natural nutrients that end up
worsening the situation. Can pollute water sources.
Water and Change
Identify the ways in which water is utilized at the regional scale.
● Only around 2% of the worlds water is freshwater and 54% of accessible freshwater is used by
● 70% of our water is used for agriculture, 22% in industry, and 8% for domestic use.
● Agriculture uses water for irrigation, spraying, and flooding of crops. There are different ways
in which people use water in farming, some crops require more or less water than others.
● Industry uses water for cooling processes, manufacturing, transporting pollutants, waste, and
● In homes, water is used in toilets, showers, faucets, for washing clothes, etc.
Examine the environmental and human factors affecting patterns and trends in physical water
scarcity and economic water scarcity.
● The worlds demand for water is increasing because of three main factors:
● Population increase
● Development increase
● Water withdrawals.
● Virtual Water is the amount of water used to produce something
● A water footprint is the amount of water needed to produce goods and services in a country.
○ This includes the actual amount used in the country as well as the amount used in
other countries to produce imported goods and services.
● Two types of water scarcity:
○ Physical when demand for water is greater than supply of water.
○ Economic when water is available yet not accessible to people.
Water scarcity leads to population, environmental, and political stress. This is also increased by the
effects of climate change. Rain yields are predicted to decrease and global climate patterns will
affect the alluvial systems of the world that seasonally provide water for agricultural.
Examine the factors affecting access to safe drinking water.
Even though there is an abundant supply of water globally, it is unevenlydistributed. There are three
main issues: sustainable use, access to safe water, fair allocation.
More than 1bn people worldwide don’t have access to the necessary 20-50 liters of safe freshwater a
day for their basic needs (showering, cooking, drinking). 88% of diarrhoeal deaths are from a lack of
access to clean water. Water related diseases like such are in most cases preventable yet they cause
around 1.5 million deaths a year.
Biodiversity and Change
● Ecosystem: Interdependent community of plants/animals with the habitat.
● Biome: A large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat
● Biosphere: The regions of the surface and atmosphere of the earth occupied by living
The main source of energy is the sun. It supplies energy to plants through photosynthesis. Some is
lost to respiration but most is converted to energy. Plants take in simple nutrients from the soil and
when they die they decompose back into the soil so the nutrients are cycled. The ‘pyramid of
numbers’ is related to energy conversions and how each stage in the food chain needs a larger
number of organisms to support it.
The tolerance level is the factors that affect how well an ecosystem can handle stress before it
collapses. It depends on the quality of the soil, temperature, and solar energy. Limiting factors are a
factor at max/min level that burden the ecosystem or that may kill many organisms and disrupt the
ecosystem. Resilience is being able to cope with change. More biodiversity means more resilience
because there are more organisms with their particular niches.
Rainforests are arranged in layers, this is called vertical stratification. This occurs because many
species compete for light and nutrients in poor, heavily leached soils. Different plants have adapted
to different tolerances to light and shade.
Use of Rainforest
Description and Explanation -
what is involved, how does it
Evaluation of Effects
Social Economic Env Political
Slash and Burn Effect
Cut down areas of vegetation for
temporary living and
Questions about land ownership.
On a small scale this is sustainable
and relatively low impact.
Clear felling wipes out the entire
area. Selective logging is the partial
cutting down of an area. This is to
create land space for other uses.
Environmentally leads to global
warming because the rainforest is a
carbon sink. Also destroys the
habitat of animals who live there.
Cropping Use of rainforest soil for production
Intensive cropping with high-
demand crops leads to more
negative effects eg soil erosion as
well as deforestation from clearing
Beef farming Intensive beef farming vs organic
beef farming. More vs less land.
Detrimental to the environment.
Leads to soil erosion due to
overgrazing from the animals.
Tourism Intensive tourism vs ecotourism.
Infrastructure for transport and
accommodation. Nature walks.
Intensive tourism uses non
renewables, more pollutants used.
Clears the top layer of rainforest
humus, disrupts nutrient cycling etc.
Plants for Medicine Periwinkle plant. Fight Leukaemia.
Fewer than 10% of the trees have
been explored for medicinal uses.
Cut down other trees to reach
Periwinkle. Destroy culture of
indigenous tribe. Conflict.
Mining Great potential for copper, tin, iron,
gold. Government provides tax
Pollutant involved in gold extraction.
Fishes in rivers get contaminated
with mercury poisoning.
Deforestation. Conflict between
indigenous people and miners.
Sustainability and the Environment
Define the concept of environmental sustainability.
There are three different types of sustainability: economic, environmental, and social.
Environmental sustainability relates to interactions with the environment that replace what is used so
that it can be continued indefinitely. Other factors must be considered in sustainability such as:
● Protecting natural environments (ecological sustainability)
● Protecting peoples needs and wants (social sustainability)
● Having economic systems that allow us to do this with the resources we have (economic
Sustainability is important now because of high population growth, economic development, and
our fragile natural environments. This causes stress on both populations and environments.
Topic 4 - Patterns in Resource Development
Patterns of Resource Consumption
● Ecological Footprint:The impact of a person or population on the environment. Amount of
land required to sustain their use of natural resources.
● Biocapacity: Capacity of an area to provide resources and absorb wastes.
● Carbon Footprint: Amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to
the consumption of fossil fuels by a person, group, population, etc.
● Carrying Capacity: The maximum population an environment can sustain given the
The Malthusian Dilemma
Who was Thomas Malthus? What’s this whole neo-Malthusian/anti-Malthusian debate thing going
The term ‘Malthusian’ comes from Thomas Malthus, an English economist who developed a highly
popular theory about population growth. He stated that population grows exponentially while food
production grows arithmetically. In current times people have both sided with him and extended
his thesis- they come together, like a Mexican gang and call themselves the, ‘Club of Rome’.
The anti-malthusian view comes from a more modern Danish economist known as Esther Boserup.
Her main theory was that when a time of crisis comes, instead of disaster, humans will increase
productivity with innovation, therefore contradicting Malthus’ theory.
Boserup’s Basic Theory
The main ideas that the Malthusian viewpoint follow all stem from the theory that crisis leads to
collapse. Malthus stated that the population had to be controlled by both positive checks that raise
the death rates and preventative checks that lower the birth rate. There has been an ongoing
population explosion since the mid 20th century, Malthusians believe that this will lead to the
collapse of the population in the mid 21st century. They support this by taking examples from
natural disasters, human policies, famines, and diseases. The anti-malthusians strongly believe that
with crisis comes human innovation. When times of peril come, ‘necessity is the mother of
invention’. This goes to say that people will come together to fix the problems that come to them.
Also, people are the major resource on the planet, which will never die out.
● Was renowned for his claims that the world would experience severe famines throughout the 70s
and 80s as a result of overpopulation, which he feared would deplete vital resources. The
following graph illustrates his predictions for world population increase:
Changing Patterns of Energy Consumption
Examine the global patterns and trends in the production and consumption of oil.
● Oil: Used for fuel, transport, heating, plastic, and food production.
● Oil refining: Crude oil is processed and refined into more useful products such as petroleum,
gasoline, and diesel fuel.
● Peak oil production: The year in which the world or an individual oil-producing country
reaches its highest level of production, with production declining thereafter.
● Energy security: a country’s ability to secure its energy needs.
● Energy insecurity: a lack of security over energy sources.
● Geopolitics: political relations among nations, particularly relating to claims and disputes
pertaining to borders, territories, and resources.
● Cartel: An organisation of people who supply the same good and join together to control the
overall supply of the product. The members of a cartel can force up the price of their good
either by restricting its supply on the world market or by agreeing on a particular supply price
and refusing to sell the good for any less.
Examine the geopolitical and environmental impacts of these changes in patterns and trends.
Wars have been started by countries being aggressive to others (think Gulf War, Americans went in
because of the disputes with oil.)
● Stands for the The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
○ Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi, Venezuela, Qatar, Indo, Libya, UAE, Algeria, Nigeria, Ecuador,
Gabon are all members
● Established to counter oil price cuts by USA and EU companies.
● By agreeing to restrict supply, member countries were able to influence oil prices.
● Gave power to member countries and other countries must keep good relationships.
● Means that there must be political stability in the Middle East.
Examine the changing importances of other energy sources.
Renewable energy sources are ones that can be used more than once. They don’t deplete the earth’s
clean, renewable, abundant.
high costs (4x more than fossil fuels)
increasing use of 15-20% per year
no atmospheric pollution
good for small-scale production
requires an exposed site and strong, reliable winds
expensive to construct
“Burbo Bank” in England
requires a funnel shaped estuary free from development
high cost of development
limited suitable sites
environmental damage to sites
“Severn Barrage” in Wales
not renewable despite small amount of raw materials used to produce large amounts of energy
cheap, reliable, abundant
waste disposal is difficult
specific factors required for a site (relief, geology, river, climate, demand, infrastructure)
expensive to build
difficult to find a site
Discuss the reduction of resource consumption by conservation, waste reduction, recycling, and
● Recycling: Processing of waste so that materials can be reused
● Reuse: Use a product multiple times.
● Reduction: Using less of a product
● Substitution: Using one resource rather than another
○ Burying the trash
○ Initial cost is very cheap
○ Lined with special plastic liner in order to prevent leachate (liquid waste) from getting
○ However, leakage still occurs, leading to poor quality of soil, destroying biodiversity.
○ At 2000 degrees, trash is burnt.
○ It is cheap, everything is burnt meaning no space constraints.
○ Ash that is produced is sterile and will not cause infections.
○ Steam produced is then reorganised into being used to provide energy for people.
○ Air pollution is caused. Co2 and other greenhouse gases are released.
○ This is a natural means which uses the waste as fertilizer or soil conditioner.
● Pollution: Addition of a substance to an area or biosphere due to human activity.
● There are 4 main sources of pollution:
○ Fossil Fuel burning
■ Pollutants: Carbon Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen oxides and smog.
■ Effects: Global Warming & Climate Change
○ Domestic Waste
■ Pollutants: Organic Waste, paper, plastics, glass
■ Effects: Eutrophication (increased nutrients in a water body), water borne
diseases, landfill leakage spoiling the environment.
○ Industrial Waste
■ Pollutants: Heavy metals, fluorides, lead, acids
■ Effects: Poisoning (Mercury, Minamata disaster in Japan, fish were tainted due
to a leakage by a factory which made people have reactions negatively to it.)
○ Agricultural Waste
■ Pollutants: Nitrates (from fertilizers), organic waste and pesticides
■ Effects: Eutrophication, disease spread and bioaccumulation.
Option G: Urban Environments
Define Urbanization and explain the variation in global and growth rates and patterns
● The increase in proportion of people who live in towns and cities
● Includes rural-urban migration and natural increase
● Most urbanization currently occurs in East Asia and South Asia
● India and China
● Affluent LEDC’s in Africa eg. Lagos
● Mostly in Northern Hemisphere
● Around the tropics
● Western Europe
● Fastest growth in East Asia
Rural-Urban Migration: People from outside the city move into the city.
● Reinvestment of capital (money) into inner city areas, usually residential.
● Can be either commercial or residential, for personal gain or economic profit
● Can lead to the social displacement of the poor; as an area becomes gentrified, house prices
rise and the poor are unable to afford increased prices
● Often encourages young and upwardly mobile residents to move in
○ eg: London Docklands
Re-urbanization or Urban Renewal
● The development of activities to increase residential living space in an area.
● Population densities within the existing built-up area of a city. This may include the
redevelopment of vacant land, the refurbishment of housing and the development of new
● Often reflects sound and sustainable policies that avoid the destruction of greenfield sites
and thereby can conserve open country and wildlife
● Involves the reclamation of derelict land and the refurbishment of existing built-up areas
● Adopted in cities that have reached an advance stage of development and have sufficient
public and private funding to undertake ambitious schemes
Suburbanization: The outwards growth of cities to engulf other villages and surrounding areas. May
result in out migration of inner urban areas to suburbs, or from inwards rural urban movement.
● A process involving the movement of people away from inner urban areas to new towns,
estates, commuter towns, or estates on the periphery or just beyond city limits.
● Started in about 1900 in Europe and the 1920s in the USA
● Now a global phenomenon, in which the affluence of urban residents increases, and they
move further from the city centre
● Caused by rapid growth of urban population and demand for more housing and space
● Rising disposable income has enabled people to meet the costs of new housing and the
associated transport costs of commuting to the city centre for work
● In some cases, it has caused industry to decentralise, providing employment outside the city
● The unplanned and uncontrolledphysical expansion of an urban area into the countryside.
Closely linked to suburbanization. DO NOT mix them up guys.
○ eg. What happened in Mumbai that caused them to move the CBD to Navi Mumbai
The contribution of natural change to patterns of population density within urban areas.
What affects natural change:
● Family life cycle: Rent, House, Upsize, Improve, Downsize, Retirement/Assisted Living
Depending on the age, different infrastructure is needed.
○ Eg. A younger person wants to live closer to entertainment areas while an older
person wants to live closer to hospitals.
● This leads to natural changes in the city with different aged populations moving throughout
The Global Megacity
Explain the global increase in number and location of megacities.
● Megacity: Large metropolitan area or urban agglomeration of 10 million people or more.
● Top ranking megacities were held only by MEDC cities in the 1975s.
● Most megacities are now found in less developed areas such as Dhaka, Kolkata and Karachi -
Growth rates of over 3% per annum.
● This is due to less developed countries having a higher percentage of their population
located in rural areas.
● China has an urban population of 52.6%.
Characteristics of megacities:
● Dynamic, Vibrant, centers of activity (economic, social, cultural)
● Economic hubs. Densely packed urban areas able to efficiently generate wealth and culture.
● High population density
● Uncontrolled spatial expansion
● Infrastructural deficits
● Poor housing provision
● Ecological strain
● Environmental damage
● Increasing disparity between rich and poor
Megacities between 1975 and 2009:
1. Tokyo → 26.6 Million 1. Tokyo → 36.5 Million
2. New York → 15.9 Million 2. Delhi → 21.7 Million
3. Mexico City → 16.7 Million 3. Sao Paulo → 20.0 Million
4. Mumbai → 19.7 Million
5. Mexico City → 19.3 Million
6. New York → 19.3 Million
7. Shanghai → 16.3 Million
8. Kolkata → 15.3 Million
9. Dhaka → 14.3 Million
10. Buenos Aires 13.0 Million
Urban Land Use
Factors Affecting Location:
● Wealth: Some areas are more expensive than others leading to a difference of residential
areas. In some LEDCs, Social position also determines the area of residence.
● Ethnicity: Cultural differences between immigrants and existing residents lead to difficulties
in communication and values, resulting in varying degrees of residential segregation. Over
time, many migrant groups have been assimilated while others remain spatially segregated.
● Family Life Cycle: The family life cycle often dictates where certain groups of people live.
Families are more likely to reside in areas with parks and school which are likely the suburbs.
Young people are more likely to live near the center of the city. When people progress
through the cycle, they are more likely to move further away from the city (centrifugal force).
● Urban Poverty and Deprivation: Considerable variation in quality of life between residential
areas.Areas labelled ‘poor’ are areas of deprivation, poverty and exclusion.
● MEDCs: Inner city areas and former industrial sites (brownfield) LEDCs: Shanty town,
● Total slum-dwellers = one billion, expected to be 2 billion by 2030
● Located in unwanted areas - swamps, floodplains, steep slopes or near industrial complexes
● Positives: Point of assimilation, less commuting, strong sense of kinship and culture, low
● Negatives: Lack of security of tenure, basic services are absent, overcrowding, hazardous,
low hygiene, poor sanitation, high disease.
Feature of the CBD
● Commercial and economic core of a city
● Most accessible to public transport
● Highest land values (PLVI)
● Area of highest shopping quality
● Concentration of department stores, chain stores and retail specialists
● Absence of manufacturing industry
● Concentration of banks, businesses
● Low residential population
● High density of pedestrians - zones of maximum accessibility, often pedestrianized areas and
● Functional zoning of similar activities, e.g. banks, shoe stores
● Transport terminals
● Lack of green space
● Congestion (traffic and pedestrian)
Factors leading to CBD decline
● Planning policies can encourage urban expansion and out-of-town development
● City councils aim to attract new investment and offer greenfield sites for development
● Companies and investors find cheaper peripheral locations, closer to customers in the
● City centres are often perceived to be dirty, unsafe and with poor/aging infrastructure
● Progressive suburbanisation leads to urban sprawl; city centre may be a great distance away
● Congestion reduces accessibility of CBD
● Cost of development and upkeep/rent in CBD is high
● Rise in car ownership leads to increased personal mobility and the rise of leisure shopping
● Informal economy
■ No qualifications or training required
■ Unregulated hours and pay
■ No job security or legal protection
■ Small premises, sometimes domestic
■ Labour intensive
■ Barter of cash transfers, no documentation
■ Some illegal business
■ Adaptive technology using local raw materials
○ Vital in developing the economies of low and middle income countries
○ Provides unskilled and semi-skilled migrants with casual but immediate work
○ Allows establishment of new business without the time and money - informal
business is preferable in low-income countries
○ Benefits of interdependence
○ Goods produced at minimum cost in informal economies can be further processed
and sold in formal economies
○ Contributes to urban wealth
○ Fosters innovation
○ Associated with drugs, political corruption, prostitution, bribery and smuggling
○ Threatens security of residents
○ Turns away potential visitors
○ Downgrades the city’s image
○ Lack of tenure
○ Health and safety risks - prevalence of disease, lack of protective clothing and
○ Poor sanitation
○ See ‘Dharavi’ Slum Case Study
○ Relocation of retail/service/manufacturing
○ Urban sprawl
○ More pollution and traffic congestion as residents have to travel further
○ Less concentrated environmental impact but larger area impacted
○ High cost of ensure infrastructure and adequate resources in new areas
○ Can increase house prices in the area = image up for the area, positive to more
wealthy but makes area unaffordable for poor, thus increasing disparities.
Microclimates are concentrated areas with a similar climate. Cities tend to be warmer than their
surrounding areas because materials retain heat, less natural vegetation, and high energy use.
Urban heat islands are metropolitan areas that are significantly warmer than areas around them
which are generally rural. Factors that affect the intensity (UHII - Urban Heat Island Intensity) are:
● Weather Conditions: Clear/Calm conditions intensify UHII because of maximum solar
radiation during the day.
● Topography/Hydrology: Inland cities have a higher UHII. Coastal cities have cooling from
● Population Size/Density: Large population has higher levels of energy use that pollute and
generate heat. There is a large concentration of people, traffic, and industrial activity.
● Economic Development: High building densities increase levels of energy consumption and
weak emission controls.
● Building/Street Design: Canyon like street are cooler by day and retain heat at night.
Roughness of urban environments obstructs wind and retains heat more than open rural
● Land Surface Cover: Concrete/Asphalt have a high thermal capacity and retain solar
radiation and release it at night. Urban vegetation and water bodies reduces the UHII.
● Anthropogenic heating: Moving/Stationary traffic, heating, air-conditioning supplements
solar radiation and increase the UHII.
● Air pollution: Fossil fuel consumption, domestic burning, traffic emissions all equal to more
particulate matter in the air which retains heat.
Other Types of Environmental and Social Stress
Air Pollution causes stress because it affects health, pollutes the environment, and increases
Cultural Causes of Air Pollution Natural Causes of Air Pollution
High population and population density
‘Dirty’ energy - fossil fuels
Domestic chemicals - fertilizers/cleaning
Topography - Heat inversion layers
Cities in basins
In MEDCs there were higher and more ‘unacceptable’ levels of pollution but now they are marginal.
In LEDC cities there used to be higher and more unacceptable levels of air pollution and while they
have decreased, they are still categorized in the ‘unacceptable’ level now. LEDCs tend to have more
air pollution because of dirty energy that they use. ‘Dirty’ sources of energy are fuelwood and coal,
and they are used more because there is less regulation enforcement against it.
Congestion and Overcrowding
● Congestion is the ‘blockage’ of movement and leads to environmental stress. In terms of
transport, congestion doesn’t allow people, ideas, or goods to get to efficiently flow.
● Overcrowding means too much for too little space, and it leads to environmental stress. It’s
bad because there is not enough space for people to move around. In terms of housing, it
means that there may not be enough space for people to live. It affects transport, housing
quality, noise/air pollution, health, and it puts pressure on infrastructure (power, water,
Depletion of Green Space and Waste Overburden - The natural environment under stress
Green space is good for:
● Health for physical and psychological reasons.
● Equity because populations which are exposed to green environments have the lowest
levels of health inequity related to income deprivation.
● Protecting and preserving the natural environment.
Waste is a problem in cities because:
● The increasing amounts of resources and produce increase the amounts of emissions and
● Waste is expected to increase further for all cities as they intensity and concentrate.
● They are major concerns for both MEDCs and LEDCs.
Social Deprivation, Crime, and Inequality - Communities under stress
● Social deprivation: when people are deprived of basic resources or they only have access to
low quality resources compared to the rest of society. “It’s about quality.. (and fairness)”. It has
to do with housing, infrastructure, healthcare, employment, and education.
● Crime: an action or omission which constitutes an offense and is punishable by law.
● Inequality: difference
Social deprivation, crime, and inequalities are all problems for society and urban communities
because they create negative environments and therefore place stress upon individuals. The Gini
Coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income distribution of a
Causes of crime include:
● Inequality: The gap between the rich and poor leads to crime more than poverty. There is
unequal access to employment, education, health, and basic infrastructure.
● Unemployment: Unemployed youths between 15-24 are more likelyto be perps.
● Less po-po: The speed of urbanization increases pressure on the ability of authorities to meet
public security and safety demands. Large communities have less cooperation between the
community and the cops. It’s the opposite for smaller communities.
● Bad planning: The design of a community may affect citizens. For example, lots of narrow
streets are creepy. People have nowhere to run. The book legit says this.
● Globalization/Communications: The ease of communication through phones or other
devices makes it easier to organize crime.
Stress of other infrastructure (Water, Sewage)
Urban blight describes run down, derelict, poorly maintained environments. Characteristics of this
include derelict buildings, graffiti and rubbish, dead cars, broken lights, windows, wasteland,
vandalism, and basketball hoops without nets. In MEDCs and LEDCs areas of urban blight follow the
same characteristics.The only difference between them is that in LEDCs the blight is more dispersed.
Urban blight reflects poorly of a city because while it may be spread out, it still represents a un-
development of sorts.
The Sustainable City
The City as a System
Wealth creation and
Movement of People
Case Study: London, England - MEDC City:
● London is a:
○ Command center for the world.
■ Major center for international business and finance.
■ Close relationships with key countries around the world.
■ 300 languages are spoken in London.
○ At one end of the “banana” for Europe.
■ Most populous city in the European Union, 8.2 million in London and 14 million
people in greater London. (with the 8.2 million included)
○ Nationally, it is the UK’s number 1 city.
■ Seat of government and is the capital.
○ Regionally, for South East England, it has a large hinterland and catchment areas for
■ Iconic landmarks everywhere.
■ Large Hinterland.
● London was built around a river, known as the River Thames.
● London has a strong manufacturing base, geographical location. Large wealth of knowledge
in the sectors of science.
● Its largest industry is Finance.
○ Over 300,000 people are employed.
● London has a stark contrasts of wealth. In one particular instance, the rich are 273 times more
wealthy than the poor, who live only a block or so away.
● The M25 Ring Road ENCIRCLES London, anything past that, its not considered London.
● Middle/ High Class housing is located in Chiswick.
● The Isle of dogs is sort of an island in the East of London.
● It was the home of numerous Docks in the 20th century. With large trading shippings making
their way through the River Thames to enter the docks where their goods would be unloaded
off the ships by numerous dock workers.
● As the ships got larger, the depth of the water could not handle it, meaning the ships stopped
coming in. This occurred in the late 1960’s. The area was soon derelict.
● The ships moved further eastwards, into deeper waters.
● 1967: East India dock closed.
● 1961-1967: 83000 jobs lost.
● 1961-1971: Population decline (eg. Tower Hamlets 18%, Southwark 14%)
● However, from the early 1980’s a new, gentrification council was introduced. Named the
LDDC, the London Docklands Development Council. They were tasked to gentrify the area.
● From the early 1980’s to 1998,
○ Employment in the area increased dramatically, 27,000 people to 71,000 people.
○ The number of Businesses went from 1000 to 2400
○ 22,000 former warehouses were turned into flats for the well-to-do people.
○ There were numerous attempts to regenerate the inner city, that had high amounts of
derelict housing and/or unused land.
○ The council also encouraged private sector investment.
○ The Council reclaimed 600+ ha derelict land.
○ Improved transport infrastructure: light railway, extensions to the Jubilee Line,
London City Airport and the Limehouse Link all improved transport to the area.
○ Investment: public £1 billion + private £8 billion Employment – eg Canary Wharf
brought 40,000 jobs.
● Regeneration is BOTH Centrifugal and Centripetal. As when loweredincome people leave
the inner city, a number of wealthier people will enter.
22,000 new homes created from previously
Lower income people forced to leave as the
number of higher cost housing increases.
Property Developers given opportunity to build
A new number of social issues may occur.
○ Lack of people to suffice
businesses on weekends.
Derelict land is gone A stark contrast can be seen when seeing areas
such as the London Docklands and Canary
Wharf with extremely expensive housing
neighbouring the poorer estates.
Less hygienic problems, with more green
spaces and therefore less pollution.
Increase in employment.
New businesses created.
Air Pollution in London
● High, due to high number of vehicles.
● Heavy industry also contributes.
● Respiratory diseases increases drastically.
Green Spaces in London
● London was designed to have green spaces integrated into it from the beginning.
● Waste is a key issue as well, there is so much of it that it limits the flow of trash smoothly.
London’s tough ‘hoods
● Brixton and Croydon are rough.
● Mainly in eastern, brownfield sites.
● They are well graffitied up and crime rates are high, with a person being able to see the
damage clearly when simply walking through it.
● Why has this happened:
○ The crime rates increased due to the law enforcement simply “giving up” on the area
and there is a severe lack of enforcement, therefore increasing the crime rate.
○ Also, due to the lack of money inflowing, the quality of educations that people were
getting were much lower, meaning they didn’t have schools to go to, meaning they
could have got up to mischief. Also, the quality of jobs that they were able to get
were also much lower, this means that the can not make enough of money to move
out of the area and improve their lives.
■ 50% of London’s young people have NO educational skill at all.
● These places are obviously the main place in which migrants would head to.
● The Local Governmental organisations do not maintain it at the same levels that they would
for a more well-off area.
● In general, the disadvantaged areas are in the eastern end and the inner city of London
London’s residential problem
● Population Density is at 4,500 people per km2.
● 47% of all space in London is green or recreational space.
● Most of London’s housing is 2 & 3 storey terraced housing.
● So this all sounds lovely, what’s the issue then?
○ LACK of Housing.
○ POOR QUALITY housing
■ May lead to health issues.
■ Higher Crime rate
○ HIGH PRICES
■ Not everyone can EASILY afford it meaning that it can contribute to poverty
● 750,000 people in London are on 250 pounds or less per week.
Option D - Hazards
Characteristics of Hazards
● Hazard - A threat (natural or human) that has the
potential to cause loss of life, injury, property
damage, socio-economic disruption, or
● Hazard Event - The occurrence of a hazard.
● Disaster - A major hazard event that causes widespread disruption to a community or
region, with: significant demographic, economic, or environmental loss, and which the
affected community is unable to deal with adequately without outside help.
There are three types of hazards:
● Geophysical: Earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides.
● Hydro-Meteorological: Hurricanes, floods, coastal erosion.
● Human-Induced: Chemical/oil spills, hazardous materials, waste.
Hazard events can be characterised by the following:
● Magnitude: How large was the hazard event? Enormous, normal?
● Frequency: How frequently does this hazard event occur? Frequently, rarely?
● Duration: How long does the hazard event last for? Long, short?
● Areal/Spatial Extent: How much extended is the hazard event? Is it widespread, limited?
● Spatial Concentration: How concentrated is the hazard event? Is it random, concentrated?
● Speed of Onset: How quickly does the hazard event begin? Rapid, slow?
● Predictability: How regular is the hazard? Is predictability high, low?
Compare the location of areas subject to drought with those that experience tropical storms:
Hurricanes or tropical storms occur normally in the westward-flowing air just north of the equator.
Sea temperatures must be over 27 degrees. Water must be shallower than 60m. Low pressure air
must be far enough away from equator for the Coriolis effect to be in place and rotate. Hurricanes
affect coastal areas. Droughts occur in areas of: arid/semi-arid land, subtropical pressure zones, far
away from the sea for continentality, cold offshore currents nearby to limit condensation in the air,
and in rain-shadow areas.
An earthquake is the sudden, violent shaking of the earth’s surface. Earthquakes are found along
plate boundaries, specifically constructive, destructive, and conservative boundaries.
Factors that affect the damage caused by an earthquake are:
● Strength and Depth + Aftershocks: Stronger earthquakes cause more damage. Shallow
focus earthquakes are potentially more damaging than deep since rocks absorb energy from
deeper ones. More aftershocks cause more damage.
● Population Density: Earthquakes hitting places with a higher population density will affect
● Type of Buildings: MEDCs generallyhave better-quality buildings that are earthquake-
resistant and people are more likely to have insurance.
● Time of Day: Earthquakes during a busy time of day (rush hour) may cause more damage.
● Distance from Epicentre: Areas closer to the epicentre have more damage.
● Rock and Sediment Type: Loose materials experience liquefaction, solid rock is safer.
● Secondary Hazards: eg. Mudslides, tsunamis, fires, contaminated water, disease, hunger.
● Economic Development: MEDCs are generally less affected by being more prepared and
have more access to response services, technology, and health services. Also there are
greater funds to deal with earthquakes.
If MEDCs are so much better prepared, have better responses to damage and better quality buildings,
how come earthquakes in MEDCs create much more damage?
Although MEDC countries are so much better prepared for earthquakes than in LEDCs, there is much
more damage caused in MEDCs because there is greater value to damaged property. People in
MEDCs hold significant economic and societal significance. Imagine a country which has massive
skyscrapers and stuff suffering from an earthquake and compare this to small LEDC city.
Methods to reduce effects of earthquakes:
● Improving forecasting and warning systems
● Improving building design, location, and emergency procedures
○ Crustal movement
○ Changes in electrical conductivity
○ Strange and unusual animal behaviour (eg carp fish)
○ Historic evidence and trends
A hurricane (aka cyclone or typhoon) is an intense storm that brings heavy rainfall, strong winds, high
waves, and secondary hazards such as flooding and mudslides. Normally occur in the westward-
flowing air just north of the equator along coastal areas. Sea temperatures must be over 27 degrees.
Water must be shallower than 60m. Low pressure air must be far enough away from equator for the
Coriolis effect to be in place and rotate the storm.
The impact of hurricanes will vary because:
● The storm path is unpredictable.
● Strongest storms don’t always cause the greatest damage.
● Distribution of population throughout the Caribbean islands increases the risk associated with
● Hazard mitigation depends on the effectiveness of human responses to hazard events.
● LEDCs continue to lose more lives to natural hazards as a result of inadequate preparation.
A drought is an extended period of dry weather leading to extremely dry conditions. They occur in
areas of: arid/semi-arid land, subtropical pressure zones, far away from the sea for continentality,
cold offshore currents nearby to limit condensation in the air, and in rain-shadow areas. Droughts are
NOT found in deserts.
Hazards that are related to droughts are:
● Declining water resources and flood shortages.
● Flooding of valleys, alluvial fans, and plains.
● Increased soil erosion.
● Surface subsidence due to water abstraction.
● Sedimentation or deposition of river sediments.
● Landslides and rockfalls.
The impact of droughts will vary because:
○ Economic development (MEDC vs LEDC)
○ Access to water
○ Land use
○ Loss of biodiversity in flora and fauna
○ Lower water body levels and loss of
○ More wildfires
○ Wind and water erosion
○ Poor soil quality.
○ Type of land use
○ Attitudes about water usage
Human Induced Hazard
Types of Human Induced Hazards:
Multiple Extreme, Nuclear war, Recombinant
DNA, Pesticides, Intentional Biocides,
Antibiotics , Vaccines, Uranium mining,
Rubber manufacture, Rare catastrophes,
explosions, Commercial aviation (crashes),
Common killers, Auto crashes, Coal mining, global threats, Fossil fuel, Sea surface temperatures,
Aspirin, Appliances, Skateboards, Bicycles
Vulnerability is the conditions that increase the susceptibility of a community to a hazard or to the
impacts of a hazard event. The relationship between hazardous areas and population density is that
many rapidly growing cities are in hazardous areas; large urban areas such as New Orleans are
especially vulnerable to natural hazards. There is a higher potential casualties and economic loss.
People live in hazardous areas because of the resources that hazards can offer. Rivers can be
considered both resources and hazards because floodplains provide water, silt, fertile soils,
transportation, recreation AS WELL AS too much water which causes flooding. Conflict is caused
when there is a drought as there is competition for water, desertification, and famine.
People in LEDCs are more vulnerable to and more likely to be affected by hazards because of their
lack of wealth, preparedness, education (risk and emergency planning), higher population densities,
and less effective communication and readiness in the case of emergencies.
Risk and Risk Assessment
Risk is the probability of a hazard event causing harmful consequences (expected losses in terms of
death, inquiries, property damage, economy, and environment).
Technology used to predict:
A disaster is a major hazard event that causes widespread disruptions to a community or region with
significant demographic, economic, and/or environmental losses, and which the affected community
cannot deal with adequately without outside help.
Over time, the intensity of disasters has become more frequent due to changes in the Earth's climate
and the population size + density. However, the impact of disasters has reduced due to advances in
Adjustments and Responses to Hazards
Haiti Earthquake Chile Earthquake
9 million homeless, 800 deaths.
15% economy damaged
City and regionare mainly shanty towns.
Problems of overcrowding and unprepared
Only food relief for 200,000 people.
Months after,peoplewerestill sleeping in
“Building back better”campaign.
Coast of Chile
Triggered a tsunami.
High building standards,adequateemergency
preparedness, and high standard of living.
“Seismic design code”
“Strong columns,weak beams”
Short, Mid-Term, and Long Responses
● The main priority is to Rescue.
● Rehabilitation to make homes safe to live in.
● Reconstruction is rebuilding.
*There is quite a number here, we know. Just try and know one MEDC, one LEDC and one human
induced case study well. (Read through the rest of them, but maybe don’t study as much)*
General Details - MEDC Earthquake
Kobe, Japan (MEDC of 1.5 million)
Natural Environment CulturalEnvironment
Philippine plate. When oceanic crust divesbelow continental
crust creating a subductionzone. Thethrust from thePacific
platepopping back up caused a releaseof pressureleading
to a 6.4 Mw earthquake16 km below thesurface.
Japanhas 30% worldsearthquakes.
Previously lower quality of building construction(weak
Delay times (high populationdensity)
Effects Primary Secondary
Social 6400 killed
Environmental Gasand water pipesburst Fires
No water for 10 days
Economic 102,000 buildingsdestroyed
Dock and port area destroyed,ground
$220 billionneeded for repairs
Companieshad to closetemporarily eg
Political Japanrejected international aid.
Short Term Long Term
Communal searcheffortsfor survivorsintherubble
Emergency aid needed but Japanese rejected international
offers of aid and dealt withthe earthquakethemselves.
Homeless peopleweredealt withquickly and the city
recovered thanksto government money.
Water,electricity,gas services were fully working by July. The
railways were back in service by August. 80% of port rebuilt ina
A lot of thebuildingsin Kobeand Japanmade after the
1960sareearthquakeproof (necessary by law) with
counterweightsontheroofsand crosssteel frames.
Many of thedamaged buildingsin Kobewerebuilt before
this period and were madeof wood,whichcaught fire.
Duration: Short (20s)
General Details - LEDC Earthquake
Haiti (LEDC of 9.8 million)
Natural Environment CulturalEnvironment
Conservativeboundary betweentheNorthAmerican and
Caribbeanplates. Bothweremoving in the same direction. This
built up pressuredueto thefrictionbetweenthe plates. Whenit
released, it caused a 7.0 Mw earthquake16 milesfrom Port-au-
Prince, 5 miles below thesurface(shallow).
‘Microcosm of problems’
low per capita income$790
80% livein poverty
Effects Primary Secondary
Social 316,000 killed
3 million affected
Transport and communicationlinksdamaged
Dueto all of thedeaths, hospitals/morgues
overflowed and bodieswerepiled onthe
street. This led to diseases, eg. cholera
Environmental Contaminationof water sources
Difficult to managedebris/waste
Agricultural industry affected
Increase in water bornediseases
Economic 30,000 buildingsaffected 20% of populationlost jobsdueto buildings
Clothing industry most affected (bringsin
Difficult to bring inaid
Political 60% government buildingshit
Weakened governmental power
Short Term Long Term
$100 mnin aid from US + $300 mnfrom EU.
810,000 placed inaid camps
1 mn shelters provided
Healthcaresuppliesto prevent disease
Communal rescuesystem withinHaiti
4.3 mn provided withfood rations
98% rubblehasn’t been cleared yet
Peoplestill live in aid camps
40% unemployment (now)
Temporary schoolsset up
Eventual water and sanitationfor 1.7 mn
Magnitude: Near enormous
Onset: Quite rapid
Duration: Kind of short
Extent: More so limited
Frequency: Very rare
General Details - MEDC Drought
2012 Texas Drought
Natural Environment CulturalEnvironment
La niña weather pattern. Whensurfacetemperaturesarecooler
in the Pacific.
Polar vortex irregularchanges
Dramatic declinein rainfall.
- Commonhighuseof water.
Effects Primary Secondary
Social Restricted use of water Changesin water usage.
Environmental Drainin reservoirs
Dried up Medina lake
Dry landscapecauseswiildfires, affecting
Economic High food prices
High water prices
$8bnworthof cropsfail (Texasproduces55% of
Political Affectsthe political climatechangedebate
Short Term Long Term
Water only availablefor peopleoneday a week.
Fire response team
Changing attitudeabout water usage.
National Weather Service - prediction.
General Details - LEDC Drought
Desertification of the Sahara
Drought since 1960s.
12 countries (Mali Niger Chaaad Burkina Faso Mauritania)
10 million affected
Natural Environment CulturalEnvironment
Poor rainy season
Not enoughmoney to copewithdrought.
High pricesfor food.
Effects Primary Secondary
Social 20 millionat risk Childrendon’t reach growthpotential from
Environmental Extremely arid land
Dry and bareland
Economic Farmers can’t cope
26% crop reduction
Political Governmentsdeclared food and nutrition
Short Term Long Term
UN convoy distributesfood(unsustainable)
Red Cross raisesmoney
Early planning attempts
Strainof seeds in Kenya
Educationof local community
General Details - MEDC Hurricane
Hurricane Katrina (cat. 5)
Southern USA, Gulf of Mexico
Natural Environment CulturalEnvironment
Gulf of Mexico
Effects Primary Secondary
Social 1200 drowned
1 million homeless
$300 bnin damages
Environmental Storm surge,flooding of6m.
Economic Businesses affected Agricultural productiondamaged
Political Leaders pointing fingersat each other.
Short Term Long Term
UK government sent food aid.
US government gave$50 bn.
Criticism to levees.
General Details - LEDC Hurricane (Cyclone)
South of Burma
Southwest Myanmar, May 2008
Natural Environment CulturalEnvironment
Bay of Bengal is knownfor itsMonsoonseason. Warm waters,
low air pressuresystem. Tropical storm that developed into a
category 3/4 storm.
Low vertical wind shield
Shallow continental shelf
Low level of development and education.
Military government indecline and declined aid.
Effects Primary Secondary
Social Villages destroyed (50% homes).
Neighbourshad to help each other,
disappointed by their government.
Widespread disease (diarrhoea,dysentery,
skin infections) dueto survivorscrammed
Environmental Floodswerealmost immediateand stayed
inland eroding theland (storm surges).
Economic $10 bndamage
95% buildingscollapsed ondelta
Flooded ricefields -lost harvest and
Political Government denial of outsidehelp (help still
managed to get inside throughBlack Market)
Hit Burma one week beforemilitary
government national referendum ona new
constitutionthat theBurmesethought to
be anillegal to establishmilitary power.
Short Term Long Term
Government broadcasts48 hoursbeforestorm,telling therouteto
warnthose in the path.
Morethantwo weeksafter the storm,relief had only reached 25%
International aid wasneglected by thegovernment. 2
mn USD wasraised by avaaz.org.
US Emergency Assistance Team delivered medical
suppliesand other humanitariansupplies.
Magnitude: Large (not enormous)
Extent: Moderately widespread
General Details - Human Induced Hazard
Human Induced Hazard
Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico
BP oil spill- Began on the 20th of April 2010 and lasted 87 days.
Natural Environment CulturalEnvironment
Drilling in water 1 mile deep BP has never had a major spill so they hadn’t prepared
Effects Primary Secondary
Social 11 dead createsqueries/doubtsabout safety and
preparednessin faceof risk.
Environmental 4200 milesof coastline
Economic 2.6 millionbarrelsin total spilled
27000 jobsinthe area
Political British oil company Conflict betweenUS/UK.
Short Term Long Term
Blowout preventer (failed)
‘top kill’ - pumping junk and mud to clog oil
‘top hats’ - ontop of theblowout preventer
capping stack withthree valves(worked)
New technologiesby BP and government.
Duration: Long (87 days)
CASE STUDIES STUDIED IN CLASS:
Patterns in Environmental Quality and Sustainability
Biodiversity and Change