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Environmental Literacy for Administrators and Educators - Environmental Issues


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The ultimate goal of environmental education is to produce individuals who exhibit the “4 A’s” - Awareness, Appreciation, Advocacy, Activism.

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  • saving our environment is not only to use our natural resources sustainably but also to keep safe our next generation proudly.
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  • A green world is what we want, help keep the planet, helping us to our future generations, our families can live in a healthy planet.
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Environmental Literacy for Administrators and Educators - Environmental Issues

  2. 2. Environmental Issues The Top Ten : How bad is the damage to ecosystems? Is the Earth overpopulated? Are we running out of Energy Resources? Can we feed ourselves, sustainably? What’s the “truth” about climate change? Why are we so wasteful? Are we poisoning our air? Ditto for our water Are we causing the extinction of species? What can you do to help? 2
  3. 3. A Conceptual Framework The ultimate goal of environmental education is to produce individuals who exhibit the “4 A’s.” Awareness Appreciation Advocacy Activism 3
  4. 4. Founding Principles Everything is connected to everything else. We depend on the environment for all of our food, water, energy, shelter, and economic resources. There is no such thing as a free lunch. There is an environmental cost whenever we extract resources from the Earth. Our lives on Earth must be sustainable. We can’t spend Earth’s capital. We need to learn how to live only on the interest. 4
  5. 5. How bad is damage to ecosystems? Deforestation and other habitat destruction is the number one human impact on the planet. Reduces oxygen production by plants Reduces available habitat for organisms Increases rates of erosion and soil damage Increases rates of extinction of species 5
  6. 6. Is the Earth overpopulated? The answer depends on how you define overpopulated, but most scientists believe that the Earth has reached or is very near to the limit that is sustainable. In other words, the impacts of a human population of 7 Billion or more will harm the processes and resources of the planet to the point where we will not be able to depend on them indefinitely. 6
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  8. 8. What can we learn from the graph? It is only in the last 200 years that human population exploded!! Modern medicine is the main cause Closely followed by modern agriculture Human population is projected to level off at about 12 to 14 Billion?? Fertility rates are expected to decrease. People are already making the choice to have fewer children. (the Demographic Transition) 8
  9. 9. Can Earth Support 12 Billion People? Yes, but only IF we reduce our use of non-renewable non- resources and switch to renewable ones whenever we can. Resource consumption is a more important way to gauge population impact than simply the size. Number x consumption = impact (or footprint) 9
  10. 10. Are we running out of Energy Resources? In the short term, not really, but in the long term, yes. Despite recent price increases in oil, we still have substantial reserves left. Our current fossil fuels are non-renewable. They will run non- out in 50 to 200 years. If we switch to renewable energy (solar, wind power and other types) we will never run out. 10
  11. 11. Energy Use in the Global Economy Oil = 39%; Coal = 27%; Gas = 23%; Nuclear = 7%; Hydro = 3%; Others = 1% Industrial = 38%; Residential and Commercial = 36%; Transportation = 26% 11
  12. 12. What can we learn from the data? We are addicted to fossil fuels! What we do in our industry and homes is more important than what we do in our cars. We are not making use of renewable energy sources. 12
  13. 13. Can we feed ourselves, Sustainably? That’s a hard one to judge. The cost of food is skyrocketing and the environmental impacts of raising food are going up as well. Can we feed a future population of 12 B using the same means? Answer would be ‘No’. 13
  14. 14. Good News and Bad News World food production tripled since 1950. Population growth rate is faster than “food growth.” Overall food prices fell. Food prices are rising now. World grain supplies were at near record highs Per capita grain supplies because of technological are falling at 1% per year. innovations. 2 billion people in the world Diets in MDCs are at an are undernourished. all-time caloric high. all- Damage to soils and Per acre production is pollution are increasing. very high. 14
  15. 15. What’s the “truth” about climate change? Global Warming is real. Estimates of its likely impacts vary widely: Best case: mild - moderate warming Worst case scenarios see oceans rising to inundate large areas of coastlines, severe disruptions in weather and climate, and mass extinction. 15
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  17. 17. Some predictions are already happening 17
  18. 18. Why are we so wasteful? Affluent societies treat waste as something to throw away. Less affluent societies reuse every last bit they can. Our culture of consumerism is what fuels our wasteful ways. Some scientists call this ‘Throwaway Culture’. 18
  19. 19. Our Waste Stream 38 % paper products 13 % yard waste 10 % food wastes 9 % plastics 8 % metals 6 % glass 5 % wood 10 % other (Nearly all of these wastes could be recycled, but only about 25% actually are done) A Total Haul of over 200 MILLION tons per year; 2/3 of a ton per person per year! 19
  20. 20. Main sources of hazardous waste Industrial chemicals – metals, solvents, paints, etc. Mining wastes – metals, cyanide, acids Agricultural chemicals – pesticides, fertilizers, etc. Military wastes – warfare agents, old munitions, etc. Certain household chemicals – cleaners, solvents, etc. Consumer products – batteries, electronics, etc. Radioactive wastes – from power plants and certain industries Medical wastes – hospital waste, old medicines, etc. Each year millions of tons of chemicals are produced around the world. 20
  21. 21. Are we poisoning our air? Air pollution, especially in cities of developing countries, is getting worse. This is largely due to burning of coal and other fuels for electricity production and industry and the burning of oil for transportation. 21
  22. 22. Sources of Air Pollution Natural – volcanoes, terpenes from conifers, etc. Anthropogenic – since the industrial revolution Combustion of fossil fuels Industrial processes Agricultural processes Mining and Nuclear Power Generation Homes and businesses 22
  23. 23. Major Categories of Air Pollution Global Climate Change – carbon Acid Rain – nonmetallic oxides Ozone Depletion – CFCs Smog – VOCs, oxides, particulates Indoor Air Pollution – VOCs, etc. 23
  24. 24. Are We Poisoning our water? Most of the Global rivers are polluted due to the presence of fecal coliform bacteria and other contaminants. Similar problem rivers exist on every continent. Water is life. If we poison our water, we poison ourselves. 24
  25. 25. The Major Categories of Pollutants Disease- Disease-causing organisms : infectious agents Inorganic chemicals : salts, acids, metals Synthetic organic compounds : pesticides, etc. Fertilizers : agricultural runoff Sediments : sand, silt and clay from erosion Oxygen- Oxygen-demanding wastes : sewage and manure Radioactive wastes : natural or man-made man- Thermal pollution : heat from power plants, etc. 25
  26. 26. Are we causing the extinction of species? Throughout geologic time the Earth has experienced five mass extinctions due to drastic climate change, meteor impacts, and rampant volcanism. Now, Scientists consider the impacts of humans to be the start of a sixth mass extinction. 26
  27. 27. Can’t We All Get Along? Some of the things that humans do disrupt other organisms’ lives. Habitat destruction Over- Over-fishing, excess hunting Environmental pollution Introduction of non-native species non- Climate change Commercial exploitation 27
  28. 28. Intrinsic / Extrinsic Value of Biodiversity Intrinsic – everything has a right to exist of its own accord. Extrinsic – we derive food, medicines and many other products from wild things. Biodiversity adds beauty and interest to our lives. Biodiversity keeps the world’s natural processes going. 28
  29. 29. What can YOU do about all this? Consume less of EVERYTHING Reduce your FOOTPRINT SPEAK for the trees Learn and CARE about the earth Make a DIFFERENCE Don’t WASTE what you were given 29
  30. 30. Some specifics Drive less – Drive smart to get better mileage Raise your thermostat Switch to fluorescent bulbs Try a vegetarian diet Install a solar water heater Insulate your home Plant a butterfly garden Recycle everything you can Be careful with chemicals at home and at work 30