Why study the environment lecture 1


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Environmental Science Lecture 1

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Why study the environment lecture 1

  1. 1. Environmental Science A Study of Interrelationships Thirteenth Edition Enger & Smith Chapter 1 The nature of Environmental Science Copyright © The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for reproduction or display.
  2. 2. 1.1 The Nature of Environmental Science  Environmental science is interdisciplinary, and includes scientific and social aspects of human impact on the world. • It is a mixture of traditional science, individual and societal values, and political awareness.
  3. 3. 1.1 The Nature of Environmental Science  Environment is everything that affects an organism during its lifetime. Environmental science
  4. 4. Interrelatedness Is a Core Concept  Interrelatedness among seeming unrelated factors.  Tug on anything at all and you’ll find it connected to everything else in the universe. John Muir
  5. 5. Interrelatedness Is a Core Concept  The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park has resulted in many changes.
  6. 6. Interrelatedness Is a Core Concept  The Yellowstone wolves are connected to social, economic, and political realms of human activity.  Wolves caused • water flow changes in the park • increases in willow and aspen trees, songbirds, foxes, rodents, hawks, and owls. • Coyote and elk have declined  Ranchers could lose money if wolves killed livestock.
  7. 7. Decision Making in Ecology  Interrelatedness also exists in environmental problems  Many factors impact decisions to handle these problems • These factors are interrelated  Political  Economic  Ethics
  8. 8. Emerging Global Issues  Air pollution  Political • China air pollution affects U.S.  Economic • Companies move to regions with less restrictive policies  Ethical • People in these countries (regions) suffer from diseases due to air pollution
  9. 9. Regional Issues  Extensive flooding of Mississippi or drought in California  Political • Impacts on one body of water can affects multiple states  Economic • Developmental strategies ignore Ecosystem needs • Hurricane Katrina and destruction of coastal wetlands  Ethical • Endangering animal and human life
  10. 10. Environmental Science A Study of Interrelationships Thirteenth Edition Enger & Smith Chapter 2 Environmental Ethics Copyright © The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for reproduction or display.
  11. 11. 2.2 Environmental Ethics  Ethics is one branch of philosophy; it seeks to define what is right and what is wrong. • can help us understand what actions are wrong and why they are wrong.  Not all cultures share the same ethical commitments.  Despite the presence of some differences, there are many cases in which ethical commitments can and should be globally agreed upon.
  12. 12. Ethics and Laws  In the case of environmental issues, • when it is appropriate to legislate something ? • when action should be left to the individual‟s sense of right and wrong? Recycling?
  13. 13. Conflicting Ethical Positions  Sometimes an individual‟s ethical commitments can conflict with each other. • A mayor might have an ethical commitment to preserving land in a city but • Also have an ethical commitment to bringing in jobs associated with construction of a new factory.  In many cases, what is good for the environment is also good for people. • While forest protection may reduce logging jobs, a healthier forest might lead to new jobs in recreation, fisheries, and tourism.
  14. 14. Three Philosophical Approaches to Environmental Ethics  Anthropocentrism (human-centered) • This view holds that all environmental responsibility is derived from human interests. – Assumes that only humans are morally significant. – Assumes nature is an instrument for human manipulation.
  15. 15. Three Philosophical Approaches to Environmental Ethics  Biocentrism (life-centered) • All life forms have an inherent right to exist.
  16. 16. Three Philosophical Approaches to Environmental Ethics  Ecocentrism • This view maintains that the environment deserves direct moral consideration, • not consideration derived from human or animal interests.
  17. 17. Sustainable Development  Sustainable Development is a middle ground  Seeks to promote development  while still preserving the ecological health of the landscape.
  18. 18. 2.4 Environmental Justice  Environmental justice as fair treatment, meaning: • “No group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences • industrial, municipal, and commercial operations – (landfills, toxic waste facilities, chemical plants) • Environmental justice is closely related to civil rights.
  19. 19. 2.4 Environmental Justice The direct action in Warren County, NC, marked the birth of the environmental justice movement in the U.S.
  20. 20. 2.4 Environmental Justice  Cases in our own backyard  North Omaha • Coal power plant • 16th worst environmental justice offender • http://www.naacp.org/pages/coal-blooded1 • https://www.facebook.com/OmahaBeyondCoal
  21. 21. 2.4 Environmental Justice  Environmental justice encompasses a wide range of issues, including: • • • • • • Where to place hazardous and polluting facilities Transportation Safe housing, lead poisoning, and water quality Access to recreation and environmental info Exposure to noise pollution Exposure to natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Katrina) • Jobs are created…but how to compare benefit w/loss?
  22. 22. Discussion  Split into groups  Environmental ethics • Handout
  23. 23. Aldo Leopold  Land ethic • Sand county almanac • “We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes—something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of triggeritch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.” - Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1949  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4edMwhmRvz
  24. 24. 2.5 Societal Environmental Ethics  Environmental ethic product of individuals, businesses, and national leaders  Western societies have long acted as if the earth has: • Unlimited reserves of natural resources. • An unlimited ability to assimilate wastes. • “growth mania”  When will it be „enough‟?
  25. 25. 2. 6 Corporate Environmental Ethics  Economic growth and resource exploitation were the dominant orientations  Change through Corporate environmental ethics • Primary purpose is to generate a financial return (profit) for its shareholders, • Shareholders, employees or executives can demand an environmental ethic
  26. 26. Is There a Corporate Environmental Ethic?  If corporation follow unethical environmental practices • Release industrial wastes into river • Public is the one that suffers  Corporations can be encouraged into adopting more environmentally friendly practices http://www.ceres.org/companynetwork/company-directory
  27. 27. Is There a Corporate Environmental Ethic?  In 1997, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) was established.  At least 2000 companies around the world voluntarily report information on their economic, environmental, and social policies.  https://www.globalreporting.org/reporting/reportservices/featured-reports/Pages/default.aspx
  28. 28. 2.7 Individual Environmental Ethics  Ethical changes in society and business must start with individuals.  Our individual actions have a bearing on environmental quality • Each of us bears some responsibility for the quality of the environment in which we live.  Individual choices can make a difference
  29. 29. 2.8 The Ethics of Consumption  North Americans represent 5% of the world‟s population. • North Americans consume one-fourth of the world‟s oil. • They use more water and own more cars than anybody else. • They waste more food than most people in subSaharan Africa eat.
  30. 30. 2.9 Personal Choices  Lifestyle changes that significantly reduce their personal impact on the planet. • Eating food produced locally • Eating food that is low on the food chain (fruits/vegies) • Buying durable consumer products • And reusing or repairing products with usable life reduces the raw materials that must be extracted from the ground.
  31. 31. 2.9 Personal Choices • Conserving energy at home and on the road can lessen the amount of fossil fuels used to support your lifestyle. • Lobbying for protection of wild areas • Voting for officials who take environmental issues seriously – https://www.facebook.com/pages/League-of-WomenVoters-of-Greater-Omahas-Douglas-County-VotersGuide/109817185721956
  32. 32. Ecological footprint  Help individuals measure their environmental impact  www.earthday.org/footprint/info.asp
  33. 33. Environmental Science A Study of Interrelationships Thirteenth Edition Enger & Smith Chapter 3 Environmental Risk: Economics, Assessment, and Management Copyright © The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for reproduction or display.
  34. 34. 3.3 Environmental Economics  Economics • study of how people choose to use resources to produce goods and services, • and how those goods and services are distributed to the public. • How are resources distributed? • Businesses must know the economics of the environment!
  35. 35. Resources  Economists look at resources as the available supply of something that can be used.  There are three categories of resources: • Labor (human resources) • Capital (technology and knowledge) • Land (natural resources)
  36. 36. Resources  Natural resources • structures and processes humans can use for their own purposes but cannot create. – Wind, sunlight, rainfall • Renewable resources – can be formed or regenerated by natural processes. • Nonrenewable resources – are not replaced by natural processes, or the rate of replacement is so slow as to be ineffective.
  37. 37. Assigning Value to Natural Resources  We assign value to natural resources based on our perception of their relative scarcity. • If a natural resource has always been rare, it is expensive (gold) • If the supply is very large and the demand is low, the resource is often perceived to be free (sunlight) • Even renewable resources can be overexploited – (fish, wildlife, forests)
  38. 38. Ecosystem Services  Ecosystems are a tangible source of economic wealth  The challenge lies in disentangling complex natural systems into more discrete commodity units • Translate ecosystem value into something tangible? – Ask questions – Use people’s behavior?
  39. 39. Ecosystem Services  But under uncertainties…. • Different value sets  It is possible to weight the benefits from an activity such as dam construction against its negative impacts • on fishing • livelihoods of nearby communities • and changes to aesthetic values
  40. 40. Environmental Costs  How do you weight the costs?  Environmental costs of resource exploitation • • • • Pollution Species extinction Resource depletion and loss of scenic quality
  41. 41. Cost-Benefit Analysis  Cost-benefit analysis • method of assessing costs and benefits of competing uses of a resource • and deciding which is most effective. • Reduce Lead in drinking water – Costs = $125 million – Benefits = 1 billion
  42. 42. Incentives for Environmental Stewardship  Subsidy • Consumer rebates environmental friendly products • Renewable energy home Loans • Tax credits
  43. 43. Economic tools to address Environmental problems  High degree of protection at low cost  Give entrepreneurs choice of most economical • Tradable emissions permits give companies the right to emit specified amounts of pollutants. – Permits can be sold or banked for future use. – Used frequently by carb carbon emissions in Europe – Cap and Trade http://www.edf.org/climate/how-capand-trade-works
  44. 44. Market-Based Instruments • Emission fees and taxes provide incentives for environmental improvement by making damaging activities and products more expensive. • Performance bonds are fees collected to ensure proper care is taken to protect environmental resources.
  45. 45. 3.5 Economics and Sustainable Development  So many humans! • So much pollution • Earth is one big ecosystem – Air pollution from U.S. can affect people in Asia – The decisions our ancestors made, affect us today  How do we sustain human life and not destroy all the resources for us and our children?
  46. 46. Sustainable development  Sustainable development • meets present needs without compromising the needs of future generations • Keep natural resources • Maintain human living standards • Example: Solar Energy
  47. 47. 3.5 Economics and Sustainable Development  Schools of thought: • Economic growth finances the investments necessary to prevent pollution • Science and technological advances can solve many environmental problems (wind, solar, geothermal) • Economic and environmental well-being are mutually reinforcing
  48. 48. 3.5 Economics and Sustainable Development  High-income developed nations with high education levels are in a position to promote sustainable development • http://www.mccneb.edu/cps/green/  Transfer of modern, environmentally sound technology to developing nations
  49. 49. Regional Studies Introduction to Homework: Case Study
  50. 50. Forest and mineral exploitation Alaska  Political  Economic • Oil • Native Americans  Ethical • Contamination • Conservation
  51. 51. Caribou migration to coastal plain for calf birthing
  52. 52. Fertilization use Midwest  Political  Economic • Doubled food production in last 40 years  Ethical • Prices of fertilizer entwined with prices of oil • Some farmers cannot avoid fertilizers
  53. 53. Water use Western U.S.  Politics • Pumped from Colorado River to Salt Lake City, Denver, Los Angeles • 30 million people rely on its water  Economics  Ethics • Reduced water table • Reduction Colorado river basin – Plant and animal life
  54. 54. Forest Policy Western U.S.  Value of old growth forests • Political • Economic • Ethical Climate change?
  55. 55. Great Lakes example  Political: 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, Native American tribes Economic: Ethical: pollution, exotic species, over fishing
  56. 56. 10 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Environment      1. Reduce driving 2. Save electricity 3. Recycle 4. Conserve water 5. Safely dispose of hazardous waste
  57. 57. 10 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Environment     6. Eat locally 7. Donate reusable items 8. Buy in bulk 9. Learn how to avoid the use of insect repellants  10. Be an informed and active citizen
  58. 58. Environmental Problem Solving Assignment  See Handout