Essay on chapt01 lecture 2014web

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Understanding our Environment

Chapter 01
Lecture Outline
William P. Cunningham
University of Minnesota

Mary Ann Cunningham
Vassar College

Copyright © The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for reproduction or display.

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Environment Defined

Introduction




Environment Conditions that surround an organism or group(s) of organisms
 Complex of social or cultural conditions that affect an individual or community

Environmental Science is the systematic study of our environment as well as our proper role in it


Interdisciplinary
- Natural Science
- Social Science
- Humanities

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Many kinds of knowledge contribute to our understanding in Environmental Science

Human Population is >
7.1 Billion

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Current Conditions

What impact does a population of 7 billion have on the planet? 

Climate Change: burning fossil fuels causes global climate change.



Food: food is inequitably distributed across the globe and 2/3 of agricultural lands show signs of degradation. 

Water: may be the most critical resource in the
21st century.

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Signs of Hope


Energy: fossil fuel use causes pollution, there is a shift to using more renewable energy resources. Progress has been made on many fronts.




Air Pollution: air quality has worsened dramatically in many areas.









Biodiversity: species are being lost at a rapid rate. 



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Population & Pollution: Many cities are more livable today than a century ago due to human birth rate stabilization and clean technology use.
Health: Incidence of life-threatening diseases has been reduced in most countries.
Access to Current Information: Expanding access to knowledge is essential to progress.
Habitat Conservation: Tropical forest destruction has slowed & habitat protection has improved in some areas.
Renewable Energy: Progress is being made in the transition to renewable energy sources.
International Cooperation: helps solve global environmental problems.
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Historical Perspective
Over time there were four distinct stages
 Pragmatic Resource Conservation
 Moral and Aesthetic Nature Preservation
 Concern about Health and Ecological Damage
 Global Environmental Citizenship

“The problems that overwhelm us today are precisely those we failed to solve decades ago.”  Mostafa K. Tolba

These stages are not mutually exclusive and parts of each persist today in the environmental movement.
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Pragmatic Resource Conservation


Ethical and Aesthetic Nature Preservation

Theodore Roosevelt and his conservation advisor,
Gifford Pinchot.
- Pinchot’s policy was one of
 Pragmatic Utilitarian Conservation
 “For the greatest good for the greatest number for the longest time”
 Reflected today in the Multiple Use
Policies of USFS



John Muir - President Sierra Club
 Nature deserves to exist for its own sake regardless of degree of usefulness to humans.
 Biocentric Preservation – “Why ought man to value himself more than…the one great unit of creation”. He opposed Pinchot’s view.

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Modern Environmental Movement

Muir Woods, California

The industrial expansion after
WW II added new concerns to the environmental agenda.  Rachel Carson – awakened the public to the environmental threat posed by pesticides in her book Silent Spring
(1962)

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An example…
► By

1963 fewer that 500 Bald Eagle nests in the lower 48, Today more that 7,000 pairs
(Possibly half a million before settlers)
► The eggs become brittle

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DDT
► Created

in 1873, pesticide in 1936, creator was awarded the Nobel Prize
► Used to control mosquitoes that spread diseases like malaria
► Estimated to have…