Chapter 1
Understanding Our Environment
What Is Environmental Science?
Current Conditions
• We Live On A Marvelous Planet
– No other known planet is remotely habitable
• We Face Many Serious Environmental
• There Are Also Many Signs of Hope
• Calculating Your Ecological Footprint
– We are using more than one Earth
– Need 4 Earths to sustain U.S. Standard for
A Brief History of Conservation and
• Nature Protection Has Historic Roots
• Resource Waste Inspired Pragmatic, Utilitarian
• Ethical And Aesthetic Concerns Inspired The
Preservation Movement
• 1890-1910: John Muir, Sierra Club, Teddy
• 1930’s: “Dust Bowl,” CCC, New Deal
A Brief History of Conservation and
• Rising Pollution Levels Led To the Modem
Environmental Movement
• 1970’s: Earth Day
• 1990’s: Kyoto Accords, Global warming
• Environmental Quality Is Tied To Social
Human Dimensions Of Environmental
• We Live In An Inequitable World
• Is There Enough For Everyone?
– You can’t get an infinite amount of anything (like
people) into a finite world
– You can’t get an infinite amount of anything (like
petroleum) out of a finite world
• Recent Progress Is Encouraging
Life Expectancy-1930
Life Expectancy-1960
Life Expectancy-1990
Global Corruption
Human Rights Index
Religious Freedom
Sustainable Development
Can Development Be Truly Sustainable?
Can Freedom Exist in a No-Growth World?
What Is The Role Of International Aid?
Indigenous People Are Important Guardians
Of Nature
Environmental Ethics
• We Can Extend Moral Value To People And
• Faith, Conservation, And Justice
• Many Faiths Support Environmental
• Environmental Justice Combines Civil Rights
and Environmental Protection
• Environmental Racism Distributes Hazards

Chapter 1. Understanding Our Environment