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IB ESS 1.1 Environmental Value Systems

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Assessment Objective
Which component
addresses this
assessment objective?
How is the assessment
objective addressed?
Weighting of paper [% of
total marks available]
Paper 1
Case study, short answers
[35 marks]
25% [1 hour paper]
Paper 2
Section A [25 marks]
short answer and databased questions
Section B [40 marks] two
structured essays (from a
choice of 4)
50% [2-hour paper]
Internal assessment
Objective 1
1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant:
• Facts and concepts
• Methodologies and techniques
• Values and attitudes
Objective 2
2. Apply knowledge and understanding in the analysis of:
• Explanations, concepts, and theories
• Data and models
• Case studies in unfamiliar contexts
• Arguments and value systems
Objective 3:
3. Evaluate, justify and synthesize, as appropriate:
• Explanations, theories, and models
• Arguments and proposed solutions
• Methods of field work and investigation
• Cultural viewpoints and value systems
Objective 4:
4. Engage with investigations of environmental and societal issues at the local
and global level through:
• Evaluating the political, economic, and social context of issues
• Selecting and applying the appropriate research and practical skills
necessary to carry out investigations
Suggest collaborative and innovative solutions that demonstrate
awareness and respect for the cultural differences and value systems of
IB ESS 1.1
Value Systems
Foundations of Environmental
Systems and societies
Significant Ideas
Historical events and other
influences affecting the
development of
environmental value
systems and environmental
There is a wide spectrum
of environmental value
systems, each with their
own premises and
What is a system?
A set of connected things or inter-related parts working together to make a
complex whole.
Living System:
Non-Living System
• A system does not have to be a living
• All these cogs work together to make a
complex whole – here, the example is a
Three types of systems
Open system: Energy and Matter flow in and
out. Exchanges energy and matter with its
surroundings (most living systems).
Closed system: Only energy is flowing in and
out. Exchanges energy but not matter with
its environment (hydrological, carbon, and
nitrogen cycles are closed)
Isolated system: No flow in or out of the
system. No exchanges are made, for
example, the Universe.
Systems: Inputs and Outputs
All open systems have Inputs that are then processed (System), resulting in
• An environmental value system (EVS) is a worldview or
paradigm that shapes how an individual or group
perceives and evaluates environmental issues.
Environmental Value
System (EVS)
• This is influenced by cultural, religious, economic, and
socio-political context.
• An EVS might be considered a “system” in the sense
that it might be influenced by education, experience,
culture, and media (inputs) and involves a set of
interrelated premises, values, and arguments that can
generate consistent decisions and evaluations
• Significant historical influences on the development of the
environmental movement have come from literature, the
media, major environmental disasters, international
agreements, and technological developments.
• The idea that humans impact the environment has been a
long-standing idea.
• The ancient Romans realized that air and water pollution
resulted from human activity.
Environmental Value System
For over 2000 years, ancient
civilizations have used terrace
farming to conserve soil erosion.
Movement – 1960’s
• Started in the 1960’s
• Rachel Carson wrote a book:
Silent Spring
• DDT warning
• DDT kills mosquitos and other
tiny pests.
• Sprayed on vegetation, which
other animals and fish eat.
• Which is then eaten by humans.
• Biomagnification can occur.
• Increased cancer in people.
Who is involved in the
• Environmental Pressure Groups
• Corporate Businesses
• Governments
• Intergovernmental Bodies (United
• Influential Individuals (Al Gore)
Greenhouse gases released by human
Case Studies –
historical influences on
the environmental
• Bhopal Disaster: December 1984.
World’s worst industrial disaster.
• About 45 tons of the dangerous gas
methyl isocyanate escaped from an
insecticide plant that the Indian
subsidiary of the American firm Union
Carbide Corporation owned.
• The gas drifted over the densely
populated neighborhoods around the
plant, killing thousands immediately and
creating a panic as tens of thousands of
others attempted to flee Bhopal.
• The final death toll was estimated to be
between 15,000 and 20,000.
Case Study: The Chernobyl
Disaster (Nuclear)
• Several explosions triggered a large
fireball and blew off the reactor’s heavy
steel and concrete lid.
• Millions of acres of forest and farmland
were contaminated, and although many
thousands of people were evacuated,
hundreds of thousands remained in
contaminated areas.
• In addition, in subsequent years, many
livestock were born deformed, and among
humans, several thousand radiationinduced illnesses and cancer deaths were
expected in the long term.
• Approximately 1 million people have died
because of this disaster.
Case Studies:
You must be familiar with case studies you
can discuss and refer to when answering
questions. You need to be familiar with
Influencers in the
Environmental Movement
Environmental Value
• There is a spectrum of EVSs, from
ecocentric through anthropocentric to
technocentric value systems.
Spectrum of
EVSs, from
to technocentric
value systems
• An ecocentric viewpoint integrates social, spiritual, and environmental
dimensions into a holistic ideal. It puts ecology and nature as central to
humanity and emphasizes a less materialistic approach to life with greater
self-sufficiency in societies. An ecocentric viewpoint prioritizes bio rights,
emphasizes the importance of education, and encourages self-restraint in
human behaviour.
• An anthropocentric viewpoint argues that humans must sustainably
manage the global system. This might be through the use of taxes,
environmental regulation, and legislation. The debate would be
encouraged to reach a consensual, pragmatic approach to solving
environmental problems.
• A technocentric viewpoint argues that technological developments can
solve environmental problems. This is a consequence of an essentially
optimistic view of humans’ role in improving the lot of humanity. Scientific
research is encouraged to form policies and to understand how systems can
be controlled, manipulated or changed to solve resource depletion. A progrowth agenda is deemed necessary for society’s improvement.
• There are extremes at either end of this
spectrum (for example, deep
ecologists–ecocentric to cornucopian–
technocentric), but in practice, EVSs
vary greatly depending on cultures and
time periods, and they rarely fit simply
or perfectly into any classification.
• Different EVSs ascribe different intrinsic
values to components of the biosphere.
Possible question ideas:
Write a paragraph on your personal views on
environmental systems. Reflect upon where you
stand on the continuum of environmental
philosophies concerning specific issues
throughout the syllabus.
• a.
Population control
• b.
Resource exploitation
• c.
sustainable development
Value System
Extremes of the EVS spectrum
Deep ecologists place more value on nature than humanity and believe in
Self-reliant, soft ecologists are biocentric. All life has inherent value. Resources
are limited. Humans should protect, preserve and conserve Earth.
Environmental Managers see the Earth as a garden that needs tending, and
humans have a stewardship or an ethical duty to take care of the Earth.
Cornucopians see the world as having infinite resources to benefit humanity.
• Discuss the view that the environment can have its own
intrinsic value.
Topics to
There is no incorrect answer,
provided you can justify it
• Evaluate the implications of two contrasting EVSs in the
context of given environmental issues. Justify the
implications using evidence and examples.
• Question: Chile is looking to build a large hydroelectric
dam in Patagonia to support the increased demand for
electricity due to its growing population and industry.
Summarize some possible viewpoints of the following
types of people.
✓ Ecocentric
✓ Anthropocentric
✓ Technocentric
Exam Tip: Contrasting Environmental Value Systems
How might different EVSs respond
to the following environmental
1. Climate change is resulting in a
decrease in bee populations.
• Ecocentric
• Anthrocentric
• Technocentric
• How might different EVSs respond to the
following environmental issues?
2. Increase in the world’s human population is
resulting in a decline in Earth’s resources and
• Ecocentric
• Anthrocentric
• Technocentric
• 1.1 Environmental Value Systems
• EVS: paradigm that shapes how individuals/groups perceive &
evaluate environmental issues.
• Conservationist: conserve so that nature can continue to supply
goods & services sustainably
• Preservationist: conserve nature unconditionally for its spiritual value
Green Revolution
10,000 yrs ago
pop began to rise
Humans became
Early 1800s
Pop growth
Resource use ↑
Medical revolution
Technology applied
Food production ↑
3 billion people
1960s onwards
Greenpeace (1971)
1972: 1st Earth
Rise of NGOs
GW, deforestation,
fish ↓
Climate Change
Tech vs Eco
Ecocentric (nature centred)
Anthropocentric (people centred)
Ecology central to humanity
Intrinsic value
Self-sufficiency of societies
“Use not abuse”
Strong regulation by authorities
Human health necessary in
decision making
Technology to solve issues
Resource replacement to solve
resource depletion
Economic growth is important
Rachel Carson (marine
• Silent Spring (1962)
• Indiscriminate use of
Environmental Landmarks:
• Case Studies
1987: Montreal Protocol
• 2. Minamata Bay (Japan): mercury poisoning
in the human body (accumulated)
1992: Kyoto Protocol
2006: Inconvenient Truth (Al Gore): yet
to reach tipping point
2015: COP 21 Paris Agreement on
Climate Change
• 1. Bhopal (1984): pesticide plant explosion
released MIC gas, the worst industrial disaster
• 3. Should I Eat Meat?: religious value
systems (Hindus, Muslims, 7th day Adventists)
• 4. Seed Hunter: chickpea vulnerable to
disease, genetic engineering (ancient to
• 5. Vanishing Lions: anthropocentric solution,
indigenous live with lions (tourism)