Chapter 1 Key Themes in Environmental Sciences

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Chapter 1
Key Themes in Environmental
Sciences
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Learning Objectives
• People and nature are intimately connected
• Rapid human population growth is the
fundamental environmental issue
• Human beings affect the environment of the
entire planet
• Urban environments need attention
• Solutions to environmental problems involve
making value judgments based on scientific
knowledge.
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Major Themes of Environmental
Science
• Human population growth
• An urbanizing world
• Sustainability of our population and all
of nature
• People and nature
• A global perspective
• Science and values
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Human Population Growth
• The human population grew at a rate
unprecedented in history in the
twentieth century.
• Population growth is the underlying
environmental problem.
• Famine is one of the things that happen
when a human population exceeds its
environmental resources. An example
is African Famine.
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Human Population Growth
• John Eli Miller Family (p.3-4)
– 1 man (and wife presumably)
– 7 children (5 survived)
– 63 grandchildren (61 survived)
– 341 great-grandchildren (338 survived)
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Fig 1.3
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
© 2005 John Wiley and Sons Publishers
An Urban World
• When the impact of technology is
combined with the impact of
population, the impact on the
environment is multiplied.
• In an increasingly urban world, we
must focus much of our attention on
the environments of cities and on the
effects of cities on the rest of the
environment.
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
An Urban World
• Technology
– How people modify the modern world to suit
their own purposes
• Survival
• Comfort
• Advancement
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Using Common Resources
Activity
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Sustainability and Carrying
Capacity
• What is the maximum number of
people the Earth can sustain?
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Sustainability
• Sustainability
– Management of natural resources and the
environment w/ goals of allowing harvest of
resources to remain at or above some
specified level, and the ecosystem to retain its
functions and structure.
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Carrying Capacity
• The maximum abundance of a
population or species that can be
maintained by a habitat or ecosystem
without degrading the ability of that
habitat or ecosystem to maintain that
abundance in the future.
• Maximum # of individuals that can be
SUSTAINED
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Sustainability
• Sustainable resoruce harvest
– An amount of a resource that can be
harvested at regular intervals indefinitely
• Sustainable ecosystem
– An ecosystem that is subject to some human
use, but at a level that leads to no loss of
species or of necessary ecosystem functions
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Tragedy of the Commons
• Commons
– Any resource used as if it belongs to all. A
resource used simply because people want or
need it. Public.
• Tragedy of the Commons
– Usually occurs when the use of a commons is
not regulated.
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Tragedy of the Commons
• Aristotle (384BC-322BC)
– “That which is common to the greatest
number, has the least care bestowed upon it”
• Garret Hardin’s Essay: Tragedy of the
Commons (1968)
– Public land use for grazing cattle
– Every man for himself
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
People and Nature
• Ways of thinking
– Humans are separate from nature
• Simply stop human actions that cause
environmental problems
– Humans are inextricably tied to nature
• Use science to analyze environmental problems
and come up with cooperative, long lasting
solutions
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
A Global Perspective
• Local Problems are Global Problems
– Ranking Environmental Challenges Activity
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Science & Values
• Environmental Value:
– Utilitarian
– Ecological
– Moral
– Asthetic
• Recreational
• Inspirational
• Creative
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Science & Values
• Environmental Science:
– Provides knowledge and understanding of
environmental issues through scientific data
– Cause and effect
– Provides possible solutions
– Values must be considered when
implementing solutions
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
Major Themes of Environmental
Science
• Human population growth
• An urbanizing world
• Sustainability of our population and all
of nature
• People and nature
• A global perspective
• Science and values
Botkin & Keller
Environmental Science 5e
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