Story of stuff:
80 million babies born every year
– Mostly in developing world, so less impact
20% of population consume 85% world’s resources
– 20% is in Industrialized western countries
If small fraction of developing world lived like developed world, Earth would quickly be
overwhelmed with pollution and waste
Your footprint!
Maintaining economic growth
without compromising the
Focus of the 1987 Bruntland
Commission (aka: UN
Commission on the State of
the Environment).
– Called on developed world
to reduce consumption &
live sustainability
– Called on developing
world to reduce population
Canadians look to gov’t to take
action, but gov’t and
international actions have
1992 Earth Summit in Rio De
Janeiro, Brazil produced
statement of action called
Agenda 21
– Intended to encourage
development of
sustainable world
– Over 10 years later, little
progress has been made
Intro=Animation on Water-see cd
Value of fresh water underrated
– 3% of world’s water is fresh water
– Is enough to supply the world, but distribution is unequal.
• 78% of that locked in ice caps and glaciers
• Remainder is underground (ground water)
• Great Lakes = 18% world’s surface fresh water
Developed nations known for water waste and pollution
• Shallowest of Great Lakes
• By 1960s & 1970s became very polluted
-June 22, 1969, Cuyahoga River that feeds Lake Erie
caught on fire
• NOT THE FIRST TIME! 1936 blow torch spark ignited debris
& oil floating on surface. Several other fires also occurred,
but June 1969 caught international attention.
• Time Mag: “Cuyahoga oozes rather than flows”
and “a person does not drown but decays”
• Sparked Clean Water Act and number of other
USA-Canada agreements. Pollution persists,
though fires less common.
• Groundwater supply threatened by:
– Increasing population
– Diversions of surface supply
• 40% world’s harvests come from irrigation
• USA, China & India facing reduced g.w.
– These three nations produce ½ the world’s food
• Last ½ 20th C, amount of irrigated land more
than doubled (over 250 million hectares)
– Farmers had better technologies to access
» Access water in “Aquifers”
Water supply is cheap and reliable
Once depleted, takes long time to recharge
– North China Plain where most China’s food produced, water table
falling 1.5 m per year
– India’s water tables falling 1-3 m per year and could reduce India’s
harvest by 25%, making India more dependent on imported grain
– USA’s Ogallala Aquifer = world’s largest, supplies 1/5 USA’s irrigated
land. Filled over thousands of years by runoff from Rockies.
• In 50 years, reduced by 50%
• US gov’t allows “groundwater depletion” as tax write off for
farmers…so much for conservation!
• Lakes, Rivers & Coastal Waters
– Disposal for sewage & agricultural + industrial
– Tanker accidents
– Municipal waste water=human waste,
detergents & solvents
– Farmers = herbicides & pesticides
– Industry=oil refinery, pulp mill & chemical
factory waste
• Current technology can =
sustainable water management
– Micro-dams
– More efficient rainwater
– Reclaimed/recycled water
– De-salinated seawater
– Low energy sprinkler
– Drip irrigation directing
water to roots
– High efficiency/low flow
– Taxes or user rates to
encourage water
Ozone layer =thin layer 15-50 Km
above surface of Earth
– O3=only gas that can block
UV rays from sun
• UV rays can cause skin
– Damages plant
and animal
– Penetrates up to
20 m into ocean
– Depletion most evident at N
& S Poles, esp in Spring
• 60% depleted above
• Why there?
Higher levels of chlorine
found there will react
to destroy the Ozone!
• Chemicals, esp. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
cause 80% of damage
– Widely used since 1930s
• Coolants for fridges & air conditioners
• In foams, solvents & aerosol spray cans
• UN Environmental Program (UNEP) working to
phase out use of ozone depleting chemicals
– Montreal Protocol (1987) all industrial nations
agree to cut use of CFCs by 2000
• Amount of chemicals released increasing
• Only complete elimination of CFCs & recapture of
those in the atmosphere will halt damage to the
Ozone Layer
• Simple phasing out of CFCs = 100 yrs to reach
1980’s atmospheric condition
• Gases trap heat energy from sun
similar to a greenhouse
– Natural factors (volcanoes, meteor
impacts) have caused climate
change in past
• Since industrial Rev. burning
fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) =
more CO2 in atmosphere
• Causes rise in temperature 1-3
degrees by 2050 (slight
changes=profound impact)
• Causes increase in heat waves and violence of storms
• Melts glaciers in Polar regions causing rise in sea level
• Diseases extend range due to warmer temp
• Earlier arrival of Spring in some regions
• Shifting plant & animal ranges
• Coral reefs losing colours as algae fail to adapt to warmer water
Animation-see cd
http://www.unep.org/wed/2007/english/melting_ice.swf ?
EPA kids animation:
Global Warming in pictures:
• Arctic sea ice shrinking & seasonal melt = weeks earlier
than in past
• Polar bears starving, need ice to hunt seals
– Bears’ birth rate & av. Weight has fallen
• Arctic communities face sinking shorelines as permafrost
• Survival rate of BC’s spawning salmon 1/3rd what it was in
– Warmer water temps deplete phytoplankton salmon eat, less
growth, smaller fish can’t survive swim upstream
– Ripple effect in ocean food chain if salmon stocks reduced
• Winter recreation areas economically impacted by warmer
• Freak weather systems & devastating storms more likely
• More droughts and forest fires
• Tree line could be extended further north and higher up
• Shorter growing seasons could benefit farmers
– Possibly offset by droughts
Kyoto Protocol
– Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6% of our 1990 levels by 2012
– Countries not meeting reduction targets could buy credits from others that were below
allotted levels (developing nations could benefit greatly)
– Canada among top emitters of greenhouse gases, and despite Kyoto our levels are
1990s fossil fuel industry campaigned vs. Kyoto standards: too costly in $$ and jobs
– While Federal gov’t signed, Prov gov’t must regulate industries
• 2000: Ontario listed as NA’s 2nd worst polluter = not taking Kyoto or global
warming seriouslyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9tCenQh3Rw&feature=related
Many sustainable sources of energy
– Wind turbines, solar power, tidal power, ground source energy, geothermal power
Greenpeace believes wind power could provide 10% world’s electricity needs in next 20
New hydrogen or methanol fuel cells could be adapted for cars, buses, homes and
Cause: Fossil fuel burning in addition to smelting of various ores
releases sulphur dioxides, nitric oxides, nitrogen dioxides. Mostly
industrial in origin.
Effects: Global hydrological cycle becomes acidic. Plant and animals
are stunted, killed, or deformed.
Crops can fail, and the global amount of fresh water is diminished due to
Human Health Effects: From increase in colds, flues, and respiratory
infection, to increases in breast and colon cancer. Also, problems
associated with loss of fresh water supply. Acid and toxins enter the
human system through any food or drink related to water.
Areas of Focus: While primarily focused on industrial areas, some areas
have been ravaged by acid rain. The Great Lakes have lost much of
their original life due to acid rain. The Eastern Seaboard of the
United States, and many parts of Europe rate high.
Only 11% of land area on Earth can be used to grow crops
Desertification: land turning to desert
– Overgrazing of cattle & livestock
– Removal of trees for firewood
– Irrigation in arid areas leaves soil too salty
– Soils in tropical areas nutrient poor
– Nutrients must be replaced into soil
– Soil on bare slopes quickly washed away
Increasing use of pesticides & herbicides
– Controls incects & kills weeds
– Leads to toxic soils & residues in foods
Agri Chemicals can seep into groundwater and streams
– Harmful to farm workers (less protection for
workers in developing nations)
Insects needed in agriculture killed by pesticides too
(ladybugs, honeybees)
Increased interest in organically grown foods, people
willing to pay higher $$
Genetically Modified Foods
Altered by splicing in another organism’s gene
(+)Some more resistant to disease or pests
(+)Require fewer pesticides
(+)Promises to increase yields
(-)Controversial, consumers resistant
CDN gov’t approved 50 GM foods since 1994, including corn, canola, soybeans, squash,
potatoes and cotton
75% of all processed foods made with corn, soy or canola products
• Not required to label GM foods
• Why GM foods? Improve nutritional value?
Increase yields? Reduce Pesticide use?
– In 1999, 80% of GM crops altered by Agro
companies to withstand repeated doses of their
own commercial brands of herbicides (corporate
money maker)
• Advantage to farmers: previously only able to spray
prior to planting, now can spray during growth cycle of
• Advantage to Agro Companies: sales of herbicides
guaranteed to follow sales of seeds
• Advantage to Consumers: ?????
– As of 2000, no commercial acreage planted with
crops engineered to produce greater yields or
enhance nutritional value.
• Evidence suggests GM actually reduces yields (4-10%
for soybeans)
• Most soybean & GM production occur in North and are
destined to feed cattle and pigs, not people
– That which is fed to people is unlabeled.
Destruction of tropical rainforests
– Storehouses of biodiversity
– Absorb CO2 and supply O2
– Deforestation
• Contributes to Global Warming
• Affects wind patterns
• Affects precipitation levels
• Alters temperatures beyond forest itself
• Threatens way of life for Indigenous peoples
• Poor encouraged to move into forest
& clear land for farming
• Huge cattle ranches set up
• Development by oil & mineral
companies = access roads opens up
• Specialty woods (teak) in demand
• Reforestation virtually impossible
– Erosion and mismanagement results in
arid wasteland
• Brazil, Ecuador, Columbia, Peru,
Indonesia, India
• 20% Earth’s land cover = temperate &
northern forests
• Canada has ¼ of world’s temperate & boreal
(northern) coniferous forests and virtually all
the world’s old growth red and white pine
– These forests used primarily for logging and
– Que & Ont nearly 1/5 of the forests damaged by
dams, diversions & industrial development
• Along with acid rain and climate change, boreal forest
may not last another 50 years (Global warming a huge
– In Northern Ontario, average temps up 1.5% in the 1990s.
Accelerated evaporation from forest by 50%. Massive fires
eliminated large portions of forest
» Key habitat for numerous species
• Western Mountain region: 14% of
Canada’s forested land, produces 40% of
its marketable timber
– Largest segment of BC’s economy
– Sustainability concerns:
• Old growth watersheds require careful
• “Brazil of the North” according to
Greenpeace and Sierra Club
Provincial Exam – Help
The following acronym can be used to organize information when
answering government exam questions that focus on solutions and or
management strategies to environmental problems.
R. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
E. Educate people about the dangers or consequences of the problems
A. Alternatives. Provide people with alternatives to help solve problems
L. Legislate laws to enforce rules that would help to solve the problem at
Using your understanding of geography solutions that would help slow down
global warming that is currently threading northern ecosystems.
R. Reduce the number of cars on the road. This would limit the amount
of CO2 in the atmosphere. Reuse and Recycle solid waste and other
garbage from private house holds and industries. This would also limit
the amount of greenhouse gases emitted.
E. Educate citizens about the dangers of global warming like increased
violent storms and rising sea levels that would impact their lives.
Having an understanding of the dangers of global warming might
change people’s behaviour to slow down this process.
A. Provide alternatives like public transportation for people to use to
limit the amount of cars on the road and the amount CO2 emitted.
Development of alternative energy sources like wind and solar power
would decrease CO2.
L. Legislate laws that require industries to find alternative energy
sources. Legislate and enforce laws to decrease the number of cars
on the road by providing tax incentives to people. (Carbon Tax)
Games online!