What is an Environmentally Sustainable Society?
Environmental Science is an Interdisciplinary Study
A. Environmental Science
Studies how the earth works, our interaction with the earth, and the methods/procedures we use to deal with environmental problems. 1. The biosphere is the natural world: plants, animals, soils, air, and water. 2. The culturesphere is defined by technological, economic, cultural, and political aspects of our world. B. Environment & Ecology
1. Environment Considers everything that affects a living organism 2. Ecology Studies the relationship between living organisms and their environment C. Environmentalism
Is a social movement dedicated to protecting life support systems for all species. D. Life and economies depend on solar capital (energy from the sun) and natural capital (Earth’s resources and ecological services). 1. Capital is wealth; solar capital/energy creates renewable energy such as wind power, hydropower from flowing water, and biomass that is solar energy that has been changed to chemical energy and stored, in a biological form, such as wood. 2. Natural capital includes natural resources such as air, water, soil, wildlife, minerals, etc. and natural services a. Biological income from fish, grasslands, and underground water can be sustained, IF we don’t deplete it. b. Man, as a newcomer species is endangering quality of life from us and other species. Natural Capital = Natural Resources + Natural Services
E. Man must protect our solar and natural capital and live off the resources they provide. 1. For an environmentally sustainable society we must not compromise the needs of future generations. 2. One view is that man must live sustainably by eliminating waste and discontinuing the depletion and degradation of resources. 3. A different view is that man can overcome these problems with ingenuity, economic growth, and technology. F. Sustainability
The ability of the Earth’s various natural systems and human cultural systems and economies to survive and adapt to changing environmental conditions indefinitely. 1. A shift towards sustainability for a society ultimately depends on the actions of individuals within that society. 2. Living sustainably means living off natural income.
How can environmentally sustainable societies grow economically? A. Population Growth
Human population growth continues to be more rapid than the earth can support. About 211,000 people per day
B. Economic growth provides people with the goods and services needed. 1. Gross domestic product (GDP), also called gross national income (GNI), is the market value for goods and services produced within a country. 2. Standard of living is the GDP divided by the total population at midyear. 3. Changes in economic growth: measured by per capita GDP
Comparison of Developed and Developing Countries, 2008
C. Economic development is improving living standards through growth. Most developed countries have high industrialization and high per capita income. Developing countries have moderate to low income, they represent about 97% of the projected increase in world population. 1. Economic developments reflect good and bad economic news. Poverty produces harmful environmental effects.
Soil, water, and forests are depleted.
Pollution levels are high.
Infant mortality rate is 8X higher than in developed countries. Wages are very low with poor working conditions as the norm. 2. Developed countries enjoy a higher standard of living, including: A longer life expectancy, A decrease in infant mortality, Greater food production than food needs, Decreased air and water pollution, A decrease in poverty overall D. Globalization leads to a world socially, economically, and environmentally more interconnected. 1. Technology, international trade, and human mobility allow people to interact with others. 2. Environmentally sustainable development...
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