IB ESS Topic 1 - Foundations of Environmental Systems and Societies
Terms in this set (47)
environmental value system (EVS)
a world view or paradigm that shapes the way an individual or group of people perceive and evaluate environmental issues. This is influenced by cultural, religious, economic, and socio-political context.
puts ecology and nature as central to humanity
believes humans must sustainably manage the global system
believes that technological developments can provide solutions to environmental problems
extreme technocentrists who see the world as having infinite resources to benefit humanity
moderate technocentrists who see the Earth as a garden that needs tending - the stewardship worldview.
see all life as having inherent value - value for its own sake, not just for humans
put more value on nature than humanity. They believe in biorights - universal rights where all species and ecosystems have an inherent value and humans have no right to interfere with this
a set of inter-related parts working together to make a complex whole
exchanges matter and energy with its surroundings
exchanges energy but not matter with its surroundings
exchanges neither matter nor energy with its surroundings
occurs when energy or matter flows and changes location but does not change its state
occurs when energy or matter flows and changes its state - a change in the chemical nature, a change in state or a change in energy
a way of visualizing a complex set of interactions which may be ecological or societal
a simplified version of reality that can be used to understand how a system works and predict how it will respond to change
1st Law of Thermodynamics
Principle of conservation of energy, which states that energy in an isolated system can be transformed but cannot be created nor destroyed
2nd Law of Thermodynamics
Energy is transformed through energy transfers. An increase in entropy arising from energy transformations reduces the energy available to do work.
a measure of the amount of disorder in a system
the useful energy, the work or output produced by a process divided by the amount of energy consumed
negative feedback loops
Stabilizing systems that occur when the output of a process inhibits or reverses the operation of the same process in such a way to reduce change - it counteracts deviation
characteristics of open systems where there are continuous inputs and outputs of energy and matter, but the system as a whole remains in a more-or-less constant state
no change over time
a system that tends to return to the same equilibrium after a disturbance
a system that returns to a new equilibrium after a disturbance
positive feedback loops
Destabilizing systems which tend to amplify changes and drive the system toward a tipping point where a new equilibrium is adopted.
when an ecosystem experiences a shift to a new state in which there are significant changes to its biodiversity and the services it provides.
the use and management of resources that allows full natural replacement of the resources exploited and full recovery of the ecosystem affected by their extraction and use
development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
natural resources that can produce a sustainable natural income of goods or services. e.g. forest (natural capital) provides timber (natural income)
the area of land and water required to sustainably provide all resources at the rate at which they are being consumed by a given population
the addition of a substance or an agent to an environment by human activity, at a rate greater than at which it can be rendered harmless by the environment, and which has an appreciable effect on the organisms within it.
pollutants which are active on emission
pollutants which are formed by primary pollutants undergoing physical or chemical changes
non-point source pollution
pollution which is released from numerous, widely dispersed origins. May have many sources making it virtually impossible to detect exactly where it is coming from.
point source pollution
release of pollutants from a single, clearly identifiable site.
persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
Chemicals, often manufactured as pesticides in the past, which are resistant to breaking down and remain active in the environment for a long time.
Pollutants which do not persist in the environment and break down easily.
large amounts of a pollutant are released over a short period of time, causing a lot of harm
The long-term release of a pollutant, in small amounts.
one of the first people to realize the global dangers of pesticide abuse (DDT). Wrote Silent Spring.
nuclear power plant in Russia that had an explosion in 1986 & released radioactive materials into the air
epidemic of birth defects in Minamata, Japan, caused by mercury contamination of the bay from an industrial source.
Poor families are more likely to live in these industrial areas, exposing pregnant women and fetuses to the polluted air and water.
toxic waste site in New York filled with drums of waste that leaked.
Three Mile Island
1979 - A mechanical failure and a human error at this power plant in Pennsylvania combined to permit an escape of radiation over a 16 mile radius.
December 2,1984, methyl isocyanate released accidentally by Union Carbide pesticide plant kills over 5,000.
Save the Whales (1975)
International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial whaling in 1986 to allow whale populations to recover; controversy: some species have recovered, others have not; depends on perspective