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PUP190 Misterm Definitions
Vocab with Definition
Terms in this set (31)
- is a measurement of human impact on the earth put into terms of land space required to produce what is consumed. Expressed in hectares or acres.
- measures the amount of natural resources an individual, a community or a country consumes in a given year.
1. keeping track of consumption is possible
2. resource/waste source can be converted to biologically productive area required to maintain these flows
3. each acre can be translated to an equivalent area of world-average land productivity
4. areas can be added up to a total representing humanity's demand
5. area for total human demand can be compared with nature's supply of ecological resources
Environmental impact formula
I - Human Impact, P - Population, A - Affluence, T - Technology
-population (P) refers to the size of the human population; affluence (A) refers to the level of consumption by that population; and technology (T) refers to the processes used to obtain resources and transform them into useful goods and wastes.
Cradle to Cradle
The concept of production and consumption that aims to avoid the disposal stage of consumption systems. Example: primary producer -> primary consumer -> secondary consumer -> decomposer -> primary producer.
- The result of our exceeding our Carrying Capacity. "..no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of it's own existence." -Thomas Jefferson
- This referred to the environmental liabilities of Northern countries for the excessive per capita production of greenhouse gases, historically and at present.
• What needs to be restored or regenerated in order to return to our one earth biocapacity
The maximum population size of a given species that an area can support w/out reducing its ability to support that same species in the future.
Human Context- The maximum "load" (population x per capita impact) that can safely and persistently be imposed on the environment by people.
Three Pillar (3 e's) of Sustainability
-Equity (social), Environment, Economy.
-The social aspect of sustainability focuses on balancing the needs of the individual with the needs of the group. Different companies do this in different ways, with some of the most successful corporate sustainability programs taking an approach that ties in well with their corporate missions.
-Environmental sustainability occurs when processes, systems and activities reduce the environmental impact of an organizations facilities, products and operations.
-Economic sustainability is used to define strategies that promote the utilization of socio-economic resources to their best advantage. A sustainable economic model proposes an equitable distribution and efficient allocation of resources. The idea is to promote the use of those resources in an efficient and responsible way that provides long-term benefits and establishes profitability
• Sustainability implies an integrated balance between managing resources or economy, achieving social equity, and protecting the environment. Therefore, the three Es
-the process by which small, kin-based non literate agricultural villages were transformed into large, social complex, urban societies
-Involves more than just an increase in size of settlements. Urban Revolution is also about the processes, human-human interactions, human-environment interactions, and structure by which people functioned and lived by (it encompasses those behaviors).
Examples of such processes and behaviors:
a) cultivation of crops
b) herding of animals
c) mass production of goods
d) development of a writing system
Coupled Human-Nature Interactions
-The connections or links between humans and their environment; expressed as a feedback loop, many of humans' actions affect the environment and in turn, changes in the environment affect the human population. • The physical environment of Mesopotamia and the surrounding regions provided promising ecological conditions for the early introduction of agriculture and the subsequent growth of the first urban society. An awareness of these conditions, and how they supported the human-nature relationships that were to emerge, is essential to a thorough understanding of coupled human-nature interactions today.
Probable-solving in Antiquity
-Three of the basic approaches to problem solving in antiquity were:
A) mobility of people to available resources
B) ecosystem management to secure enhanced local growth of produce
C) increasing social complexity encoded in formal institutions that guided an ever-expanding range of activities
-When the present regime/structure, the social activities cause environmental collapse (think tipping point and when you pass the tipping point you collapse) Haiti was an example that was used.
-ALSO A book published in 2005 by Jared Diamond highlighting the environmental, climate and social components to the collapse or thriving of past societies.
-does not mean societies completely disappear or cease to exist. Societies often simply move on and change their way of life in order to respond to changes in their way of life. A better example of collapsed societies: Mayans in Mesoamerica and Easter Island
-Environmental degradation played a huge role in the collapse of the Mayan empire and Easter Island society
-Over time cities collapse, erode, and are often covered by a new city to create a "tell"
-Jared Diamond points to errors in decision-making as a primary cause of social collapse
The Brundtland Commission
- "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" - Brundtland Commission definition of sustainability (most widely accepted definition)
-A United Nations commission responsible for creating the classic definition of sustainability- 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development overseen by former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.
- Provided framework for coordinated action, proposing that all nations have a stake in fostering economic development (sustainable)
- Showed economic development, social equity, and environmental protection as inseparably related goals
- advanced public understanding of the link between poorer nations and global environmental protection
- poor countries must have the opportunity to develop economically because if they aren't then it will be much harder to convince all countries to support practices that can be sustained over time
- At the same time richer countries must foster policies to favor environmental conservation with economic development.
-Rooted in the limited and dated concept of sustainable yield which suggest that consumption must have limits in order to continue the generation of the yield without diminishing returns
-the Brundtland definition is concerned with intergenerational equity; that is, we have a 'stewardship' responsibility to assure future generations that we will not leave the world any 'deficits' in terms of overshooting the carrying capacity of the Earth's ecosystems (Pijawka 2012).
The Dust Bowl
-the dust bowl was an example of a regime shift (characteristic of a slow onset hazard) impacting large parts of Oklahoma and Texas during the 1930's.
-Severe drought combined with unsustainable farming methods, such plowing and tilling, caused historical grasslands to become cultivated farmland which was susceptible to wind erosion. This in turn allowed massive dust storms to form which carried valuable topsoil with it.
Limits to Growth
-Published in 1972 by The Club of Rome. A product of basic global modeling and the consequences on food and other resources given global increased consumption in non-renewable resources. It presents an interesting learning scenario of the global carrying capacity idea. It predates the eco footprint concept AS WELL as the notion of collapse
-By Rachel Carson published in 1962.
-Documented the effects of pesticides on the environment, particularly DDT. This pesticide was able to kill insects for months and after entering into the food chain, had irrevocably harmed everything in the food chain from insects, birds to humans. Carson challenged the chemical companies and eventually DDT was banned, in large part to Carson's efforts
-She demonstrated that DDT remained in the environment and did not readily break down or dissipate. DDT bioaccumulates in organisms as it moves up in the food chain to ultimately accumulate in human tissue, which resulted in health problems and birth defects. DDT also caused eggshells to break, threatening many birds of prey such as the osprey, bald eagle, and peregrine falcon
-She also raised awareness about 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid, an herbicide used in parks to eliminate weeds
-Provides significant insights and imparts substantial knowledge concerning the need for sustainable urban land practices and is one of the worst examples of land ethics and practices.
A chemical firm located in Niagara Falls, NY, emptied its hazardous wastes into the Love Canal which was then a dry unfinished canal that shared a boundary with the plant. The addition of topsoil to the canal over the years made it unapparent and in the 1950s a subdivision development was approved (despite chemical company warnings). Residences and a school were built on the love canals in the 1970s; caused mass cases of cancer and other health concerns for the residents. The site became unlivable and a massive relocation and recovery project was carried out by the federal government (for the first time).
-(The United States) Environmental Protection Agency is the principal executive agency that implements the National Environmental Policy Act (established in 1969) and all environmental legislation and its regulations. It applies to any environmental project, facility, program and policy that requires the federal government to provide a permit, oversight or resources
-Vulnerability is registered not by exposure to hazards (perturbations and stresses) alone but also resides in the sensitivity and resilience of the system experiencing such hazards
-The system of interconnected or related patches and corridors that provide and sustain ecological values within a human dominated landscape; the goal is to preserve or restore the ecological integrity of critical natural systems while allowing for compatible human activities within the network and continued productive use of adjacent lands
-A guiding philosophy for sustainable new urban development and opportunities to retrofit existing urban structures to the ecological patterns nature has shaped over time, focusing on the interactions between organisms in an urban community. Urban ecology is the scientific study of the relation of living organisms with each other and their surroundings in the context of an urban environment.
-The combined actions of the species in an ecosystem that perform functions of value to society, such as the production of oxygen, decomposition of waste, pollination, and the production of clean water. They are also the benefits attributed to society by ecosystems and can be measured.
- global or hemispheric mean temperature record of the past 500 to 2000 years (SEE GRAPH)
The hockey stick is a debate/controversy about two things:
1) At a technical level, it concerns a well-known study that characterized the state of the Earth's climate over the past 1,000 years and seemed to prove a recent and unprecedented global warming.
2) At a political level, the emerging debate is about whether the enormous international trust that has been placed in the IPCC allowed a deeply flawed study to determine the Third Assessment Report, which suggests the possibility of bias in the Report-writing process.
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
-release reports on climate change
-leading institution for climate assessment
- founded in 1988 by the world meteorological organization (WMO) and the united nations environment program (UNEP)
- Assess on a regular basis the available scientific information relevant for improving the understanding of climate change and the possible environmental and socioeconomic impacts.
-An anthropogenic intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases....
→its strategies or policies aim at reducing carbon dioxide emissions through the use of alternative renewable energy technologies (examples: solar power, wind power, etc.)
-Adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. Various types of adaptation can be distinguished, including anticipatory and reactive adaptation, private and public adaptation, and autonomous and planned adaptation
Another definition: Reorganization of a system in response to internal or external change, in a manner that still retains the essential functions of the system.
→ its strategies or policies target reducing the level of vulnerability to threats from natural hazards due to climate change impacts.
-Projected increases in Temperatures from 2020 to 2099
- projected increases in surface temperature based on the B1 (top) A1B (middle) A2 (Bottom) emission scenarios of the 4th IPCC assessment report
- Scenario based on highest amount of future emissions predicts an increase in temperatures between 2, 4 Celsius and 6.4 celsius
-Future Precipitation Patterns
- Anticipate future droughts, heavy rainfalls, and floods
Some effects of the changes in precipitation patterns in relation to urbanism and agriculture:
[Unlike temperature, which has increased almost everywhere on the planet, precipitation is increasing in some parts of the world and decreasing in others. The warmer the air becomes, the more water it can store and then release it during wet days. This can lead to storm floods and heavy damage in areas where the infrastructure is not able to handle the release of large amounts of water in short amounts of time.
In addition to the increases in frequency and magnitude of heavy rainfall, season changes of precipitation are occurring as well. Farmers are concerned that seasonal changes of rainfall will affect their growing and harvesting seasons (so it can be seen how these changes are also important to land ecosystems and the agricultural sector).]
- Differences in Sea Level Rise
- Ice sheets are shrinking and that this trend will continue
- sea level rise range from 18 to 59 centimeters by the end of the 21st century
- sea level rise will not be the same everywhere
- in some areas the sea level increase is around 20 centimeters higher than the global average
- sea level rise in the southern ocean is expected to be below average
- Water Security
- the ability of an institution, such as the federal government, to perform functions, solve problems, and set and achieve objectives that will reduce threats and impacts of climate change.
-once built, helps make more effective decisions under high levels of uncertainty
-Adaptation and mitigation are also used in the same manner as this, all three are tools in high levels of uncertainty
GHG - Green House Gasses
- most common are: carbon dioxide (CO2) methane (CH4), halocarbons, and nitrous oxide (N2O)
- increased 70% from 1970 - 2004
-carbon dioxide was the largest contributor
- has a longer lifetime than many other gases emitted by humans
- the basic principle of the earth's climate is that the energy entering the atmosphere from the sun is reflective and has to go out again
- sunlight that is reflected back away from the earth is referred to as the earth's albedo
- the lower albedo is, the greater is the heat absorption on earth
- increasing emissions of greenhouse gases (ghg) are a major contributor to climate change
- they function as heat-trapping gases, preventing the earth's surface to emit much of the stored sun's energy back to space. As a result, the atmosphere and the earth's surfaces warm up more and cool down less.
-Geographic terminology meaning the reflectivity a surface has. In our case this is especially important because snow has a very high reflectivity (80ish) and water has a fairly low reflectivity (9ish) and the melting of our polar ice caps means that more sunlight is absorbed into the oceans causing more melting. This trend is called a positive feedback loop.
-It is a measurement used to determine the reflectivity of the earth's surface. It states how much solar energy is reflected from earth back into space. If the steady exchange between incoming and outgoing energy is out of balance, meaning that less energy is being reflected back to space than in the past, then the temperature from earth's surface and atmosphere changes. The lower the albedo, the greater is the heat absorption on earth.
- a systems of institutions rules and norms that provide a way to use foresight for the purpose of reducing risk, and to increase capacity to respond to events at early rather than later stages of their development
- new model for decision making while dealing with high uncertainties and consists of the anticipatory future steps and feedback creation of flexible adaptation strategies, monitoring and action
-future analysis is based on advanced scenario planning and includes methods such as aggregated averages, risk assessments, sensitivity analysis of factors or decisions driving the scenarios, identification, of unacceptable or worst case outcomes, and assessment of common and different impacts among the scenarios
- final steps of "monitoring and action" demand that policy makers and decision makers revise adaptation strategies on a regular basis.
Urban Impacts of Climate Change
-The majority of the scientific community agrees that human behavior and current urban patterns are key drivers of the rapid increase of the average global temperature in recent decades.
Poor populations in both rich and poor nations are expected to be the most vulnerable to climate change
lack of resources and capacity to respond in a timely manner, adapt, or move to less vulnerable areas
Where a city's low level of development does not allow for expensive infrastructure investments or institutional capacity to protect the population adequately, a vicious cycle of vulnerability and property may result
Local strategies to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions can also contribute to urban inequality
Local climate is still a key factor for choosing an appropriate design for buildings and urban areas, despite technological advances.
-4 E's are balanced better compared to sprawl development
Results in lower public service and transportation costs
Enables better access to jobs and lower commute time
Causes less air and water pollution
Destroys fewer farms and open space
Encourages more affordable housing and creates better choices in transportation and housing
Encourages participation in civic life and supports healthier and more active residents of all ages
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