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exponential growth

Quantity increases at a fixed percentage per unit time
Rapid, explosive growth
Doubling of pop. each generation


Variety of life forms and the habitats where they live
Ex: coral reefs, tropical rainforests


All surroundings
Living and non-living
Natural and man-made

environmental science

Natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, geology, etc.) - how the natural world works
Social sciences (economics, politics, ethics, etc.) - how humans and their institutions interact with and impact the natural world

natural sciences

Try to understand how the natural world works
Ex: biology, chemistry, physics, geology, etc.)

social sciences

Study how humans and their institutions interact with and impact the natural world
Ex: economics, politics, ethics, etc.


Ex of a natural science
Studies relationships b/t living organisms and their environment


Social movement aimed at protecting the natural world

sutstainability / durability

Ability to survive and adapt to changing environmental conditions

natural capital

Natural resources and natural services that keep us and other species alive and support our economies

solar capital

Warms planet
Provides energy for photosynthesis

sound science

Concepts and ideas that are widely accepted by experts in a particular field
Peer review process

environmentally sustainable society

Meets the current and future needs of its people for basic resources in a just and equitable manner without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs

economic growth

Increase in capacity of a country to provide people with good and services


Gross Domestic Product
Annual market value of all good and services produced by all firms and organizations (foreign & domestic) operating within a country

economic development

Improvement of living standards by economic growth

developed countries

High per capita GDP
Highly industrialized
Ex: U.S., Canada, Most Western European Countries

developing countries

Low per capita GDP
Some are middle-income and moderately developed
Some are low-income
Ex: China, Brazil, Kenya, Ethiopia

doubling time

Time it takes for a population to double given its growth rate
Use "Rule of 70"
Divide 70 by the growth rate to get the doubling time


Anything obtained from the environment to meet our needs or wants; ex: air, coal, water, wood

perpetual resources

On a human time scale it is renewed continuously; ex: the sun

renewable resources

Can be renewed fairly rapidly (hours to several decades); ex: wood, water, air, fish

nonrenewable resources

Exist in a fixed quantity or stock in the earth's crust; ex: coal, iron, uranium

sustainable yield

Highest rate that a renewable resource can be used indefinitely without reducing its available supply

environmental degradation

Exceeding a resources natural replacement rate
Supply of resource shrinks

common property or free access resources

Individuals do not own the resource and the resource is available for all to use at little or no cost

Garrett Hardin

1915 - 2003
American Ecologist
Wrote paper titled, The Tragedy of the Commons

Tragedy of the Commons

Concept written about by Garrett Hardin
"If I do not use this resource, someone else will. The little bit I use or pollute is not enough to matter..."

ecological footprint

Amount of biologically productive land and water needed to supply an area with resources and to absorb the wastes and pollution produced by such resource use
How many Earths does it take to support your way of life???

per capita ecological footprint

per person ecological footprint; higher for developed countries and lower for developing countries


Presence of an unwanted material or substance in high enough levels in air, water, soil, or food to threaten the health, survival, or activities of a living organism
Natural sources and anthropogenic sources

point source pollution

Pollutants come from single, identifiable sources
Large amount coming from an area you can point to
ex: sewage effluent, smokestack emissions

non-point source pollution

Comes from larger dispersed areas and are difficult to identify
Ex: agricultural runoff, runoff from a housing development

pollution prevention or input pollution control

Reduces or eliminates the production of pollutants

pollution cleanup or output pollution control

Cleaning up or diluting pollutants after they have been produced


Inability to meet one's basic economic needs


Improper diet and lacking protein and other nutrients needed for good health


Not receiving enough calories


Unsustainable addiction to overconsumption and materialism

agriclutural revolution

Began 10,000 - 12,000 years ago
Allowed people to settle in villages, grow crops and raise domesticated livestock

industrial-medical revolution

275 years ago
Shift from rural to urban society
Shift from using human and animal power to fossil fuels
Science used to improve sanitation and control disease

information-globalization revolution

50 years ago
New tech used to gain rapid access to information on a global scale

tribal era

5-10 million Native Americans
10,000 years before European Settlers in early 1600's

frontier era

1607 - 1890
European colonists begin settling North America and using its resources

frontier environmental worldview

Most of N. America viewed as vast wilderness and resources to be conquered and managed for human use

early conservation era

1832 - 1870
Some become alarmed at the resource depletion and degradation in the U.S.
Urged U.S. gov't to protect unspoiled lands owned by the public

environmental worldview

Your assumptions and values about how you think the world works and what your role in the world should be

environmental ethics

Your beliefs about what is right and wrong and how we treat the environment

planetary management worldview

We are separate from nature and nature exists mainly to meet our needs and increasing wants
Economic growth is unlimited and we can use our ingenuity and technology to manage earth's resources and services

stewardship worldview

We can manage the earth for our benefit but we have ethical responsibility to be caring, responsible stewards of the earth
Encourage environmentally beneficial forms of economic growth

environmental wisdom worldview

We are part of and totally dependent on nature
Nature exists for all species not just humans

social capital

Different people and cultures sharing ideas and beliefs

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