Terms in this set (45)
Three Key Concepts for 1.1
Nature has been sustained for billions of years by relying on solar energy, biodiversity, and chemical cycling. Our lives and economies depend on energy from the sun and on natural resources and ecosystem services (natural capital) provided by the earth. We could shift toward living more sustainably by applying full-cost pricing, searching for win-win solutions, and committing to preserving the earth's life-support system for future generations.
the capacity of the earth's natural systems and human cultural systems to survive, flourish, and adapt to the very long-term future.
is an interdisciplinary study of how humans interact with living and nonliving parts of their environment.
the biological science that studies how organisms, or living things, interact with one another and with their environment.
a social movement dedicated to protecting the earth's life-support systems for all forms of life.
An organism is an individual life form, and each organism belongs to a species.
a group of organisms that has a unique set of characteristics that distinguish it from other groups of organisms.
is a set of organisms within a defined area or volume interacting with one another and with their environment of nonliving matter and energy.
The three scientific principles of sustainability
(1) dependence on solar energy, (2) Biodiversity, and (3) chemical cycling.
Solar Energy and why is it important
the energy imparted to the earth system by the sun. The sun warms the planet and provides energy that plants use to produce nutrients. The sun also powers indirect forms of solar energy such as wind and flowing water.
Biodiversity and why is it important
the variety of genes, organisms, species, and ecosystems in which organisms exist and interact. The interactions among species provide vital ecosystem services and keep populations from growing too large.
chemicals that plants produce that are necessary for their own life processes as well as those of other organisms.
Chemical cycling and why is it important
the circulation of chemicals necessary for life from the environment, through organisms, and back to the environment. It is important to life on the earth because organisms must recycle chemicals continuously in order to survive.
the natural resources and natural services that keep us and other species alive and support human economies
are materials and energy in nature that are essential or useful to humans. For example, water and oil.
Natural services/ Ecosystem services and examples
are processes provided by healthy ecosystems. ex: purification of air and water, renewal of topsoil, and pollination, which support life and human economies at no monetary cost to us. Forests help purify air and water
Three examples of how we are degrading natural capital
We degrade natural capital by cutting down trees faster than they can grow back, replacing diverse and sustainable forests with croplands, and adding harmful chemicals and wastes to streams and oceans faster than they can cleanse themselves.
Explain how finding solutions to environmental problems involves making trade-offs
The search to find solutions to environmental problems involves a lot of conflicts, which causes making trade- offs: both sides get something out of the deal.
What are three social science principles of sustainability?
The three social science principles of sustainability are: (1) full-cost pricing, (2) win-win solutions, and (3) a responsibility to future generations.
What is full-cost pricing and why is it important
Full-cost pricing is adding detrimental costs to the environment and human health to the prices of goods and services. It is important because it gives consumers better information about the environmental impacts of their lifestyles, and it allows them to make more informed choices about the goods and services they use.
Explain why individuals matter in dealing with the environmental problems we face.
History has shown that almost all of the significant changes in human systems have come from the bottom up, through the collective actions of individuals and from individuals inventing more sustainable ways of doing things. Thus, sustainability begins with actions at personal and local levels.
is anything we can obtain from the environment to meet our needs and wants
Distinguish between an inexhaustible resource and a renewable resource and give an example of each.
• Inexhaustible resources have continual supplies, and renewable resources will be replenished as long as we do not use them too rapidly. Solar energy is perpetual and wood resources are renewable.
will be replenished as long as we do not use them too rapidly
the highest rate at which a resource can be used without indefinitely reducing its available supply.
Define and give two examples of a nonrenewable or exhaustible resource.
Nonrenewable resources are resources that exist in a fixed quantity, such as copper or oil.
Explain why the suggested priorities for more sustainable use of nonrenewable resources are, in order: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
• Each of the suggested priorities for more sustainable use of nonrenewable resources helps to extend supplies and to reduce the environmental impacts of using these resources. Recycling should be the last resort.
What percentage of the metals and other nonrenewable materials that we use could be reused or recycled?
• We could recycle at least 80% of the metals and other nonrenewable materials that we currently use.
Key concept of 1.2
As our ecological footprints grow, we are depleting and degrading more of the earth's natural capital.
Define and give three examples of environmental degradation (natural capital degradation).
Natural capital degradation involves using resources at an unsustainable rate. Examples include forests shrinking, topsoil eroding and deserts expanding.
About what percentage of the earth's natural or ecosystem services has been degraded by human activities?
• About 60% of the earth's natural or ecosystem services have been degraded by human activities.
• Pollution is a presence in the environment that is harmful to the health, survival or activities of humans or other organisms.
Distinguish between point sources and nonpoint sources of pollution.
• Point sources have single identifiable sources, whereas nonpoint sources are dispersed.
Distinguish between pollution cleanup and pollution prevention and give an example of each.
• Output control involves cleaning up after the pollutants have been released. And may involve physically removing a pollutant from the environment, while input control involves reducing or eliminating the production of pollutants, which may involve trapping the pollutants before they are released and then properly disposing of them.
What is the tragedy of the commons?
• The tragedy of the commons is environmentally degrading many openly shared renewable resources.
- common property and open-access renewable resources are degraded from overuse
What are two ways to deal with this effect(Tragedy of the commons)? Explain why they don't work for some systems.
• One way to deal with the degradation of shared resources is to use a shared or open-access renewable resource at a rate well below its estimated sustainable yield by using less of the resource, regulating access to the resource, or doing both. Another is to convert shared renewable resources to private ownership. Some resources, however, cannot be converted to private ownership.
refers to the amount of biologically productive land and water needed to provide the people in a particular country or area with an indefinite supply of renewable resources and to absorb and recycle the wastes and pollution produced by such resource use.
The per capita ecological footprint
is the average ecological footprint of an individual in a given country or area
Compare the total and per capita ecological footprint s of the United States and China.
The total ecological footprint for the United States in millions of hectares is 2810 versus 2050 for China. The U.S. per capita ecological footprint was about 6 times larger than China's per capita footprint.
Use the ecological footprint concept to explain how we are living unsustainably in terms of the estimated number of planet earths that we need to sustain ourselves now and in the future.
We are living unsustainably by over extracting resources, and not allowing adequate time for the processes of recycling and regeneration. Today we are using one and one-half of the earth's supply of resources.
Human development Index - how we measure a nations health
- nations health (answer)
Evidence of progress in dealing with population problems is best illustrated by
B a decrease in number of child born from women
The national park service reflects a _____ approach, while the national forest approach reflects a _____ approach
A moral and aesthetic, pragmatic resource conservation
- finite stock on earth
- energy resources
- metallic mineral resources
- nonmetallic mineral resources
Less developed countries
- 83% of the world's population