Chapter 1 Outline
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Introduction to Environmental Science
Historical Perspective/Development of
Environmental Science
Current Conditions
A Divided World
Sustainable Development
Indigenous People
Environmental Case Study
Hetch Hetchy Valley
Dow/UnionCarbide
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Introduction
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Humans have always inhabited both the natural
world and the social world.
Environment:
 Circumstances or conditions that surround an
organism or groups of organisms
 The complex of social or cultural conditions
that affect an individual or community
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Introduction
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Environmental Science: Systematic study of our
environment and our place in it
 Interdisciplinary -Includes concepts and ideas
from multiple fields of study.
 Integrates the following disciplines
- Natural Science
- Social Science
- Humanities
 Mission oriented
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Environmental Science
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Basic History of Humans and the Environment
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Hunter-Gatherers (10,000 B.C.)
 Obtain food by collecting plants and
hunting wild animals.
 Effects on the environment were limited.
- Hunting of some animal species.
- Picked up and spread plants/seeds to
new areas.
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Basic History of Humans and the Environment
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Agricultural Revolution (6000-7000 B.C.)
 Humans first developed the process of
breeding, growing, and harvesting plants
for food as well as animal domestication.
 Effects on the environment:
- Human population grew more quickly
- Natural habitats (grasslands, forests)
replaced by farmland and villages.
- New breeds of animals and plants were
created.
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Basic History of Humans and the Environment
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Industrial Revolution (1800s)
 Shift in the source of energy to fossil fuels
 Effects on the environment:
- More efficient farming
- Faster human population growth
- Increased burning of fossil fuels.
- Introduced synthetic plastics, fertilizers,
pesticides.
- Higher amounts of pollution.
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Environmental Ethics
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Environmental ethics is the discipline that
studies the moral relationship of human
beings to the environment.
 What is the value of the environment?
 What moral responsibility do we have?
 Which needs should be given the highest
priority in our decision making?
Different types of ethics have emerged in
human culture in modern history.
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Historical Perspective
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Distinct Stages
 Anthropocentric - means “human-centered”.
 Pragmatic Resource Conservation
 Moral and Aesthetic Nature Preservation
 Concern about Health and Ecological Damage
 Global Environmental Citizenship
Parts of each stage persist today in the
environmental movement.
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Anthropocentrism
This set of ethics protects and promotes of
human interests or well-being at the
expense of all other factors.
 Often places an emphasis on short-term
benefits while disregarding long-term
consequences.
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Pragmatic Resource Conservation
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George Perkins Marsh
- Man and Nature
published in 1864
Influenced Theodore
Roosevelt and his
conservation advisor,
Gifford Pinchot.
Pragmatic Utilitarian
Conservation
Multiple Use Policies of
US Forest Service
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“Greatest good for the
greatest number for the
longest time”
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Ethical and Aesthetic Nature Preservation
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John Muir - President Sierra Club
 Nature deserves to exist for its own sake regardless of degree of usefulness to humans.
(Biocentric Preservation)
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Modern Environmental Movement
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Industrial explosion of WW II added new concerns
to the environmental agenda.
 Rachel Carson - Silent Spring (1962) Added a
whole new dimension to environmental
awareness (unintended consequences).
 Barry Commoner
 Wangari Maathai-won Nobel Peace Prize for
environmental action (2004).
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Environmental Agenda Expands
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The environmental agenda expanded in the 1960’s
and 70’s to include:
 Human population growth
 Atomic weapons testing
 Fossil fuel issues
 Recycling
 Air and water pollution
 Wilderness protection
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Global Interconnections
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Increased technology and ease of travel has greatly
expanded international communications.
 Daily events now reported worldwide instead of locally or
regionally leads to Global Environmentalism
- What is the single greatest environmental problem
facing the world today?
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Current Conditions
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Human Population > 7 Billion
 Water quantity and quality issues may be the
most critical issues in the 21st century.
 Food is inequitably distributed across the globe
and 2/3 of agricultural lands show signs of
degradation.
 Fossil fuel reserves are diminishing and the
burning of fossil fuels causes pollution and global
warming, allegedly.
 Air quality has worsened in many areas,
especially southern Asia and India.
 Loss of biodiversity at a rapid rate.
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Signs of Hope
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Progress has been made on many fronts.
 Population has stabilized in most industrialized
countries.
 Incidence of life-threatening diseases has been
reduced in most countries.
 Deforestation has slowed and habitat protection
has increased in some areas.
 Progress is being made in transition to
renewable energy sources.
 Democracy is spreading, which allows decision
making by local people who know the land rather
than by a centralized bureaucracy.
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The Demographic Divide:
Developed and Developing Nations
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Developed and Developing Countries
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Environmental issues faced by different
countries varies depending on their
economic status.
Developed – Higher incomes, longer life
span, lower growth rate.
 Ex: United States, Japan, France, U.K.
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Developing and Developed Countries
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Developing – Have lower
incomes, shorter life span,
rapid population growth.
 Ex: India, Afghanistan,
most of sub-Saharan
Africa
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A Divided World
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World Bank estimates more than 1.4 billion people
live in extreme poverty earning < $1 (U.S.) per day.
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Poor are often both victims and agents of
environmental degradation. They are trying to
meet their present survival needs at the cost of
long term sustainability.
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Cycle of poverty continues over generations as
people who are malnourished and ill cannot work
productively and raise healthy children.
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A Divided World
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About 1/5 of the world’s population lives in countries
with per capita income > $25,000 per year (U.S.).
The other 4/5 lives in middle or low income
countries.
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Gap between rich and poor continues to increase.
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The gap affects many quality of life indicators.
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Quality of Life Indicators
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Population and Consumption
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Developing countries tend to have severe
overpopulation. This leads to:
 Deforestation
 Bare soil
 Native animals driven to extinction
 Malnutrition, starvation, disease
About 80% of the world’s population falls in
this category
 Only use 25% of the world’s resources
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Population and Consumption
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Developed countries, while smaller in size
and growth, consume resources at a greater
rate.
About 20% of the world’s population uses
75% of its resources.
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Developing and Developed Countries
Source: Holt Environmental Science, Arms, 2007
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Is There Enough for Everyone?
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Rich nations consume an inordinate share of the
world’s resources and produce an unsustainable
amount of pollution.
The U.S. makes up 4.6% of the world’s population,
but consumes 25% of all oil production and
generates 50% of all toxic wastes in the world.
If all the residents of China were to match American
consumption, it would take four extra planet Earths
to support them using current technology.
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Tragedy of the Commons
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An ecologist named Garrett Hardin wrote an
essay describing the source of environmental
problems as a conflict:
 Short-term interests of individuals
versus…
Long-term interests of civilization and the
Earth itself
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Tragedy of the Commons
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Each villager owns a small
herd of sheep.
The only place for the sheep
to graze is a commons in the
center of the village.
A commons is an area that
belongs to an entire village.
 Likely outcome: Villagers
obtain as many sheep as
possible, allow to graze in
the commons. Result?
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What if the commons was instead divided into
sections that was owned by each villager?
 Because the land is owned, individuals are much
more likely to plan and use it for the long-term.
“In the history of the world, no one has ever washed a rental car.”
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Larry Summers, Chief Economic Advisor to President Obama
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Economic Progress
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Over the past 50 years, the world’s Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) increased from $2 trillion to $22
trillion.
Since WW II, average real income in developing
countries has doubled and life expectancy has
increased by 30%.
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Economics and the Environment
Supply and Demand – The
greater the demand for a limited
resource, the higher the price.
 Examples:
- Increasing price of
oil/gasoline
- Consistently low price of
corn in U.S.
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Economics and the Environment
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Cost/Benefit Analysis – Is the cost of doing
something worth the price?
The price paid from fine/clean up vs the potential
profit.
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Economics and the Environment
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Risk Analysis – The probability that something will
cause injury or death.
 Ex: Nuclear power
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Sustainable Development
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“Meeting the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to
meet their own needs.”
 Benefits must be available to all humans, rather
than to a privileged few.
 Economic growth alone is not enough. Political
stability, democracy, and equitable economic
distribution are needed to ensure that all benefit.
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Sustainable Development
Many ecologists view continual growth as
impossible in the long run due to limits imposed
by non-renewable resources and the capacity of
the biosphere to absorb wastes.
Others argue that through the use of technology
and social organization, we can manage to meet
our needs and provide long-term (but not infinite)
growth.
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Ecological Footprint
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An ecological footprint is one
measurement of a person’s
resource use.
 Includes the amount of
space needed to support
each person in a nation,
including forests, farms,
cities, etc.
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Indigenous People
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Indigenous (native) people are often the least
powerful, most neglected people in the world.
 At least half the world’s 6,000 distinct languages
are dying.
 Indigenous homelands may harbor vast
percentage of world’s biodiversity.
 Recognizing native land rights and political rights
may often be a solid ecological safeguard as
indigenous people have a rich knowledge of
local habitats.
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Yosemite National Park
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Yosemite National Park is a national park
directly east of San Francisco that was
created in 1890.
Images taken from
http://www.nps.gov
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San Francisco
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The city of San Francisco experienced a
tremendous population boom in the 19th
century due to the gold rush.
A powerful earthquake struck the city in
1906, followed by a devastating fire.
The city’s water pipes were so damaged by
the earthquake, that firefighters were not
able to tap fire hydrants.
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Earthquake of 1906
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The economic and structural damage to the city is
comparable to that of Hurricane Katrina and New
Orleans.
As part of the rebuilding process, the city applied to
the federal government to construct a reservoir in
the Hetch Hetchy valley of Yosemite National 41Park.41
Hetch Hetchy Valley
Image taken from
http://www.sierranevada
photos.com
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San Francisco city officials wanted to dam the Tolumne river
for a clean and dependable long-term water source for a
growing city.
An act of Congress and President Woodrow Wilson’s
approval were needed for the dam and reservoir to be
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constructed.
Before and After
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Bhopal and Dow Chemical
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In December of 1984, a pesticide factory
located near the town of Bhopal, India leaked
a large amount of toxic chemicals into the air.
The chemicals resulted in an immediate
death toll of about 3,000 people, with 8,000
more dying of long-term health ailments.
 A total of 558,125 injuries were reported to
the Indian government.
 No legal settlement was reached with
Union Carbide, now owned by Dow
Chemical.
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Ethics and Economics
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To properly compensate and treat all
individuals affected by this disaster, Dow
Chemical would have to pay several billion
dollars in settlements.
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Dow Chemical has a yearly profit of over $2
billion, with total assets worth nearly $70
billion.
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Understanding Our Environment