Humans_and_Environment BIO 350

Humans_and_Environment BIO 350 - Biology 350: Environmental...

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Biology 350: Environmental Biology Unit I: Humans and the Environment I Defining Environmental Science A E. S. studies 1. How the earth works 2. How people interact with the earth 3. How to deal with environmental problems B E. S. tries to integrate knowledge of living systems (biology) with other fields (chemistry, physics, geology, social sciences, economics, etc.) C E.S. is not environmentalism per say, but shares similar goals 1. Environmentalism is a social movement that tries to motivate people to act to preserve the planet’s natural resources and services. II What is the environment? A Our physical surroundings which provide all of life’s necessities. B Three main components (Natural Capital) 1. Energy a) Comes from the sun or within the earth. b) Supplies all ecosystems, esp. the ones we rely on for survival. c) Energy help maintain order and drives natural processes. 2. Natural resources a) The materials that sustain life i) Air ii) Water iii) Soil iv) Minerals v) Biodiversity b) These are physical things that have limits on how much can be used at any time. 3. Environmental services a) Ecological processes that renew or refresh natural resources i) Nutrient recycling ii) Pollution control iii) Waste treatment iv) Climate control v) Population control C It is essential to understand that human societies and economies all ultimately rely on natural capital. When we deplete natural resources or disrupt services people suffer. III How humans affect the environment A The Wealth Gap 1. Countries can be categorized as rich or poor. 2. Rich countries are called highly developed (HDCs) a) Represent about 20% of the world’s population. b) Have high per capita incomes (>$10,000/yr) c) Have access to high quality goods & services (cars, schools, hospitals,
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etc.), thereby having a higher quality of life 3. Poor countries are either less developed (LDCs) or moderately developed (MDCs) a) Represent about 80% of the world’s population b) More than half of those people live in poverty (income , $2 per day) c) Less money means less access to goods and services so rates of hungar, disease and illiteracy are higher. d) Moderately developed countries like China and India (with more than 1 billion people each) are on the verge of becoming highly developed. B Biologist Paul Ehrlict and physicist john Holdren distilled the level to which humans affect the environment down to a simple equation known as IPAT. I mpact = P opulation size X A ffluence X T echnology’s effect 1. Population Size a) The driving force behind most environmental problems, esp. in LDCs b) Has only been a major issue over the last two centuries i) Earth’s population reached 1 billion in 1800 ii) …2 billion in 1930 iii) …3 billion in 1960 iv) …4 billion in 1975 v) …5 billion in 1987 vi) …6 billion in 1999 c) The good news is that the global rate of population growth is slowing i) Projected to be between 7.9 billion and 10.9 billion by the end of this
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Humans_and_Environment BIO 350 - Biology 350: Environmental...

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