ENVR 201 all lecture notes

ENVR 201 all lecture notes - E NVR 201 Fall 2010 Society,...

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ENVR 201 Fall 2010 Society, Environment and Sustainability Lecture Notes Module 1: Population and Resources 1.1 Resources. .. Are we Running Out? Outline Are we Running Out of Resources? – Can We Sustainably Provide for Ourselves? – An Age- old Question • Do We have Too Many People ? – The Importance of Population population to stabilize around 9-10billion in about the year 2060. This is the obverse of are we running out of resources. • What are “Resources ”? – as far as the sufficiency of resources to sustain human consumption is concerned, even the medium term status of renewable and non-renewable resources, is subject of much debate and controversy. It is a matter of much debate because it hinges on the question of what we conceive of as a resource. How do we estimate its abundance? How we estimate abundance. Whether and how we use the resources changes with increasing scarcity of the resources. • Resource Types and Characteristics • Perspectives on “Are we Running Out?” …. Example = peak oil • The Status of some resources – this depends on how we conceive of resources and estimate their abundance and whether and how we use the resources changes as the resources become scarcer. What are Resources? Definitions of “Resources” – UNESCO = materials that occur in nature and are essential or useful to humans, such as water, air , land, forests, fish and wildlife, top soils and minerals – USEPA = land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, groundwater, drinking water supplies, and other such resources (including the resources of the exclusive economic zone), belonging to, managed by, held in trust by, appertaining to, or otherwise controlled by, the USA, any state or local gov’t or Indian tribe, or any foreign gov’t – Parks Canada = any part of the environment that species depend on for their survival. -Talkabout Trees = things we use that come from the earth
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ENVR 201 Fall 2010 • Provide material basis of subsistence -- human needs and wants (consumption, trade …)- it’s important to notes that natural resources are sued both in the form of sources and sinks (see below) • Sources and Sinks – we use nature as a repository for our waste. Quite often sources are also sinks (air for example is both, it’s a source because we need it to breathe, however we pollute the air so it’s a sink). Our wastes themselves are becoming an important source, so this distinction is by no means watertight. • Resources are those things that are useful to humans in other words things arn’t resources in and of themselves. Things become resources to the extent that they are useful to us. A thing is not a resource in and of itself. It becomes a resource based on whether it is important to us. Here we are excluding the needs of other species, but as a practical matter and how the term is commonly understood resources are things that become so by humans. • Without us, NO “resources” according to the logic stated above. – Resources not stable over space and time; change with needs. ..Robert Zimmerman
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This note was uploaded on 02/21/2011 for the course ENVR 201 taught by Professor Badami during the Fall '08 term at McGill.

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ENVR 201 all lecture notes - E NVR 201 Fall 2010 Society,...

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