Challenge Handout - Challenges to Human Survival on Earth I What are the Challenges Traditional business interests of big companies Based on

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1 1 Challenges to Human Survival on Earth What we need: Open eyes and open mind Can-do attitude Not to give in to “common excuses” Come up with sustainable solutions “If a path to the better there be, it begins with a full look at the worst." --Thomas Hardy I. What are the Challenges ? 2 Traditional business interests of big companies Maximize profit Based on short- term assessment, e.g. Quarterly stock reports A few benefit Wall street: Focus shift from generating value for economy to generating wealth (money) for individuals Environment Limited resources Limits to growth Ecosystems view Ensure long-term survival Within limits of carrying capacity Long-term view Everyone benefits Two different Mindsets ? What are the current challenges? How can we solve this conflict? What are the possible solutions? Ecological Economics What we need to consider 3 2. Chemical cycling (read) • Transporting nutrients (e.g. harvesting, fertilizers) • Add new chemicals (some are toxins) • Releasing chemicals into atmosphere (e.g. CO2, acids, fluorocarbons, etc) • Exhausting non-renewable resources (e.g. fossil fuels) 3. Energy flow (e.g. mining of fossil fuels and chemical release) Challenge: Human Disturbance Human activity is disrupting ecosystems throughout the biosphere at 3 levels: Humans Bale n whales Crab-eater seals Birds Fishes Squids Leopard seals Elephant seals Smal er to thed whales Sperm whales Carnivorous plankton Euphausids (kril ) Copepods Phyto- plankton 1. Trophic structure of food webs (read) (e.g. agriculture, deforestation, land- development, overfishing) 4 some heat is reflected back by atmosphere: Greenhouse effect Energy Flow: Light enters and leaves as heat Heat Ozone Layer (keeps most of harmful UV rays from getting through) Light ~1% of light that reaches autotrophs is used for photosynthesis produce ~ 170 bil ion tons of organic material per year Energy flow disruptions 5 Release of chemicals (e.g. CFC: chlorofluorocarbons) causes the depletion of the Ozone layer high up in the atmosphere This causes an increase in UV radiation onto the Earth surface Deplete ozone layer See global warming animation for details Energy flow disruptions Depletion of Atmospheric Ozone 6 Depletion of Atmospheric Ozone Life on Earth is protected from the damaging effects of UV radiation by a protective layer of ozone molecules present in the atmosphere Satellite studies of the atmosphere suggest that the ozone layer has been gradually thinning since 1975: holes above the Artic and NA Energy flow disruptions (a) October 1979 (b) October 2000
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2 7 Depletion of Atmospheric Ozone Life on Earth is protected from the damaging effects of UV radiation by a protective layer of ozone molecules present in the atmosphere Satel ite studies of the atmosphere suggest that the ozone layer has been gradual y thinning since 1975 Energy flow disruptions (a) October 1979 (b) October 2000 8 Depletion of Atmospheric Ozone More UVB rays get through causing skin cancer 6 Ozone layer thickness (Dobson units)
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Challenge Handout - Challenges to Human Survival on Earth I What are the Challenges Traditional business interests of big companies Based on

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