Module 1 - Population and Resources

Module 1 - Population and Resources - ENVR 201 - Resources...

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Sept 1, 2011 Are we running out of resources? - different deFnitions: UNESCO - useful to humans EPA - belonging to government Parks Canada - essential to a species ʼ survival - lead to different choices in management and conservation Resources provide material basis of subsistence, and can consist of sources or sinks Sept 6, 2011 DeFnition of resources Zimmerman: resources are not, they become; they are not stable but expand and contract in response to human wants and actions - anthropocentric view: resources are a human construction, they depend on us and our needs/wants Resources are economic, cultural and subjective - plant species: 350K species, 89K edible, 3K used, 175 cultivated, 16 supply nearly all food needs - oil: today indispensable, 200 years ago it was never used (1859 Frst well): not a resource then (perhaps a nuisance when it would sprout up?) - platinum: waste during gold rush, today highly coveted and expensive - wild rubber: - Frst used for foot protection by amerindians, 18th century europeans made erasers and mackintoshes, not a resource: merely a novelty - vulcanization in 1839 leads to innovation, boom in demand: price sky-rockets - Wickham 1876 domesticates rubber tree: plantation rubber takes over 1905-1920 at fraction of cost - WW2: Japanese capture SE Asian plantation, wild rubber rebounds, but collapses post-war - 1930 synthetic rubber developed, plantation rubber declines and wild rubber not considered ʻ resource ʼ - example of scarcity-dev cycle Scarcity-development cycle: - easily accessible resource exhausted > scarcity > price rise stimulates R&D > innovations lead to substitution, reuse and recycling > new resources ʻ created ʼ > prices fall, demand rises > easily accessible resources exhausted - not always smooth: oil - price increases in oil affect different societies differently supply disparity which can cause economic damage and potentially lessen ability to Fnd alternatives Resource types and characteristics: 1. Non-renewable resources ENVR 201 - Resources and Population
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- fxed stock - depletable (natural replenishment too slow) - availability measured in ʻ reserves ʼ - estimated (total fnite physical quantity) - proven or current (known and proftably/reliably extractable given current prices and tech) - potential (proftably extractible at a given price, e.g. tar sands) - price increases, so do proven and potential reserves - also a matter oF politics: e.g. OPEC oil cartel controls supply to regulate price, countries overestimate reserves to spur investment 2. Renewable resources - natural replenishment at non-negligible, useFul rate: grow or fow - availability based on regeneration rate - ʻ sustained yield ʼ : at what rate can we extract without jeopardizing its replenishment or our ability to continue extraction at the same rate (extraction <<< replacement rate, very complex) - common property (belongs to all but nobody in particular, e.g. air) or public goods
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Module 1 - Population and Resources - ENVR 201 - Resources...

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