Population, Sustainability, and the Earth's Company Notes

Population, Sustainability, and the Earth's Company Notes -...

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Population, Sustainability, and the Earth’s Carrying Capacity Lifestyles that could be sustained without undermining the potential of the planet to support future generations. Investigates how human activity may increase or reduce Earth’s carrying capacity o Look at Current demographics Various biophysical and social dimensions of carrying capacity o Provides basis of policy formulation Currently: human population is so large and growing rapidly o “Demographic Winter” Current population of 5.5 billion, growth rate:1.7% = 93 more million people this year Less- developed regions (excluding China) o 2.4% growth rate double in 30 years o Birth rate decreases due to more younger people More-developed regions o 0.5% growth rate double in 137 years Environmental Impact o Can be measured by the fraction of the terrestrial net primary productivity directly consumed, co-opted, or eliminated by human activity Measuring energy supply of all terrestrial animals Currently 40%, will double with population increase I=PAT Factors are not independent Population increases, consumption increases, damage increases The Concept of Carrying Capacity o Maximal population size of a giving species that an area cans support without reducing its ability to support the same species in the future Specifically: renewable recourses o Larger or richer area will have a higher carrying capacity (ceteris paribus) Species with lower energetic requirements than one at the same thropic level will survive longer o For human beings, the matter is complicated by two factors: substantial individual differences in types and quantities of resources consumed and rapid cultural (including technological) evolution of the types and quantities of resources
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This note was uploaded on 03/07/2012 for the course ENVIRONMEN 102 taught by Professor Weber during the Spring '12 term at Waterloo.

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Population, Sustainability, and the Earth's Company Notes -...

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