Ch 1: Introducing Environmental Science and Sustainability: Critical Thinking and Review Questions:
- A child born in the US will have a greater ecological impact than 12 or more born in a developing country because of an uneven distribution of resources. As a highly developed and affluent country, the US consumes more resources per person because it has a higher per capita income.
- It is not possible for the world to sustain its current population (as of 2017) of 7.5 billion because of the rate nonrenewable resources are being used and the distribution of natural resources. At least, not sustainably, which would mean taking into account future generations and allowing renewable resources to renew themselves.
- In highly developed countries, consumption is driven by affluence versus population in developing countries. This is because highly developed countries generally have a higher standard of living and consume more resources than necessary, while developing countries have a larger population, so people must compete with others (rather than meeting a “standard of living”) to meet their basic needs.
- The current ecological footprint will most likely increase if humans continue to distribute resources unevenly, over-consume, and live unsustainably.
- The IPAT and ecological footprint models are similar in that they illustrate the environmental impact of a person/population by taking into account multiple factors such as affluence, impact of technology, transportation, etc.
- The proverb illustrates the importance of stewardship, or using resources with the future generation in mind so that they do not have to suffer.
- Common-pool resources include the ocean, groundwater basins, rivers (bodies of water in general), and forests.
- Economic well-being, environment, and ethics are all important cornerstones of environmental sustainability. The combination of environmentally sound, ethical/socially just, and economically realistic decisions provide the foundation for sustainable development.
- Examples of Earth systems are food chains, food webs, rock cycles, carbon cycles, energy cycles, mineral cycles, etc.
- No matter how perfect or viable a hypothesis may seem, it is wrong if something contradicts it after evaluation.
- A model could be a hypothesis because both can be wrong; if some contradicting evidence appears, it can be altered to encompass that evidence or gotten rid of.
- To receive a precise, definitive answer is not possible because there will always be some variables that are not within our control, so nothing can ever be 100% confirmed.
- Even though the negative effects of pesticide may be confirmed, there are still economic and social aspects that must be considered. For example, pesticides eliminate pests that could decimate crops and some may simply not care about the environmental consequences.
- Addressing an environmental issue:
2) Risk analysis: weighing the pros and cons of taking action or doing nothing (or somewhere in the middle)
3) Public education and involvement: getting the public to learn and commit to a plan to solve the environmental problem(s) (community is imptnt!)
4) Political action: public officials and/or politicians take the scientific evidence and take political action in response to it.
5) Long-term evaluation: analysis of the methodologies undertaken to see if the issue was addressed properly and if other better solutions exist for future scenarios
- System, in terms of environmental science, are snapshots of a bigger picture, but cannot be removed from their context. Otherwise, important elements may be lost or ignored. A violin without its strings would no longer be a full violin just as an Earth system would no longer be a system without organisms/land/water/other important factors.
- If we make uneducated decisions about energy use and climate change, we limit the opportunities, resources, and even lives of future generations. They are the ones that have to find solutions to our costly, time-consuming problems and deal with the repercussions.
- a. The distribution of wealth has become more uneven since the 1880s especially since more countries have become industrialized and highly developed. Therefore, they use more resources.
c. The current economic growth path is unsustainable because with most of the world’s wealth concentrated in a few countries, resource distribution becomes increasingly uneven, leading to increased political tension, social strife, and other negative consequences.