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GEOG 102 Population, Resources, and the Environment

Professor: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue

Topic 8 Environment and Society

A Environmental Perception and Concern


B The Ecological Footprint

Environmental Perception and Concern

1. Historical Changes
2. Environmental Movements (1960s and 1970s)
3. Environmental Retreat (1980s)
4. Environmental Globalism (1990s)
5. Current Perspective: Reality Check

Historical Changes
Western perspective

Nature

Nature as adversary, something that had


to be overcome.
Pronounced man/nature dichotomy.
Attitudes towards unrestrained
exploitation of natural resources.
No sense of limits in terms of capacity.
Often supported by religious beliefs,
particularly Christianity.

Non-Western societies
Lower technology levels and different
attitudes prevailed.
Man / nature symbiolism.

Nature

Technological Changes and Environment


Relationships
Hunter-Gatherer Survival based by gathering edible plants and killing animals.
Societies
Little accumulated economic and food surplus.
Small numbers, decentralized and little use of resources.
Strong linkage with nature.
Agricultural
societies

Produce larger and more stable food supplies.


Larger settlements and populations.
First major environmental degradation.
Decline or collapse of civilizations linked with the degradation of
the soils and resource bases.
Human domination of nature (anthropocentric view).

Industrial
societies

Substitution of human and animal labor by machines.


Urbanization (population outside natural surroundings).
Began to change attitudes toward the environment.
Exploitation of resources exacerbated many environmental
problems and created new ones.
Pollution exacerbated by the use of synthetic materials.

Climate change and the collapse of civilizations


Civilization

Issue

Akkadian Empire (2,170


BC)

Established between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.


Collapsed because climate change destroyed its
agricultural base. Cooling of the North Atlantic Ocean
influence rainfall in the Middle East.

Mayan Civilization (900


AD)

Located in the Yucatan Peninsula. Collapsed after 200


years of lower precipitations.

Roanoke settlement,
North America (1587)

First permanent British colony vanished after 4 years.


Corresponded to the worst drought on the East Coast in
700 years

Historical Changes
Preservation vs. conservation
dichotomy
Preservation:
Preservation

Focused on the maintenance of


wilderness.
Any use of the resources contained
therein would negate the continued
existence of the wilderness itself.
Low impact tourism often permitted.

Conservation:
Conservation

Favors resource management.


Preventing rampant exploitation but
allowing some development to occur.
Difficult to assess the right level of
resource exploitation (non-renewable
resources).

Historical Changes
Early conservation movements
In Europe, early conservation movements were the preserve of
the elite.
Mainly hunting grounds in large private estates.
Helped to preserve many species in Europe that would otherwise
have disappeared.

National parks
First was Yosemite (1864).
Protection of one or several ecosystems from human exploitation
or alteration.
Protected by the highest authority in the country.
Visitors must respect a set of rules and regulations.

Environmental Movements (1960s and 1970s)


Rising affluence

Growth of leisure and tourism (pristine environments).

Rising levels of
education

Better-educated people developed greater awareness of


environmental problems

Environmental
organizations

Many environmental organizations founded. National Wildlife


Federation (1936); United Nations Environment Programme
(1972); WorldWatch (1974).

Pollution

Water pollution, waste disposal and acid rain became the first
widely noticed hazards

Scientific evidence

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962) and The Population


Bomb by Paul Ehrlich (1968)

Politics

Decade when environmental issues began to become


politicized. Green parties: Political parties focusing primarily on
environmental issues

Environmental Movements (1960s and 1970s)


Legislations
Regulatory laws were passed in the USA and elsewhere.
Enforcement agencies were created:
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the USA was created in the
early 1970s.
Most states created their own environmental protection agencies.

Legislation was passed to help correct environmental hazards


already created.
Prevent additional problems from arising.
Air quality improved in many areas; cleaner water reappeared.

Environmental Movements (1960s and 1970s)


Environmentalism and the global crisis
Carried the roots of environmentalism beyond local and national
scales to the global scale.
Transnational dimensions of many environmental problems:
Many environmental problems do not recognize boundaries.
Acid rain in Western Europe (Sweden) and North America.

First UN Conference on the Human Environment:


Stockholm, 1972.
Creation of the UN Environmental Programme.

Rise of the neo-Malthusian perspective:


Rising concern over population growth.
Formation of the Club of Rome (1972).
Publication of the Limits to Growth and the formation of ZPG.

Environmental Retreat (1980s)


Retreat
Retreat for the environmental movement in the USA.
The oil crises helped weaken public support for environmental
programs.
Conservative agenda of de-regulation.
Weakening of some environmental controls in the USA:
Onslaught on the National Forests of the USA.
Clearcutting regulations were weakened.
Easier exploitation by timber companies, especially in the Pacific
Northwest.
Emphasis shifted from conservation efforts to increased resource
exploitation.
Expand drilling into several protected areas.

Environmental Retreat (1980s)


Creation of a sustainable development ideology
Carbon Dioxide was found to cause global warming (1983).
A hole in the ozone layer was found over the Antarctic (1985).
Brundtland Report Our Common Future:
Sustainable is used for the first time.
Maintenance of life support systems.
Working to reduce the threats to those systems represented by erosion,
pollution, deforestation, etc.
Preservation of genetic diversity.
Providing us with insurance for the future by guarding against the ravages
of crop diseases.
Investment for future crop-breeding or pharmaceutical development.
Sustainable development of species and ecosystems

Environmental Retreat (1980s)


Environmental ethics
We have not inherited the earth from our parents; we have
borrowed it from our children.
Development is often viewed in materialistic terms.
Focusing on resource utility through conservation.
Environmentalism as an elitist attitude intended to prevent
development in the South.

Environmental Globalism (1990s)


UN World Conference on Environment and Development
Rio de Janeiro (1992):

Largest such gathering ever (100 heads of state).


Placed the environmental agenda at the center of the world stage.
Development made possible by the end of the Cold War.
Establish Agenda 21, a blueprint for action.

Europe and Japan:


World leaders in environmental affairs.

USA:
Role of obstructionist.
Objected to any negative references concerning consumption patterns in
the developed countries.
Had the most to lose.

Average Temperature at the Earth's Surface and


World Carbon Emissions From Fossil Fuel Burning, (in
millions of tons) 1880-2002

Estimated Climate Factors Change, 1850-2000 (in


watts/m2)

Environmental Globalism (1990s)


The Rio Declaration
development must occur on a sustainable basis to meet the
needs of present and future generations.
Lack of detail and no operational aspects are considered.
Have relatively little meaning.

Global Warming Treaty


Stabilization of the amount of greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere at a level which would prevent dangerous
interference with climate systems.
Lacks a specific timetable for decreasing emissions.
No mandatory maximum levels for emissions.
Most countries other than the USA endorsed guidelines to reduce
CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000.

Environmental Globalism (1990s)


Biodiversity Convention
Guarantees the protection and conservation of plant and animal
species threatened with extinction.
Declares who has the right to develop and market products
based on such species.
The USA opposed this treaty (biotechnology sector).

Countries Having Ratified the Biodiversity


Convention, 2004

Not ratified
Ratified

Environmental Globalism (1990s)


Agenda 21(Blueprint for Action)
Commitment to sustainable development through a set of four
program areas.
1) Promoting sustainable development through trade.
2) Making trade and environment mutually supportive.
3) Providing adequate financial resources to developing
countries:
Committed to 0.7% of GNP.
Currently stands at around 0.5% of GNP for most European countries,
Canada, and Japan.
Just 0.25% for the USA.

4) Encouraging economic policies conducive to sustainable


development

Environmental Globalism (1990s)


Kyoto Protocol

The Global Warming Treaty was not working.


2000 goals would not achieved.
High profile meeting in Kyoto in 1997.
160 nations formally adopted the protocol:
Legally committing industrial countries do reduce Carbon Dioxide
emissions.
Reduce climate-altering gases by 5.2% below 1990 levels between 2008
and 2012.

Developing countries, mainly China and India, objected:


Meeting the target would cripple their economies leaning on coal.
Developing countries were thus exempted.

Countries Having Ratified the Kyoto Protocol, 2004

Did not ratify


Ratified

Characteristics of the Kyoto Protocol


Issue

Characteristics

Commitments

Reductions of 60 to 80% below 1990 levels are required to


stop global warming. Developing countries not included

Flexibility

Consideration of carbon sinks such as forests.


Does not address CO2 emissions

CO2 trading

Nations can trade CO2 allowances (1990 levels) with other


nations. Russia, Ukraine (sellers) and the US (buyer) are
candidates.

Ratification

Treaty in force if ratified by 55% of countries responsible for


emissions. The US did not ratify (2001).

Total Carbon Emissions, 1900-1999 (in millions of


tons)

Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions, 1995

Million tons of CO2


High : 27500

Low : 0

Current Perspective: Reality Check


Perspective
Low or over valuation of the environment:
Consumers and environmental radicals.

Maximization of wealth and risk taking.


No limits to growth and problems can be overcome by
technology.
Short term perspective.
Ostrich's approach?

Environmental divide

Between developing and developed countries.


Between Europe and the United States.
Economic growth becomes the dominant paradigm.
Clashes: Seattle (1999).

Current Perspective: Reality Check


Dependency
Societies are caught in the requirements they have created:
Economic growth.
Standard of living.
Mobility.

American response:
Would not contemplate any action that would hurt America's economy or
restrict its access to energy.
We must be very careful not to take actions that could harm consumers.
President Bush (2001).
Did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol (2001).

Shift of emphasis
Adaptation, more than prevention.
Cope with the consequences of GW instead of dealing with the
sources.

Environmental Perception: Who Cares?

Very Important

World

Global Warming

Nation

Community

Some Importance

Little Importance
No Importance

Air pollution
Hazardous materials

Family
Week

Year

Lifetime Next Generation

Current Perspective: Reality Check


Environmentalism = Fascism?
Many environmentalists fell prey to irrationalism and fear
mongering:
Self-righteousness and hatred of different ideas.
Moral decay: use of violence, deception and bio-terrorism to achieve
goals.

Science is less part of the agenda:


Replaced by ideology and dogmatism.

Environmentalism takes away private property rights and


freedom:
The goal is socialism / communism and control of the population.

Biocentrism:
Human beings are less important than nature.
Undermines human rights, freedom and dignity.

The Ecological Footprint


1. Driving Forces
2. The Vicious Circle
3. The Ecological Footprint

Driving Forces
Context

Demographic growth.
Growing size of societies and communities.
Urbanization.
Technological development.
Increasing inequalities.
Larger levels of personal consumption.
Higher generation of wastes:
Several are difficult to be absorbed.

Growing impacts on the environment

Driving Forces
Population change
A world of 6.3 billion consumers.
Each addition of consumers generate more pressures on:

Food.
Water.
Energy.
Raw materials.
Space.

Comparable negative impact on the environment.


What will be the impacts of about 9 billion consumers by 2050?

Driving Forces
Promotion of economic growth
Market economies are based on economic expansion:
Growth of production (supply).
Growth of consumption (demand).

Issue reinforced by globalization.


Governments try to reinforce economic growth:
Elected for such a purpose.
Reversed if they mismanage the economy.

Consequences:
Depletion of nonrenewable resources.
Overuse of renewable resources.
Between 1995 and 1998 the worlds economic output exceeded the
output from the beginning of history to 1900.

Driving Forces
Culture and belief systems

Consumerism incarnates materialistic values in human behavior.


Fulfillment derived from the accumulation of goods.
Expands the demand side of the market economy.
Lebow (commenting American consumerism):
Our enormously productive economy demands that we make
consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of good
into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction and ego satisfaction in
consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out,
replaced and discarded at an ever increasing rate.
The United States has more malls than high schools; Americans spend
more time shopping than reading.

Becoming the dominant global social paradigm.

Other means

C
om
fo

rt

Luxury
Ex
tra
va
ga
nc
e

Surv
ival

Fulfillment

Fulfillment Curve

Consumption

Driving Forces
Technology
Population growth, economic growth and consumerism existed,
to various degrees, before the industrial revolution.
Technological developments have expanded the processes.
Technological growth often the result of resource depletion.
More efficient technologies also a factor of accelerated resource
depletion.
So far, technology as been more a factor of resource depletion
and environmental destruction than of conservation.

The Vicious Circle


Era of superdisasters

Climate change.
Deforestation.
Poverty.
Crowding.

Collision to create larger hazards

1 billion people are living in shantytowns.


Several of the largest cities are at risk by earthquakes.
50% of the global population lives along the coastline.
10 million are at high risk of being flooded.
96% of all causalities from natural disasters are in the Third
World.

The Vicious Circle

Poverty

Population

Environment

Instability

The Vicious Circle

Poverty

Population

More children to compensate high


mortality.
More children to help domestic tasks
and cultivation.
Lack of protection in view of disease or
old age.
Lack of education plays against family
planning.
Women status and poverty forbid
access to education.
Unemployment and low incomes,
dilution of gain.
Division of property among several
children.
Overburden of health and social
services and utilities.

The Vicious Circle

Population

Environment

Increase of pressures over marginal


land, overexploitation, and
deforestation.
Erosion and floods.
Increase use of fertilizers, pesticides
and water.
Migration to shantytowns.
Erosion, salination and floods lower
agricultural yields, employment and
incomes.
Overpopulation increases health
problems and lowers productivity.

The Vicious Circle

Poverty

Environment

Short term needs are a priority and


forbids environmental protection.
Development wins over
environmental issues.

The Vicious Circle

Instability

Fall back of democracy, repression and


dictatorship.
The army takes most of public spending.
Bad investment environment, loss of
tourism incomes.
Disorganization of health and education
services.
Disorganization of trade and limited
development opportunities.
National and international resources
towards urgencies.
Social divisions and political problems.
Refugees.
Terrorism?

The Ecological Footprint


Energy
Raw materials

Inputs

System processing inputs to produce


outputs
Inputs:
Energy and raw materials.

Processes:
Energy and raw materials with labor
and infrastructure.

Processes

Outputs
Products
Services
Wastes

Outputs:
Products, services and wastes.

Offers conditions (opportunities) to


support its working conditions and
insure its growth.
Fast growth can be seen as a disease
(cancer).
Sustainability achieved through the
reduction of inputs and outputs.

Material Flow Cycle


Production
and
manufacturin
g

Resource
supply

Waste or losses
Recycled flow

Consumpti
on

Post-consumer discards

Recycling

Landfills, impoundments,
Deep wells and ocean
disposal
Releases to air, land and
water

Renewable and
Nonrenewable resources

Sink

The Ecological Footprint


Concept
Sink

Lithosphere
Hydrosphere
Atmosphere
Ecosphere

The environment is a sink.


Consideration of physical measures
of environmental damage.
Evaluation of involved costs for the
society.
Can be considered from economic,
social and environmental
dimensions.

The Sears Tower, Chicago


Features

Enclosed entity.
1,700 feet high.
110 stories.
10,000 workers.

Energy
Consumes more energy than an
American city of 150,000.
Consumes more energy than an
Indian city of 1 million.

The Ecological Footprint


Impacts
Impacts

Population

Affluence

Technology

Possible to measure the general


impacts of human activities on
the environment.
Impacts (I) = P*A*T
Where P is population, A is
affluence (level of consumption)
and T is technology.
The impacts must be lower than
the carrying capacity of the
world.

The Ecological Footprint


Calculating the footprint
Keep track of most of the resources consumed and the wastes
generated.
Converted to a biologically productive area necessary to provide
these functions.
The footprint is not a continuous piece of land:
Due to international trade, the land and water areas used by most global
citizens are scattered all over the planet.

Ecological Balance, 1993

Ecological Balance (Ha/Cap)


Less than -3
-2 to 0
1 to 2
3 to 6
More than 6

Ecological Footprint and Capacity for Selected


Countries, 1993 (in km2)

The Urban Footprint of London (yearly figures)


Inputs

Outputs

20 million tons of fuel


40 million tons of oxygen
1 billion tons of water
2.4 million tons of food
15 million tons of raw materials

3.9 million tons of household and


commercial wastes
11.4 million tons of industrial and
demolition wastes
60 million tons of CO2
400,000 tons of SO2
280,000 tons of NO2

The Urban Footprint of London

Carbon sequestration, 1.5 hectares per person, 10.5 million hectares

Wood products, 768,000 hectares


London, Population 7 millions, 158,000 hectares
Food production, 0.2 hectares per person, 8.4 million hectares

Total: 19.7 million hectares, 125 times


the surface of the city