GEOG 204 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Thomas Robert Malthus, Human Scale, Dynamic Equilibrium

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4 Feb 2016
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GEOG 204 – Lecture 2
China’s Paradox
Irony – as china becomes increasingly successful in overcoming its own
problems of population growth, poverty and hunger, it may create hunger in
the rest of the world
Added to this is the problem of energy
- As China & India continue to industrialize=more energy
- May create shortages everywhere and the search for alternatives
More land producing fuel crops instead of food crops =
- Rising food prices for all
- More hunger for the poor
Equilibrium
Dynamic vs. Fixed
- Ecosystems are not constant or 'xed
- Balance is achieved throughout interactions of biotic and abiotic
components
- Self regulating – GAIA Hypothesis – James Lovelock (1988)
A Matter of Scale
Time scales
- Environment changes – wide range of time scales
- Long term changes (eg. Tectonics ) can have very short term impacts
(earthquakes, volcanic eruptions)
- Humans – upset long established equilibriums
- Short term negative impact vs. Long term positive impacts
Feedbacks
Climate warms  Buy/use More air conditioning  More energy use + CO2
emissions  climate warms (example of positive feedback)
Negative feedback
- Dampen original e<ect
- Seek to remain or restore dynamic equilibrium
Climate change and cloud formations positive or negative?
- Positive  trap heat (clouds)
- Negative  block sun (clouds)
- BOTH(clouds)
Thresholds
Represent points at which change may be induced
- Often can be irreversible
- Crossing is a function of :
1) Frequency of use/impact ex: land
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