GEOG 302 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Kibera, Game Park, Human Ecosystem

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23 Jul 2016
GEOG 302- Environmental Mgmt and Analysis
The Environment
1. What is the environment?
2. How do we know what it is?
3. How can we change it?
4. What are we trying to achieve?
The human relationship with the envr has changed dramatically over the last couple decades, and our impact is
multiplying. Changes include biological changes- we must learn to work with limiting factors (resource mgmt
and use) and political views- in today’s modern society, politics play a huge role in determining and shifting our
views of environmental mgmt.
How to make sense of the environment
1. FRAMEWORK for analysis- looking at different epistemologies (aboriginal sophisticated modern
2. MODELS for envr mgmt (hypothetical, abstract, scientific, linkages, physical models/programs/systems)
3. ANALYSIS- application of ‘solution’ to problem, revision of procedures and results
Human ecology focuses on the relationships between humans and their natural, social, and built
environments. It is very much closely related to geography, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and ecology.
How do we adapt to our environments? How do we maintain them and other ecosystems? What are the effects
of population density on health, envr quality, etc? Biology + cultural adaptation = ? (esp with all our new
All organisms influence their envr (and vice versa?)- but what makes humans different or special?
Consider the two polar opposites of ‘The Common Future:’
- Crazy consumers vs poverty
- Wealthy north vs poor south
- Excess vs lack
- High per capita impact vs overpopulation
As we can see, both ‘worlds’ have problems. In the case of poverty, this may be due to unstable supply chains,
lack of resources and supplies….education? Health care?
The world is increasingly becoming more urban. Kibera is one of the most densely populated informal
settlements in Nairobi city. It is made of 10 villages. (Note: population density is simply one of the many lenses
used to view envr mgmt and impact). Nairobi has a central business district (very globalized), a Game Park, and
many slums. Until recently, Kibera had no water and had to collect it from Nairobi dam. Now there are two main
water pipes. There are no toilet facilities in most of the area.
We all make an impact on the environment, especially as we become more urban- this is to meet the
basic human needs. This includes calories consumed, and waste produced (food, transport, CO2 exhalation,
excrement, etc).
Consider the ecological links between the envr, the people, and other organisms in regards to the
sewage system in Kibera. Humans use the sewage pathway as a road, for water…it may be unsanitary and
unsafe, but it is ‘home’ to many. How do we manage this human ecosystem?
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