REM 100 Sept 28th.docx

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Department
Resource & Environmtl Mgmt
Course
REM 100
Professor
Neil Braganza
Semester
Fall

Description
REM 100 th September 28 2012 Environmental change cont. This has resulted in the affluent Western societies utilising resources from every region of the earth. “Old-fashioned virtues” such as thrift and avoidance of waste have been supplanted by convenience and conspicuous consumption Consumerism funded by easy access to credit has promoted to sustain economic growth Has economic growth has become the goal instead of the means to approach the goal? Magnitude of the transformation World population 1800 = 1 billion 1999 = 6 billion 2011 = 7 billion What was the role of the agricultural and industrial revolutions in population increase? These revolutions had many synergistic components: In Europe in the 17 C most people were poor Life expectancy was about 35 years (less in some countries) Malnutrition was widespread Agriculture was based on common lands and tenant farming In England common lands were gradually transferred to private ownership (Enclosure Acts) and many farmers began to experiment with new methods of production More food became available, leading to population increases However, people were pushed off the land and were unemployed A crisis was looming in the iron industry due to shortage of wood-derived charcoal Iron producers learned how to use coal – breaking the connection between natural rate of production of biomass fuel and the level of industrial activity Coal had to be moved in bulk to the iron foundries and so canals and then railways were invented The new transportation systems allowed farmers distant from cities to access the growing city markets, giving them an incentive to increase production Nutrition improved and the population increased More labour was available to make products and more people were able to buy them A number of “positive feedbacks” combined to increase both the wealth and the resource consumption of the industrialising economies These were factors in improving human welfare – E.G. Life expectancy in England doubles over the course of 1850 to 1950 The large range of interacting factors that demonstrably resulted in the material wealth we consume today has had enduring effects in discussions about environment and development A key question is: Can the earth support extending to all people the high consumption life style of the current world’s richest 20% Introduction to ecological thought Perceptions of
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