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GEOG 1220
Lorne Bennett

GEOG*1220 Chapter 2 2.2 Changes in the global environment over the past century mostly due to rapid population growth and economic expansion: - Wind erosion of crop land (North American Great Plains) - Shanty town development (Mexico City and Lima, Peru) - Tropical deforestation (Brazil, Madagascar, West Africa) - Cropland erosion and stream sedimentation (India, China) - Groundwater pollution (Russia, Poland) - Acid rain (eastern North America, North west Europe) Cropland expansion has caused massive deforestation, grass land conversion and environmental degradation; soil erosion leads to reduced range and cropland productivity, increased loads of sediment and pollutants in waterways; overgrazing has led to vegetative cover loss, increased erosion and desertification; irrigation has led to modified surface water flows with diversions and impoundments causing drawdowns and depletion of groundwater Increased populations in the countryside has surpassed agriculture’s labour needs causing peasants to move to the cities in search of work- development of slums with no sanitation, safe water or permanent housing The developing and deprived countries make up 80% of the population but use less than 25% of the resources In the developed world rapid unsustainable economic growth has wrought environmental disruption Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) used in aerosols and refrigerants contribute to dramatic seasonal decreases of atmospheric ozone over polar regions subjecting the earth to more intense, tissue damaging UV rays, although they are no longer produced they still remain in the atmosphere Human induced environmental disruptions now massive enough to modify geochemical cycles, influence portions of hydrologic cycle and significantly alter atmospheric chemistry on global scales 2.3 Sustainable economies maintain basic resources upon which humankind depends and designed to thrive on interest yielded by environmental bank such as renewed freshwater, solar energy, and annual plant productivity without consuming the principal Sustainable development – strategies designed to reduce environmental impacts and maintain resource base while allowing certain amount and type of development to take place Humans are dependent on environmental resource base and sustaining that resource base is required if humanity is to thrive Environmental accounting must be developed to assess environmental costs associated with producing, transporting, and consuming goods and services Legislation in some countries has begun to consider environmental costs that the free market has historically ignored, costs are calculated and integrated into price structure of producer or service provider (ex. polluter pay laws) to give incentive to reduce pollution and environmental damage To break the poverty cycle: - Farmers must grow enough food or earn enough income to meet essential needs , national market policies must ensure farm prices provide adequate income incentives for farmers to produce enough foods - Farmers must have secure rights to land, land reform programs provide ownership or long term rights to ram land will be necessary in some countries to encourage conservative land use practices - Farmers must be taught how to manage their land properly, without managerial experience in dealing with land, water and crop systems often lack the insight to build sustainable farms- educational programs will be needed - International marketing strategies and some food aid programs must be modified, influx of cheap surplus grains from developed countries may increase current food supplies, it lowers price paid for domestically produced grain undercutting profitable food production and discouraging building of sustainable farms in poor countries 2.4 necessary changes in resource policies for sustainability Needed in developed and developing countries Reforming agriculture by reintroducing sustainable agriculture will require adopting policies with long term objectives aimed at developing and disseminating suitable agricultural practices Promoting efficient raw material and energy use by: - use energy more efficiently ex. improved car mileage to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and acid precipitation but would reduce overall costs to industries, commercial businesses and consumers - Reforming energy use- improving energy and material efficiency saves money and reduces environmental degradation - monopolistic control that most energy utility companies and agencies have over their markets must be modified so that suppliers of alternative enrgy sources can compete for those energy markets 2.5 constraints on achieving sustainable land use Gross consumption is rising faster than world population for much of the world
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