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Class 1 - Life on the Edge.docx

Environmental Studies
Course Code
ENV 1101
Sonia Wesche

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Class 1: Life On The Edge
Two senses:
Physical edge:
o Where oceanic and terrestrial systems meet
Temporal edge:
o Point in time where human activity modifies fundamental properties of the
Human population near littoral zones
10% of the global human population lives within 10m of sea level
15% of the global urban population lives within 10m of sea level
Oil spills
Storm drains: 1.374 billion liters/year
Deliberate spills from shipping: 518 million liters/year
Accidental spills from shipping: 140 million liters/year
Accidental spill, Exxon Valdez, Alaska 1989
Howe Sound BC 2006
o 29k liters oil spilled when ship hits pier
o Protective booms laid along shoreline
Exxon Valdez spill occurred because ship captain was drunk, asleep
Oil rig explosions happen regularly, onshore and offshore
Deep water Horizon failed safety inspections on several occasions, including lack
of blowout preventer
In many regions oil companies not required to have capacity to drill relief wells
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