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Lecture 2

ENV310H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Resource Depletion, Non-Renewable Resource, Wise Use Movement

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Barbara Murck

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ENV310 LEC 2
- Idea of progress
o Progress: idea that civilization is moving progressively in a +ve side
o Started out as a religious practice
- Early recongnition of human impacts
o Philosophers wrote about env degradation and resource depletion resulting from
human activities
o Impacts of farming, logging and mining
o Varro 1st century BCE we can, by care, lessen the evil effects [on the environment]
- Resource shortages
o Concerns about resource shortages, especially wood, grew in the 16 17 and 18 centuries
Wrote about what we could call sustainable use thru balancing harvesting of old
trees with growth of new trees
o Idea that resources will last forever if we manage them now
o Human well-being might be harmed by resource depletion
- Industrial revolution
o Human progress gradually became equated with the idea of modern eco growth and
material advancement
o Domination over nature
Not a new idea
On 1700s and ind rev became really resource based
Idea that resource use was not only acceptable but also necessary
o Idea that only marketable products have value eg a forest has no value unless you cut
it down and sell it
- Late 1800s
o Malthus essay on the principles of population
Human pop is growing exponentially and food is growing linearly
Wrong bc we have managed to control human pop and have found ways to
sustain/ harvest more food
Idea of the relationship bw pop and resources date back to him
Idea of the conflict bw ind freedom and self-interest vs the collective good
Which one is more important?
Tragedy of the commons
- Resource management
o Huge focus on the potential for shortages
Might have an impact on human well-being; need to use resources wisely
Thought came up during the 1800s
Subtle shift in this time period where people started realizing that they were the
cause of resource depletion
- 3 imp voices in 19th century
o WS Jevons
First man to bring up the concept of non-renewable resource (1866)
Thought about labour as a resource
o GP Marsh
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