Lecture 5

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Biological Sciences
Herbert Kronzucker

BGYC61H3 Lecture 5 We discussed running out of crop space to grow food for the human race. I mentioned the use of human high rise structures (vertical gardening) to furnish food on site and bypass the need to transport food items and eliminate the need for tractors etc. It sounds ridiculous at first but it is not and it has to be entertained to serve human and livestock needs. One has to be aware that we are encroaching of every type of eco system on earth and the most land intense activity is land agriculture. The concept of the ecological footprint should be revisited in your minds. Who remember how that was defined? Ecological footprint the biggest part of this equation is agriculture production and furnish materials i.e. pulp and paper materials calculated on a per capita basis. Remember the number for the average Canadian is over 4.27 hectarescapita. A group from Simon Fraser came up with this number. So this concept is very important here because it draws the radius of resource consumption. The 4.27 isnt sustainable in the sense that our planet isnt large enough and doesnt have a large enough land base. We are dealing with 6.5 billion people and they cant all enjoy 4.27 hectares. So the crisis is more a demand for land than any other crisis i.e. extinction of habitat and species. Water tables around Beijing drop by 2 metres on average per year because humans have to pump from underground aquifers to supply agricultural lands and to flush toilets etc. If we took all humans alive on the planet and said they required 4.27 hectares that would give us a requirement of 3 planets not taking into consideration that the human population is still growing. We are not that far off from 12 billion that each expert says will be on this earth soon and that will truly be unsustainable. A reduction in family sizeshuman offspring size correlates linearly with the welfare of a given nation. The better to do people will have fewer children and it is the law of demographic law. Remember the demographic transition model. On average each Canadian child consumes as much energy as 1,000 children in Bangladesh. Countries like China (mainly), India, and Indonesia per capita are beginning to consume a larger and larger ecological footprint that resembles the footprint of Canadians. Canadians are on the top of the chart, nobody consumes as many resources as Canadians. In these vertical gardens we can supply temperature control, moisture control, and nutrients in an indoor environment. In Canada we wouldnt have to shut down agriculture of this kind each year. We could grow all through the winter months as well. We might have to do this no matter what the price. This was written up in Popular Science and we will touch on this again in the next few weeks. Table #10-4 This is the average transit time of energy in living plant b-2mass for representative ecosystems. The biomass sitting there is called the standard biomass (gm ). Once again not surprisingly the largest amount of standing biomass per area is in the tropical rain forests and then the list goes down. Tropical rain forest BGYC61H3F.October.6.2008 Lecture 5 1 www.notesolution.com
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