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In Class Lecture Notes

Environmental Science
Course Code
Carl Mitchell

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L02 - Population and Environmental Consequences
Environmental degradation Æ population growth, misuse/overuse of resources
Carrying capacity - maximum population size of a given species a given environment -
can sustain (finite) - 10 million to 33 billion
- change carrying capacity by changing the limiting factors (increasing food, decreasing
disease, more space/water)
- we have no idea how our carrying capacity will alter itself
t(d) = ln(2) x 100 / growth rate(%)
= 70 / growth rate(%)
4 changes in culture, technology
1. Cultural Revolution/Paleolithic Period: tools, fire, omnivores, speech &
communication, little evidence of population
2. Agricultural Revolution: farmers, easier to meet needs .. population increase
- reduction of area needed per person
- excess of food production
- establishment of settlements
- social structures
- Fertile Crescent - (soil salinization collapse of society)
3. Industrial Revolution: Æ manufacturing, urban society, use of energy
- improved sanitation and medicine
- more advanced in agriculture Æ increase in food production
- greater supply of energy/resources/labour
- accumulation of wealth/market for manufactured goods
4. Medical-Technological Revolution: developments in medicine/pharmaceuticals,
improved sanitation, global communication, Green Revolution (agriculture advances)
- people live longer/healthier
- gap between rich and poor widened
- total Impact on environment is a result of Population (increase), Affluence (increase),
Technology (either), and Sensitivity
- I = pollution, resource depletion or both
- population size
- population density and distribution
- age structure
- sex ratios
- birth, death, immigration & emigration rates
Growth rates
Density - people grouped in the country; people tend to live in cities, borders
- more people in an area = greater the impact
Population pyramids/dynamics - bottom heavy Æ greater population growth
- too many men vs. too few women = less population growth
- demographic transition may fail in areas which:
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