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SOCA02 Lec 12.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Sheldon Ungar

Lec 12 Who wants to survive?  Pick your statistics – start with the pessimistic ones o Drop in per capital renewable resources  Fish catching, irrigated land, cropland, rangeland, pasture, forests o Natural gas? – haven’t hit peak yet  A lot of money has been insured in damage from natural disasters – chart doesn’t account for inflation o People are moving into more dangerous areas – hurricane zones  Montreal Protocol – Reduction of CFC – recognized the hole in the Ozone layer  Mortality rate under 5 – gone down significantly in lesser countries since the 60s o Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, China  Food production – increase production without increasing cropland by much o Green revolution – pesticides, fertilizers  Simon vs. Ehrlich – wager on prices of 5 commodities – prices went down meaning that we’re not running out – doesn’t work for oil though – OPEC o So far so good? Will we just realize one day that we are screwed?  Spaceship metaphor – we’re a spaceship in the overall scheme of things *** ON EXAM o Threats from local to global – coal pollution is migrating around the world o Planet is finite o Interdependence – boundaries don’t matter  Nature’s Veto o Gaia hypothesis  The planet is a whole life system that is balanced. If we mess with it too much, we’re screwed – wipe us out? o Rivet metaphor  If we keep messing around, eventually we’ll go too far and realize that its too late  Rivet examples? o Ozone Hole – programmed the computers to show that if ozone loss exceeded a number to say that it was just an error – by the time they realized the hole was big o Climate change – Atlantic Conveyor Belt – moves water around the world from north to south and south to north  If it disappears or changes it will fuck with the weather, remove jet stream? o Sperm count decreasing? – caused panic – it was just wrong though – tech limits?  Sociology and the Environment o Sociology ignored it – thrown out with geographic determinism o Human exceptionalism – the view that humans can overcome all natural challenges – above nature – Gods? o How do we deal with climate change? – we just air condition it – we don’t care about it because we have mechanisms to ignore it  Ecology o Everything is interconnected  Cannot do one thing  Unintended consequences – DDT in Borneo  DDT killed wasps – caterpillars started ravaging crops  We kill wolves, now there are many deer and they invade our space  DDT killed flies, then they were eaten by lizards and then the cats ate the lizards and they died – rat infestation  Garret Harding o Tragedy of the commons  Global commons o Limited carrying capacity  Sheep herders o Small number of sheep herders – it is to their benefit to add more sheep  You will eventually surpass the carrying capacity of the land  Eventually become poor since you can’t raise more sheep  Cod fisheries? o Criticism – people will get together to set limits so they don’t all get fucked  Sustainable development o Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs – UN definition  Unobjectionable – what does it mean though? It sets no limits  Surveys of environmental attitudes o In Canada, environmental concern grew rapidly after 1984  But it remains less important than concern for unemployment, inflation or crime o Support base  Highly educated  Young  Urban liberals  Environmental attitudes 2012 o Deep decline in concern  Summer 1988 vs. 2012  Can’t talk about environment in election or gun control  Superstorm Sandy  2012 political input-scarcity o Climate silence  Something not talked about during the election  But do environmental attitudes affect behaviour? o What do people do for the environment?  Why do they do it?  E.g. ozone and aerosols  People switched from spray cans to non-sprays then pumps which have no aerosol  E..g. deodorants – used to be spray on and switched to roll ons o What should they be doing? Which behaviours have most impact?  What have they been sold to do? Three Rs  Treadmill o Treadmill of production and consumption  Lifestyles require more & more resources  Produce greater wastes  Exploit all areas as become scarcer  China has lots of minerals  Possible lifestyles changes o What we do - Recycle, Buy environmentally friendly products, Cut water use, Composite, Re-use bags o Before – had recycling depots – no one ever recycled o What should we do – eat less (or no) meat, cut car use, use cotton diapers – sanitary napkins, less air conditioning, consume less – reuse, reduce  Running out of dump sites – no one wants it near them  Environmental actions o Low cost  Not (really) give up anything  Not unpleasant  Easy to do o Observational studies- people throw their coke cans – won’t go
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