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Environment Lecture.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
John Hannigan

Environment Lecture Ecology in the natural environment: over the last 100, years massive population growth, explosion in the number of people. Mostly in the developing world with the exception of China there is an explosion population, we see urbanization, and industrialization that put strains on the carrying capacity. Whenever people become wealthy, they start having 1.6 children. Environmentalism is the interaction between society and the natural environment SEE SLIDE 6 for definitions Ecology developed in Germany, the Nazis loves the ecological principles and great environmentalists. Ecology is a place where the social sciences and natural sciences meet. We look at it in the social science point of view Natural environmentsee definition SLIDE 6 Sociology has become interested in the environment because problems like pollution, and in the 19 century people in London England put their sewage in the Tems River and people drank that water. All of our natural parks were created long before 1972. Yellowstone was the first national park in America. The first big environmental clean ups came into existence were sewers. The modern environmental movement came out of pollution (preoccupied with pesticides and fertilizers) CO2 is now seen as a pollutant. Global warming, Acid rain, all are environmental concerns. The environmental problem have been trying to identify problems and push forth the movement These problems are created by humans and sociology develops an interest because of the involvement with humans Environmental sociology deals with the interplay, the movement and the impact of the natural environment on humans. Sierra club is a form of movement This movement is global and globalization has emerged out of the environmental movement The world is a single ecosystem. The Romantic Movement hated industrialization and loved green fields and forests and liked people tilling fields etc. The simple rural life was the ideal. Ecosystem means totality (whole) the environmental movement has global ambitions. People want to have global standards The Copenhagen conference wanted to establish binding legal obligations on CO2 emissions. The problem with this is people from developing countries would dont have the money to cut back because they are not well off as developed countries. In india and china there have been green revolutions that have increased agricultural sciences. The scientific use of fertliziers and genetic engineering China and India and Africa have simply refused to go along with this because the limits of CO2 impose limits on economic development in the third world Eco-means house it reminds us that this world is our home and everything in the home is interrelated. People in North America get hooked on hamburgers. German immigrants brought the hamburger to North America. This creates a demand for beef and the ranching (cattle) industries in Latin America, Costa Rica, and Brazil. Cattle need range (grassland). People get grassland by clearing forests. Tropical forests are critical for maintain the Earths Atmosphere. Plants absorb Co2 and emit oxygen. Hamburgers in North America had global consequences because the globe is an ecosystem. The idea is interdependence and interrelatedness. Technological Evolution human beings started out as hunter gatherers (bands no larger than 25 people and have no impact on the environment because they are not farmers. They pick roots and gather meat. Their impact on the environment is negligible.) At an intermediate stage, there is a bit more technology entering the picture where we have Horticultural societies (small scale farming) you also have Pastoralisim which is taming animals oxen, horses, dogs, and cats which are domesticated. Dogs have evolved to be able to live with humans. In the intermediate stage: we have agriculture societies which use animal drawn ploughs. There is a myth that says the traditional people love the environment and lived in harmony with the environment and we should return to what Russo called the noble savage. Traditional people did not love the environment because they didnt have the technology to exploit the environment. Farming began in the Middle East. The Industrial Revolution science and technology change all this where muscle power gives way to engines which burn fossil fuel. The D word is DRILLING which is the ultimate sin for environmentalists. This practice has been abandoned in North America. Urbanization takes way. Environmentalists like small rural settlements. Dams used for hydroelectric power and the discharge of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum). Technologies create mass amount of garbage (solid and liquid waste). People in industrial societies consume 100 times the goods as people in agrarian societies. This is negative because we become a throw-away society which is a consumer society. Sociologists call this conspicuous consumption (you consume conspicuously) They also engage in conspicuous waste. The modern environmental movement tried to draw attention to the garbage we produce. Environmentalism in the modern world is equivalent to higher taxes, to discourage consumption. The problem with this is discouraging economic growth and jobs are produced by economic growth. The environmental deficit is the long term negative consequences cause by our preoccupation with the material affluence. Being affluent is better than being poor. Environmental deficit is important because it is a social issue reflecting choices that people make particularly consumer choice. Environmental damage is a result of the profit motiveshort term gain obscures long term pain. They tend to give short shift to the idea that the deficit takes place is reversible. E.g. Natural disasters commit the most damage, not us. Mount Saint Helens is a volcano in Washington State. In the 1980s it erupted and the top third of the volcano blew up. It buried the forest in volcano ash. Many environmentalists saw this disaster as mens magnitude and it would take years to repair. But the forest has grown back and you wouldnt know a volcano blew up. Exxon Valdez ship had a spillage. The floor of the pacific ocean where the oil seeps into the ocean and over a five year period the natural seepage is equal to the Exxon Valdez spill. The natural slippage of oil is constantly polluting the ocean In England in the 18 century the two major rivers Tems river in England was terribly polluted where human discharge poured into it and killed off all fish life. When they built sewers to control the amount of liquid waste, both those rivers bounced back and now there is sand. The environment is not as fragile as environmentalists say. Limits to growth: the freight train growth. Freight trains have a lot of mass and momentum, once is gets going it is hard to stop. There are a set of cultural values that suppo
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