Lecture 11 notes

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29 Jan 2011
GGR323 - Environment
population/environment relationship
- "improving" natural environments
- taking natural environment and improving on it - cut down trees
- improve economic output - sell products from trees, etc
- in Canada, all growth is secondary growth - not natural
- driving force = capitalism and economics
- changing carrying capacity - support more people at higher standard of living
- extracting resources from land
- applying technology to change natural environment
- ignore failures of technology because clouded by success
- ex. transportation - moved resources, connected economies, etc, but pollution is a
- level of development measured by degree of environmental change
- ex. lack of infrastructure, etc, would be seen as poor environment
- improving sophistication of environment, standard of living, etc
- perception of environment is different - ours is seen as well-maintained, etc
- geographical context - need to think about it globally
- related to change in carrying capacity
- carrying capacity not distributed equally!
environmental stress
- challenge to natural assimilation capacity
- in natural environmental system, there's no concept of waste - ex. when a tree falls, it
becomes a resource for another animal, or it decomposes and recycles
- ability for environment to absorb waste - humans put stress on environment that
exceeds the amount it can absorb
- humans put waste into lakes, more than it can absorb
- solution = distribute more widely - put pipe further out into the lake
- another example is industrialization - build larger chimneys, pollution goes
higher and away
- out of sight, out of mind - doesn't mean it's not there, causes us to be reactive to
- more industrialization means more pollution distribution around atmosphere
- change to environmental systems
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- improving natural environments - simplifying complex ecosystems
- opposite to process of improvement
- implications for species-species diversity
- interconnected systems - bio and spatial - changes that take place in one space will affect
the other
- environmental stress and quality of life
- increasing levels of studies that indicate changes in environment have huge economic
- increase costs of health care, productivity, etc
- never factor these negative costs in - increase level of stress because
environment is not considered
development/resource pressures
- poor management can turn renewable resource into non-renewable
- fish are renewable because they reproduce - if too many fish are caught, can stop
their reproduction
- Walkerton - bad management cause water to be dangerous
- consumption pressures
- most are related to personal consumption - driven by process of consumption
- higher levels of consumption linked to higher levels of development
- focus of technology
- most of them are exploitive
- don't emphasize efficiency or sustainability
- much cheaper to use exploitive technology - true costs not incorporated
- ex. auto (in the past) - use energy inefficiently because energy was cheap and there
were no other pressures
- buildings in the past have sealed windows - air leaks would cause loss in energy
- limit harm to environment
- sustainability - pass environment on to future generations
mitigating environmental stress
- technology
- humans are reactive (environmental restoration) - most instances, doesn't give rise to
major improvements
- focus on controlling consequences
- proactive - sustainable development - limited impact on environment but still
produce impact
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