ENV100H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Environmental Science, Ecosystem Services

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Published on 13 Sep 2016
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The scientific method is part of a larger process
Just a systematic way for exploring how we look at the world
Ties into larger community of science
oScience is both a process and a body of knowledge
This is how we develop that process through publication and peer review
people differ in their perception of environmental problems
How we view environmental problems
Environmental science in particular there is potential for clash of world views
oNot always necessary though
Interdisciplinary
oMakes it difficult because of different vocabulary, values, etc.
Real difference in how we approach value in the environment
Image of nurse spraying child with insecticide
oWe used to think DDT was fine
DDT
Put the kybosh on something
Kybosh was a great insecticide but...
Eggshells
In the 60s it was noticed that birds at the top of food chains their population started to
decline sharply
Eggs were thinning
oOdd thing came out of nowhere
Silent spraying
Spring would be silent because of loss of birds, (prediction)
Even when ddt is extremely low in abiotic environments (water), but we get a process of
bioaccumulation and biomagnification
oOrganisms that take in DDT in the water passively accumulate it in their bodies
oBinds to fat molecules in body
oOrganism becomes more concentrated with DDT
oThen gets eaten by something which obtains a higher level of DDT as it goes
through the food chain
oWhen looked at birds that ate fish their ddt concentration was at 25 ppm which is
extremely high and toxic
Need to look at concentrations in the water but also in organisms in the ecosystems
Ban on ddt in north america
Malaria Cases and Deaths
Subsaharan africa = different view on ddt
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com
Malaria is a problem there
They started to get rid of some insecticides but then there were huge spikes in malaria
oDdt takes out mosquitoes that carry malaria
Once ddt was reintroduced, mosquitoes began to fall
Conflict in how we view DDT
Really really helpful in empoverished areas
Most effective way of taking mosquitoes out of the area is by spraying ddt
Harmful for wildlife and humans
How to balance those values and sometimes we end up with these things being in conflict
Perception is influenced by worldviews
Importance, prioritization of environmental problems influenced by worldviews
One problem: when science is not informing policy (ex. Harper government)
Religion plays a role
oPrecepts can shape how we view the environment
Affluence vs poverty
oDdt in north america and africa
Many dimensions to look at environmental conflict through
The conflict between the technosphere and the ecosphere
Idea that we're either trying to develop human societies (more tech advance, more
affluent, more goods and services, higher education, more democratic, egalitarian) at the
expense of nature
This has been seen as the essential tension
But she argues that it does not have to be this way
There should be no "conflict"
There really isn't a conflict:
oIf you want to have all of these things, you take care of all of these things
We face many environmental challenges
Basic science of the environment, human impacts, environmental issues and challenges
Huge problems for the global community
oDespair is not a good option
oWe are in a place where we can make progress and find solutions
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Artificial conflict – either tech dev, etc. OR we have birds and trees and all that
Now we have this better paradigm that she feels that came from this document
2005 first millennium ecosystem assessment
oUnder the UN
o1400 scientists involved
oValuable because they monetized:
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com
How are ecosystems doing in terms of their value to human society
Polarizing because some thought that was the wrong way of looking at it,
thought we should intrinsically value ecosystems
But she is more of a pragmatist
Money is important
If we are going to contribute to protect ecosystems, we have to
show that there is a value coming back to human societies
oEcosystem services became a big part of the conversation here
Idea that intact, functioning ecosystems provide us with things that
support our lives
Ex. Clean our air, filter water, preserve soil, moderate the climate,
mitigate effects of pollution, etc.
This is what good functioning ecosystems do and these are things
we cannot do
oBuilding our own systems to do these things is much more
expensive and a waste of money
oIf we preserve and protect ecosystems they will do this for
us
oPurpose to assess earth's ecosystem
Major findings
Over past 50 years human have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in
any comparable period of time in human history. This has resulted in a substantial and
largely irreversible loss in the diversity of life on Earth.
oA lot of 50 year spans in history and we have been the worst
oRate of degradation is astounding
oNeed to recognize that we have push this on a different course
Extinction is forever but there are still some things we can do to mitigate biodiversity loss
Major Findings
Extensive changes in the past 50 years likely to worsen
Substantial and irreversible loss in biodiversity
Net gains human development and economies, but at a cost
Reversing the degradation of ecosystems will require significant changes
It will take a lot of effort and energy to change things
We are recognizing things and it is not too late
Ecosystem services
Course in sustainability management this is what you will talk about
Regulating, cultural, supporting and provisioning ecosystem services
Ecosystems provide us with many things that we use
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com

Document Summary

The scientific method is part of a larger process. Just a systematic way for exploring how we look at the world. Ties into larger community of science: science is both a process and a body of knowledge. This is how we develop that process through publication and peer review people differ in their perception of environmental problems. Environmental science in particular there is potential for clash of world views: not always necessary though. Interdisciplinary: makes it difficult because of different vocabulary, values, etc. Real difference in how we approach value in the environment. Image of nurse spraying child with insecticide: we used to think ddt was fine. In the 60s it was noticed that birds at the top of food chains their population started to decline sharply. Eggs were thinning: odd thing came out of nowhere. Spring would be silent because of loss of birds, (prediction)