Environmental Science 1021F/G Lecture 1: ENITRE SEMESTER NOTES PLUS EXAM QUESTIONS

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Environmental Science Lecture
Week 1
Introduction
How do we define environmental science?
The surroundings or conditions (including living and nonliving components) in which organisms'
lives
What is environmental science?
A field of research to understand the world and our relation to it
Natural (book uses empirical) and applied science
Causes of climate change:
Burning fossil fuels
Deforestation
Methane from agriculture
Affluence and consumption
Some of the consequences:
Sea level rises
Habitat loss and species endangerment
Spread of tropical diseases
Agriculture: worse in some area, while better in others
Possible actions/solutions
Alternative energy sources
Irrigation
Reforestation projects
Protecting flood-prone areas
History
First nation people
o Relatively low environmental impact
o Great respect for land and animals
Colonial era
o European settlement and exploitation
o Public lands moving to private interests
o Myth of superabundance
o Industrial revolution strokes resource extraction
Conservation and environmental era
o Recognition that resources are not super abundant
o Understanding required to manage resources
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*Three different environmental philosophies*
1) Anthropocentrism
Human lives and interests are paramount
Extracting ecosystem services
Species have instrumental value
Initial impetus for resource conservation
2) Biocentrism
All life has intrinsic value
Nature as an identity
Wildlife is impacted by water, air and soil quality
Iconic species were a main focus
3) Ecocentrism
Whole system view of an ecosystem
Abiotic and biotic components
Needs to be preserved
Early Environmentalism
Fisheries Act
o Protection of fish habitat
o Protection of fish
Banff National Park
o Oldest nation park
Canadian forestry services
o Designed to preserve forests
Dust Bowl
Long-term drought damaged the agricultural industry in western Canada
Areas of bare soil left for long periods of time eroding with wind
Decimated wheat crops for years
Prairie farm rehabilitation program
Pollution Probe (Started by U of T students)
Promote awareness of environmental issues including solid waste
PP needed to show that recycling was feasible
Used children from 90 area schools to collect phonebooks
65,000 books were diverted
Cuyahoga river catches fire
Industry has been dumping flammable waste into the river
City had been dumping raw sewage into the river
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Legendary legislation (North America) Early 1970s
Canada Water Act
Canadian Department of Environmental formed
Clean Air Act
Clean Water Act
Marine Mammal Protection Act
Non-governmental organizations form
Lobby governments, raise awareness, direct action
Acid Rain
Caused by human activity
o Nitrogen and Sulfuric acid in precipitation
Acid rain became a major issue in the 80s
Reduces the amount of nutrients available in the soil
Acid interferes with oxygen absorption by causing mucus to build up on the gills of fish
*There’s a hole in my ozone*
Allows the most damaging UV light to reach the earth
Coolants in refrigerators were dangerous and toxic
o CFCs were created in response to this
o Later found out that it destroyed the ozone layer
CFCs banned, which has improved the health of the ozone layer
Ozone layer protect us from UV rays
Montreal protocol 1987
o International agreement to phase out CFCs across the globe
Blue Box Program
Resource Integration Systems collaborated with Laidlaw international to test the first blue box
recycling program on 1500 homes in Kitchener Ontario
1984-First recycle system worldwide
Hundreds on cities have followed suit
Aboriginal Rights
Governments may regulate existing aboriginal rights only for a compelling and substantial
objective, such as the conservation and management of resources
After conservation goals are met, Aboriginal Peoples must be given priority fish for food over
other user groups
If a population is in danger than the government can intervene on aboriginal rights (if there is a
conservation issue)
Van Der Peet case
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