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Geography 2153A lecture 1.docx

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Western University
Geography 2153A/B
Jamie Baxter

Geography 2153A Lecture 1-Key Concepts Measuring Sustainability - Loss of cod in the 90s, a big issue - Is it due to overfishing, seals eating them, etc - Example of resource management failure Environment • surroundings in which an organism lives • Affected by physical characteristics – abiotic – e.g., temperature, moisture, light, ph, soil, wind – biotic – other living organisms (i.e. for food, symbiosis etc.) Focus on living organisms rather than environment and society Abiotic- affects resources Economy • system that generates the wealth and distributes the resources of a place • production and consumption of goods and services • distribution or exchange of goods Economics- managing scarce resources - Resources can be finite, need to generate wealth from these resources - How to convert resources to good….by creating services Society • group of humans who co-exist • relates to each other through politics and culture, institutions (e.g., school, religion) all of which govern behaviour • systems of dominance/oppression - Co existing in space - Behaviour is important in terms of consumption - Why we consume in the level we consume…due to social relations - Associated with the consumption of people around you - Theme of equity - Natural resources creates upstream and downstream effects Sustainability - Consumption - Future generations - Waste - Involves environment, economy and society - Meet today’s need - Renewable reserve use impacts - Account for demographics - Self reliance- geographically, spatially - Develop/adapt New technology - Change needed - Ecocentric not anthropocentric - Past point of no return? - Only humans will solve problems Sustainability • The capacity to endure (i.e. all three legs of the stool) Social Sustainability – Use of environmental resources to meet human needs equitably now and into the future – High quality of life for all – Participation in decision-making Economic Sustainability – Diversified and efficient use of environmental resources – Minimize waste, pollution and environmental degradation Environmental Sustainability – Ability of the ecosystem to maintain ecological processes, functions and biodiversity now and into the future Resource • Something from which benefit is produced • socially defined • historically and place specific • List some resources that much more important now than they were 100 years ago - It is not a resource unless we have some use for it - Ex. Diamonds, for mining and also to wear - It is socially defined, there is a need and want for it. We socially define them as useful, and there is a aesthetic value, not always about utility - Resources that are desired now but not might 100 years ago - Ex. Oil, water, shale gas, plastics, gold - Anything that goes into electronics, consumer gears Natural Resource Components of nature that are useful to humans at a price we are willing to pay Unnatural resources - Modified through chemical process - Ex. Clothes not made of cotton to be wrinkle free Renewable Resource • Resources that can be replaced by ecosystem processes • Replacement must be in timeframe meaningful to humans (i.e. not geologic time…) • a.k.a.: renewable natural capital • In a reasonable time for human lifetime • Ex. A way to store solar energy for a long period of time Non-Renewable Resource • Resources that are in finite supply on timescale meaningful to humans • a.k.a non-renewable natural capital Limitations of Functionalist Definitions of Natural Resources 1) Implies substitutes • For many natural resources there are no substitutes – e.g., clean drinking water • Overconsumption not only depletes stocks of resources, but also options for future generations 2) Anthropocentric economic value • Exchange markets do not price many things • E.g, habitat (carrier functions), cleansing of pollutants (buffering functions), stores of genes (information function) 3) What about intrinsic value? • There is inherent worth to nature besides its economic value • E.g., spirituality – re: First Nations perspective on nature-human relations • E.g., in geography: “therapeutic landscapes” Ecosystem Approach • Approach to resource management that integrates rather than isolates • Set of principles to guide decision-making • Holistic • Equity • Shared governance • Commensurate with sustainability Conflict Over Resources Four Types of resource conflicts: Cognitive - different understandings of a situation - different technical knowledge Value - different judgments about ends to be achieved Interests - different judgements about who should pay and who should benefit Behavioural - how stakeholders act towards each other based on historical attitudes and relationships (which may have included the other three types of resource conflict) Tragedy of the Commons Think critically! -ex. Share a pasture for farmers with cows - No one does anything to solve the issue if something goes wrong - Doesn’t take responsibility or bear the cost -solutions: -private ownership To receive the benefit for doing something good for the society Discussion: - Public just as effective Key Moments in Sustainability World Conservation Strategy – 1980 • Introduced “sustainabil
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