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The Globalization of the Environment.docx

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Department
Global Studies
Course
GS101
Professor
Timothy Clark
Semester
Winter

Description
The Globalization of the Environment The ill fated mistake of the Malthusian trap Malthusian trap  idea that human beings could not increase population and standard of living at the same time o population grows, standard of living declines o limits to possibilities for populations and standard of living o basic ecological limits to human societies  Britain showed this was wrong, as they escaped from this trap Malthus and the "Great Escape"  To escape the trap, we tapped into new sources of energy o ex. coal, drove British industrialization o ex. fossil fuels, they enabled humans to escape the trap  fossil fuels = energy deposits that create over time from dead organisms - finite resources o Role of fossil fuels: humans shifted from biomass to fossil fuels o Uses of Fossil Fuels  energy for electricity and transportation  petrochemicals industry  16% of petroleum used for Petrochemicals Fuelling the Chinese miracle  fueled by coal/oil (like Britain and America) A day in your life without oil  issue of life without fossil fuels goes beyond automobiles/transportation Natural Limits and Human Population  The Ecological Crisis as Energy Crisis o Net Primary Production: "Net primary production is the rate at which all the plants in an ecosystem produce net useful chemical energy, it is equal to the difference between the rate at which the planets in an ecosystem produce useful chemical energy and the rate at which they use some of that energy during respiration". o Humans represent 0.5% of global biomass (living biological organisms) and yet estimates of human appropriation of terrestrial NPP (net primary production) range from 20% to 40% Manifestations of the Ecological Crisis  Species Extinction o 6th great species extinction in planetary history  caused by us, whereas, the ones before were caused by asteroids  Worst since 65 million years ago  Natural Rate of Extinction: 1 - 5 species per year  Estimated 30,000 species lost per year o largely caused by things such as deforestation (cutting down forests in biologically rich areas, such as amazons) o Rise of human population correlated with rise of animal extinction  So who cares?  Diversity and productivity (keystone species and net primary productivity) o keystone species are species that are essential to the functioning of an entire ecosystem  however, don't know which species are keystone species until the they area gone  Overfishing o 80-85% of World's fisheries are overexploited  exploited at an unsustainable rate  faster than natural stock can be replenished o Large ocean fish now 10% of pre-industrial levels o 30% of global fisheries have already collapsed  gone, won't come back in our lifetime o If present fishing levels maintained, all of the world's fisheries could collapse by 2050 o Effects: food security (1 billion rely upon fish protein); declining stocks cost US $50 billion year; ecosystem
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