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GS101 Lecture Notes - Exponential Growth

Global Studies
Course Code
Timothy Clark

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Week 8 lecture 1: The Globalization of the Environment cont:
The Revenge of Malthus
Exponential growth on a finite planet
o Our population growth increasing but resources staying finite
Have we crossed the threshold?
Ecological Footprints by Country
3.5 planets required for all humans to live as Canadians do
need approximately 2 hectares per person - Canada uses 7 hectares per person
Fossil Fuels and Energy
Neither NPP nor ecological footprint/biocapacity properly account for fossil fuel
o EF factors for land required to absorb emissions but not for the energy
required to replace fossil fuels
o Replacement of fossil fuels would require an increase in human
appropriation of NPP of 50%
World Scientists Warning to Humanity (1992)
“Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. If not checked, many
of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society
and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be
unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent
if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about…No more than
one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now
confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished….A
new ethic is required -- a new attitude towards discharging our responsibility for
caring for ourselves and for the earth. We must recognize the earth's limited
capacity to provide for us. We must recognize its fragility. We must no longer allow
it to be ravaged. This ethic must motivate a great movement, convincing reluctant
leaders and reluctant governments and reluctant peoples themselves to effect the
needed changes.”
o Can't continue on the same course we are currently on
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