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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 (October 3rd) notes.docx

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Environmental Studies
ENVS 1000
Peter Timmerman

Gorillas -only 750 left in the world -poachers the main problem, as well as habitat destruction -if social conflict was to arise they would most likely go completely extinct Collapse of Societies thrill of seeing the end of humanity, movies showing apocalypses vulnerability and resilience vulnerability – what is it to be vulnerable natural systems: degraded systems, systems with critical species that are threatened, shrinking systems (islands), systems facing unknown threats to which no defence has been created (e.g. Invasive species) social systems: obvious vulnerabilities defended against e.g. disease, war, disaster; unobvious disasters: cumulative impacts, social degradation, stupidity, cowardice, greed, etc. We don’t know what really makes social systems collapse Cumulative impact; by the time we find out it’s usually too late (e.g. climate change) Resilience – “the capacity of a system to bounce back from a stress” what makes a system resilient? Natural systems: robust simplicity, appropriate diversity, size/refuges, patchiness. Social systems: appropriately flexible strategies, access to resources, memory Problem 1: People like to find solutions that make them look good problem 2: Not wanting to find a complete solution to the problem, finding temporary solutions instead natural disasters in: developed countries -> loss of money and property instead of people developing countries -> loss of people greater than loss of property and money we usually think natural disasters will be constrained in a specific area. Why Toronto is vulnerable: our reliance on water for electricity natural systems tend to have robust simplicity size matters e.g. statistical analysis on size of islands showed that the smaller the island is the lower species diversity it has putting a green corridor in between two areas is almost like doubling the area and therefore the ability of species to survive social systems: diversity (how people think, act, etc) is important, Resilience vs. Reliability Resilience: there are other alternatives to get it to work again Reliability: has to work all the time and if it doesn’t you’re in big trouble reliability ex.: In order to protect against cold weather, we developed a fossil fuel system to keep away the natural system, altering it and not thinking about it resilient system ex.: Inuits wearing a lot of fur, adapting to the environment instead reasons why we’re interested in collapsed societies to see if there’s lessons to be learned from them easter
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