REM 100 Review for final.docx

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Resource & Environmtl Mgmt
REM 100
Neil Braganza

REM 100 Review Resources: Renewable resource: A resource that is replaced by natural processes – e.g. timber, fish When exploited a renewable resource tends to recover towards its carrying capacity If the rate of harvest = the rate of recovery the resource will be stable at a lower level of abundance The rate of harvest is then a sustainable yield However, if the rate of harvest exceeds the rate of renewal the resource will become depleted – sometimes termed ‘mining’ Non-renewable or exhaustible resource A resource that is not replaced by natural processes on a humanly relevant time scale – e.g. minerals, fossil fuels Of course, matter is not destroyed, but it is dissipated by mining and use Material resources are usually extracted from regions of relatively high concentration, but even with re-cycling, some material cannot be recovered and eventually the material becomes more dispersed In the environment In the case of fuels, energy cannot be recycled; it is dissipated as low grade heat that is eventually lost into space Throughput resources: A throughput resource is one that is effectively in a constant supply e.g. energy from the sun, water, wind A throughput resource cannot be depleted, nor can it be enhanced Assimilative capacity: The amount of a residue that the environment can absorb by converting into a harmless or ecologically useful substance Assimilative capacity is akin to a renewable resource; if the rate of discharge of residue is sufficiently low, no environmental harm occurs. If the rate of discharge is too high the concentration of the residue will exceed the assimilative capacity and environmental harm will occur Recycling While matter can be recycled, energy cannot be However, waste heat from one process can be used in another process that used heat at a lower temperature – e.g. co-generation Recycling can recover raw material, but further energy is expended However, the energy required in recycling is often less that the energy required to make the substance from raw material e.g. Aluminium, glass, steel What types of resources are these? Oxygen – renewable/throughput Copper – non renewable Rain -throughput Steam from a geyser - throughput Moose - renewable Hydroelectricity - throughput Natural gas – renewable & non-renewable Key questions Why do we create environmental problems? - Population growth - Consumerism - not thinking before we do What can we do to abate or prevent them? - Admit and problem solve/ get a few good ideas - Apply those ideas and study results - Precautionary method What is sustainable development and how do we achieve it? - It is being able to sustain or reuse everything so we can keep the population and everything super-efficient instead of just expanding - Educate the people after us What are the extra problems we face when we try to tackle environmental problems that are global in scale? - Convincing other country’s to follow one plan as everyone has a different opinion - Unforeseen consequences to radical solutions The great Transformation The transformation of the biosphere from its natural state by human action During the great transformation the elements of the biosphere have been altered by human activities, often substantially However, the natural state of the environment is a difficult concept because the environment has undergone considerable change since the end of the last ice-age This becomes an enduring question in environmental debate Legacies of the great transformation Unprecedented wealth and material consumption was created However, the wealth is inequitably shared A large increase in the human population occurred Considerable modifications to the environment occurred Considerable costs in terms of human health and pollution were encountered along the way – and many improvements resulted Western societies (argue globally) were also transformed with considerable improvements in human welfare Western values became dominated by the idea that human welfare is inextricably linked to economic growth Dominant social paradigm The most widely held set of beliefs, values and ideals that guide thinking about society, governance, and the roles of individuals. A DSP may be defined as a society’s dominant belief structure that organizes the way people perceive and interpret the functioning of the world around them. The DSP includes the totality of our institutions The dominant social paradigm for western societies includes democracy, acceptance of regulated capitalism, individualism, e
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