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EESA01H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Easter Island, Biocapacity, Ecological Footprint

Environmental Science
Course Code
Carl Mitchell
Study Guide

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EESA01 – Introduction to Environmental Science
Tragedy of the Commons
1. Garreh Hardin, 1968
2. Unregulated exploitation leads to resource depletion.
3. Resource users are tempted to increase use until the resource is gone.
e.g.: Rapa Nui (Easter Island): isolated no regulation  resources depletion downfall of
whole civilization  now
What is Environmental Science?
1. Textbook: how world work, how environment affect us, and how we affect environment.
study of physical, biological, chemical process happened in environment, how that
affect us, and how we affect that, and how that affect itself.
2. Environmental science is relatively new  no one could back to 50 years can see human
population can big enough to affect environment.
3. Interdisciplinary  no so many disciplines behind environmental science at its own
4. Environmentalist vs. Environmental scientists.
5. Understand human impact to the plant, manage impacts more efficiently.
The Base Cause of Environmental Degradation
Population Growth!
A Simple Approach to Quantifying Environmental Impact
(as scientists, we want to be quantitative to predict, at least qualitative.)
The IPATS model:
I = P*A*T*S
I = impact
P = population
A = a uence
(wealth; mostly negative, bc longer live and large comsumption)
T = technology
(Technology can increase or decrease environmental impacts)
S = sensitivity
(some ecosystems are resilient, some resistant. some both, most neither)
More Complex Approaches
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1. Ecological footprint:
Land (and water) area needed to support one person, higher in developed country.
2. Biocapacity:
The capacity of an ecosystem to be biologically productive and to absorb waste and
carbon dioxide.
3. Ecological footprint < Biocapacity  Biocapacity Creditors. (Canada)
4. Ecological footprint > Biocapacity  Biocapacity Debtors. (China)
How Does Science Work?
1. Science is CURIOSITY focused towards a question that scientific methods can help to
2. (可重复性)The Scientific Method is a set of rules which prescribe how to derive
knowledge of a particular kind – certifiable and validatable knowledge.
3. Using the Scientific Method, one cannot show that a theory is “right”,
only that it is “not wrong”.
4. (时效性)Any notion of the world (theory) is only “correct” (not wrong) until scrutiny
reveals it to be incomplete. That is, any theory is good only until the first piece of
information is gained which the theory cannot accommodate. (e.g., earth or sun at the
center of our galaxy?).
5. (发展性)Our Science-based understanding of the universe is constantly changing
because of doubt, scrutiny and the acquisition of new data (information). Doubt and
questioning lead to better understanding.
6. There is no Absolute Truth in Science, but we do have Laws: A natural phenomenon
that has been proven to occur invariably whenever certain conditions are met.”
Scientific Method
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1. Hypothesis: testable.
2. KISS principle: keep it simple and stupid
3. Control:
a) Manipulative experiment
-Highly controlled, not realism cheap
b) Natural experiment, or correlational
-Very realism, expensive to replicate
4. No good or right, really depends on
resources, goals of your experiment.
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