All notes for GGRB20, includes what is going to be on the exam

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Thembela Kepe

Human Impact on the Environment Believed that humans dominate the earths transformation; examples: 1. 50%+ of fresh water for humans, leaving 50% for all other species 2. Increase in toxic gasses in earths atmosphere From factories, cars, industries, fossil fuel generation Cows release methane (fart, burp) that destroy the ozone 3. Species extinction Red lists: lists created around world to indicate species that are threatened 4. Desertification: land loses ability to support life But there are still plants in deserts (cactus, xerophytes that contain water) 5. Alien species invasion Moving species from their natural environment to a new ecosystem where they are not natural Is usually viewed as negative Might disrupt the food chain, throw off balance of predator: prey ratio; may lead to alien species outliving native species if come in as top of food chain Competition for survival by taking others species resources 6. Biological consequences of global warming (article) Changes in plant physiology (the plants biological composition and how those parts work together), productivity and growth Changes in species distribution (e.g., migrating birds in Canada will stay and not move to Florida if Canadian climate stays warm in winter) Changes in life cycle timing (e.g., flowering of plants depend on temperatures, global warming may mess up timing; will affect bees and nectar gathering) Transforming Earth Notice the increase in food packaging for small items: Started for a generation obsessed with convenience, all ends up in landfills, water systems Cropping and livestock farming: Means we must clear vegetation, technology to improve productivity Genetic modification: alteration of organisms DNA to achieve desired goals (ultimately $) like yield, defence against weather and pests Industrial waste Over-exploitation of natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable Alteration of natural phenomena/processes E.g., man-made lakes, or diverting rivers and changing its course E.g., use of chemicals so fruit can ripen faster Bottom line about Human Impact Humans are drawing down the account Comes from idea that we constantly use money from bank, but dont put anymore in Relates back to our environmental account; we take more than we put back Loss of biodiversity Biodiversity: the diversity of plants and animal life in a particular habitat; the variation of life forms in a given ecosystem It was there before, now lost as a result of human interference Relation between loss of biodiversity and extinction, but not same Humans are not alone on earth Anthropocentrism: view that nature has value its useful being for human beings Eco-centrism: view that nature has value whether being used for humans or not; need to be fed, protected Survival vs. extras (luxury etc.) Argued that we need nature to survive, but evolved over time from basic needs to luxury items E.g., we can survive eating raw lettuce for months, why not grass? We grew up with notion that grass is for walking on, not to eat... we only want whats nice E.g., we can drive smallest, cheapest cars but we choose to buy the most expensive vehicles... overconsumption Destroying the environment because of our need for these luxuries Are we in a crisis? Were doing what we do best, we blame each other, nobody wants to take responsibility Conclusion Debate that poverty and industrialization/advances in technology are singled out as the main culprits Poor seen as bad for environment because they have nothing else so rely on environment, rich destroyed the environment by having too much Are we doomed? Depends on who you ask Can something be done? Many believe so, but dont agree on the strategies and paces thereof Tutorial dates- check course Mid-term- Oct 20, covers up to Oct 13 Human beings as responsible for all our environmental problems Changes to the ecosystem to meet demands for food, fresh water, fiber, energy, shelter, entertainment etc Poverty, industrialization and technology as culprits Whether there is a crisis or not depends on many factors, including peoples ideas about nature and environment Environmental Impact Equation I = PAT I is Environmental Impact P is population size A is Affluence (level of wealth, extremes, poor or wealthy), T is technology, electronic waste is shipped overseas, to countries that are poor -a lot of poor people cannot afford resources that environmentally friendly, rely on fossil fuels, wood, finite resources, cut corners on things you need to for environment -we have tools to be more destructive (electric chainsaws) Consumerism The rise of the consumer society- has minimal relationship to production and distribution (of what humans need). Consumption becomes the main way to interact with the world/nature Society is concerned with consuming goods Basic criticisms of consumer culture 1) Volume and extent of consumption is directly responsible for environmental degradation 2) Excessive materialism detracts from the true meaning of life 3) Consumer culture destroys collective values because of its overemphasis on individualism (mine, possessive) BUT The global economy depends on expanding consumption opportunities An immediate cessation of consumerism has unthinkable consequences for social order
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