ENV- first term notes on reading and lecture

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School of Environment
Karen Ing

th ENV221 MIDTERM REVIEW: OCT 20 2011 Multidisciplinary: problem solving by drawing from a # of disciplines to define problems outside of normal boundaries and reach solutions based on new understandings of complex situations David Orr: What is education for? • We need to value critical thinking over theory, need to understand the value • 6 Myths of education: 1. ignorance is solvable – new information will always arise 2. knowledge and technology will 'manage' the planet : we need to shape ourselves to the world 3. knowledge increases human goodness 4. we can restore what is lost 5. purpose of education is upward mobility 6. our culture is the pinnacle of human achievement • RETHINKING EDU: 1. must include environmental impacts 2. need classes in the real world/outside 3. subject presented so one can master their own personhood 4. with knowledge comes responsibility to use it well 5. know the effect of knowledge 6. learn practical things as well such as: shelter building, how to grow food, local wildlife Environmental Science: • the study of how the natural world works and how we effect the environment and how it effects us • Whats science? how things work, must be testable,Aprocess of discovery > essence in change > increasing knowledge of the world. Method: observation > hypothesis > testing by observation • 2 sources of uncertainty: variability of nature & the fact measurements have a margin of error • Condor Birds: how to rehabilitate them in order to maintain the population • Limitations of Science: 1. Northern Cod Fisheries: 1992: Fishery science did a 'stock assessment', population dynamics -political decisional influence, how to deal with massive unemployment (loss of 40,000 jobs), the needed votes due to an election so they can with TAC) Total allowable catch, set the TAC very high, brought jobs back but not very many cod anymore 2. Whitehorse response to Climate Change: 2002:Apublic report on Climate change was edited by someone who worked for an oil company to make cc sound less threatening • Questions of environmental science: 1. what is our proper place? 2. what we ought to do? 3. how can we protect nature • challenges: complexity, change, uncertainty, direct experiments are difficult, operates in a complex web • we need recognition of problems to promote critical thinking Environmental Ethics: Worldview: belief about meaning, operation and essence of the world, influenced by lifestyle, culture, religion, money • ethics: good and bad, right and wrong, moral principles, universalist: fundamental morals that hold across cultures (KANT: golden rule, categorical imperative:do unto others are you do to yourself) , utilitarian: good for the most people, • environmental ethics: humans interactions to non-human entities, ethical standards of human to non-humans relationships • 3 views: anthropocentricism: human centred -biocentrism: all living things -ecocentrism: integrity of whole ecological systems, holistic view • John Muir: preservation ethic, for inherent value we should protect natural pristine, unaltered state • Pinchot: conservation ethic, use natural resources responsibly, wise management • Aldo Leopold: land ethic: extend the boundaries of communities, from humans to the soil, 'a thing is right when it preserves integrity, stability and beauty in the biotic community' • deep ecology: self-realization that we are inseparable from our natural surroundings/ nature, all living things have equal intrinsic value • ecofeminism: the same patriarchal dominating forces to women are similar to that of nature, involved with social movements, connections between oppression of women and nature • environmental justice:ALL have the right to live (and work) in a clean environment with high quality resources and have protection from risks in environmental degradation Environmental Economics: • economics: the study of how people decide to use scarce resources to provide goods and services in the face of demand • economy: social system that converts resources into goods, material commodities, services and work for others in the form of business • supply (want to make the most $$) and demand (want the cheapest) • cost-benefit analysis: is done to determine how well, or how poorly, a planned action will turn out. • economic assumptions that lead to environmental harm: 1. resources are infinite or sustainable: our resources are ultimately limited 2. long term effects should be discounted: we need to be sustainable and think about future generations 3. cost and benefits are internal: need to think about externalities and who else is effected, not just a closed circle between buyer and seller 4. growth is good: larger gap between rich and poor • ecological economist: advocate for sustainable economies and see natural systems as good models • environmental economist: we need to adjust our current system to address env problems • how do we quantify natural value, $ to beauty? • Contingent valuation: how much people are willing to pay to protect or restore a resource • ecosystem services: services provided by the environment worth $33 trillion(1997) Donald Dewes on Env Economics: • How much is enough? Most protection costs money and lifestyle changes, people have limited willingness to do this -marginal costs = marginal value : cost benefit analysis shows protection until this point -do cheap and easy stuff now and costly later, when MC and MB cross on a graph: optimal • How to maximize clean: do cost per unit, if reducing from 3 factories, may only reduce from 2 factories to get to the level of clean or all clean varying amounts to reach the goal -cost-effectiveness analysis: comparing costs for a given effect -pollution tex and emissions trading • Can we value the environment? How do we put $ to the natural world? -analyze policy: what do spend money on? Units per goal -analyze market behaviour: reveals personal values -surveys, how much money people would be willing to pay in certain env areas • Relationship between growth and the environment: pollution control is a choice -changing technology and behaviour have provided flexibility between growth and the environment -if the public supports politicians who promote costly environmental regulations we can change the future -air pollution has reduced 90% over the last 40 years due to the ban of lead in gasoline • economic analyst can minimize costs of cleaning (we cannot afford not too) – need to understand economies to help the environment as much as possible Environmental Policy: • policy: a tool for decision making and problem solving that makes use of information from science and values from ethics and economics • environmental policy: designed to protect natural resources and environmental amenities from degradation or depletion and to promote equitable treatment of people • international policy: centre around sustainable development since env problems cross political boundaries 1. customary laws: law by shared traditional custom 2. conventional laws: law by treaty • 3 approaches: science (sometimes ignored or distorted) legislation (top down command system, from a central government, control approach) and market based approaches: 1. subsidies: government giving of $ or pubically owned resource 2. green taxes: taxing activities and products that cause undesirable effects 'polluters pay' 3. permit-trading: permits for environmentally harmful activities: companies and industries trade and sell • government: the state and administration, goal: peace, order, good government, policy is in place to achieve goals, formal plans and principles to guide decision making • environmental policy evolved with social and economic conditions hayday in the 60s-70s for environmental awareness, convergence of factors contributing: -evidence was available and widespread – public could envision policy – political will from the people:pubic concern is needed – economic stability: willingness to pay comes from this – Greenpeace and other grass-root activism • tragedy of the commons: over exploitation of public resources, no individual obligation to maintain therefore exploitation • command and control: must have rules/laws in place or limits with the threat of punishment if violated, legal instruments of repercussion (STICK) • market incentives (CARROT) ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH:: • T.Berry “we cannot have healthy people on a sick planet, not even with our medical science” • health (by WHO): complete state of physical, mental, and social state of well-being and not merely the absence of disease • environmental health: preventing/controlling those diseases or deaths that result from interactions between humans and the environment • hazards to health: cultural, chemical, physical and biological: -physical: earthquakes, floods fires, droughts -cultural: lifestyle, smoking, drugs, diet -chemical: disinfectants, pesticides, pharmaceuticals -biological: infectious disease, malaria, influenza • Dis
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