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ENV221H1 Study Guide - Environmental Ethics, Environmental Economics, Ecological Economics

School of Environment
Course Code
Karen Ing

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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
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
Whats science? how things work, must be testable, A process of discovery > essence in change
> increasing knowledge of the world. Method: observation > hypothesis > testing by
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: A public 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

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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
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
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
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
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
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