1081 Midterm Notes
Lecture One: Course Introduction | January 7, 2013
What is a resource?
o Loosely defined, a resource is:
Any physical or virtual entity of limited availability that needs
to be consumed to obtain a benefit from it
Natural resources include:
o 1. Materials derived from the natural environment (e.g. plant and
animal products, air, minerals, fuel sources, etc)
o 2. Earth’s surface area (land and water)
Fact: all humans depend on natural resources for survival
o In the broadest sense, environment refers to the surroundings of a
o From our perspective, we generally use “environment” in the sense of
the natural environment which includes all living and non-living
things that occur naturally on Earth
o The natural environment is ultimately the source of our natural
o The term sustainability is derived from the Latin sustinere (tenere, to
hold; sus, up) implying the capacity to maintain, support, or endure
o In the context of natural resources, sustainability (or sustainable
development) refers to the use of resources (including land) in a
manner that satisfies current needs without compromising the needs
or options of future generations
o All humans rely on natural resources for survival
o But the current use of natural resources in most human populations
(especially in developed nations) is far above that required for our
Add a growing human population!
o Reduces sustainability even further
o An increasing population strains resources and creates additional
Lecture 2: Human Links with Geology | January 10, 2013
Lost link with world we live in
Geology definition: on slideshow
Not only rocks and minerals, but many other things. more about seeing how all
components work together
Equation, qualitative equation= I=P+A+T
I=impact P=population A=affluence (higher standard of living=higher disposable
income) T=technology (for ex. How many computers, cell phones, Ipads etc. are in
How do there elements and products harvested from the earth effect us? And the
environment? Not JUST extracting the materials, what are the consequences of the
areas where they mine and harvest these products? Pollution is released into
environment, more pesticides, flooding, etc.
These three things, P, A and T are the main things driving change in our World
Fundamental Concepts in resources environment and sustainability:
5 parts of concepts *LOOK @ SLIDESHOW*
1. biggest problem!! Too many people. Because of what we do, and use the more
people we have the more were hurting the environment.
Earthquakes and other natural disasters have ALWAYS occurred since the beginning
of time. but were settling in places where we never did before, because we run out
of places to expand into. because more people are living in areas susceptible to these
environmental disasters. Also they move in search of more resources once used the
ones in there areas.
Population Bomb – rates that population has grown, uneven and exponential growth
(shown in diagrams in slideshow!) less flourishing countries populations will double
WAY faster than wealthier more developed countries
2. sustainability, sustainable development is improving quality of life while
conserving for future generations
two types of resources:
-renewable: things that can be “grown” or replenished fairly quickly (air, wood,
-non renewable: things which cannot be replaced (minerals, fossil fuels)
check slideshow for increased population and what it leads to
examples of brazil, india, Sudbury, walkerton etc.
deforestation: future consequences of supply and demand
resources demand: wood from forests
benefits of development: more raw ingredients for a large amount and variety of
we “need” this stuff, but how do we weigh with consequences?
The Aral sea: engineering and environmental disaster:
Resource demand: fresh water
Was once a tourist area with fishing, in 1960’s during time of soviet union, push for
prosperity was desired, and they diverted the water to irrigate cotton fields and for
the expanding textile industry.
Land areas used at dumping ground for pesticides and fertilizers from farming, and
testing grounds for nuclear “stuff”
Aral sea was turned into desert decreasing the inflow of water, decreased the ability
to dilute these chemicals, therefore the water dried up due to the salt. Wildlife
vanished and economic benefits gone! All income gone, no agriculture, no fishing, no
3. change and systems: is a closed system
solid earth, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere.
Systems interact but nothing (mass) changes, nothing goes in and out the earths
mass for the most part stays the same
More output=more consumption compared to the amount of input. (ex. Using more
fossil fuels than the earth can replace, ever)
More input=less consumption compared to the amount of output.
Ultimately, resource use vs. environment
Predicting system change
Law of uniformitarianism – “the present is the key to the past”
System change bring unintended consequences
4. natural hazards: humans have caused increased frequency
building closer to volcanoes, and oceans where these disasters are prone to happen,
where people from the past (or with common sense) never would have lived..
pop. goes up, so does risk of natural disasters, not a question of will it? Its question
of WHEN will a disaster happen? Its inevitable..
there are natural changes in the environment but humans being in these areas, and
as population increases and as development increases so do natural/environmental
problems and disasters
keys to risk assessment:
1>planning (plan around hazard don’t fight it, nature always wins)
2>mitigation (lessen intensity of impact on humans by understanding the nature of
the hazard, must accept, live with the risk but lessen impact)
3>perception (plays a role in determining the risk, the more aware ou are of a
hazard the more you will respect the risk)
5. scientific method and values: whose knowledge? Whose values? Knowledge may
be globally applicable but values can be culturally independent
cultural values often end up clashing with the application of scientific knowledge
and values affecting moral judgments
how much of the World is denied scientific knowledge based on cultural
(Ex. patriarchal societies, some can’t attend school, google search restrictions)
Lecture one: course introduction | january 7, 2013. What is a resource: loosely defined, a resource is: Any physical or virtual entity of limited availability that needs to be consumed to obtain a benefit from it. Materials derived from the natural environment (e. g. plant and animal products, air, minerals, fuel sources, etc: 2. Fact: all humans depend on natural resources for survival. Material society: all humans rely on natural resources for survival, but the current use of natural resources in most human populations (especially in developed nations) is far above that required for our survival. Add a growing human population: reduces sustainability even further, an increasing population strains resources and creates additional wastes. Lecture 2: human links with geology | january 10, 2013. Not only rocks and minerals, but many other things. more about seeing how all components work together. I=impact p=population a=affluence (higher standard of living=higher disposable income) t=technology (for ex.