Lab 1 Individual.docx

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Environmental Studies
Edmund Okoree

Lab 1 Human – Environmental Interactions Part 1 1. How do you interact with and impact (positively or negatively) common resources (water, fish, wildlife)? How does this relate to the concept of the tragedy of the commons? All of my interactions affect common resources. I negatively impact the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels when I use and heat my car, heat and light my house and play video games. I interact with the atmosphere when I breathe as I breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide as a natural function of life. I negatively impact the land by contributing to the depletion of resources such as plants and trees when I use paper and wear clothing. I use resources on the land for food sources and basic materials such as graphite in my pencil. When I purchase these items on a regular basis, I contribute to the overall depletion of these resources. I affect the water supply by using extra water when I clean my house and contaminating the water when I pour the dirty water with harmful cleaning agents back down my drain. I also affect the water supply when I consume food and create waste that ends up in landfills and sometimes the surrounding environment, harming nearby animals and water. I negatively affect animals such as fish and pigs by eating the meat produced by them because this creates a demand for more meat and thereby reduces the population of these animals. I interact with animals when I purchase clothing, as I use the products they create such as sheep’s wool for my benefit. I do not wear clothing made of anything that involved harming the animals to produce, so these interactions do not harm the animals involved. I interact with the sun on a day to day basis for my basic functioning of life and I use the sun for leisure when I tan in the summer. I do not affect the sun positively or negatively, nor do I use the power of solar energy to fuel any of my activities. When looking at this interaction, it is obvious that I am using at least some common resources every day of my life. The tragedy of the commons defines the idea that each individual uses common resources with no limit because they assume someone else will or that their impact will be small. This thought process is a harmful one as every person does not limit their use of common resources and the combined impact of everyone doing this can take a great toll on these common resources. My map is a great example of the tragedy of the commons as it is obvious that I live my life in a way that has a negative impact on many common resources. I am a typical teenager at university and if this map was duplicated to represent our population, the effect on common resources could be tremendous. I do not practice sustainable living and I simply consume because I do not see my impact as great compared to large companies and businesses that harm the environment. This is a mindset that lines up with the tragedy of the commons, as I assume that I am not harming the environment enough to do any lasting damage. When looking at this map it becomes apparent that I am contributing to the overuse and damage of common resources because not only do I increase demand for products that harm the environment, I will also continue these impacts every day I live, that is quite a lot of days. Overall, all of my linkages connected to a common resource and every linkage had a negative impact on the environment, I am a fairly typical person of my age and if we are all consuming this way there is a much larger impact than we think. This is the tragedy of the commons. 2. Describe three linkages that you consider fundamental to your lifestyle (i.e., you need them). (2 marks) I consider the linkages of consuming (food and water), breathing and shelter the most fundamental to my lifestyle because these are necessary for human survival. These linkages are those that I cannot live without and therefore they are fundamental to my lifestyle. 3. Which three linkages are important to you, but which you could potentially live without? (1 marks) The linkages of driving, leisure and cleaning are three that are important to me but I could live with out. I value driving because it saves me time and energy involved with walking or figuring out public transportation but I could find other options. I enjoy my leisure time such as video games and tanning but this is an extra activity I can live without. I also value cleaning my house regularly to ensure I am living in a clean environment, but I could live without using the harsh chemicals I do to clean surfaces in my house. Part 2 1. Describe your results from the ecological footprint quiz. This should include your score, and which interactions had the greatest impact on your footprint? Complete this question by posting your Ecological Footprint score (no need to be embarrassed here, it makes it more interesting to discuss the variation in scores) on your group discussion board. (6 marks) (posted on discussion board) It would take 6.15 earths for everyone to live my lifestyle. My total ecological footprint in Global Hectares is 96.63My food footprint was higher and was 13 global hectares higher than the country average. My second highest impact was the goods and services footprint which was fairly close to the national average. My highest biome footprint was the forestland footprint (40%) Part 3 1. How does the map you created in part 1 compare with the Ecological Footprint Quiz in part 2. For instance, how do the methodologies compare? How are the outcomes determined? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach? (3 marks) My Map Methodology The model simply listed my interaction with the environment and the linkages showed the patterns of my consumption related to resources. My map was a very simple methodology as it simply took the question: what do I do on a daily basis? and connected it to what was needed for these activities and which resources this affected. The Quiz Methodology The methodology of the online quiz was much more intricate, using averages of the population as a comparison tool and measuring consumption patterns in different sectors rather than by resource. The quiz begins by taking the average from your area of footprint values for each sector such as food and carbon, then questions are asked to compare individual consumption to the average in my area. My Map Outcomes The outcomes for my map were determined simply by seeing which final environmental resource each linkage ended up with and analysis was drawn by looking at which resource was connected the most activitities. The Quiz Outcomes The outcomes for the quiz were determined by calculating the impact that the person has in each sector and comparing that to each sector of the population. Map Strengths and Weaknesses: I think that the map is strong because it is a very straightforward approach, it simply focuses on daily activities and mine in particular is a great way to show how the tragedy of the commons is in effect. Also, the map is easy to understand. I think the map does lack in true information as it would be much better to include specifics for a more accurate depiction, such as including the fact that I may waste less due to recycling. The map simply states the activities, it does not use any values or statistics. The map is also weak because it is simply descriptive, there is no analysis provided or comparison from which to draw conclusions. The Quiz Strengths and Weaknesses The quiz is weak because it does not talk about the specific linkages in a basic format as the map does, but it i
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