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Chapter 21

Sociology Chapter 21

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Western University
Sociology 2152A/B
William Marshall

Environmental Science (Week 3) • Observations = information detected with the senses or with equipment that extends our senses • Inferences = conclusions we draw based on observations • Troposphere = from ground to 11 km upwards in the sky (where weather occurs) • Stratosphere = from the top of troposphere to 50 km, contains the ozone layer • Without ozone to absorb UV-B, damage will be done to humans and to Earth • Science is both a body of knowledge (facts and explanation) and the process used to get that knowledge. Understanding the process is more important than knowing the facts • Empirical Evidence = information gathered through observation of physical phenomena • Scientific Method = procedure scientists use to empirically test a hypothesis • Hypothesis = a possible explanation for what we have observed that is based on some previous knowledge o Must be testable = a possible explanation that generates predictions for which empirical evidence can be collected to verify or refute the hypothesis o Must be falsifiable = An idea or a prediction that can be proved wrong by evidence • Observational study = collecting data in the real world without intentionally manipulating the subject of study • Experimental Study = which the researcher intentionally manipulates the conditions of the experiment in a lab or field setting • Control group = normal group, test group = conditions manipulated • Theory = a widely accepted explanation that has been extensively and rigorously tested • Science use statistics and probability to express the degree of certainty • Risk assessment = a careful weighing of the risks and benefits associated with any given chemical • Information Literacy = the ability to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources • Tertiary sources = are those that present and interpret information from secondary sources • Persistence = the ability of a substance to remain in its original form, often expressed as the length of time it takes a substance to break down in the environment • Sustainable = capable of being continued without degrading the environment • Ecosystem services = essential ecological processes that make life on Earth possible (e.g water purification) • Canada has a particularly high per capita (per person) footprint, in that it requires much more land area to support each person than Canada actually possesses • Humans currently use 50% more resources than is ultimately sustainable • Natural capital = the wealth of resources on Earth • Natural Interest = readily produced resources that we could use and still leave enough natural capital behind to replace what we took o We would be operating within our ecosystem’s bio capacity , its ability to produce resources and assimilate our waste o When we dip into our natural capital as humans are doing today, we are decreasing future interest potential • IPAT MODEL = used to estimate the size of a population’s ecological footprint. I = Impact, P = Population, A = Affluence, T = Technology • More population = more impact, more affluent and technological driven population = more impact • Right kind of technology can decrease impact • Mainstream economics supports some actions that are not sustainable o One
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