READINGS: Populations and Communities - Vulture chicks vomit up the contents of their crops when they're stressed - In India the Vultures (Gyps) eating the carcasses of the livestock is a Parsi tradition and protects dead bodies from the defiling touch of earth, water or fire - Gyp vultures are disappearing and dead livestock is becoming more of an issue - The recovery plan calls for a minimum of 25 pairs of each vulture species to be held in each of three breeding centers in northern India. - Vultures were being killed because of the dead animals they were eating had drugs fed to them, so when they ate the dead animal the drug would enter their body and kill them - Will take decades to replenish them Human Populations Climax reading - World population growing faster than exponential growth; will plateau at around 9 bill - Exhausting the worlds resources (CO2 faster than earth can absorb) and fisheries and forests will be done faster than global warming will hit -age of demographic, economic and environmental - Action plan: understand the changes, achieve millenium development goals, preserve crucial habitats, wean off fossil fuels, provide cheap irrigation to poor farmers, beef up heath systems, brace for slower growth, prioritize more rationally - When the environment is accounted for, what’s best for the environment is often best for the economy- fisheries (harvesting fish at a sustainable level) Human pop growth reading - before 2000 young outnumbered the old, but 2000 on, it will be reverse - the population will be bugger, slower growing, more urban, and older than in the 20th century (UNCERTAIN PREDICTION) - rapid population growth has not ended, but rapid population growth is occur in poor countries - The switch between more young and less old to more old and less young is due to improved survival and reduced fertility - Later on (2050) will people be able to live with the freedom and prosperity we do now? This question is up to sustainability and how they define it then - in 1999 people were using the earth’s resources faster than it could be regenerated (unsustainable) - Sustainability of elderly depends on age, gender, marital status and availability of supportive offspring and socioeconomic status -No one knows the path to sustainability because no one knows the destination (if there is one) and we know that we can start putting our current knowledge to use Toxicology and Human Health - Death is becoming more and more of an issue - More women are bearing less and less children and the population is growing older - Poor health slows down economic progress - Tobacco-related disease, obesity and industrial accidents will increase - Prevention is more important than treatment for these chronic and infectious diseases - The world needs an infrastructure that enables decision makers to address health, economic and national security issues in an integrated way Economics - We need to change to a sustainable economy that takes into consideration the biophysical limits of the ecosystem so that we can operate long into the future - If we keep using up resources it will lead to uneconomic growth- some people benefit but the world as a whole does not - People do not take sustainability seriously - Neoclassical economists favor the definition for sustainability as “the maintenance or increase of utility over generations. This has no measure unit and cannot be used from generation to the next. They also believe tat man-made capital is a good substitute for natural capital and then advocating this approach called weak sustainability -Sustainability can be defined in terms of throughput by determining the environment’s capacity for supplying each raw resource and for absorbing the end waste products. -We need to make adjustments in economics, trade, GDP growth, taxes.. EVERYTHING! Ethical Considerations - Many desert people are polytheistic and worship an array of spirits and gods - Rainforest woman tend to the community for their lifetime and desert woman have difficult tasks of building shelters and looking for water and firewood - Desert men work with the herds and war and men in rainforest do heavy lifting and have more beliefs about the inferiority of woman - Desert people have more thoughts about equality Food and Agriculture A growing threat down on the farm - Genetically modified drugs and biotech drugs aren’t necessarily bad - Glyphosate is important to agriculture but plants are becoming immune - hard to fix- some people want to introduce other pesticides to get rid of weeds and what not but others think that this whole thing is a bad idea because we need diversity - GM plants are able to reproduce well Rethinking the Meat-guzzler - Meat is an important commodity - meat assembly-lines consume a lot of energy and pollutes air and water, uses a lot of water and eats a lot of crops that we can eat - eating meat can cause disease, beef is the worst -try to buy only meat and other products that were more sustainably produced Cities and Cars - Green roofs (roofs with a vegetated surface and substrate) provide ecosystem services in urban areas, including improved storm-water management, better regulation of building temperatures, reduced urban heat-island effects, and increased urban wildlife habitat - There is evidence for these benefits and examines the biotic and abiotic components that contribute to overall ecosystem services. We emphasize the potential for improving green-roof function by understanding the interactions between its ecosystem elements, especially the relationships among growing media, soil biota, and vegetation, and the interactions between community structure and ecosystem functioning. Further research into green-roof technology should assess the efficacy of green roofs compared to other technologies with similar ends, and ultimately focus on estimates of aggregate benefits at landscape scales and on more holistic cost- benefit analyses. Cities Transportation and Energy - Protecting Earth’s climate is going to be a trade-off between environment and economy - It would increase prices but it would be worth it in the long run (CLAIM) - In actuality if we reduce energy use accordingly and we protect the climate appropriately then we could actually lower costs - enhancing efficiency is the most important and vital step toward creating a climate-safe energy system but switching t fuels that emit less carbon will also help - energy-efficient products once costly - efficiency improvements that can save most of our electricity also coast less than what the utilities now pay for coal, which generates half of US power and 38% of fossil-fule carbon emissions - Windpower, hybrid cars etc Natural Disasters Fireman letters - Fighting fires got hurt Drowning New Orleans - Waiting to happen -New Orleans produces a lot of material for the country- imports - New Orleans is ringed with levees that fend off the river from the south and the lake from the north. Most of the city has sunk below sea level, forming a bowl that fills even during routine rainstorms. A hurricane-driven sea surge from the east would make the lake overflow, drowning the city. SOLUTION: BLOCK A SEA SURGE Build gates to block the Gulf of Mexico’s access to Lake Pontchartrain. - Many offered suggestions- all relate back to the fact of global warming and we must do something about these issues and global warming Protecting New Orleans - Sea levels are rising - Natural disasters are changing the landscape -NEED TO PROTECT Preservation, Conservation, Restoration - Preserving biodiversity for its own sake, particularly in areas called hot spots, is not working as a conservation strategy. -Focusing on protecting ecosystems vital to people’s health and material needs makes more sense. - Such ecosystems would include not only forests but also wetlands that maintain clean water, mangroves that shield against storms and reefs that sustain fisheries. - Saving these sites can preserve biodiversity and ensure that people are a priority. - Ecosystem services are: provisioning- supplying food or genetic resources; regulating- providing food for control, climate modulation or other similar functions; cultural- offering benefits that are nonmaterial such as a sense of place and spiritual well-being; supporting- delivering the most basic elements of an ecosystem including nutrient cycling soil formulation or pollination - The World Bank is also encouraging nations to embrace green accounting methods in which economic assets and national productivity assessments include measures that credit environmental and ecosystem services and subtract degradation that results from pollution or destructive extraction.