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Introduction to

Environmental Science
Enviornmental Science 150
 Greg Hueckel
– (360) 866-8564 home
– (360) 888-5667 cell
– Email
 Required Text
Sustaining the Earth (Seventh Edition)
G. Tyler Miller Jr.
Confusing terms

• environmental science
• environmental studies
• environmentalism
• ecology
• ecosystem

• environmental science (or studies)

• interdisciplinary studies in natural sciences,
including geology, climatology, hydrology,
ecology, and their interaction with social
sciences such as economics, political
science, sociology, anthropology, geography
The Role of Science and People


• environmentalism
• social movement for protecting earth’s life
support systems for us and other species
More definitions

• ecology
• study of the interactions between organisms
and between organisms and their
• ecosystem
• includes all organisms living in an area and
the physical environment with which these
organisms interact.
What is environment?

• Environment is everything that affects a living

• Environment can include both living (biotic) and
non-living (abiotic) components.
• What makes up a forest environment?
• What makes up a marine environment?
• What makes up your personal environment?
What Keeps Us Alive?

• Solar Capital
• Natural Capital

• natural resources
are natural

Fig. 1-2, p. 7
Ecosystem Economics
 Biological income must not exceed
biological expenditures.

 Protect your capital and live off the income

it provides.
 With no predators, and unlimited life
requirements, an organism’s population
can grow unchecked.
Population Growth

• 6.4 billion
• Exponential
• More in
chapter 4
Economic Growth

Increase in capacity of a
country to provide
people with goods
and services
Economic Growth
• Gross Domestic Product
• Annual market value of all
goods and services
produced by all firms and
organizations, foreign and
domestic, operating within
a country.
• Per Capita GDP
• Annual gross domestic
product (GDP) of a country
divided by its total
population at mid-year. It
gives the average slice of
the economic pie per
Economic Development
Improvement of
(human) living
standards by
economic growth
Economic Development

 Developed Countries
– mostly US, EU, Canada, Japan, Australia
– high per capita GDP
– 1.2 billion people
 Developing Countries
– mostly Africa, Latin America, Asia
– moderate to low per capita GDP
– 5.2 billion people
Which has a bigger environmental
Is economic

 Perpetual
– Solar – renewed
 Renewable
– Replenished fairly
rapidly through natural

 Non-renewable
– minerals
Renewable Resources
 Sustainable yield
– Highest rate at which a potentially renewable
resource can be used without reducing its available
supply throughout the world or in a particular area.
 Environmental Degradation
– Depletion or destruction of a potentially renewable
resource such as soil, grassland, forest, or wildlife
that is used faster than it is naturally replenished. If
such use continues, the resource becomes
nonrenewable (on a human time scale) or nonexistent
Tragedy of the Commons
 Depletion or degradation of a potentially
renewable resource to which people have
free and unmanaged access.
 An example is the depletion of
commercially desirable fish species in the
open ocean beyond areas controlled by
coastal countries.
 How do we avoid this?
Ecological Footprint

 Amount of biologically productive land and water needed to supply

each person or population with the renewable resources they use
and to absorb or dispose of the wastes from such resource use. It
measures the average environmental impact of individuals or
populations in different countries and areas.
Non-Renewable Resources
 Resource that exists in a fixed amount (stock) in various
places in the earth's crust and has the potential for
renewal by geological, physical, and chemical processes
taking place over hundreds of millions to billions of
 Energy, metals, and other minerals
 Examples are copper, aluminum, iron, salt, clay, coal,
and oil.
 Any potentially renewable resource can become non-
renewable if used improperly
 Theoretically, never exhaust due to economic feasibility
for extracting.
Non-renewable resources and natural
capital degradation
Extracting, processing and use come at
an environmental expense
 An undesirable change in the physical, chemical, or
biological characteristics of air, water, soil, or food that
can adversely affect the health, survival, or activities of
humans or other living organisms.
 Point source
– Single identifiable source that discharges pollutants into the
environment. ( smoke stack, exhaust pipes, industrial discharge)
 Non-point source
– Large or dispersed land areas such as crop fields, streets, and
lawns that discharge pollutants into the environment over a large
area. (stormwater, septic tanks)
Dealing With Pollution

 Prevention
– input control
 Cleanup
– output control

 Which strategy is more effective?

– Why?
– Where should we put more emphasis?
Environmental and Resource Problems
Environmental and Resource Problems

 Five root causes

Resource consumption
 Do you have “shop-till-you-drop”
 Between 1998 and 2001, more Americans
declared bankruptcy than graduated from

 Affluent countries depend on consuption

for economic growth.
– Don’t include resource costs with price of
goods (water use and instream flows)
Environmental Impact (I) = (P)(A)(T)

Fig. 1-13 p. 15
Environmental Impact
 United States citizen consumes about 100
times as much as the average person in
the world’s poorest countries.
 Poor parents in a developing country
would need 70 to 200 children to have the
same lifetime resource consumption as 2
U.S. children.
Environmental Worldviews

 Are things getting better or worse?

– Depends on your perspective…
 Human ingenuity, tech advances and economic growth will
clean up pollution
 Environmentalists and scientists disagree – degrading and
disrupting earth’s ecosystems
 Planetary Management – of human growth
 Environmental Wisdom – wise use of our natural
What is Our Greatest
Environmental Problem?

• Disease
• Overpopulation
• Water Shortages
• Climate Changes
• Biodiversity Loss
• Poverty
• Malnutrition

 Current Emphasis
 Sustainability

Fig. 1-16, p. 18