Published on November 1, 2007
Geography 210: Physical Geography and Environmental Issues: Geography 210: Physical Geography and Environmental Issues Planning for a Sustainable Future Motivation: Motivation present practices of energy and resource consumption are non-sustainable “What on Earth will we leave for future generations?” Non-sustainability: Non-sustainability An estimated 80 percent of global fish stocks are now fished at or beyond their sustainable limit. Despite the existence of alternative sources, more than 90 percent of paper still comes from trees - eating up about one fifth of the total wood harvest worldwide. Around 1.7 billion people worldwide - more than a quarter of humanity – are entering the "consumer class," adopting the diets, transportation systems, and lifestyles that were limited to the rich nations of Europe, North America, and Japan during most of the last century. In China alone, 240 million people have joined the ranks of consumers - a number that will soon surpass that in the United States. http://www.worldwatch.org/press/news/2004/01/08 Sustainable Development: Sustainable Development "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Brundtland Report, 1987, United Nations. must overcome environmental degradation do so while not forgoing the needs of economic ‘development’ as well as social equity and justice. Possible? Oxymoron? Case: Protecting Forests: Case: Protecting Forests Julia Hill spent 2 years (1997-1999) in a 1000 year old redwood tree to prevent it from being logged. Her action touches on all unifying themes in our course. photos 1995-2000 Shaun Walker Deforestation: unifying themes for sustainability.: Deforestation: unifying themes for sustainability. As population increases, so does demand for natural resources. deforestation is a global issue Timber products used primarily in urban regions Urban population growing Science provides a way of knowing … allowing us to assess environmental risks then based on our values, we choose our future. Wangari Maathai: Wangari Maathai 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for "her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace“ founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977 has planted over 30 million trees across Kenya to prevent soil erosion. http://www.big-picture.tv/index.php?id=40&cat=&a=78/ Environmentalism Vs. Capitalism: Environmentalism Vs. Capitalism Environmentalism advocacy of the preservation or improvement of the natural environment; especially: the movement to control pollution and reduce habitat and biodiversity loss Capitalism an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. Are environmentalism and capitalism mutually exclusive? Developing a Sustainable Future: Developing a Sustainable Future If we choose sustainable development… what is needed is development of new concepts that will mold industrial, social, and environmental interests into an integrated, harmonious system. …a new paradigm (pattern), an alternative to our present model for society and economy. …new thinking Developing a Sustainable Future: Developing a Sustainable Future Review main points (bullets) in section 30.1 old textbook Components of a Sustainable House: Components of a Sustainable House Passive and active solar power Recycled materials for construction Irrigation system uses ‘gray water’ Fruit and vegetable bearing foliage Rain water collected to augment irrigation Gravel used instead of concrete to allow soil moisture infiltration. On-site wetland for sediment trap and water storage when flooding. Less is more: Less is more Consumption "You don't own your possessions, your possessions own you.“ Urban redevelopment Less land consumed Driving Less Increased cash-flow More time Better health auto-related injuries In 2002 2.9 million nationally 42,815 deaths 800 / week 1,400 in Ohio. Less stress decreased freedom? Books on SimplyLiving.net: Books on SimplyLiving.net more consumption ≠ more happiness: more consumption ≠ more happiness About a third of Americans report being "very happy," the same share as in 1957, when Americans were only half as wealthy. Today, Americans are among the most worked people in the industrial world nine more weeks on the job each year than the average European. http://www.worldwatch.org/press/news/2004/01/08 US Law and the Environment: US Law and the Environment Common law – derived from customs, judgment, and decrees of the courts Vs. legislation frontier spirit: “just give me land, a horse, and a gun, and leave me alone” The US system strengthened British common law, to protect the individual. Individual freedom given high priority Powers of the government restricted The majority of activities we regulate today in the name of the environment (using legislation) would proceed unrestricted if left to common law © 2003 John Wiley and Sons Publishers Major federal environmental legislation and the year enacted. International Environmental Laws: International Environmental Laws Montreal protocol (1987) international agreement to phase out stratospheric ozone destroying CFCs. Persistent Organic Pollutants persist in the environment, bioaccumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – liver damage, cancer Following several years of negotations, 127 nations in 2001 adopted a treaty to greatly reduce the use of toxic chemicals known to contribute to cancer and harm the environment. Kyoto Protocol (1997) Reduction of CO2 air pollution Not ratified by US and Australia International Environmental ‘Summit’ Meetings: International Environmental ‘Summit’ Meetings The UN has sponsored several meetings on environmental issues Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992 The Rio Conference was a significant milestone that set a new agenda for sustainable development. A major theme was perceived threat of global warming. Kyoto, Japan, 1997 Johannesburg, South Africa, 2002 Earth SummitJohannesburg, South Africa, 2002: Earth Summit Johannesburg, South Africa, 2002 Read: Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development Outcome of Johannesburg Summit: Outcome of Johannesburg Summit New York, 25 September 2002 “When the United Nations General Assembly authorized holding the World Summit on Sustainable Development, it was hardly a secret that progress in implementing sustainable development has been extremely disappointing since the 1992 Earth Summit, with poverty deepening and environmental degradation worsening. What the world wanted, the General Assembly said, was not a new philosophical or political debate but rather, a summit of actions and results.” UN Division of Sustainable Development website Slide20: Club of Rome Think Tank-30 (tt30) ‘composed of independent men and women around the age of 30 who are concerned about the problems of today and committed to work towards the solution of these challenges.’ From the perspective of a new generation, tt30 works out an agenda of topics that we regard as central for the future development of the world and indicates possible ways how to meet these challenges of tomorrow. tt30 is a forum provided by the Club of Rome and guided by its fundamental principles: holistic thinking taking a global approach a long-term perspective. Slide21: Source: www.clubofrome.org There exist on earth enough goods for the basic needs of all people today every fifth person world-wide is illiterate The majority of disease-deaths in the world today are preventable The resource-intensive, consumptive lifestyles currently enjoyed by many in the industrialized nations are seen as the driving force of environmental stress. consumptive lifestyle considered [by the UN] to be a major factor undermining the environmental resource base. Consumption is worsening inequalities, and the dynamics of the consumption-poverty-inequality environment nexus are accelerating United Nations Climate Change Conference agrees on future critical steps to tackle climate change: United Nations Climate Change Conference agrees on future critical steps to tackle climate change Montreal, 10 December 2005 - The United Nations Climate Change Conference closed with the adoption of more than forty decisions that will strengthen global efforts to fight climate change. The US is remains outside of the process Slide23: Final Statements from Annual Conference of The Club of Rome in co-operation with The Arab Thought Forum: "In Search for Common Ground for Peace and Development“ 8-10 October, 2003 Amman, Jordan Final Statements from Annual Conference of The Club of Rome : Final Statements from Annual Conference of The Club of Rome …“Although there was hope that the process of globalizing markets would lead to more equity and the socio-economic inclusion of the poor, this has not come true. On the contrary, we are facing the crucial fact that the rich have become richer, the poor poorer In the US, the top 5 percent has more wealth than the remaining 95 percent of the population put together. Slide25: Richest Individuals and Families in the U.S., 2002 Source: Forbes 400 website: http://www.forbes.com/2002/09/13/rich400land.html Data retrieved Sept. 30, 2002. Final Statements from Annual Conference of The Club of Rome: Final Statements from Annual Conference of The Club of Rome “As the trickle down effect of globalizing economic activities has not become a reality in a sufficient way, we have to develop economic structures and markets in a bottom-up process empowering people for socio-economic inclusion and creating the hundreds of millions of jobs urgently needed to overcome the already existing high unemployment exacerbated by the population growth. US Role in Sustainable Development: US Role in Sustainable Development Rio de Janeiro, March 24, 1992 “The Bush I administration fears Greenhouse gas limits hinder economic growth” Kyoto, Japan, 1997 On October 22, 1997, Clinton announced that he would seek the establishment of an international emissions trading scheme as an alternative to carbon taxes as a means of reducing world emissions of greenhouse gases. Johannesburg , 26 February 2002 American environmentalists urged President G. W. Bush to announce that he will go to Johannesburg to join with other countries in partnerships that can address the environmental challenges threatening long-term well-being and security. G. W. Bush sent Powell Current US position on sustainable development is non-committal. World 3 Model Revisited: World 3 Model Revisited The World 3 Model: The World 3 Model Meadows, Donena H., Dennis L. Meadows, Jorgen Randers and William W. Behrens III. 1972. The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind. New York: Universe Books. Meadows, Donella H., Dennis L. Meadows and Jorgen Randers. 1992. Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future. Post Mills, Vt.: Chelsea Green Publishing Company. Meadows D. H., J. Randers, D. L. Meadows, 2004: Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update, 338 pp. Slide30: The World 3 Model Population 1900 1950 2000 2050 2100 Industrial Output Persistent Pollution Non- renewable Resources Year Food Supply Future Scenarios: Future Scenarios The “business as usual” scenario looks bad. At ~2030 resources will have declined drastically and pollution risen; industrial output and food production will collapse, bringing a sharp decline in population. Even if we double the amount of resources assumed in scenario 1, we gain only 20 more years; population rises to 9 billion then rapidly declines; food and industrial production still collapse and pollution rises to higher levels. Overshoot: Overshoot In the majority of future scenarios, the population's growth rate declines, but not fast enough as the carrying capacity is reached, leading to overshoot, which is usually followed by a collapse. In this case, the population does not process information about its condition fast enough to change its growth rate and non-sustainability, thus, collapse becomes likely. Limits to Growth: Limits to Growth Technological breakthroughs and changing behavior can push back some of the limits to growth, but eventually those limits will stand as barriers to continued growth. It is important to realize that we are talking about continued growth, not continued existence. Humans can achieve a sustainable existence on Earth, and in large numbers, and that existence might be very comfortable, but growth cannot continue beyond a certain point. Recognizing where that point is and confronting it will prevent us from experiencing an overshoot and collapse. Sustainability: Sustainability We could have a sustainable world of 8 billion with the average standard of living now found in Europe for all people by: controlling population growth increasing fuel efficiency increasing reliance on renewable energies controlling pollution Scrubbers Reforestation Carbon sequestration promoting environmental protection Closing Thoughts 1: Closing Thoughts 1 optimistic view as the human population approaches the actual carrying capacity, there will be sufficient signals and we will collectively act on those signals in such a way as to prevent an overshoot and collapse from occurring. Evidence suggests we have reached carrying capacity not just through population growth, but by increased consumption Closing Thoughts 2: Closing Thoughts 2 signals of overshoot increasing prices for natural resources, which encourage a reduction in use through conservation, recycling, and increased efficiency. fossil fuels we rely on for most of our energy are produced too slow we cannot achieve a steady state condition for these energy resources. Thus, we will ultimately have to get all of our energy from sustainable sources such as solar, wind, and nuclear sources (nuclear fusion rather than fission, whose waste products are too problematic). Solar is the most attractive resource Closing Thoughts 3: Closing Thoughts 3 example of how this adaptation can work the case of the 1970s energy crisis rapid changes occurred in response to the decrease in availability of petroleum. Unfortunately, most of these changes were reversed shortly after, once the flow of oil from the OPEC countries continued. we can change if we are convinced that we must especially if it is economically favorable to change. Slide39: United Nations?