APES Ch 1

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sustainability
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the capacity of Earth’s natural systems and human cultural systems to survive, flourish, and adapt to changing environmental conditions into the very long-term future
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environment
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everything around us
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environmental science
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an interdisciplinary study of how humans interact with the living and nonliving parts of their environment
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Main concept 1: Three goals of environmental science
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1. to learn how life on earth has survived and thrived 2. to understand how we interact with the environment 3. to find ways to deal with the environmental problems and live more sustainably
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ecology
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the biological science that studies how living things interact with one another and with their environment
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ecosystem
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a set of organisms within a defined area or volume that interact with one another and with their environment of nonliving matter and energy
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environmentalism
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a social movement dedicated to trying to protect the earth’s life-support systems for all forms of life
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Main concept 2: Three scientific principles of sustainability
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Dependence on solar energy, biodiversity, and chemical cycling
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Dependence on solar energy
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Sun warms plants and provides energy for nutrients. Powers solar energy
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Biodiversity
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the variety of genes, organisms, species, and ecosystems in which organisms exist and interact
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Chemical cycling
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the circulation of chemicals necessary for life from the environment through organisms and back to the environment
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nutrients
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chemicals necessary for plants life processes along with those of most other animals
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solar energy
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wind and flowing water which we use to produce electricity
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natural capital
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the natural resources and natural services that keep us and other species alive and support the human economies
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natural resources
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materials and energy in nature that are essential or useful to humans
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natural services
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processes provided by healthy ecosystems
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Main concept 3: social science principles of sustainability
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derived from studies of economics, political science, and ethics. 1. full cost pricing 2. win-win solution 3. a responsibility to future generations
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full-cost pricing
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many economist urge us to find ways to include the harmful environmental and health costs of producing and using goods and services in their market prices
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win-win solution
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We can learn to work together in dealing with environmental problems by focusing on solutions that will benefit the largest possible number of people as well as the environment
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responsibility to future generations
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we should accept our responsibility to leave the planet’s life-support systems in at least as good a shape as what we now enjoy for our future generations
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resource
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anything that we can obtain from the environment to meet our needs and wants
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inexhaustible resource
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its continuous supply is expected to last for at least 6 billion years until the sun dies
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renewable resource
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one that can be replenished by natural processes within hours to centuries as long as we don’t use it up faster than natural processes would renew it
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sustainable yield
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the highest rate at which we can use a renewable resource indefinitely without reducing its available supply
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nonrenewable resources
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a fixed quantity in the earth’s crust
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Main concept 4: Reduce, reuse, recycle
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this is used to reduce environmental impact and extend supply duration
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more-developed countries
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industrialized nations with high average income- have 17% of the world’s population and include the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, and most European countries
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Less-developed countries
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83 % of the world. Most in Africa, Asia, and Latin America
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Environmental degredation
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living unsustainably by wasting, depleting, and degrading the earth’s natural capital
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pollution
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a contamination of the environment by a chemical or other agent such as noise or heat to a level that is harmful to the health, survival, or activities of humans, or other organisms.
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point sources
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single, identifiable sources of pollution
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nonpoint sources
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dispersed and often difficult to identify polluters
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pollution cleanup
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cleaning up or diluting pollutants after we have produced them
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pollution prevention
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efforts focused on greatly reducing or eliminating the production of pollutants
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affluence
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wealth which allows for the consumption of resources far beyond basic needs
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ecological footprint
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the amount of land and water needed to supply a person or an area with renewable resources
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per capita ecological footprint
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the average ecological footprint of an individual in a given country or area
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sustainability revolution
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many environmental scientists and other analysts see such developments as evidence of an emerging fourth major cultural change in which we learn to live more sustainably with smaller ecological footprints during the century
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Main concept 5: Major causes of environmental problems
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1. population growth 2. wasteful and unsustainable resource use 3. poverty 4. failure to include the harmful environmental costs of goods and services
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exponential growth
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when a quantity such as the human population increases as a a fixed percentage per unit of time
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poverty
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a condition in which people are unable to fulfill their basic needs for adequate food, water, shelter, health care, and education.
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environmental worldview
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your set of assumptions and values reflecting how you think the world works and what you think your role in the world should be
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environmental ethics
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the study of our various beliefs about whati is right and wrong with how we treat the environment, provides important ways to examine our worldview
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planetary management worldview
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holds that we are separate from and in charge of nature, that nature exists mainly to meet our needs and increasing wants, and that we can use our ingenuity and technology to manage the earth’s life-support systems, mostly for our benefit, into the distant future
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stewardship worldview
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we can and should manage the earth for our benefit, but that we have the ethical responsibility to be caring and responsible managers of earth.
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environmental wisdom worldview
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we are part of and dependent on, nature and that the earth’s life support system exists for all species, not just for us.
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environmentally sustainable society
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one that meets the current and future issue for what is known as the environmental justice movement.
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natural income
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the renewable resources such as plants, animals, soil, clean air, and clean water , provided by earth’s natural capital

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