ESS End of Term

  1. EVS
    • worldview or paradigm
    • shapes the way an individual or group perceive and evaluate environmental issues
    • shaped and influenced by inputs (education, culture, media...)
    • outputs (perspectives, decisions, actions)
    • three types
  2. society
    • group of individuals
    • common characeristics
  3. social systems
    • different types (class, democratic..)
    • flows of information, ideas, people
  4. Range of EVS
    technocentric, anthropocentric, ecocentric
  5. technocentric
    • technology is the solution
    • pro-growth agenda
    • optimistic view
    • encouraged scientific research
    • nature is controlled, manipulated, changed
    • cornucopian
  6. anthropocentric
    • sustainable management
    • taxes, regulations, legislation, agreements
    • encouraged debate
  7. ecocentric
    • holistic ideal
    • nature is central to humanity
    • less materialistic approach
    • greater self-sufficiency
    • biorights
    • importance of education
    • self-restraint
    • deep ecologist
  8. deep ecologist
    • intrinsic value of nature
    • ecological laws dictate human morality
    • biorights
  9. intrinsic worth
    inherent worth irrespective of economic considerations
  10. system
    an assemblage of parts and the relationships between them which constitute an entity or whole
  11. systems approach
    visualization of a complex set of interactions
  12. reductionist approach
    • systems are divided into parts
    • each part studied separately
    • ignores the way a system functions as a whole
  13. holistic approach
    system studied as a while
  14. biosphere
    part of earth inhabited by organisms
  15. bioms
    ecosystems with similar climate (tundra, rainforest)
  16. storages
    where matter/energy is stored
  17. flows
    • inputs and outputs of energy and matter
    • transfers and transformations
  18. transfers
    change in location
  19. transformations
    change in chemical nature, state or energy
  20. open systems
    • both matter and energy are exchanged
    • organic
    • interact with environment
  21. closed systems
    • energy but not matter
    • not naturally on Earth
    • exist experimentally
  22. isolated systems
    • neither energy nor matter exchange
    • do not exist naturally
    • the universe
  23. model
    • simplified description
    • shows structure or workings of an object, system or concept
    • generate future predictions
    • loss of accuracy
  24. models strengths
    • simplified concepts
    • predictions in case of changes to inputs, outputs or storages
    • quick - if inputs change, outputs can be examined without waiting long
    • easier to understand (public)
  25. models limitations
    • complex concepts - inaccurate variables
    • different effects using the same data
    • loss in accuracy (assumptions, oversimplification)
    • any model is only as good as the data used
    • predictions get more uncertain further into the future
    • different interpretations
  26. energy
    • forms: kinetic, light, heat, chemical, electrical, potential
    • changes, can’t be created or destroyed
    • laws of thermodynamics
  27. first law of thermodynamics
    • conservation of energy
    • energy can’t be created or destroyed
    • changes form
    • total energy is constant
    • some energy is lost as heat (inefficient transfer)
    • reduced available energy
  28. second law of thermodynamics
    • energy goes from a concentrated form into a dispersed form
    • availability of energy for work decreases
    • increase of entropy (disorder)
  29. entropy
    • measure of the amount of disorder in a system
    • in an isolated system it increases spontaneously
  30. energy in food chains
    • energy goes from producer to consumer
    • matter cycles back
    • heat is lost
  31. equilibrium
    • no sudden changes and limited fluctuations
    • system returns to original state following disturbance
  32. steady-state equilibrium
    • constant inputs and outputs
    • overall stability
    • no changes in long-term
    • oscillations in short-term
    • system returns to steady state after disturbance

    i.e. death of a canopy tree - new tree eventually grows
  33. static equilibrium
    • no outputs or inputs
    • no change in system over time
    • no natural systems are in this state
  34. stable equilibrium
    system returns to original equilibrium after disturbance
  35. unstable equilibrium
    system forms new equilibrium following disturbance
  36. feedback loop
    • allows systems to self-regulate
    • output influences input
  37. positive feedback
    • BAD (destabilizing)
    • a change in the state of a system leads to an increased change
    • increased output feeds back into the system - results in self-sustained change
    • moves system from equilibrium to instability

    i.e. melting of polar ice caps
  38. negative feedback
    • GOOD
    • counteracts change from equilibrium, contributes to stability
    • method of control
    • regulates itself

    i.e. warmer body - sweat - colder body
  39. tipping point
    • critical threshold
    • small change has a drastic effect and causes a disproportionately large response in the system
    • minimum amount of change that will destabilize system, causing it to reach a new equilibrium/stable state
    • positive feedback
    • no globally adopted definition
    • difficult to determine causes, conditions
    • difficult to see in the moment
    • models for predicting
    • i.e. climate change
  40. resilience
    • tendency to avoid tipping points
    • humans affect it by altering diversity and storages
  41. diversity
    • affects resilience
    • high diversity - system is less likely to reach a tp
  42. sustainability
    • use and management of resources that allows full natural regeneration and full recovery of ecosystems affected by extraction and use
    • ensuring future generations can continue to use resource
  43. natural capital
    • natural resources
    • provide sustainable natural income of goods and services
  44. goods
    timber, oil, crops
  45. services
    water replenishment, pollination, climate regulation
  46. renewable resources
    • self-replenishing
    • supplied or replaced as it is used
    • emissions and waste are recycled in a sustainable way
    • timber, hydropower, wind power
  47. non-renewable resources
    • use of resource always depletes the stock
    • fossil fuels, minerals, nuclear power, fossil water
  48. natural income
    • the yield obtained from natural resources
    • max sustainable yield = how much you can harvest sustainably
    • annual growth of forest
  49. sustainable development
    • meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
    • first mentioned in 1987 in Our Common Future
  50. tools for assessing sustainability
    • ecological footprint
    • environmental impact assessment (EIA)
    • millennium ecosystem assessment (MA)
    • global environmental outlook (GEO)
  51. ecological footprint
    • hypothetical area of land and water required by society to fulfill all of their resource needs and assimilate all wastes
    • model for monitoring environmental impact and comparison
    • unti: gha (global hectares)
    • per capita: total of country/population
    • ecological deficits and reserves
    • biocapacity creditors and debtors
    • LEDC vs MEDC footprints
  52. cash cropping
    crop is not used for local population but for profit
  53. environmental impact assessment
    • process of evaluating likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development
    • takes into account interrelated socioeconomic, cultural and human health impacts (beneficial and adverse)
    • people involved: stateholders
    • stages:
    • baseline study - define scope (boundaries of system), establish assessment criteria (environmental indicators)
    • assessment - possible impacts
    • recommendations- proposals for mitigation of impact, summary for public, yes/no
    • monitoring - during and after development
    • environmental indicators
    • +: full picture, best practice example and standards established, sustainability, favors cost/benefit, establishes limits, designs mitigation strategies
    • -: subjective, uncertain (tipping points, system boundaries), indicators could oversimplify, lack of standard practices, direct vs indirect impacts
  54. environmental indicators
    • measures used to illustrate complex phenomena in a simple way
    • trends, progress over time
  55. millennium ecosystem assessment
    • global assessment
    • human impact on the environment
    • UN secretary Kofi Annan
    • key findings: living beyond our means
  56. pollution
    • addition of a substance or an agent to an environment by human activity at a rate greater than that at which it can be rendered harmless by the environment and has a negative/detrimental effect on the organisms within it
    • deliberate or accidental
    • local/regional or global
    • acute or chronic
    • substance: oil spill, chemicals,ddt, plastics
    • energy: radioactivity, light, sound, heat
    • biological agents: alien species, invasive species
    • point-source vs non point-source
  57. point-source
    • release of pollutant from a single, clearly identifiable source
    • factory chimney
  58. non point-source
    • release of pollutants from many widespread origins
    • pesticide run-off
  59. pollutants
    • primary: active on emission
    • secondary: from primary
    • can undergo physical or chemical changes (acid rain)
    • organic or inorganic
    • persistent vs viodegradable
  60. biodegradable
    capable of being broken down by natural biological processes
  61. persistent
    • cannot be broken down by living organisms and so are passed along food chains
    • POPs
    • mercury, ddt
  62. pollution management
    • three levels
    • preventing environmental impacts
    • limiting extent of environmental impacts
    • restoring systems impacted
  63. use of resourcess
    • sustainable - use and management that allows for full natural replacement of the resource
    • unsustainable
  64. renewable energy
    • solar
    • hydroelectric power
    • wind
    • geothermal (seismic zones, for households)
    • biomass (waste to energy, timber)
    • oceanic power (tidal and wave)
  65. non-renewable energy
    • nuclear
    • fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas)
    • hybrids (tarsands, shalegas)
  66. dynamic nature of resources
    • human abilities to exploit materials or sources of energy changes over time
    • their value as resources changes
    • ability to exploit is limited by technology, economics, value systems
  67. energy efficiency and conservation
    • measures that can be taken
    • individual and infrastructural level
  68. individual level
    • shorter showers
    • turning lights off
    • recycling
    • turning tap off
    • public transport
    • refrain from using a/c or heaters
    • meatless monday
    • energy efficient appliances
    • buying locally produced products - reduced mileage
    • education
    • campaigns
  69. infrastructural level
    • tax outputs of industries
    • use efficient energy sources
    • city planning - separate lanes for carpooling, for public transport, bike lanes, driving restrictions
    • electric cars
    • subsidize energy efficient industry
    • led street lights
    • turning off billboard lights
Card Set
ESS End of Term