MSU ISS 310 (Honors)

 

 

Environment

 

 

All living things and non-living things around us.

 

 

Society

 

 

Humans and their systems of culture, politics, and economic exchange that govern interrelationships.

 

 

Defining Environmental Problems

 

 

Scientific evidence, public awareness, perceptions, values.

 

 

Environmentalism

 

 

 

Movement dedicated to protecting the natural world and humans that depend on the natural world.

(began in 60s/70s)

 

 

Cornucopians

 

 

Do not believe in limits and think that we will always have enough resources.

 

 

Prometheans

 

 

Have unlimited confidence in human ability to use technology to overcome any problems.

 

 

Survivalists

 

 

Believe there are limits to growth and we are running out of resources and must change.

 

 

Cassandras

 

 

Give warnings of impeding harm or doom that is often dismissed or ignored.

 

 

Sustainability

 

 

To satisfy the needs of people and the ecosystem today and in the future.

 

 

Exponentional Growth

 

 

Increasingly accelerated and compounded growth

 

(Population Growth)

 

 

Carrying Capacity

 

 

Theoretical limit of population that a system can sustain.

 

 

Thomas Malthus

 

 

Principle of Population (1789)

predicted inability to sustain carrying capacity, believed in more restraint and ending aid to the poor

 

 

Neo-Malthusianism

 

 

At this rate we will overshoot carrying capacity. Population makes environmental problems worse, but other factors are at play.

 

 

I=PAT

 

 

Impact = Population x Affluence (how we use resources) x Technology

 

 

Boserup Theory

 

 

More people will result in more technological advances/innovation (Cornucopians and Prometheans). “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

 

 

Induced Intensification

 

 

Agricultural demands for foods leads to technological innovation resulting in the production of more food on the same land.

 

 

Green Revolution

 

 

Technological innovations that drastically increased the world agricultural yield with chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides.

(Health cost, water contaminants, fossil fuel to produce, hurts animals)

 

 

Environmental Kuznets Curve

 

 

Environmental impacts rise during development and fall after an economy matures.

 

 

Demographic Transition Model

 

 

As nations develop, death rates go down first, then birth rates. (May not fit developing countries)

 

 

Ecological Footprint

 

 

Total amount of productive land and water to produce material and consume waste.

(carbon, food, housing, goods/services)

 

 

Market

 

 

System that allows buyers and sellers to trade or exchange goods, services, and information

 

 

Free Market

 

 

Prices and wages are determined by unrestricted competition between businesses without government regulation.

 

 

“The Bet:” Neomalthusians vs. prometheans

 

Ehlrich–population will cause scarcity

Simon–technology will save us

Rare metal prices all went down

(Simon was right)

 

 

Market Response Model

 

A scarcity emerges, then the resources increases in price, leading to:

less consumption, increased supply (more found), or find substitions

 

 

Jevon’s Paradox

;

Counterintuitive observation rooted in economic theory:;

technology increases efficiency, which leads to increased consumption

;

;

Externality

;

;

Spillover of cost/benefit (as where industrial activity at a plant leads to pollution off site) that must be paid for by someone else.

;

;

Coase Theorem

;

;

Externalities most efficiently controlled through contracts and bargaining between parties.

;

;

Market Failure

;

Production and exchange of goods and services is not efficient. Mismatch between theory and real world.

(Monopoly and Monospony)

;

;

Green Taxes

;

;

tax harmful activity

;

;

Incentives

;

;

rebates, cost-share, discounts

(reward good behavior)

;

;

Permit Trading

;

;

Create market and permits for harmful activity to reduce impacts.

;

;

Cap-And-Trade

;

Cap–total limit

Permits issued and can be traded

Firms needing to emit more may buy shares

Creates hot spots.

 

 

Green Washing

 

 

Exaggerated or false marketing of a good, product, or services as environmentally friendly.

 

 

Green Certification

 

 

Third party monitors production and confirms that products meet set environmental standards.

 

 

Contingent Valuation

 

 

Uses surveys to determine how much people are willing to pay to protect a resources.

 

 

Cost Benefit Analysis

 

Estimated costs for a proposed action are tolerated and compared to sum of benefits of the action.

(not all values can be compared)

 

 

Ecosystem Services

 

 

Resources and processes provided by ecosystems that benefit society.

 

 

Policy

 

 

A formal set of plans and principles to address problems and guide decisions.

 

 

Public Policy

 

 

Policies made by the government.

 

 

Environmental Policy

 

 

Has to do with humans and the environment and should include science, ethics, and economics.

 

 

Government’s goal

 

Protect people and what they care about

Correct market failure

Protect Resources

Address Free Riders

 

 

Free Riders

 

Some individuals consume more than their share of a common resources or pay less than their fair share of the cost of a common resources.

 

 

Governance

 

 

Process or power of managing, leading, and administering

(corporations, groups of Corps., NGOs)

 

 

Neoliberals

 

 

Since 1980s, small government, shrinking government, freedom from government.

 

 

Prisoner’s Dilemma

 

Individuals making decisions in pursuit of their own interest tend to create collective outcomes that are non-optimal for everyone.

 

 

Hardin’s herdsman example

 

In a pasture, the herdsman will each continue to add more sheep to their herds, as it is highly beneficial to each individual. This will lead to the overuse and destruction of the pasture.

 

 

Tragedy of the Commons

 

 

Don’t know what others will do, so users prioritize short term gain, despite ruin to all.

 

 

Institutions

 

 

Rules and norms that govern collective action in order to benefit all users.

 

 

Culture

 

 

Knowledge, beliefs, values and ways of life shared by a society.

 

 

Worldview

 

 

What exists and how things work.

 

 

Values

 

 

What is important, what we believe in.

 

 

Dominion Theory

 

Genesis, dominion: humans are the pinnacle of creation, as such humans are granted ehtical free rein to use nature in any way deemed beneficial.

 

 

Stewardship

 

 

Take responsibility for the property or fate of others; stewardship of the land and natural resources.

 

 

Ethics

 

 

Branch of philosophy involving study of good and bad, right and wrong.

 

 

Ethical Standards

 

 

Criteria that help distinguish right from wrong.

 

 

Environmental Ethics

 

 

Applies ethical standards to relationships between humans and non-humans.

 

 

Morals

 

 

Concerned with principles of right and wrong behavior and goodness or badness of human character.

 

 

Anthropocentrism

 

 

Human-centered view of the world and the environment.

 

 

Dualism

 

 

Humans and nature are separate. Nature is here for humans’ use–to be conquered. Non-humans do not have rights.

 

 

Factory Farms

 

Intensive animal raising, Max production: industrial efficiency, Water/Air pollution, Animal welfare not a concern, Non-nursing non-pregnant sow=wasted capital.

(Economics most important)

 

 

Utilitarianism

 

 

Ethical standpoint: value of nature determined by value to humans.

 

 

Preservation

 

 

Protecting natural pristine state of nature.

(John Muir)

 

 

Conservation

 

Using natural resources responsibly. Managing a resources to sustain its productivity over time, through scientific management.

(Gifford Pinchot)

 

 

Wilderness

 

 

A natural parcel of land, more or less unaffected by humans 

(social construction?)

 

 

Holism

 

 

Any theory that holds that a whole ecosystem is more than the sum of its parts.

 

 

The Land Ethic

(not an “orange” term)

 

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.

 

 

Biocentrism

 

 

Values living things or the living world in general apart from human use.

 

 

Speciesism

 

 

Assigning different values or rights based on species.

 

 

Ecocentrism

 

 

Ecological concerns should, over and above human priorities, be central to decisions about right and wrong.

 

 

Animal Liberation

 

Social movement aims to free all animals from use by humans for any purpose.

(Peter Singer)

 

 

Deep Ecology

 

 

Philosophy of environmental ethics that argues for deeper, more ecologically- informed view, biocentric equality.

 

 

Intrinsic Value

 

 

Value of a natural object in and for itself, as an end rather than a means

(independent of humans)

 

 

Ecofeminism

 

Belief that male-dominated society is the root cause of social and environmental problems.

(female view tends to be more holistic)

 

 

Environmental Justice

 

 

Focuses on fair, equitable treatment of all people with respect to environmental policy and practice.

 

 

LULU

 

 

Locally Unwanted Land Use

 

 

NIMBY

 

 

Not In My BackYard

 

 

Naturalistic Fallacy

 

 

Using ecological findings to figure out what is good therefore right: an ethical “ought” from a natural “is.”

 

 

Scientism

 

 

Uncritical reliance on natural sciences as basis for social decision-making and ethical judgements.

 

 

Social Ecology

 

 

Environmental problems rooted in social structures and relationships.

 

 

Pragmatism

 

Consideres real world consequences and effects to be constituent components of truth and reality. 

(Environmentalists have created too many unnecessary fields…)

 

 

Hazard

 

 

Object, condition, or process that threatens individuals or society in terms of production or reproduction.

 

 

Risk

 

 

The known or estimated probability that a hazard-related decision will have a negative consequence.

 

 

Environmental Health

 

 

Assess environmental factors that influence human health and quality of life.

 

 

4 major types of Hazards

(not orange word)

 

Physical

Biological

Chemical

Cultural

 

 

Uncertainty

 

 

Degree to which the outcomes of a decision or situation are unknown.

 

 

Risk Perception

 

The tendency of people to evaluate the hazardousness of a situation or decision in not always rational terms, depending on individual biases, culture, or human tendencies.

 

 

Most/Least Feared Events

(not orange term)

 

Most: involuntary, uncontrollable, catastrophic

Least: Immediate effects, voluntary/individual choices

 

 

Affect

 

 

Emotions or unconscious responses to the world that influence decision-making.

 

 

Cultural Theory

 

 

Group ideology and social norms impact individual risk perceptions.

 

 

Science

 

Systematic activity to better understand the world. Scientific method involves hypothesis testing, measuring evidence, and emiricism (knowledge through evidence)

 

 

Conflict of Interest

 

 

When scientists are involved in multiple interests and one can corrupt the other

(i.e. scince + $$$)

 

 

Carcinogenic

 

 

Cancer causing

 

 

Mutagens

 

 

Mutate DNA

 

 

Teratogens

 

 

Impact embryo, cause birth defects

 

 

Neurotoxins

 

 

assault the nervous system

 

 

Endocrine Disrupters

 

 

Affect hormones and development and/or reproduction

 

 

Perflourtinated Compounds (PFCs)

 

 

Used to make stain or stick resistant materials. Very persistant. cause cancer in animals, stay in the body up to 4 years.

 

 

PBDEs

 

 

Flame retardants found in house dust, indoor air. Cause thyroid abnormalities and birth defects.

 

 

Organochlorides

 

 

Mostly banned in the US, but highly persistant

(i.e. DDT)

 

 

 

Organophosphates

 

Commonly used today in apples, bell peppers, grapes, nectarines, peaches, strawberries, pears.

Affect the nervous system.

 

 

Phthalates

 

Used to make plastic soft (rubber duckies)

Cause reproductive, asthma, liver/kidney problems.

EU banned use in cosmetics and toys.

 

 

PCBs

 

Cooling fuel, electrical equipment.

Cause cancer, banned in 1977.

Very persistant, contaminated water and fish.

 

 

Heavy Metals

Mercury: used in lightbulbs, thermometers, fillings 

Arsenic: pesticides, paints

Lead: paint, pipes, hair dye, cosmetics

Inhibit brain development, kidney damage, cancer

 

 

Precautionary Principle

 

 

A policy in which precaution should be taken even when full information is lacking.

 

 

Political Economy

 

A social science dealing with political policies and economic processes, their interrelations, and influence on society. (Political/economic forces that cause social problems)

 

 

Socialism

 

 

Theory or system of social organization where means of production and distribution are shared by the community as a whole.

 

 

Labor

 

 

The act of altering nature and bringing it into the process of making the human world.

 

 

Commodity

 

Object of economic value, valued generically rather than as a specific object made for exchange.

(differs from use value–made to use, not to exchange)

 

 

Surplus Value

 

 

Value produced by underpaying labor or over extracting from the environment, which is accumulated by capitalists. 

 

 

Primitive Accumulation

 

 

Direct appropriation by capitalists of natural resources or goods from communities that historically tend to hold them collectively.

 

 

Accumulation

 

 

Collecting wealth, the central driving imperative of capitalist economy. 

 

 

Treadmill of Production

 

The economy as an accelterating treadmill, constantly racing to keep itself in place, consuming ever more labor and materials to survive.

 

 

Overaccumulation

 

 

A condition where wealth becomes concentrated in very few hands, causing economic slowdown and potential crisis.

 

 

1st Contradiction of Capitalism

 

Capitalism will undermine economic conditions for its own perpetuation, through overproduction of commodities, reduction of wages for would be consumers.

 

 

2nd Contradiction of Capitalism

 

Tendency for capitalism to undermine conditions for its own perpetuation, through degredation of natural resources or harm/mistreatment of workers.

 

 

Withdrawls

 

 

extracting resources for production

 

 

Additions

 

 

depositing pollution or waste

 

 

Competition drives…
(not an orange term) 

 

 

Withdrawls without renewal

Additions without treatment

 

 

Spatial Fix

 

Tendency of capitalism to temporarily solve its inevitable periodic crises by establishing new markets, new resources, and new sites of production in other places.

 

 

Production of Nature

 

 

The idea that the environment, if ever it was separate, is now a product of human industry or activity.

 

 

Commodification

 

Transformation of an object or resources from something valued in and of itself, to something valued for exchange. 

(exchange value over use value)

 

 

False commodities

(not an orange term)

 

 

Nature and labor

–risky to undermine the bases of production

 

 

Social Construction

 

Any category, condition, or thing that exists or is understood to have certain characteristics because people socially agree that it does.

 

 

Constructivist Perspective

 

 

Emphasizing the significance of concepts, ideologies, and social practice to our understanding and making of the world.

 

 

Types of Constructivism/Realists

(not an orange term)

Extreme Const.: everything is socially constructed

Moderate Const.: aware of how we create knowledge

Extreme Realist: what we know=what is

Critical Realist: there is reality, but be aware of its construction

 

 

 

Relativism

 

 

Holds that all beliefs, truths, and facts are at root products of the paticular set of social relations from which they arise. 

 

 

Co-production

 

 

Humans and non-humans produce and change one another through their interaction and interrelation.

 

 

Wilderness

 

A parcel of land, more or less unaffected by human forces.

Before Civil War: savage

After Civil War: frontier, sublime

 

 

“Nature”

 

 

The natural world, everything that exists that is not a product of human activity.

(Quotations because of unclear uses.)

 

 

Race

 

A set of imaginary categories distinguishing types of people based on skin color or body morphology.

(no genetic basis, tool for discrimination)

 

 

Discourse 

 

 

 

 

At root, written and spoken communication are power-embedded constructions that partially make the world we live in.

 

 

Narrative

 

 

A story with a beginning and end

(i.e. tragedy of commons)

 

 

Concept

 

 

A single idea, usually captured in a word or phrase

(i.e. carrying capacity)

 

 

Ideologies

 

 

Normative, value-laden world views that spell out how the world is and how it ought to be.

 

 

Signifying Practices

 

 

Modes and methods of representation for communicating ideologies

 

 

Discourses are made up of…

(not an orange term)

 

Narratives

Concepts

Ideologies

Signifying Practices

 

 

Greenhouse Effect

 

Characteristic of earth’s atmosphere based on presence of important gases including water vapor and carbon dioxide to trap and retain heat, leading to temperatures that sustain life.

 

 

Command and Control

 

Forms of regulation enacted by government laws and agencies to enforce rules, including things like regulated limits on pollution, fuel efficiency standards

(contrasts market approach)

 

 

Carbon Offsets

 

 

Certificate representing reduction of 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions, the principle cause of global warming.

 

 

Succession

 

 

Stages of growth: primary, secondary, climax community

 

 

Disturbance

 

 

Disrupting event or shock

 

 

Deforestation

 

 

Clearing and loss of forests

(soil, biodiversity, carbon sequestration losses)

 

 

Forest Transition Theory

 

 

More development will bring economic change and less deforestation.

 

 

Biodiversity

 

Total variability and variety of life forms in a region, ecosystem, or around the world; measure of health of an environmental system.

 

 

Extinction

 

 

Species ceases to exist

 

 

Extirpation

 

 

Disappearance of a population from an area.

 

 

Resilience

 

 

Ability to bounce back after a disturbance.

 

 

Rivet Hypothesis

 

Metaphor of an airplane held together with rivets. For most, it wouldn’t matter if 1 came out. But if you take out more, the chance of falling apart increases.

 

 

Biophilia

 

 

Connections that humans subconsciously seek with the rest of life.

 

 

Species-Centered Conservation

(not an orange term)

 

 

Endangered Species Act

Single Species Approaches like the California Condors

 

 

Conservation Biology

 

 

Field dedicated to exploring and maintaining biodiversity.

 

 

Rewilding

 

 

Restoration of ecological function and processes to ecosystems–often involves reintroducing species.

 

 

Specialization

 

 

Grow 1 or 2 things.

(Caused by new technology and commodity programs)

 

 

Monocropping

 

 

1 crop grown over vast areas

 

 

Intensification

 

 

Growing more food on the same area of land.

 

 

Concentration

 

 

From many to few: fewer, larger farms.

 

 

Metabolic Rift

 

 

Separations of cattle and cropping, resulting in nutrient pollution and reliance on fertilizer.

 

 

The Dead Zone

 

In the gulf of Mexico, huge dump of fertilizers leaks into the water, excess nutrients cause algae blooms, then their death creates the dead zone (every spring)

 

 

Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

 

 

Greenhouse gas, most comes from fertilizers.

 

 

Food Deserts

 

 

Lack of grocery stores, only conveniance stores or fast food. Low income areas.