The basics of Environmental Science

Environment
All of the external conditions both abiotic and biotic, that affect an organism or group of organisms. (Factors that affect organisms.)
Ecology
The study between organisms and their relationship with the environment
Environmental Science (on Earth)
The relationship of how humanity interacts with the environment (interdisciplinary)
Carrying Capacity
The maximum number of individuals (of a certain species) that a certain environment can support sustainably (long term), assuming that there are no changes in that environment
Solar Capital
Energy from the sun
Earth’s Capital
Our planet’s air, water, soil, etc. What the Earth provides us.
Exponential Growth
When something (such as a population) constantly increases over a period in time. Exponential growth produces a characteristic J-shaped curve.
Linear Growth
When something increases at a constant rate over a period of time and produces a straight line.
Sustainable Society
Manages its economy and population size without exceeding all or part of the planet’s ability to regenerate resources and future generations
Developed countries
Countries such as the US that are highly industrialized with a low fertility and infant mortality rate.
Developing countries
A country not highly industrialized that usually has a high fertility and infant mortality rate, with a low per capita income such as Africa, Asia, & Latin America
Renewable
Things like resources that can be replaced by a process and continuous use (water)
Nonrenewable
Things such as resources that are present in limited supplies and are depleted by use (fossil fuels, coal)
Potentially renewable
Something (like a resource) that has the potential/possibility to be renewed
Environmental Degradation
When the supply of the available resource begins to shrink because the resource’s natural replacement rate has exceeded (tragedy of the commons causes this)
P x A x T= I
The population (# of people), the affluence (amount of resources used per person), and the technologies used to consume the resources multiplied together equal I (the environmental impact).
Environmental Worldview
Respects the environment and human need Helps us make sense of how the environment works and what is right and what is wrong, and what our place is in the environment
Western Worldview
Humans are dominate and superior. They have a desire to conquest and may use as many resources as they want for material desires. Anthropogenic (human caused).
Earth Wisdom
Treating the Earth with respect. Harmony with nature. Biocentric
Ecological footprint
An average amount of land and ocean needed to supply a person food, water, energy, and shelter (broad)
Tragedy of the Commons
Garret Hardin. “If I don’t use this resource someone else will…the little bit I use or pollute is not enough to matter.” The fact that we cannot solve our environmental problems is why we struggle in the well being of society
Green Architecture
Buildings that include energy conservation, improved indoor air quality, water conservation, reused/recycled building materials
Carbon footprint
How much Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that you emit
Greenhouse gas
Gases that include CO2, methane, nitrous oxide,CFCs, and tropospheric ozone. It accumulates and causes global warming due to human activity
Reduce
Lowering the amount of waste
Recycle
Processing the waste and using it to create something “new”
Reuse
Using something again in a different way
Agenda 21
Action plan for a sustainable society in the 21st century
Gaia Hypothesis
Earth will repair itself if given the chance