Environmental Literacy for Administrators and Educators - Environmental Issues

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The ultimate goal of environmental education is to produce individuals who exhibit the 4 As - Awareness, Appreciation, Advocacy, Activism.


  • 1. ENVIRONMENTALLITERACY FOR ADMINISTRATORS AND EDUCATORS ***Author: Partha Das Sharma, E.mail: sharmapd1@gmail.com Website: http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com

2. Environmental Issues The Top Ten : How bad is the damage to ecosystems? Is the Earth overpopulated? Are we running out of Energy Resources? Can we feed ourselves, sustainably? Whats the truth about climate change? Why are we so wasteful? Are we poisoning our air? Ditto for our water Are we causing the extinction of species? What can you do to help? http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 2 3. A Conceptual FrameworkThe ultimate goal of environmental education is to produce individuals who exhibit the 4 As. Awareness Appreciation Advocacy Activism http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 3 4. Founding Principles Everything is connected to everything else. We depend on the environment for all of our food, water, energy, shelter, and economic resources.There is no such thing as a free lunch. There is an environmental cost whenever we extract resources from the Earth.Our lives on Earth must be sustainable. We cant spend Earths capital. We need to learn how to live only on the interest. http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com4 5. How bad is damage to ecosystems?Deforestation and other habitat destruction is the number one human impact on the planet. Reduces oxygen production by plants Reduces available habitat for organisms Increases rates of erosion and soil damage Increases rates of extinction of specieshttp://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 5 6. Is the Earth overpopulated?The answer depends on how you define overpopulated, but most scientists believe that the Earth has reached or is very near to the limit that is sustainable.In other words, the impacts of a human population of 7 Billion or more will harm the processes and resources of the planet to the point where we will not be able to depend on them indefinitely.http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 6 7. 7 8. What can we learn from the graph?It is only in the last 200 years that human population exploded!!Modern medicine is the main causeClosely followed by modern agriculture Human population is projected to level off at about 12 to 14 Billion??Fertility rates are expected to decrease.People are already making the choice to have fewer children. (theDemographic Transition) http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 8 9. Can Earth Support 12 BillionPeople? Yes, but only IF we reduce our use of non-renewable non- resources and switch to renewable ones whenever we can. Resource consumption is a more important way to gauge population impact than simply the size. Number x consumption = impact (or footprint)http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 9 10. Are we running out of Energy Resources?In the short term, not really, but in the long term, yes. Despite recent price increases in oil, we still have substantial reserves left. Our current fossil fuels are non-renewable. They will runnon- out in 50 to 200 years.If we switch to renewable energy (solar, wind power and other types) we will never run out. http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com10 11. Energy Use in the Global Economy Oil = 39%; Coal = 27%; Gas = 23%; Nuclear = 7%; Hydro = 3%; Others = 1%Industrial = 38%; Residential and Commercial = 36%; Transportation = 26% http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 11 12. What can we learn from the data?We are addicted to fossil fuels!What we do in our industry and homes is more important than what we do in our cars.We are not making use of renewable energy sources.http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 12 13. Can we feed ourselves, Sustainably?Thats a hard one to judge. The cost offood is skyrocketing and theenvironmental impacts of raising food aregoing up as well.Can we feed a future population of 12 Busing the same means? Answer would be No.http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 13 14. Good News and Bad NewsWorld food production tripled since 1950.Population growth rate isfaster than food growth. Overall food prices fell.Food prices are rising now. World grain supplies were at near record highs Per capita grain supplies because of technological are falling at 1% per year. innovations. 2 billion people in the world Diets in MDCs are at anare undernourished. all-time caloric high. all- Damage to soils and Per acre production is pollution are increasing. very high.http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 14 15. Whats the truth about climate change?Global Warming is real.Estimates of its likely impacts vary widely: Best case: mild - moderate warming Worst case scenarios see oceans rising to inundate large areas of coastlines, severe disruptions in weather and climate, and mass extinction. http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 15 16. 16 17. Some predictions are already happening17 18. Why are we so wasteful?Affluent societies treat waste as something to throw away. Less affluent societies reuse every last bit they can. Our culture of consumerism is what fuels our wasteful ways. Some scientists call this Throwaway Culture.http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 18 19. Our Waste Stream 38 % paper products 13 % yard waste 10 % food wastes 9 % plastics 8 % metals 6 % glass 5 % wood 10 % other (Nearly all of these wastes could be recycled, but only about 25% actually are done) A Total Haul of over 200 MILLION tons per year; 2/3 of a ton per person per year! http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 19 20. Main sources of hazardous wasteIndustrial chemicals metals, solvents, paints, etc. Mining wastes metals, cyanide, acids Agricultural chemicals pesticides, fertilizers, etc. Military wastes warfare agents, old munitions, etc. Certain household chemicals cleaners, solvents, etc. Consumer products batteries, electronics, etc. Radioactive wastes from power plants and certain industries Medical wastes hospital waste, old medicines, etc. Each year millions of tons of chemicals are produced around the world.http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 20 21. Are we poisoning our air? Air pollution, especially in cities of developing countries, is getting worse.This is largely due to burning of coal and other fuels for electricity production and industry and the burning of oil for transportation.http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 21 22. Sources of Air PollutionNatural volcanoes, terpenes from conifers, etc. Anthropogenic since the industrial revolution Combustion of fossil fuelsIndustrial processesAgricultural processesMining and Nuclear Power GenerationHomes and businesseshttp://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 22 23. Major Categories of Air Pollution Global Climate Change carbon Acid Rain nonmetallic oxides Ozone Depletion CFCs Smog VOCs, oxides, particulates Indoor Air Pollution VOCs, etc.http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 23 24. Are We Poisoning our water?Most of the Global rivers are polluted due to the presence of fecal coliform bacteria and other contaminants. Similar problem rivers exist on every continent. Water is life. If we poison our water, we poison ourselves.http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 24 25. The Major Categories of Pollutants Disease- Disease-causing organisms : infectious agents Inorganic chemicals : salts, acids, metals Synthetic organic compounds : pesticides, etc. Fertilizers : agricultural runoff Sediments : sand, silt and clay from erosion Oxygen- Oxygen-demanding wastes : sewage and manure Radioactive wastes : natural or man-made man- Thermal pollution : heat from power plants, etc. http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 25 26. Are we causing the extinction ofspecies?Throughout geologic time the Earth has experienced five mass extinctions due to drastic climate change, meteor impacts, and rampant volcanism. Now, Scientists consider the impacts of humans to be the start of a sixth mass extinction. http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 26 27. Cant We All Get Along?Some of the things that humans do disrupt other organisms lives. Habitat destruction Over- Over-fishing, excess hunting Environmental pollution Introduction of non-native species non- Climate change Commercial exploitationhttp://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 27 28. Intrinsic / Extrinsic Value of BiodiversityIntrinsic everything has a right to exist of its own accord.Extrinsic we derive food, medicines and many other products from wild things. Biodiversity adds beauty and interest to our lives. Biodiversity keeps the worlds natural processes going.http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 28 29. What can YOU do about all this?Consume less of EVERYTHING Reduce your FOOTPRINT SPEAK for the trees Learn and CARE about the earth Make a DIFFERENCE Dont WASTE what you were given http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 29 30. Some specifics Drive less Drive smart to get better mileage Raise your thermostat Switch to fluorescent bulbs Try a vegetarian diet Install a solar water heater Insulate your home Plant a butterfly garden Recycle everything you can Be careful with chemicals at home and at work http://saferenvironment.wordpress.com 30


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