The Population- how much more can the Earth take?

8 May

The purpose of this blog entry is to explain to the readers the causes and effects the human population growth has on the environment.

Background Information:

The current number of humans existing on Earth is approximately 6.9 billion. Scientists predict that the population will reach 7 billion in 2011. The human population is accelerating at a very fast rate. It is growing exponentially and therefore the problem scientists face is determining when the Earth will reach its carrying capacity. According to the current human population graph, it has been predicted and calculated that even by 2025 the population of the Earth is going to continue growing at an amazing speed.

Human Population Exponential Growth (Source 6)

 Causes of increased human population

There are several causes which contribute to the increase of the human population over the last century. Technological advances, better health systems and sanitation, increased food production are some of the reasons why there are so many people on Earth today. In general the better and modernized lifestyle allowed humans to spread rapidly.

Different theories regarding the Earth’s sustainability 

Cornucopians vs. Cassandras

Cornucopians: Regarding the human population growth, the Cornucopians believe that the human population, because of its technological advances, will be able to overcome any hardship in the future. They also state that humans will never run out of resources, because the more humans there are on Earth the more they will able to utilize and acquire those very resources.

Cassandras: On the other hand, the Cassandras also known as the “Doomsayers”, predict that the Earth will not be able to sustain the human population growth for much longer. They state that the Earth can only support so many people and there are only so many resources available. They predict famine and source depletion, which cannot be replaced in the future.

In our opinion, current society has a very serious problem. The human population’s exponential growth is causing many short-term and long-term problems for both the future and the present generations. Our stance on this issue is a balance between the views of the Cornucopians and the Cassandras. We believe that in order to fix this problem we should work on reaching the Earth’s carrying capacity as soon as possible. However we also believe that if our technology is used accordingly and if the resources are distributed equally we will be able to overcome this looming problem. (2)

Paul Ehrlich

Paul Ehrlich ( born in 1932) is an American biologist and professor at Stanford University. He is also an entomologist who specializes in the study of butterflies. However he is more famous for releasing the controversial book “Population Bomb” in 1968. Ehrlich predicted that the rapid growth in human population will result in famine and a substantial increase in the global death rate. Part of his predictions came true, seeing as how even in today’s world the continent of Africa has suffered greatly from famine, malnourishment and an impressive mortality rate. Moreover, the population has been growing even faster than Ehrlich had predicted. However, some of his predictions did not come true. He predicted that countries such as India and Bangladesh will suffer from famine the most however over the past few years their harvest has doubled and even tripled. (1,2,3)

Paul Ehrlich ( Source 1 )

The IPAT Model

I= PxAxT

The IPAT equation describes the contribution of multiple factors to the human impact on the environment. Factors include :

  1. Population(P)
  2. Affluence(A)
  3. Technology(T)

Sometimes, the sensitivity factor (S) is added to the equation so as to present the sensitivity of a given environment to the human impact.

IPAT model applied in different countries

In today’s world the rates of annual growth of the population vary from country to country. At this time, the two leading countries in terms of the IPAT model are USA and China.

USA ( 307,006,550 people)

In the USA, the two dominant factors which contribute to its impact on the environment are affluence and technology. Scientists came to an amazing statistic which states that if the whole world consumed as much food as the average American, Canadian or Australian, that there would only be enough resources to feed 2.5 billion people. This fact tells us a lot about the great impact the US and its citizens have on the environment today.

China ( 1,331,460,000)

In China all 3 factors of the IPAT model (population, affluence and technology) have an impact of the environment. China has the largest population on Earth and therefore they needed to solve the problem of the rapid population increase in order to be able to feed and place its citizens.  They introduced the controversial one child policy in 1978 which has prevented the birth of millions of Chinese babies per year since. However, China still hasn’t completely solved its problem of the population’s influence on the environment.

 Serbia(7,319,712)

In our country, the mortality rate is higher than the birth rate. Therefore, the issue Serbia needs to overcome is to increase its birth rate and decrease its mortality rate. It is a very important problem that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible because the nation’s population is decreasing more and more every year unless some drastic measures are taken. Additionally, Serbia is a developing country whose level of technological advancement is very low and whose citizens are not using the resources available adequately or equally.

 

Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling ( born 1948) is a Swedish medical doctor, professor, statistician and public speaker. He has given many speeches and presentations around the world on issues such as economic development, agriculture, poverty and health in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He uses a specific software called Trendalyzer to present today’s world situation in terms of population growth and famine.

The statement from his speech that impressed us the most was the explanation that all countries progress and expand in the same way in terms of both the economic and population growth. The USA being the country that is furthest ahead of most countries but the ones left behind such as India, China, Mexico and Brazil are rapidly catching up.(4)

Hans Rosling ( source 5 )

My partner for this assignment was Tamara.

References: 


1) Tackles Cultural Evolution. “Population Bomb” (Dec 3, 2008). Retrieved May 7th, 2011 from  http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/03/ehrlich_q

2) Withgott, J.& Brennan,S. (2010) Environment: The Science behind the stories. Fourth Ed. San Francisco: Pearson Education

3) Wikipedia. “Paul Ehrlich”. Retrieved May 7th, 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_R._Ehrlich

4) Wikipedia. ” Hans Rosling”. Retrieved May 7th, 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Rosling 

5) Growth Through Technology. “Technology in Business Conference” (2007). Retrieved May 7th, 2011 from http://www.itcork.ie/index.cfm/page/gallery?rigId= 

6) Earth Orbit. “The national Conversation on Alternative Energy” ( Oct 18, 2010). Retrieved May 7th, 2011 from http://savingtheearth.net/earthorbit/ 



Midterm Questions on Chapters Covered (Assignment 5)

27 Mar

The purpose of this assignment was to come up with 50 Questions with regards to chapters we have covered so far. It also helped me understand the material better because when constructing the questions one must know the answers to them, thusly making sure that I am aware of every topic and issue we have studied so far.

 

Chapter 1 – Introduction to Environmental Science

This chapter deals with the importance of the natural resources and ecosystem services to or lives as well as understanding the term environment as well as the field of the environmental science. On the other hand, the chapter also addresses the issue of sustainability and sustainable development while at the same time appreciating the importance and the understanding of applying the scientific method.


1. What assumption does the scientific method not rely on?

  1. the universe works according to natural laws that don’t change regardless of the time or place
  2. the responsibility of humans and the effects they cause on the natural environment
  3. all events are created from a particular cause which create other events
  4. the use of senses and reasoning in order to detect and describe natural processes

2. Which of the following disciplines is not a contributory field for environmental science?

  1. political science
  2. oceanography
  3. engineering
  4. architecture

3. Choose the incorrect factor of the destruction of productive cropland:

  1. climate change
  2. chemical fertilizers
  3. erosion
  4. poorly managed irrigation

4. Which phenomena caused the increase of population size?

  1. agricultural and industrial revolution
  2. resource consumption
  3. exploration of new environments
  4. different perceptions of environmental problems

5.  Which is the first step a scientist would take when conducting the scientific method?

  1. Hypothesis
  2. Questions
  3. Observations
  4. Predictions

6. Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary pursuit. True or False? (True)

7. Environmental Science is the same as Environmentalism. True or False? (False)

8. Match the definition with corresponding term:

Pursuit of knowledge about the workings of the environment and the human interaction with it. Environmentalism
An experiment in which the scientists observe how the independent variable varies naturally. Environmental Science
Potential for long – term maintenance due to social, economic, and environmental causes. Natural Experiment
Social movement concerned with the protection of the natural world. Manipulative Experiment
An experiment in which the scientist consciously chooses and controls the independent variable. Sustainability

9. Explain the size of Kuwait’s Ecological Footprint in comparison to its annual GDP (Gross Domestic Product).


 

 

10. Describe the causes and the effects of the deforestation of Easter Island. Support your argument by giving your personal interpretation of the issue and your opinion.


Chapter 2: Matter, Energy and Geology

In this chapter we learn the fundamentals of matter and chemistry while at the same time applying them to real world situations. We also learn the different types and forms of energy as well as the essentials of energy flow. We learn how to differentiate between photosynthesis and chemosynthesis. This chapter also includes the topic of plate tectonics and the rock cycle also addressing major types of geological hazards and ways to avoid their impacts.


1. Which one of the following is NOT a component of the Earth’s crust?

  1. Aluminium
  2. Sulphur
  3. Sillicone
  4. Oxygen

2. Atoms of the same element differing with differing numbers of neutrons are:

  1. Isotopes
  2. Acids
  3. Bases
  4. Organic compounds

3. Which one of the following is not a type of a macromolecule polymer?

  1. Proteins
  2. Carbohydrates
  3. Lipids
  4. Nucleic Acids

4. The nature of energy will change from a more ordered state to a less ordered state as long as no force counteracts this tendency. To which law does this apply?

  1. The first law of thermodynamics
  2. The second law of thermodynamics
  3. The third law of thermodynamics
  4. The zeroth law of thermodynamics

5. Which of the following are types of plate boundaries:

  1. Sedimentary and metamorphic
  2. Continental and oceanic
  3. Rock and mineral
  4. Transform, divergent and convergent

6. The pH scale ranges from 0-20. True or False?

7. Entropy: an increasing state of order. True or False?

8. Match the definition with corresponding term:

The ratio of useful energy output to the amount needing to be input Polymers
Long chains of repeated molecules and building blocks of life Organic compounds
Process of converting light energy into chemical energy Energy conversion efficiency
Pollution cleanup through enhanced natural biodegradation Photosynthesis
Carbon atoms joined by covalent bonds and may include other elements Bioremediation

9. Energy manifests itself in different ways and can be converted from one form to another. Explain and give examples of the different types of energy.

10.  Illustrate the three different hypotheses that explain life’s origin. Choose one you agree with the most and explain why.

 


Chapter 3: Evolution, Biodiversity and Population Ecology

This chapter explains the process of natural selection and how evolution results in biodiversity. It also deals with the ever emerging issue of the extinction and rarity of species and ecological organization. Similarly enough, this chapter covers the issue of population growth and many other aspects of population ecology, such as logistic growth, carrying capacity, and limiting factors.

 


1. Biological diversity refers to:

  1. Variety of life across all levels of biological organization
  2. Widespread of species
  3. Divergent evolution
  4. Allopatric speciation

2. Which one of the following is not a way of natural selection acting on genetic variation

  1. Directional Selection
  2. Symmetric Selection
  3. Stabilizing Selection
  4. Disruptive Selection

3. What are the factors of population change?

  1. Natality, mortality and population size
  2. Immigration and emigration
  3. Mortality, natality, immigration and emigration
  4. Population size and biodiversity

4. Which population growth has a J-shaped curve?

  1. Cubic growth
  2. Linear growth
  3. Logistic growth
  4. Exponential growth

5. Population distribution describes:

  1. Spatial arrangement of organisms in an area
  2. Number of individuals in a population per unit area
  3. The relative numbers of organisms of each age within a population
  4. The dynamics of population change

6. Biological evolution is the domestic change in populations of organisms across generations. True or false?

7. Once a species is extinct, it is lost forever. True or false?

8. Match the definition with corresponding term:

Process by which individuals of one species capture, kill, and consume individuals of another species. Commensalism
Interaction which occurs when animals feed on tissues of plants. Mutualism
Strong or wide – reaching impact far out of proportion to its abundance. Herbivory
Relationship between the species in which one species benefits and the other is unaffected. Predation
Relationship in which 2 or more species benefit from their interaction. Keystone species

9. Commonness, rarity and extinction. The House Sparrow (Passer Domesticus) has an extensive geographic range, a broad habitat tolerance and a large local population. The Fish Crow has a restricted geographic range, a narrow habitat tolerance and a large local population. Recognize and explain which of the two given species is more likely to be vulnerable to extinction.

10. The human population has risen to 6.9 billion, which has exceeded Earth’s historic carrying capacity for people. What do you think are the factors which increased Earth’s carrying capacity for humans? Are there limiting factors for us and what might they be?

 


Chapter 4 – Species Interactions and Community Ecology

This chapter informs us about the major types of species interactions and the characterization of feeding relationships and energy flow. It also tells us about the construction of trophic levels and food webs with particular focus on keystone species. The chapter deals with possible impacts on a given community by an invasive species and lists terrestrial biomes of the world.

 


1. Latitudinal location determines:

  1. temperature and precipitation
  2. appearance of particular biome and particular season
  3. atmospheric circulation
  4. plant adaptation

2. Secondary succession is:

  1. predictable changes of series in a community following a disturbance
  2. disturbance in which eliminates all vegetation and/or soil life
  3. disturbance which dramatically alters but doesn’t destroy all local organisms
  4. a communities changes in response to disturbance, but later returns to its original state

3. Which one of the following is not  one of the most important categories of species interaction?

  1. Habitat
  2. Predation, herbivory and parasitism
  3. Mutualism
  4. Competition

4. Which one of the following is not one of the ten terrestrial biomes;

  1. Temperate deciduous forest
  2. Temperate grassland
  3. Tropical grassland
  4. Tropical rainforest

5. Top predators control populations of:

  1. Herbivores
  2. Carnivores
  3. Omnivores
  4. Keystone species

6. Biome is a major regional complex of similar communities recognized by plant type and vegetation structure. True or False?

7. Species interaction determine only the structure and species composition of the community. True or False?

8. Match the definition with corresponding term:

Process by which individuals of one species capture, kill, and consume individuals of another species. Commensalism
Interaction which occurs when animals feed on tissues of plants. Mutualism
Strong or wide – reaching impact far out of proportion to its abundance. Herbivory
Relationship between the species in which one species benefits and the other is unaffected. Predation
Relationship in which 2 or more species benefit from their interaction. Keystone species

9.  “Some animals are more equal than others”, George Orwell wrote in his classic novel Animal Farm. In communities, ecologists have found, some species exert greater influence than others. Identify and describe the name given to these types of species in a community and explain how they affect or influence the food chain.

10. Analyzing the graph given below, pick up all the information you can and conclude which biome has the characteristics shown in this example.

 

 


Chapter 6- Environmental Ethics and Economics: Values and Choices

This chapter discusses the influences of culture and world view on the choices people make. It also deals with the historical expansion of ethics in Western cultures and environmental ethics. The chapter explains how our economies exist within the environment and rely on ecosystem services. Chapter 6 also addresses the pronciples of classical and neoclassical economics. It discusses the concepts of economic growth, well – being, and sustainability.

 


1. Which of the following is not an assumption of neoclassical economics:

  1. Resources are infinite or substitutable
  2. Costs and benefits are internal
  3. The market is guided by an “invisible hand”
  4. Long-term effects are discounted

2. In which of the following modern economies the government determines how to allocate resources:

  1. Subsistence economy
  2. Capitalist market economy
  3. Mixed economy
  4. Centrally planned economy

1. Which of the following refers to classical economics:

  1. The market favors market equilibrium between supply and demand
  2. Competition between people free to pursue their own economic self interest will benefit society as a whole
  3. Human economies exist within and depend on the environment
  4. Environment is an external “factor of production”

2.Which of the following is not a factor which shapes our worldviews:

  1. Religion and spiritual beliefs
  2. Political ideology
  3. Economics
  4. Culture

3.Which of the Western ethics claim that certain living things also have value:

  1. Biocentrism
  2. Anthropocentrism
  3. Ecocentrism
  4. Ecofeminism

6. Our values affect our environmental decisions and actions. True or false?

7. Neoclassical economics incorporates anthropology. True or false?

8. Match the definition with corresponding term:

A person’s or group’s beliefs about the meaning,purpose, orientation and essence of the world. Externalities
Manufactured materials that are brought. Economic growth
An increase in an economy’s production and consumption of goods and services. Worldview
Costs or benefits which involve people other than buyers and sellers. Goods
Work done for others as a form of business Services

9. Define and compare economic growth, well being and sustainability.

10. Is environmental justice equally applied to all world nations? If not, explain why and give and example.


To conclude, this assignment was something new and definitely challenging to say the least. It took a lot of time and effort but ended up being very helpful and beneficial for my knowledge of the material covered so far. From this activity I learned what it takes to come up with an exam paper and just how difficult it is. For the first time ever, I understood what professors have to go through on a daily basis and actually felt empathic towards them. I also learned how to summarize and rephrase questions and phrases better in order to make the questions I posted simple yet thought provoking at the same time

 

References :

1) Globalis. Retrieved on March 27, 2011 from http://globalis.gvu.unu.edu/indicator_detail.cfm?Country=KW&IndicatorID=19#row

(2) Worldwide Bioclimatic Classification System.Retrieved on March 27, 2011 from http://www.globalbioclimatics.org/plot/cy-papho.htm


How big is your Ecological Footprint?

7 Mar

Ecological Footprint :

An ecological footprint (or eco-footprint) is a measure of our ecological performance. It tracks the quantity of resources individuals (or organizations, cities, regions, nations or the global population) consume and compares this amount to the resources nature can provide. It indicates how much biologically productive land and water area a given population occupies in order to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its waste, using prevailing technology.

http://vels.vcaa.vic.edu.au/science/glossary.html

Overshoot:

The point where human consumption and waste production exceed nature’s capacity to create new resources and absorb waste (http://www.esd.rgs.org/glossarypopup.html)

Exceeding the carrying capacity of the environment to sustain life. Most overshoots lead to sudden drops of population levels, and it is likely that this will happen to the species homo sapiens unless there is a profound reorientation of civilization to reduce our combined ecological impact on the biosphere.

http://www.permatopia.com/dictionary.html

Carrying capacity:

The number of individuals that a habitat or an area can support and sustain with adequate resources is the carrying capacity.

http://www.esd.rgs.org/glossarypopup.html

 

Table 1- Showing the different Ecological Footprints & GDPs


Comparing Ecological Footprints

The use of natural resources and production of pollution degrade the life-support systems on Earth. This causes natural cycles and ecosystems to be less able to perform the vital functions that support all life on Earth.

Both high consumption or usage of resources, particularly in countries of the North, and population numbers contribute to our impact on the environment. The impact of all our activities can be likened to an imprint or ‘footprint’ on Earth. This imprint is referred to as our ‘Ecological Footprint’.

http://www.unesco.org/education/tlsf/TLSF/theme_b/mod09/uncom09t05.htm

Bangladesh

I think that the Ecological Footprint for Bangladesh is extremely small (0.6) because it is primarily a developing country. Bangladesh is densely populated, housing around 162 million people. Bangladesh has little affluence and its technology is not very advanced.

Australia

In contrast to Bangladesh, Australia’s EF(Ecological Footprint) is rather big (7.7). This is because it possesses the 3 factors a well developed country needs to have a large ecological footprint. These factors are population, affluence and technology. Countries such as Australia that have a big impact ( or a high EF) are usually countries that possess large areas of land where they exhaust the existing resources. Not having particularly fertile land, Australia uses as much as it can get resulting in soil degradation. Australia is able to exercise the over-exhaustion of its resources because it is technologically developed and that is why most countries that have a large Ecological Footprint usually wealthy with profound technological advancements.

United Arab Emirates

Another country which has one of the highest Ecological Footprints(9) are the United Arab Emirates. The UAE prove that it is not necessary for a country to have a large population or are to have an impact as big as they do. The United Arab Emirates’ income is mostly based off of their oil exports. Like many countries on the Persian Gulf , it is small in area with colossal numbers of oil fields. Since the only other source of income of the UAE is tourism, Emiratis focus largely on the excavation and export of oil resulting in a high ecological footprint.

How the GDP of a country can influence its Ecological Footprint

According to the table presented above it is easy to state that a country’s Ecological Footprint correlates with its GDP. From the information given in the table I have deduced that if a country’s GDP goes up or down its Ecological Footprint will surely follow, so countries that increase in affluence and prosperity tend to add to the world’s ecological problems. This means that reducing a country’s footprint while maintaining or increasing its GDP is quite difficult to achieve simply because raising the GDP of a country generally involves placing more stress on biocapacity for both resource extraction and waste disposal.

My personal Ecological Footprint

If everyone on the planet lived my lifestyle, we would need:

2.83 Earths!

After I calculated my personal Ecological Footprint I got the shocking result of 2.83! I never would have expected that my ecological footprint would be so big but after I looked at a graph which stated my Carbon, Food, Housing and Goods and Services use, it began to make more sense.

In comparison to the EF of my country which is 2.9, my personal EF didn’t seem so bad seeing as how our ecological footprints were very close in numbers. However when compared to the Ecological Footprint of Bangladesh, my EF is almost triple to that of Bangladesh whose EF is a mere 0.6. It was mind boggling to see that my impact is bigger than an entire country’s! It simply goes to show that when dealing with calculating ecological footprints one must always take into consideration the country’s wealth and prosperity, its population and whether it is densely or sparsely populated and its technological developments. Similarly when comparing my EF to the likes of Sweden(7) and Germany (4.80) my EF wasn’t as striking. I’ve come to realize that it is a very vicious cycle for developed countries such as Sweden, Germany, Australia and the United States because the more developed they are, the higher their GDP is. Having said that, the higher the GDP, unfortunately enough, the higher the EF. To conclude the more money a country has the more negative impact it leaves on the Earth’s surface with issues such as degradation and over exhaustion of resources nature offers us.

The issue of Easter Island and its approaches to sustainability

28 Feb

The Easter Island has been a topic of many controversies over the years. It is most famously known for its (1)887 extant monumental statues, called “moai”, created by the early Rapanui people.Easter Island today, remains one of the most unique places you will ever encounter; an open air museum showcasing a fascinating, but unfortunately lost, culture.(2) The Rapanui are among the friendliest people you will ever meet, and the landscape is truly amazing – with its volcanic craters, lava formations, beaches, brilliant blue water, and archaeological sites.The 2010 estimate of the current population of Easter Island amounts up to around 4,800 inhabitants of this tiny island according to latest research.

The controversial Moai statues which are situated all around Easter Island

 

(3)When the first people found Easter Island, they discovered a world with few resources. The island was volcanic in origin, but its three volcanoes had been extinct for at least 400 years before the Polynesian settlers arrived. Both temperatures and humidity were high and, although the soil was adequate, drainage was very bad and there were no permanent streams on the island; the only fresh water available was from lakes inside the extinct volcanoes. Because of its remoteness the island had only a few species of plants and animals. There were thirty indigenous species of flora, no mammals, a few insects and two types of small lizard. The waters around the island contained very few fish.

In contrast to Easter Island we have the Tikopia Island which lies in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean.

Tikopia Island

(4)The island is actually part of the British Solomon Islands, yet culturally as well as linguistically, Tikopia is classified with Western Polynesia. Tikopia is a small, volcanic island, about six square miles in size. The climate is relatively hot and humid. This island is home to approximately 2,000 people.

Traditionally the people of Tikopia practiced fishing, collecting, and horticulture to survive. Hunting was never used as a means of food because of the lack of animals on the island. Therefore marine life is the main source of food in their diet. Fishing is done primarily by use of line or net fishing with the use of canoes, or collecting with nets by the many reefs. Yet, the majority of the Tikopian diet is derived from fruits, vegetables, and root crops. Many of these foods are wild as well as cultivated. The Tikopia way of farming uses as method referred to as the “slash-and-burn” method and planting is done with digging stick tools. Crops include breadfruit, taro, yams, manioc, sago, coconuts, and bananas. Men also find themselves practicing woodworking techniques, fishing, net making, and clearing fields. The women tend to the majority of the care in the fields.

Approaches to sustainability

Although both islands are similar in the sense of their age and size, Easter Island and Tikopia Island had very different approaches to sustaining their resources over the years.

(5)The cause of the collapse and the key to understanding the mysteries of Easter Island was massive environmental degradation brought on by deforestation of the whole island.

When the first Europeans visited the island in the eighteenth century it was completely treeless apart from a handful of isolated specimens at the bottom of the deepest extinct volcano crater of Rano Kao. However, recent scientific work, involving the analysis of pollen types, has shown that at the time of the initial settlement Easter Island had a dense vegetation cover including extensive woods. As the population slowly increased, trees would have been cut down to provide clearings for agriculture, fuel for heating and cooking, construction material for household goods, pole and thatch houses and canoes for fishing.

Dubbed one of the most isolated islands of the world it has attracted much attention from Environmentalists over the years.

(6) In just a few centuries, the people of Easter Island wiped out their forest, drove their plants and animals to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos and cannibalism. Are we about to follow their lead?
Jared Diamond in Easter’s End, August 1995

 

Tikopia Island, a similarly isolated island as Easter Island has somehow managed to be self0-sufficient for its inhabitants with good use of land and soil without severe degradation. (7)The land use system on Tikopia is found to be very well adapted to the environmental conditions and to the relative isolation of the island. Based on the longitudinal analysis of soil fertility, there are no signs of degradation of the natural resource base caused by the land use system, and it must be concluded that the quasi-permanent, zero external input agriculture on the island remains sustainable. It is, moreover, highly resilient to shocks such as extreme climate events. While the tropical Cyclone Zoe caused extensive damage to houses and crops, necessitating food supplies from outside for a period, the long-term effects appear to have been limited. Thus there are no indications that Tikopia should not be able to feed itself in the future, provided that the de facto population does not increase significantly.

References

(1)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island retrieved on 28th February 2011

(2)http://www.netaxs.com/~trance/rapanui.html © 2007  David Y.Brookman retrieved on 28th February 2011

(3)http://www.primitivism.com/easter-island.htm Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World:  The Environment and the  Collapse of Great Civilizations) retrieved on 28th February 2011

(4)http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/cultural/oldworld/pacific/tikopia.html /Lagace, Robert O. and Eleanor C. Swanson. “Society-Tikopia.<http://lucy.ukc.ac.uk/EthnoAtlas/Hmar/Cult_dir/Culture.7873> retrieved on 28th February 2011

(5)http://www.mnforsustain.org/ponting_c_the_lessons_of_easter_island.htm* Ponting, Clive, 1992; A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations. A chapter excerpt. St. Martin’s Press, New York. retrieved on 28th February 2011

(6)http://www.oswego.edu/~schneidr/CHE300/envinv/EnvInv02.html/Environmental Investigations: Making It Last by Jeffery A. Schneider, Ph.D. retrieved on 28th February 2011

(7)http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9493.2010.00389.x/full/Kennedy J, Clarke W (2004) Cultivated Landscapes of the Southwest Pacific. RMAP Working Papers No. 50, Research School of Asia Pacific Studies, Australian National University, Canberra. Available athttp://rspas.anu.edu.au/papers/rmap/Wpapers/rmap_wp50.pdf (last accessed December 2009). retrieved on 28th February 2011

 

 


Fertility rates VS GDP

14 Feb

 

The conclusions I came across after carefully evaluating and studying the chart and the variables given are as follows. It appears that usually countries with a very low GDP almost always end up having a very high fertility rate. Similarly enough, countries with very low fertility rates have a much higher GDP per capita. Countries that are underdeveloped or developing, usually aren’t as educated or simply don’t have the money to be educated enough in order to find a decent job. Therefore, if the majority of the citizens of that country find themselves to be in that position, their combined efforts will lead to a very low GDP. This also means that the peoples in these countries are still most probably very tradition-oriented and are not aware or educated enough with regards to the different types of birth control out there today, some of them may even oppose it. Similarly because we assume countries with a low GDP are developing it is not necessarily a stretch of the imagination to say that they still have and live from agro-cultural careers where they need many kids to help them sustain the business.

Similarly, countries with a very high GDP and a low fertility rate can be rationalized as well. The citizens of countries with a high GDP instantly associates us with great economic powers of the world today such as the US, Germany or France today. These countries are definitely developed and the citizens have many more opportunities concerning education and a chance at a better lifestyle. For the majority, a career is on the top of their priority list which is why women in these countries are now pre-occupied to take care of  more than 2 children on average. Women are now more career focused, and are not perceived as child bearing machines anymore.

Environmental Science?

14 Feb

 

Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences, (including physics, chemistry, biology, geology, history, political science and geography) to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems. Environmental science provides an integrated, quantitative and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems.

 

The most common misconception with environmental science is that it is almost always directly associated with environmentalism.  Environmentalism is a social movement dedicated to protecting the natural world from undesirable changes brought about by human actions. Environmental Science however, strictly deals with the pursuit of knowledge concerning the workings of the environment and the human interaction within it.

Environmental Science is a mix of many disciplines which is what gives it the name of an “Interdisciplinary Science”. What encompasses International Relations is most definitely the study of Political Science which also falls into the group of disciplines an Environmental Scientist might take into consideration while conducting research.

Political science is a social science concerned with the theory and practice of politics and the analysis of political systems and political behavior. Political scientists “see themselves engaged in revealing the relationships underlying political events and conditions. And from these revelations they attempt to construct general principles about the way the world of politics work.” Political science intersects with other fields; including public policy, national politics, economics,international relationscomparative politicspsychologysociologyhistorylaw, and political theory.

I would say my field of study is a social science because it deals with people and the implementation of politics in their behavior as well as in governmental institutions and organizations. It is a science which deals with theory, with facts that will never change but is interesting to study because it is the way in which certain people might adopt certain policies and brand them their own. Many people say politicians rule the world, meaning they are the ones who have the last say in everything. Who’s to say their word isn’t the last when it comes to decisions concerning stressing climatic issues?

About me

14 Feb

Hello everyone and welcome to my first blog! The purpose of this blog is strictly regarding the topic of Ecology where I will be uploading information for both my Ecology class as well as everything else related to Ecology that might be of particular interest to me. My name is Dina and I am currently a freshman, studying International Relations. The topic most commonly associated with Environmental Science or Ecology itself is undoubtedly the topic of Global Warming. Although I agree it is of utmost importance, the topic I am extremely dedicated to and passionate about is the topic of renewable resources of energy and how as a race we can prepare for the future. Another important environmental issue that has been grabbing much attention especially over the course of the last year has been the issue of water being in short supply. Many studies have concluded that our global reserves of drinkable water are a fraction of 1% and 1 in 5 humans don’t have access to safe and drinkable water. Many people do not realize that strife has already broken out in some stressed regions.

 

I was born and bred in Belgrade,Serbia but when I was 9 years old I moved to Kuwait where I spent the last 9 years of my life. Although my place of origin is Serbia, because I grew up in Kuwait, I feel I know much more about its climate and topography. Located in the north-east corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait is one of the smallest countries in the world in terms of land area. The flat, sandy Arabian Desert covers most of Kuwait. The country is generally low-lying, with the highest point being 300 m above sea-level. Kuwait has some of the world’s richest oil fields with the Burgan field having a total capacity of approximately 70 billion barrels  of proven oil reserves.

Serbia is surrounded by many Balkan countries with extreme environmental issues and sometimes people tend to forget the unique environmental significance we are surrounded by. The place that I have in mind is the Postojna Cave which is a 20,000m long cave system near Postojna,Slovenia. It is the longest cave system in the country as well as home to the Old or Proteus anguinus also known as the “human fish” by the locals because of its skin color as well as “cave salamander”. This amphibian is most notable for its adaptations to a life of complete darkness in its underground habitat. The olm’s eyes are undeveloped, leaving it blind, while its other senses, particularly those of smell and hearing are acutely developed. It also lacks any pigmentation in its skin. In contrast to most amphibians, the olm is entirely aquatic, and it eats, sleeps and breeds underwater. It has 3 toes on its forelimbs, but 2 toes on its hind feet. In 2008, while on a road trip through Italy and Slovenia, I visited the Postojna Cave and saw the “human fish” for myself and I have to say it was absolutely extraordinary. The fish really resembled a tiny human with fingers and limbs.

I currently live in Thessaloniki, Greece.