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World population hit 7 billion (Oct 31, 2011)

Establishment of Earth Day - April 22, 1970.

- creation of EPA (Environ. Protection Agency) - 1970.

- -Montreal Protocol on Ozone Layer Depletion -1987: phasing out the production of CFCs Kyoto protocol -1997, industrialized countries (except USA): to reduce emissions of Green House Gases.

International Earth Summits:



- COP15 – Copenhagen, 2009: United Nations

- climate change summit (to prolong KYOTO protocol)

- RIO+20 – Rio de Janeiro, June 2012


The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the UN Convention on Climate Change, aimed at combating global warming by reducing GreenHouseGases in the atmosphere.

OP15 is the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark Dec 2009. Representatives from countries around the world tried to agree on a deal to respond to the threat of climate change.

COP15 means '15th Conference of the Parties', 15th meeting in a series initiated by the UN in 1992.

The goal of COP15 is to replace the Kyoto Protocol - an international climate change agreement signed in 1997. The goal was not accomplished.

- RIO+20 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 2012


Human condition


Humans’ life on Earth - the planet that we call home:


Past: life was hard and short for all people


20 century: progress in medicine, agriculture, industries –>

life becomes easier but not for everybody:


1983: 25% lived in luxury and had a greater life expectancy


21 century: - fast growing population consumes the resources (land, water, fuel) faster than nature can replace them - resources are not distributed evenly.

Call for a New Ethic!



Environmental Ethics


  • Ethics - branch of philosophy which defines what is right and what is wrong.
  • Ethics & Laws – ethics serves as law replacement.
  • Ethics Conflicts–

ethical commitment to preserve land &

ethical commitment to bring in jobs (new plant) are conflicting.

  • What is good for the environment is good for people

• Forest protection reduces logging jobs, but healthier forest leads to new jobs in recreation, fisheries, tourism.

3 Philosophical Approaches to Environmental Ethics


Philosophy Priority Role of Humans
Anthropocentric (human-centered) Humans Masters
Biocentric (life-centered) Species One of many
Ecocentric Environment Disruptors



3 Philosophical Approaches to Environmental Ethics (continued 1)

• Anthropocentrism (human-centered)

- All environmental responsibility is derived from human interests.

ü Only humans are morally significant.

ü Nature is an instrument for human manipulation.

• Biocentrism(life-centered)

- All life forms have an inherent right to exist.

• Ecocentrism

- Environment deserves direct moral consideration, not consideration derived from human or animal interests.



3 Philosophical Approaches to Environmental Ethics (continued 2)



Environmental Attitudes

— Development approach = anthropocentric

• Human race - master of nature

• Earth and its resources exist solely for our benefit and pleasure

— Preservation approach = ecocentric

• Nature has intrinsic value apart from human uses

• Keeping large parts of nature intact

— Conservation approach – in between 2 ideas

• Promotes human well-being

• From Conservation to Sustainable Development


Environmental Justice


In 1998, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defined environmental justice as fair treatment, combining:

n a respect for the environment with

n a respect for people.

Goal:to provide a healthy living for all.


Environmental justice is closely related to civil rights.


Rich members of society generate most of the waste, while the poor tend to bear most of the burden of this waste à example of no environmental justice!


Environmental Ethics:


• Societal

We acted as if the earth had unlimited natural resources.

• Corporate

Short-term profits vs long-term benefit to the environment or society.

• Individual

Ethical changes in society & business must start with individuals.




Corporative Ethics: profit by any means..?


Environmental Problems


How serious the environmental problems are?


  • Pessimists: end of the world.
  • Optimists: technology will solve environmental problems, so we can spend more to improve human condition.


Classifying Environmental Problems

5 major types:

  • Overpopulation
  • Depletion of Resources
  • Pollution
  • Global Changes
  • Wars


1. Overpopulation

• Definition: presence in a given area of more people that can be supported adequately by the resources available in that area.

• Overpopulation is a major cause of all other environmental problems:

n The needs of everybody for food, water, & energy are not met and it will be worse.

n Human activities increasingly damage the environment because of air and water pollution, land degradation, and loss of biodiversity.

Population Growth


Exponential growth over last 250 yrs.

  • Presently - ~ 7.1 bln
  • Poor countries -higher population growth, BUT:
  • Rich countries place the heaviest burden on the environment


World population hit 7 billion (Oct 31, 2011)

Consumption and Pollutants

A person in a rich country has a much higher consumption of resources and production of pollutants than a person in a poor country.

• Rich countries comprise 10% of world population,

• but consume ~ 90% of the world's resources

• and produce ~75% of the world's pollutants.


Ecological footprint

- measure of land area required to provide food, E, water, housing, transportation & waste disposal for one person.

To be ecologically sustainable, each person should consume no more than 1.8 ha of land (ecological footprint).

Developed countries have much larger ecological footprint than their land area.

Japan: highly developed but few resources; its ecological footprint is 5 times exceeds its available resources. USA: 1.5 times more than their land.


USA – 9.4 ha (--) Afganistan - 0.5 ha (+) UAE – 9.5 ha (---) Tadjikstan - 0.7 ha (+) Kazakhstan – 3.4 ha (-)

World - 2.7 ha (-)

2008 data


The American Lifestyle

To get an average American through the day takes

about 1,000 pounds of raw materials, including

• 40 pounds of fossil fuels

• 22 pounds of wood and paper

• 119 gallons of water.


Every year, Americans throw away some 160 million

tons of garbage, including

  • 50 million tons of paper
  • 67 billion cans and bottles
  • 18 billion disposable diapers.


As people living in the US, we should take a look at our lifestyle. It takes an enormous proportion of the earth's resources to fuel our lifestyle. On the average, an American utilizes about a 1,000 pounds of raw materials per day. That includes a large quantity of fossil fuels, wood, paper and water. Much of that raw material is not consumed in our homes, but is utilized by farms, factories, shopping malls, universities, and other parts of our society. The US also produces an enormous amount of waste. It is illustrative to imagine how much waste you produce by multiplying your weekly output of garbage by

52 weeks per year.


2. Depletion of Resources

Resources : fuels, minerals, water, soil, timber

depleted = used up

Oil – 40 yrs, gas – 50-60 yrs, coal – 200 yrs.

Depletion in 3 ways:

1) substance can be destroyed, converted to smth else:

Examples: coal à ashes + gas;

U à radioactive waste products

2) substance is considered lost if it’s diluted (not usable):

Example: Iron ore is subject to mining (processing) if it contains >40% Fe (iron).

Scattered iron is not suitable for mining à

iron resources are depleted.

3) substance becomes unfit for use by being polluted:

Example: Chemical wastes dumped into water à

water unfit for drinking.

3. Pollution

Definition: Pollution is a

reduction in the quality

of the environment by

the introduction of



ü Smoke pollutes the air.

ü Sewage pollutes water.

ü Give more examples…

Cars: Main Air Pollutant in Almaty

Lead in fuel, unleaded fuel – 80% in the world.

Air Pollution in Kazakhstan

Most polluted cities in Kazakhstan:

1 - Shymkent,

2 - Temirtau,

3 - Almaty,

Ridder, Ust-Kamenogorsk,

Zyryanovsk, Aktau, Taraz

Types of pollution: material & non-material

Air, water, soil get polluted


Air pollution: industrial emissions, cars, smoke, fires, agricultural farms

Water: industrial wastes, agricultural runoffs (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers), garbage, biological contamination

Soil: agricultural runoffs (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers), solid wastes, infiltration via water to soil

Acid rain (NOx+SO2) – air, water & soil involved

Non-material: radiation, noise, thermal


4. Global Changes


Human activities affect the global environment.

Ozone depletion:

CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) which used widely as refrigerants, aerosol sprays and in production of styrofoam, are able to destruct OZONE O3, a chemical that protects life on earth from harmful radiation. 10% loss of ozone worldwide causes more skin cancer and cataracts.

Ozone Depletion

1974 - Great environmental success:

Date: 2015-12-18; view: 545

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