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GEOGRAPHY 101 Environmental Geography – Welcome to Day 3... [for more on ecosystem change, the topic from Tuesday, see the UN web site: http://www.greenfacts.org/en/ecosystems/]

Housekeeping/ Announcements : 

2 Housekeeping/ Announcements Does anyone need a syllabus? Did anyone go to the talk on climate change or the agricultural hearing in Ladysmith? If you're interested in learning more about the proposed Cable Bay development, see http://www.sosnanaimo.org/proponents.htm Someone asked about the significance of the Three Gorges Dam in China in terms of reducing that country's dependence on coal. Here's a little bit of information. 1.5 million people were displaced in order to build it. The dam won't be fully on-line 'til 2011, at which time it will be the largest in the world with 22,500 MW of generating capacity. China consumes 366 grams of coal per kWh of electricity. Three Gorges will potentially reduce coal consumption by 31 million tons per year, and reduce CO2 production by 100 million tons, not to mention other air pollutants.

Housekeeping/ Announcements : 

3 Housekeeping/ Announcements If you are interested in organizations involved in fighting climate change, especially those involving students, see the following: http://stepitup2007.org/ http://www.1sky.org/ http://climatechallenge.org/ http://www.focusthenation.org/ http://www.cleanair-coolplanet.org/ champions/2004_sep.php

Environmental Concepts : 

4 Environmental Concepts As mentioned on Tuesday, the mediating link between people and nature is land use. The textbook defines “land-use systems” as “interconnected, interdependent sets of land uses such as mining, transportation, and industry.” It then goes to talk about unsustainable land uses and land-use systems. What are some examples? What is it that makes a land use sustainable or unsustainable? Can you provide best and worst examples of sustainable and unsustainable land uses on Vancouver Island?

Environmental Concepts : 

5 Environmental Concepts The authors define pollution as “degradation of the environment as a result of some type of contamination.” This “may take the form of foreign substances (e.g., pesticide residues in food chains or bacteria in water systems) or it may take the form of greatly increased levels of naturally occurring substances (e.g., sediment in streams or plant nutrients in lakes). They also distinguish between chronic and acute pollution. Pollution results from land use.

Environmental Concepts : 

6 Environmental Concepts The authors define disturbance as “physical disruption, such as forest clearing, strip mining, and soil plowing.” They note that there are various factors that are increasing the extent and severity of the disturbance that we are inflicting on the natural world. What are some of these? They also note that there is a link between disturbance and pollution – that they often go together. Can you think of examples?

The Modern World & Life : 

7 The Modern World & Life The authors state that environmental systems and relationships work the same today as 5000 years ago, but “there are factors in the modern world – massive economic systems, huge cities, industrial agriculture, exhausted water supplies, and chemical pollutants in air and water systems – that make today's environment a more difficult place for most life on the planet.”

Key Facts About Earth : 

8 Key Facts About Earth surface of 510 million sq. kilometres almost 70% water; of the remaining 30%, most of it is in the northern hemisphere continents feature mountain ranges on one or both sides and a shield inside excluding glaciers & icefields, only 1% of water on the planet is freshwater most life forms live on the terrestrial portions and on the continental shelves.

Planet Earth : 

9 Planet Earth

Key Facts About Earth : 

10 Key Facts About Earth The highest point on land is 8.85 kms; the deepest part of the ocean is 11 kms The Earth is divided east and west by meridians, and north and south by latitudes. The prime meridian runs through Greenwich, England, while the equator is the latitudinal mid-point. You will learn more about global coordinate systems in GEOG 111.

Meridians : 

11 Meridians

Key Facts About Earth : 

12 Key Facts About Earth 90% of the Earth's people live on 30% of its surface. The remaining 70% is lightly occupied by hunters-gatherers, herders, and horticulturalists. These areas are principally comprised of deserts and grasslands, tropical rainforests, and cold lands (both northern and mountainous regions). Antartica has never been occupied by humans.

Marginal Environments : 

13 Marginal Environments

Geographical Integration : 

14 Geographical Integration The Earth functions as one linked unit, with the effects of pollution and environmental disturbance often being felt at varying distances from the source. Examples? The most mobile medium of all is the atmosphere. Three significant spatial scales are: proximal, intermediate, and distal, with intensity or concentration tending to decline with distance.

Geographical Integration : 

15 Geographical Integration A major exception to the tendency for concentrations to lessen from the source or occurrence is with the process called biomagnification, as toxins work their way up the food chain. Another significant point is the magnitude and frequency principle – smaller, less destructive events occur more frequently than large-scale catastrophic events, which are also more unpredictable.

Geographical Integration : 

16 Geographical Integration Some areas, however, are more suscep-tible to natural disasters: river valleys, sea coasts, areas on the borders of tectonic plates (fault lines). In terms of weather, there is a lot of strong evidence that extreme weather events are increasing as a result of climate change, and this is causing dramatically escalating losses of human life and property damage.

Flooding : 

17 Flooding

Volcanoes : 

18 Volcanoes

Land Use: Agriculture : 

19 Land Use: Agriculture Almost 50% of the world's population still lives by means of subsistence agriculture – in poorer countries, such as China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Mexico. Population growth and displacement of subsistence farmers by plantation agriculture, urban-ization, etc. is putting more and more pressure on poor or marginal farmlands.

Subsistence Agriculture : 

20 Subsistence Agriculture

Sustainable Agriculture in Poor Countries : 

21 Sustainable Agriculture in Poor Countries With growing agribusiness exports, it can look like a country is better off because it has better foreign earnings. However, the authors argue that much of this 'product-ivity' goes to pay off loans or enriches a small elite and does little to benefit the majority. In fact, small farmers are often displaced to make way for agribusiness plantations.

Sustainable Agriculture in Poor Countries : 

22 Sustainable Agriculture in Poor Countries They are argue that a genuinely sustain-able agricultural sector would enable: farmers to grow enough to meet their own needs; farmers to have secure rights to the land; farmers to learn how to manage their land in an ecological sound manner, and global trading systems to be more balanced.

Sustainable Agriculture in Poor Countries : 

23 Sustainable Agriculture in Poor Countries Given the vagaries of the world market, it makes sense to avoid too much reliance on single cash crop economies, but to concentrate on feeding one's own people first. Also: with major global crops, like tea, coffee, and cocoa, very little of the revenue makes it back to the small growers unless consumers in the developed world opt for “fair trade” brands.

Preconditions for Sustainability : 

24 Preconditions for Sustainability 1) Take into account factors of geography and be sensitive to that context; 2) Focus on economic activities that are sustainable over the long term and benefit the most people; 3) Educate the managers of human and natural resources as to their responsibilities; 4) Respect, to the greatest degree possible, local culture and customs.

Success Story: Rishi Valley : 

25 Success Story: Rishi Valley Located in south-central India, the Rishi Valley suffered from degradation of land and water resources, with the resulting impoverishment of local peasants. A boarding school was established in the '30s where students worked with farmers to arrest soil erosion, rebuild topsoil, conserve water, and re-vegetate the landscape. They also taught literacy skills, health care, conservation and finance.

Success Story: Rishi Valley : 

26 Success Story: Rishi Valley There was virtually no outside funding or modern technology involved. Dependence was placed on traditional knowledge and cooperation amongst villagers and between the villagers and the students. This was a “bottom-up” approach, as opposed to a top-down (government, aid agency-driven) effort, and in this way the changes initiated firmly took root. Today, people are much better off.

Success Stories : 

27 Success Stories For other success stories, see: Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben (New York: Times Books [Henry Holt & Co.], 2007). Hope, Human and Wild: True Stories of Living Lightly on Earth by Bill McKibben (St. Paul, MN: Hungry Mind Press, 1997), & The Geography of Hope by Chris Turner (Toronto: Random House Canada, 2007).

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