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65 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What is the course about? What is the starting point?
The philosophical basis for environmental conservation and sustainable development with environmental problems as the starting point.
What is meant by 'philosophical basis'?
Not straightforward situations. Arguments and debates about issues. Seek to find reasons for why things are done.
What is meant by 'shared concern'?
Agreement that there is a crisis underfoot, but not necessarily consensus on what the crisis is (various crisis narratives)
What important questions should be asked regarding ideas about nature?
What is nature? What constitutes it? What should nature be like? Are humans a part of nature? How do we value nature?
In what two ways is conservation important?
As an idea
As a strategy
Name five examples of how humans dominate the earth.
1. Use disproportionate resources(ex. fresh water)
2. Species extinction
3. Desertification
4. Alien species invasion
5. Toxic gases in atmosphere
Name three sources of toxic gases in the atmosphere.
1. Emissions
2. Fossil fuels
3. Livestock
What is desertification?
Rendering land less able to sustain life and in such a way, more like a desert.
In what ways do alien species interfere with natural ecosystems?
1. By competing for resources
2. Through their absence of natural enemies allowing domination
Name four ways humans transform the earth.
1. Cropping & livestock farming
2. Industrial waste (ex. smoke, byproducts, chemicals, sewage)
3. Overuse of renewable and nonrenewable resources
4. Altering natural processes (GM, artificial selection, river modification)
What problems are caused by technology used for farming productivity?
- Soil can get tired and become infertile
- Resrouces must be brought from elsewhere
- Technology can damage the soil
What is the environmental impact equation?
I = Environmental impact
P = Population size
A = Affluence - state of wealth
T = Technology
What is the main reason why we are having environmental problems?
Consumerism beyond survival needs into extras and luxuries which are generally unncessary
What is meant by a consumer society?
- A minimual relationship to production and distribution
- Only care about what we take in, not how or where it comes from
- Not giving back to nature
- Consumption as the main way of interaction with nature
What are three criticisms of consumerism?
1. Volume and extent is responsible for environmental degradation
2. Excessive materialism detractsfrom true meaning of life
3. Destroys collective values, emphasizes individualism and relative wealth
What are the advantages of consumerism?
- Creates global economy on which majority of world depends
- Expanding cons. opp. necessary for economic growth
- A means to extract humanity by creating experimental possibilities
- Cessation would destroy social order
Is fair trade a solution to the problems of consumerism?
Perhaps - if it is a lifestyle rather than a single action
What is the main objective of fair trade and how does it achieve this?
To redress imbalances created by the global economy by focusing on disadvantaged and marginalized producers
What criticisms exist of fair trade?
- Doesnt have all answers
- Can be counterproductive
- Producers can mislead/cheat consumers
Why can fair trade producers mislead or cheat consumers?
Because there is little regulation, monitoring, and enforcement
How can fair trade be counterproductive?
For example, an insistence on certain human rights can be counter cultural or damaging to the neccessities of those groups.
What are the EFTA's four principles of fair trade?
1. A trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency, and respect
2. Seeks greater equity in intl trade
3. Contributes to sustainable development by securing rights/better conditions of marginalized producers/workers
4. Active support of producers by raising awareness and changing rules of intl trade.
What are two ways fair trade focuses on fairness?
1. Participative democracy in the trading process
2. Distribution of benefits
What is the impact of fair trade on producers?
- Higher incomes
- Improved working conditions
- Support for local craft traditions
- Greater security through guaranteed prices
What are three responses to traditional consumerism?
1. Anti-consumerism
2. Green consumerism
3. Ethical consumerism
What is anti-consumerism?
Voluntary simplicity and rejection of materialist culture and the pleasures of consumption
What is green consumerism?
Sustainable and responsible consumption backed by international accords (person and planet)
What is ethical consumerism?
Holistic and collectivist stance on social issues - people and planet
What is the impact of fair trade on consumers?
- Psychic benefits: joy and confirmation of own humanity, excitement
- Self-interest and sustainability: poverty reductive reduces economic migration, terrorism, environmental degradation
What have been the impacts of a growing human population maintained by various human enterprises?
- Transformation of land surfaces
- Altered biogeochemical cycles
- Added and removed species
- Global climate change
- Losses in biological diversity
What are the impacts of transformed land surface?
- Alters structure and function of ecosystems
- Impacts all other components strongly
- Primary cause of lost biodiversity
- Affects climate directly locally and regionally
What are the consequences of nitrogen fixation?
- concentration of GHGs
- fluxes of reactive N gases
- acid rain and smog
Eutrophication of estuaries
What are the major causes of species extinction?
- Land transformation
- Global environmental change
- Hunting
- Biological invasion
How must we react to historical human domination of earth's ecosystems?
- Reduce rate we alter Earth system
- Accelerate efforts to understand Earth system
- Manage planet to maintain populations, species, ecosystems
Why does the overconsumption of individuals in industrial countries warrant attention?
Because the ecologically destructive western lifestyle is unsustainable but is encouraged in industrial countries and emulated worldwide
Why should overconsumption be considered a problem and not population alone?
- Vast imbalances in what a single individual consumes depending on location
- Even if fertility rates fall to replacement, population will inevitably grow for 50-60 years
Why hasn't the overconsumption problem been appropriately addressed?
- Lack of media attention (focused on population)
- Dramatization difficult
- Economic incentives politically unpopular
- Little leadership from western countries
How should conservation professionals address the overconsumption issue?
- Put entire effort into saving nature
- Become active in classroom, public education, public policy
- Be positive role models in personal lives
What six factors are necessary to address environmental problems?
1. Scientific validation of claims by authority
2. Popularizers to put the word out
3. Media attention framing problem as important
4. Dramatization in symbolic and visual terms
5. Economic incentives to take positive action
6. Institutional sponsors to ensure legitimacy and continuity
What are some examples of economic incentives for positive environmental action?
- Tax incentives, subsidies, grants for producers and consumers
- Penalties, pollution charges, input and output charges
- Marketable permits (cap-and-trade)
- Deposit-refund systems
What are four arguments in favor of a monetary valuation of nature?
1. It is how we value aspects of the environment in practice (by buying commodities)
2. It is only well-understood and universal measure of value currently
3. Is basic form of social power and means to achieve human desires
4. Is understood by holders of social power who must be persuaded
What are two types of quantity that can be valuated?
1. Inventory: valuation of stocks
2. Flows: valuation of changes in stocks
What are two key theories of nature?
1. Anthropocentrism
2. Ecocentrism/biocentrism
What is anthropocentrism?
- Nature is only valuable if useful to humans
- World exists for humanity
- Humans right to benefit from environment as much as possible
What is ecocentrism/biocentrism?
- Nature has intrinsic value
- Organisms share earth and should live harmoniously
- Humans not inherently superior
What are the basic anthropocentric attitudes concerning the people-nature relationship?
- Despot: human rule over earth to satisfy needs
- Enlightened ruler: dependency on nature so adjust resource use
- Steward: use resources wisely to protect for future generations
What are the basic ecocentric attitudes concerning the people-nature relationship?
- Partner: other organisms equal value as humans, take needs of both into account
- Participant: humans not only equal, only one of interdependent actors in global ecosystem
How does nature provide welfare?
- Both material and immaterial utility
- By serving as a sink for negative impacts such as pollution
- By serving as a source of resources (production uses, enjoyment of natural beauty)
What are three perspectives on the use of nature?
1. Spatial: nature competes financially with other types of land use
2. Socio-economic: nature should receive credit for welfare when competing
3. Ecological: nature should not compete, sustainable use determines economic activities
What purpose do attitudes toward nature serve? What do they not do?
- Give general indication how to deal with nature
- Do not predict behaviour in a specific situation
What are four views on dealing with nature?
1. Conservation view
2. Development view
3. Functional view
4. Alternative view
What are the objective and the approaches of the conservation view to dealing with nature?
Objective: conserve and restore nature according to historical reference points.
Approaches: 1) Hands-off: humans as partners 2) Classical: humans as stewards
What is a counterargument to the classical approach to the conservation view?
It is reactive against economic activities and thus may be counterproductive by reducing natural dynamics
What are the objective and the approaches of the development view to dealing with nature?
Objective: enhance naturalness and wilderness, protect existing nature and develop new
Approaches: reduce maintenance where possible, undo previous interventions, reactivate natural processes, restore through stimulative actions (humans are partners)
What is the argument in favor of the development view of dealing with nature?
Merely conserving sites is not adequate, natural processes are required as well
What are the objective and the approaches of the functional view to dealing with nature?
Objective: max social welfare from nature
Approaches: 1) Coevolution: humans as partners 2) Nature Building: humans as despots

Seperation b/w ecology and economy not favorable in LR b/c the two are interdependent
Describe the two functional approaches to dealing with nature.
Coevolution: sustainable use of nature, balanced interaction between nature and society

Nature Building: Controlling and constructing nature to meet human needs
What does the functional view to dealing with nature require to be successful?
Operational instruments to ensure balanced trade offs and protect against tragedy of the commons
What are the objective and the beliefs of the alternative view to dealing with nature?
Objective: restore harmonious rel. b/w nature and people
Beliefs: western seperation of nature enables environmental aggression, source of env problems
- Natural resource extraction destrutive
- Certain areas of nature still undisturbed
In what ways are ecosystems capital assets?
They yield flow of vital services:
- Production (seafood, timber)
- Life support processes
- Life-fulfilling conditions
What is the ecological basis for valuation of nature?
- Begin by cataloging sources and consumers of ecosystem services
- Reveal crtical points/ interdependencies in supply of services and time scale
- Get locally based info
What is the decision making process for valuation of nature?
- Id possible alternatives
- Id and measure impacts of each alternatives and quantify uncertainties
- Valuation: translate consequences of alternatives into units of impact on human well-being (opportunity cost, monetary)
What are the general principles of valuation?
- Public policy decisions should be incremental
- Values used should reflect individual values in democracy
- Values should be inferred from actual decisions
What are some limitations of valuation?
- Market prices don't reflect full cost
- Most services not traded on markets
- Avoidance of costs approaches provide just partial indications of value
- Difficult when individuals unfamiliar with issues to do surveys and rely on their preferences
- Difficult to aggregate individual values to social value
- Weight put on current vs. future costs
Where is the greatest opportunity for environmental valuation?
Where the benefits greatly outweigh the costs of vice versa so complete accuracy is unnecessary