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ENVIR 100 Week 1 Notes

by: Rachel Pollard

ENVIR 100 Week 1 Notes ENVIR 100

Rachel Pollard
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About this Document

Notes from the two lectures of Week 1.
Introduction to Environmental Studies
Elizabeth E. Wheat
Class Notes
Environmental Studies, Introduction to Environmental Studies




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rachel Pollard on Friday September 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENVIR 100 at University of Washington taught by Elizabeth E. Wheat in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 164 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Environmental Studies in Environment at University of Washington.


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Date Created: 09/30/16
Introduction Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:24 AM What is Environmental Studies? • It explores the interactions of people and the environment • It explores the interactions of people and the environment with the motivation to solve existing environmental problems and avoid future ones. Environmental News • Expansion of National Monument in Hawaii by Obama • Invasive green crab found on San Juan Island by citizen science volunteers Discussing • Air • Water o Drinking water and irrigation water • Food • Planet • Place o The way our lives are interacting with these other features Course Framework • Social Systems • Socio-Environmental Challenges • Environmental Systems o Biodiversity o Biogeochemical cycles o The Earth System Dr. Elizabeth Wheat • Office Hours: Wednesday 3 -4 in HUB or by appointment (first floor north end) Wallace Hall 015H Dr. Yen-Chu Weng • Office Hours: Monday 10:30 -12 at Odegaard by R136 or by appointment - Wallace Hall 15F Course Goals • Recognize the complexity in environmental problems requires us to work form a variety of disciplines- to understand the science behind the problems and how individuals and societies respond to those problems • Deepen content knowledge around environmental issues facing our planet and understand that solutions to environmental issues may be personal, political, or technological and may range in scale from local to global. • Practice environmental communication and critical thinking skills through peer engagement, iterative writing assignments, a team project, and a public poster presentation. Weekly quiz due online every Thursday of material covered on Monday and Wednesday Outside Seminar Paper or Reflection Paper Research Paper or Service Learning Paper and Work Requirements Midterm on October 28 Final Exam on December 14 at 8:30 Individual Research Option or Service Learning Option Individual • Choose own topic • Explore ideas • Conduct literature research • Write in depth research paper Service Learning • 20-40 hours throughout the whole quarter • Shorter reflection paper • Not a lot of additional research • Work for an organization inside or outside UW • Connect classroom learning with real-world experiences Group Project • Come together to work on a group poster project (3 -4 student/group) • Poster presentation during the last week of class Service Learning at UW • Essentials: Commitment, Communication, Professionalism • Register on the Carlson Center website • Registration begins on Friday at 8am and it closes on Wednesday at 5pm • Receive a confirmation email, reach out to site supervisor, participate in an orientation during the second week of the quarter • The Age of the Anthropocene Friday, September 30, 2016 9:21 AM Research Paper Option: Outside Seminar Paper: 70 Point and Research Paper: 130 Points Lecture Quizzes and Participation - the lowest four scores are dropped): 100 points Online Quizzes and Discussions: 100 Points Submit every Thursday Section Participation: 90 Points Anthropocene: A new geological era that we've entered because humans are fundamentally impacting Earth systems. The Earth is 4.5 billion years old What is the role of humans for the future of planet Earth? Recommended Book: The Bridge at the End of the World Changes in Human Activity • Fossil fuels (and in particular oil) are the glue of the global economy • How do we separate out, the fossil fuels o f our economy? o Really important question that must be sorted out soon • Fertilizer consumption has greatly increased o This cannot increase because we are fundamentally approaching a boundary • Increased use of vehicles and urban populations • Increased paper consumption Global-scale Changes in the Earth System • Increased flooding • Increase in domesticated land • Increased ozone depletion • The Great Acceleration began after the World War II The Great Acceleration • The Great Acceleration defines the period around the 1950s where increases in the rate of human-planetary changes began that are unprecedented in human history. • This period began after WWII. • The most prominent example of globalization the world has yet to know. Patterns and Dynamics in the Age of the Anthropocene • Increasing scale and speed at which change happens • Increasing complexity and interconnectedness o More and more things are connected to each other • Increasing population and consumption (of humans) • Increasing urbanization and fossil fuel consumption • How does urbanization leave a great environmental footprint? o If the city has invested in sustainable infrastructure (efficient energy policies and good public transportation), you might do really well and have a lesser environme ntal impact than living in a rural area. But the energetic cost of getting food to people in cities may be higher. o What has the city done to support sustainability? • Era of mass transport and scientific revolutions • Increasing wealth and economic disparity o Wealth of a few is increasing which creates larger gaps in income. • "The emerging Anthropocene world is warmer with a diminished ice cover, more sea and less land, change precipitation patterns, a strongly modified and impoverished biosphere and human dominated landscapes." (Steffen et al. 2011). • Planetary Boundaries o "Attempts to define a safe operating space for humanity by analyzing the intrinsic dynamics of the Earth System and identifying points or levels relating to critical global -scale processes beyond which humanity should not go." (Steffen et al. 2011) How would it be possible for us to cross these planetary boundaries? • We might be able to cross these boundaries because of economic interests. • How do we know if we're crossing a boundary until we've completely crossed it? • We might be able to cross a boundary without immediately realizing the effects of it • Technology may be a part of how we solve this problem. • Often people address the problem rather than addressing the symptoms Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS) • The human and natural domains are not viewed as separate, but rather, as connected and embedded entities in webs of interactions. • Both scope and intensity of interactions have increased dramatically. • Couplings between human Features of CHAN • Reciprocal Effects and Feedback Loops • Regime Shifts and Tipping Points • Emergent Properties • Legacy Effects and Time Lags o We may not see the effects for decades • Resilience and Vulnerability o Ecological resistance is diminished


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