The story of the three “E”s and the Big Bad Human.

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[1] ECO nomy/logy

This is the last post of the blog, at least for topics concerning the course of ecology 110. Time moved on very fast; I remember as if it was yesterday editing the very first post and here we are, at the end of this wonderful class. So after my brief moment of emotion ,let me introduce you our last topic : we will examine the three E’s and the relationship between them. The three E’s are not piggies like in the famous fairytale with the Big Bad Wolf but they are the following:  Environment, Energy and Economy.  Our examination will be based on a lecture by Dr. Chris Martenson which you can watch here :      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msTW7D_rSm4

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[2] E + E + E =3E

Let’s make a brief introduction to our subject. Environment, Energy and Economy are interconnected. First of all, the Economy exists within the natural environment and depends on it in vital way. Economies receive inputs (such as natural resources) from the environment, process these inputs in complex ways that enable human society to function and then discharge outputs into the environment, such as waste. The material inputs and the waste-absorbing capacity that Earth can provide to economies are ultimately finite [3](p.147) When it come to energy, solar energy, wind power and moving water are all traditional sources of alternative energy that are making progress. However, coal, oil and natural gas are the three kinds of fossil fuels that we have mostly depended on for our energy needs, from home heating and electricity to fuel for our automobiles and mass transportation. The problem is, fossil fuels are non-renewable. They are limited in supply and will one day be depleted. Fossil fuels formed from plants and animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago and became buried way underneath the Earth’s surface where their remains collectively transformed into the combustible materials we use for fuel.[3] (p.531)All those forms of energy are provided by the environment and of course as nothing in this world comes for free, they are a huge part of the global economy . I believe it is clear now how the 3 E’s are related : take the energy from the environment -> sell it = economy.

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[4]One way? Or Another?

Let’s move on to the videos now. Our protagonist in this post is Chris Martenson , former Pfizer Vice President, with a PhD in neurotoxicology from Duke University, and an MBA from Cornell University in Finance. Martenson is also an accomplished presenter who has offered the Crash Course seminar all over the United States. what’s more he is an author of a popular website that you are encouraged to visit : http://www.peakprosperity.com and you can also find him on twitter. The online course has been translated into several languages, and been viewed nearly a million times. What’s more background as an educator helps him animate complex material through a very interesting and humorous approach, yet easy to be understood.[7] I believe that his ideas are credible first of all in terms of who Martenson is and what’s more, if you watch his speech you are going to see that he provides sufficient evidence on his points. In his crash course, he elaborated on the relationship between the environment, the energy, and the economy. He sees profound changes on the horizon, but is not an alarmist – he sees great opportunity to transform our lives from measuring wealth by financial growth to measuring prosperity by community connections and sustainable lifestyles.

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[5] Dr.Martenson

Let’s talk about the content of his speech more specificly however. What Mortenson questions is how our lives are going to be in twenty years from now compared to the past. In his second video Martenson states that economies are going from bad to worse. The money spend by national economies is hopelesly overwhelming, creating huge debts and even greater total liabilities. In simple words, national economies have been trapped in a viscious circle with no way out. The only plausible and possible thing to be done is print money. However, although we have reached this tragic point that points the obvious, that we use resources in such an insufficient way, we cannot yet comprehend reality as it is.

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[6]Greece has the highest bars as usual!

Additionally, Martenson takes the previous point a step further , saying that the economical crisis is actually the result of economic transaction with money that in fact does not even exist! This is his really interesting Key Consept. All Money is loeaned into existence! Banks and countries can in fact “create money” out of nothing.Lets take banks for example that are generally required by law to have a certain amount of “reserve capital” on hand to meet the obligations of paying people that have their money in the bank. However, the reserve is less than the total amount of money in those savings and checking accounts. For instance, if a Bank gets 80.000€ of deposit from various individuals. The Bank then loans out 350.000€ to people and businesses seeking loans. How can they do this with only 80.000€ in capital? Well,they are allowed to loan more than they have in actual capital because most transactions today do not involve cash. Instead it is all paper and electronic. When someone borrows the money, there is a check from the bank that says, “This piece of paper (check) is worth 8.000 euros ” So, that person deposits the cash in their own checking account and writes other checks against that balance. The result is that it’s just paper and numbers recorded on electronic ledgers. Everyone in the banking system keeps close tabs on what is owed and who is owed, but there is no real cash money changing hands – it’s all on paper. Same goes for national economies in similar ways.

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[6]It’s all imaginary.

Furthermore, what he emphasizes on is that our economy does not need to grow in contrast with what we ractically want. Our urge to make the economy grow needs more energy which however cannot grow. How can we be forgetting that our energy is finite?We don’t have an alternative version of the “duck that lays golden eggs” that lays new oil,gas and coal every day! Neither ducks laying new minerals – and according to Martenson in the next 15 years many of our minerals as well as metals but also oil will run out. Energy generation gradually returns less and less.As population grows,consumption grows.The water use is becoming greater as time goes by.Also the forest loss and the species extinction has a radical rate of increase. Additionally fisheries are exploited to a greater extend each year.

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[6] While the population grows, consumption grows.

Last but not least, Martenson states that during the last two decates human beings have been overexploiting natural resources and as a result we are running out of them very quickly. However, as we see resources like petrol for instance getting more scarce we try to find new ones and in order to do so we spend even more money and use even more energy in order to use technology and equipment to extract them. As a result, we add even more to the total liabilities! In a similar way to this of my introduction, at this point I think it is clear again how the environment,the energy and the economy are interconnecte – this time through Martenson’s words.

martenson-3

[6] More energy needs more money.

After watching his speech, I must admit that I agree with Martenson completely. The 3 Es are so closely interconnected and show us evidence that human beings are using all of them in a wrong constantly. However, we are so small and egocentric to ignore the evidence and keep making this viscious circle bigger at evert opportunity. What should be left after this stream of new and useful information, I believe, is a crave for change. We should change our current attitude and start caring about the environment first of all. If the environment is restored then we will have better energy production and even economy could get better as a chain reaction.As Martenson states in his report: The Future Has Arrived. If you want to know what the future will feel like, all you need to do is find the right stories and connect the dots ” Can we all do that? But more importantly can we do something about what we find out?

Citation

[1]”CBIA: Government Affairs.” ‘E for Economy’ the Focus at CT’s Merged Environment, Energy Agency. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

[2]The Economy in a Wider Context.” Money That WorksOrg. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

[3] Withgott, Jay, Barbara W. Murck, and Scott R. Brennan. Environment: The Science Behind the Stories. Toronto: Pearson Canada, 2009. Print.

[4] “Obama Stimulus Package May Include 20 Billion in Energy Tax Credits.” Red Green and Blue. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

[5]”Blog Archives.” I Know Youll Remember Chris Martenson Tag. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

[6]”Peak Prosperity Video Channel.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

[7]”About Chris Martenson.” Peak Prosperity. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

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The Good, the Bad and the Population Growth.

The purpose of this post is to present information regarding the world’s population growth and how it is related with our natural resources. Also, we are going to see the two different percpectives on this issue and accordingly each side’s predictions and suggestions for the years to come.

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[4] World Population

What about now? What about today?

I shall start by saying that the world population has reached the stagering number of 7 billion people with a continuously increasing rate of growth every year.There are several reasons for the population growth that we are experiencing..

First of all we should mention the high birth rates that keep increasing as well as the low death rate.Additionally our technological advantages and of course the innovations concerning the field of medicines have contributed fairly enough. Alsom through urbanisation, resources are being used in a higher rate . Last but not least we should not forget the fact of immigration and of refugees using conserved resources. And so here we are having an increase in poverty  inequality and decrease in life quality..becoming more and more. [2]

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[5] Urbanization

As a result, we cannot but wonder..can earth support all this population? When talking about carrying capacity ,we define it as the maximal population size of a given species that an area can support without reducing its ability to support the same species in the future. Although we cannot say exactly how many people are the limit for earth’s carrying capacity we can be pretty sure that we are on our way to reaching it. Or not? [1]

We have have a big debate and the teams are : The Cornucipians VS the Cassandras.

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[6] Cornucipians VS the Cassandras

The Cornucopians claim that with the help of the technological advances we will find a solution and resources will not run off but instead people will continue to have possibly alternative sources to get their nutrients and power from.

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On the other hand we have the Cassandras who state that the population continues increasing and we keep exploiting our resources at this rate then eventually we will have nothing left and we will be unavoidably lead to a world catastrophe.
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Personally, I believe that anything done excessively has bad consequences and right now we are overexploiting earth’s resources. Therefore, I do think that unless we change our current behaviour , it may not be tomorrow, but close is the day when our resources will vanish.

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[7]Paul Ehrlich.

Paul Ehrlich is an American biologist and Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University. He is well known for his book The Population Bomb where he predicted a mass starvation of humans in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation. He also suggested that immediate action should be taken in order to limit population growth.

Ehrlich created the IPAT equation, which is a formula used to describe the impact of human activity on the environment. More specifically human impact (I) on the environment equals (=) the product of Population (P), Affluence (A), Technology (T). It describes how these three factors contribute toward our environmental impact.

United States

To begin with, the United States are a huge,developed country with great technology. Additionally, the afluence of the U.S is really high and of course increasing.What’s more,there are no restrictions on births per family .What does this say for the IPAT? Obviously the United States have a really big impact on the world’s environment.

China

First of all,China’s technology development is quite remarkable and it’s increasing rate extremely high.When it comes to the affluence however,China is lower than the US.However, China’s population is staggeringly higher than this of the US. We should mention at this point that steps have been taken for the population’s decrease; yet  the (P) factor at the time is high and also is the (T) and so is China’s IPAT result.

Greece

Greece’s population is relatively low, at 11 million inhabitants. About the technological developement? We wish we had at least some! What’s more when we talk about Greece’s affluence,especially nowadays that the economical crisis is taking place, it is obvious that Greece does not have a big (A) impact on its IPAT . The result is a very small IPAT and a very small therefore impact on the environment.

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[8]Hans Rosling

Hans Roslingis professor of International Health at the Karolinska Institutet, the medical university in Stockholm, Sweden. Additionally,he discovered konzo, a formerly unknown paralytic disease caused by malnutrition and intoxication.He has also studied other links between poverty and health in Asia and Latin America and been an adviser regarding vaccination and essential drugs to WHO, UNICEF and Sida. He co-founded Médecines sans Frontiers in Sweden and is a member of the International Group of the Swedish Academy of Science.Besides pioneering global health teaching in both under and post graduate training and recently published “GLOBAL HEALTH, an introductory textbook”,he also co-founded Gapminder (www.gapminder.org), a non-profit venture for development of software that unveils the beauty of statistics by converting boring numbers into enjoyable moving and interactive graphics. His award winning lectures with animated statistics were labeled “humorous, yet deadly serious”. In 2007 Google acquired the animation software from Gapminder and Hans Rosling is now pioneering the use of animated statistics to show global trends on video and in TV. [3]

[9] Rosling on TED

What Rosling tries to emphasize on is that we can still make changes and provide a better future for the next generations. In his lecture he clearly shows the difference between different parts of the world and the evolution between the years. It is shocking to see what the expectations used to be and how they changed through the years. What’s more I found really intersting the change of the death rates and I believe that we should all be disturbed by the picture presented in the 3rd world countries. I think that his graphs can be very educational for everyone although I personnally believe that the general picture given as a conlusion is very optimistic. I really wish that the future takes the path Rosling suggests but I trully think that what he says is difficult to be succeeded. After all maybe I am just a Cassandra, opposed to his Cornucipian,ambitious views.

[10]Gapminder’s data for 1900[10].Gapminder’s data for 1975

10.Gapminder’s data for 2011

As we can see from Gapminder’s charts the life expectancy overall in the world has increased drastically over the last century. My country has experienced also a life expectancy change as well with people living more an more years. This change has come since the last century science has taken many steps forward. More specifically, the field of medicines and generally the health section has had incredible innovations. Also, the quality of life has been improved . It is therefore for us to see how Greeks can live up to those ages nowadays.

Conclusion.

All in all, as we can see population is a big issue for the world and especially in this era that it has reached the outstanding number of 7 billion. The predictions can be either positivity or negative but it is in our choice to select what’s going to happen in the future. I personally believe that unless we take drastic actions, the resources will eventually end. It is not imposible though , still, to improve the situation and “design” a bright future.

Works Cited

1. “Daily, G. C., Ehrlich”, P. R. (1992). Population, Sustainability, and Earth’s Carrying Capactiy. Bioscience.

2. “Withgott, J. & Brennan, S”. (2010). Environment: The science behind the stories. 4th Ed. San Francisco: Pearson Education.

3.”Hans Rosling – Biography.” Hans Rosling – Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2012. <http://www.worldcongress.com/speakerBio.cfm?speakerID=2163&gt;.

4.”October 12 1999: The World Population Hits 6 Billion.” HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2012. <http://people.howstuffworks.com/population-six-billion.htm&gt;.

5.”Explain THAT Science!: World Population and Statistical Lies.” Carl Sagans Dance Party. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2012. <http://csdphumor.com/2011/02/15/world-population-and-statistical-lies/&gt;.

6.”Club Wyndham vs. WorldMark, the Club.” Club Wyndham vs. WorldMark, the Club. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2012. <http://www.sellingtimeshares.net/club-wyndham-vs-worldmark-the-club/&gt;.

7.”Paul Ehrlich Still Prophesying Doom, and Still Wrong.” News Paul Ehrlich Still Prophesying Doom and Still Wrong Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2012. <http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomchiversscience/100153735/paul-ehrlich-still-prophesying-doom-and-still-wrong/&gt;.

8.Christakis, Nicholas A. “Hans Rosling.” Time. Time, n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2012. <http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2111975_2111976_2112170,00.html&gt;.

9.”CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY: Hans Rosling in TED: Religions and Babies.”CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY: Hans Rosling in TED: Religions and Babies. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2012. <http://paulacarrielsoc151.blogspot.gr/2012/06/hans-rosling-in-ted-religions-and.html&gt;.

10.http://www.gapminder.org/

Population ecology : Sex ratio in the United States of America.

This post is going to be devoted in the subject of population ecology. What is population ecology then? It examines the dynamics of population change and the factors that affect the distribution and abundance of members of a population. In a few words, this particular field helps us understand why populations of some species decline while others increase. All populations have some factors that determine their future such as their size,density,distribution age structure as well as birth and death rates and of course sex ratio.[7]

Population Ecology.[1]

 The last topic, sex ratio, is the one that this post will refer specifically to , and the original question to be answered is ” What is the sex ratio in the United States of America? “

To begin with,what do we call sex ratio?

Man vs Woman  [6]

Sex ratio is the proportion of males and females and it can influence whether the population will increase or decrease in size over time. A balanced sex ratio maximizes population growth while an unbalanced one leaves individuals of one sex without mates.

When it comes to human beings.

Sex ratio at birth has recently emerged as an indicator of certain kinds of sex discrimination in some countries. For instance, high sex ratios at birth in some Asian countries are now attributed to sex-selective abortion and infanticide due to a strong preference for sons. This will affect future marriage patterns and fertility patterns. Eventually, it could cause unrest among young adult males who are unable to find partners.

According to the Census research sex ratio is defined as the number of males per 100 females. A sex ratio of exactly 100 would indicate an equal number of males and females, with a sex ratio under 100 indicating a greater number of females. [2]

Have you ever wondered what is the sex ratio of Americans?

Sex ratio [2]

The sex ratio at birth in the United States has been around 105 males for every 100 females, however, since mortality at every age is generally higher for males, the sex ratio naturally declines with age. This tendency progresses through ages 85 and above where there are considerably more surviving women. These trends result in more males at younger ages and more females at older ages. Sex ratios can vary from these patterns for many reasons such as the impact of international or domestic migration on a population or features of the geographic location (for example, the existence of college student housing or military facilities).

According to the 2010 Census, the population of the United States on April 1, 2010, was 308.7 million people, representing a 9.7 percent increase in population since 2000, when the population was 281.4 million.

More specifically :157.0 million were female (50.8 percent) while 151.8 million were male (49.2 percent). Between 2000 and 2010, the male population grew at a slightly faster rate (9.9 percent) than the female population (9.5 percent).

Sex ratios were higher in Western states and lower in Northeastern states and compared to 2000, there were fewer counties in 2010 where the female population outnumbered the male population.

Notice that! : There were approximately twice as many women as men at age 89 (361,309 compared with 176,689, respectively). This point occurs about 4 years older than it did in 2000, and 6 years older than it did in 1990. This increase is further evidence of the narrowing gap in mortality between men and women occurring at the older ages.[2]

Where are all the men? [5]

And if you have been wondering what is the world’s sex ratio,here is your answer.

World at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

World Sex Ratio [3]

It is very interesting to know about the sex ratio when it comes to human beings and researches such as this of Census can help researchers studying trends related to mortality and population aging.  Overall, the USA population ratio is balanced, predisposing a population increase. Have you ever wondered about your country’s sex rate? If so, you can satisfy your curiosity on CIA’s official site, by clicking on this link :

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2018.html

References :

[1] “What Is Population Ecology?” What Is Population Ecology? N.p., n.d. Sun. 11 Nov. 2012. <http://home.comcast.net/~sharov/PopEcol/lec1/whatis.html&gt;.

[2]”Census Bureau.” Census Bureau. N.p., n.d. Sun. 11 Nov. 2012. <http://www.census.gov/&gt;.

[3]”Central Intelligence Agency.” Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. N.p., n.d. Sun. 11 Nov. 2012. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2018.html&gt;.

[4]”Sex Ratio Images.” Sex Ratio Pictures and Images. N.p., n.d. Sun. 11 Nov. 2012. <http://www.zeably.com/Sex_ratio&gt;.

[5] “Old Ladies.” http://www.actnow.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. <http://www.actnow.com.au/Opinion/Dont_shun_a_young_mum.aspx&gt;.

[6] “Men vs. Women in Weight Loss.” P90X Reviews Day by Day Reviews of the P90X Workouts. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. <http://www.90dayreview.com/2011/08/03/men-vs-women-in-weight-loss/&gt;.

[7] Withgott, Jay, Barbara W. Murck, and Scott R. Brennan. Environment: The Science Behind the Stories. Toronto: Pearson Canada, 2009. Print.

Ecological Footprint.

Basic Concepts

This post is going to talk about the ecological footprint, showing the differences around the world and how people exploit earth’s resources without caring about the consequences.

First of all, what is the ecological footprint?It defined as “the area of productive land and water ecosystems required to produce the resources that the population consumes andassimilate the wastes that the population produces, wherever on Earth the land and water is located.”1 Also we should mention the concept of the “overshoot ” which is the point where human consumption and waste production exceed nature`s capacity to create new resources and absorb waste.2 Last but not least, the useful term of carrying capacity is defined as “The maximum number of individuals that, a given environment can support indefinitely, without detrimental effects to environmental state”.3

Global Perpective

Now that you are aware of the basic terms,let’s take a look at the Ecological Footprint chart.

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Comparing.

This chart compares the ecological footprints of several countries. Clearly, the country of Bangladesh has the smallest ecological footprint and the explanation is very simple. First of all, talking about development, Bangladesh is not a major industrial country. What’s more since the GDP is only at we would say that Bangladeshi do not have a lifestyle that affects the EF, such as expensive machinery and technologically advanced equipement.On the other hand, when it comes to both Australia and United Arab Emirates we can see a very big EF. This phenomenon lyes upon the fact that both are extremely modernised countries with extremely high development levels and citizens that have accordingly “advanced” lifestyles including luxurious goods that “come out of fashion” rapidly and are therefore replaced in a fast pace by new one. However, recycling is not always plausible or chosen as a “solution” after the use of goods and the madness of human beings trying to have more and more expensive,advanced and extravagant computers,cars,buildings and anything else one can imagine leaves a dramatic impact on our environment.

GDP and Ecological Footprint.

The higher the GDP,the hight we can say the ecological footprint can be. When  people leave in a highly developed society and can afford a more “grandiose” way of life, the more they negatively affect the environment.  Therefore, the general picture of the country’s ecological footprint gets worse.

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Graph Comparison

My county’s graph. (Greece)

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In the graph above we can se that the per-person resource demand Ecological footprint raises year per year, the biocapacity keeps falling. The more we exploit the environment the less biologically productive land and water we have. The graph is a very strong proof that we are heading towards a very shady future and should be definitely taken into consideration by everyone.

Personal Ecological Footprint

Having taken the “test” on http://www.myfootprint.org/ , I was a little shocked by my results. More specifically, if all human beings were like me, we would need another 1.29 earth. In matters of comparison, of course Bangladeshi seem much more frugal than me; yet, I could easily be a resident of Australia that we have already discussed and I would be quite modest in the Arab Emirates. My EF is higher than this of the average Greek as well. Having seen this results I will surely make an effort to minimize my EF, taking also into consideration the information of the website.

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Conclusion

Sometimes human beings can act extremely egoistically and want more than they can get. The ecological footprints around the world vary and usually, the more developed a country is the more it damages the environment (however,there are always exceptions to the rule). I believe that we should all be aware our EF and become more sensitive in matters of ecology. Maybe if we all knew how big our fault is we could become more aware and willing to change.

Citation

1.Wackernagel, Mathis and W. Rees. Our Ecological Footprint. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 1996.

2.”Online Encyclopedia.” Online Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://www.encyclo.co.uk/&gt;.

3.”CONCEPT FROM THE DISCIPLINES OF HUMAN GEOGRAPHY AND ECOLOGY.” N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://www.unepscs.org/Mangrove-Training/11-Carrying-Capacity-Mangrove-Management.pdf&gt;.

http://www.definition-of-ecological-footprint.com/

http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/

http://healplanet.blogspot.gr

/myfootprint.org