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Poli-228

Earth  Human Societies -> groups government economics religions


social norms

Note the double headed arrow between EARTH and HUMAN SOCIETIES.
There is *no division here*, they each interact upon the other.

Summary: The idea of groups or community, if you and I were solely individualistic
creatures and didn’t become parts of families, or procreate outside of here and
there as individuals, if we didn’t band together in to larger communities of houses,
apartment buildings, networks, etc. We would have much less impact on the planet.

Farm raised fish is due to having fished the crap out of the oceans, etc.

Social norms are what we think is acceptable. Our ultimate social norm is consume
 throw away.

Linkages Between Earth and Humanity: Some Considerations

Earth

• State of nature
• Human societies
• Important constructions of human societies:
○ Group dynamics (Small, medium, large)
○ Governments and policies
○ Economics
○ Societal beliefs, values and ethics
○ Norms of behavior
○ Religions

Ecosystem Issues

• Ecosystem: a group of plants, animals, or non-living things interacting within


their external environment
• Ecology: the subfield of biology that studies the interrelationships among
people, other living things, and their environments
• Ecologists study: individual organisms; populations of organisms;
communities of organisms; or the ecosystem in toto
• The earth is a closed system: the planet must work with what it has. New
resources cannot be brought in from some other planet.
Four Laws of Ecology

Barry Commoner’s famous laws of ecology:

1. Everything is connected to everything else


2. Everything must go somewhere
a. There is no “throwing away”, you’re just moving it somewhere else
3. Nature knows best
4. There is no free lunch: any use of nature carries with it some cost

Steady State
(sustainable development)

• Steady-state refers to a level of activity within an ecosystem that can be


maintained over a long period of time. To think of it mathematically: INPUTS
= OUTPUTS
• Steady-state is based on calculations of the earth’s carrying capacity
• Carrying capacity is the ability of the earth to regenerate itself equal to a
specific amount of human usage or impact
• This can be in the form of resource extraction or pollution introduction
• Determining carrying capacity is very controversial

Common Pool Resources

• The classic problem of the Tragedy of the Commons


• CPRs are resources that are either shared or unshared, but the costs of using
those resources are borne by all
• Classic example of a CPR is the world’s oceans
• Because the costs born by each user or non-user are different, the incentives
to protect or not protect the resource vary as well
• Grazing sheep on a commons is the classic example put forth by biologist
Garrett Hardin

Summary: Some of us love tuna, some don’t. If you don’t eat it, you don’t care if it
gets fished, overfished, or anything else.

Tragedy of the Commons

• CPR problem argued by Garrett Hardin


• Hardin argues population growth is the ultimate environmental problem
• Central thesis: If the Earth is finite then population must be limited
• Zero population growth is the balance to be achieved exceed carrying
capacity of the Earth
• There is no technological fix to the problem
• Two sides to the tragedy: Input and Output
• Input equals what we put into the environment Output equals what we take
out of the environment

ANNOUNCEMENT: QUIZ NEXT WEEK