How Humans Impact the Environment. Jonathan M. Links, PhD Johns Hopkins University

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1 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. Your use of this material constitutes acceptance of that license and the conditions of use of materials on this site. Copyright 2006, The Johns Hopkins University and Jonathan M. Links. All rights reserved. Use of these materials permitted only in accordance with license rights granted. Materials provided AS IS ; no representations or warranties provided. User assumes all responsibility for use, and all liability related thereto, and must independently review all materials for accuracy and efficacy. May contain materials owned by others. User is responsible for obtaining permissions for use from third parties as needed.

2 How Humans Impact the Environment Jonathan M. Links, PhD Johns Hopkins University

3 Environmental Sciences The natural environment Ecology Man s impact on the natural environment Ecology and environmental engineering The environment s impact on man Environmental health sciences 3

4 The Environment and Health The natural environment The built environment The social environment 4

5 Human/Environment Impact Circle Humans Environment

6 Precepts The physical environment, our habitat, is the most important determinant of human health Protection of the environment and preservation of ecosystems are the most fundamental steps in preventing human illness Environmental problems are global and long-term Human belief systems are part of the problem 6

7 The Earth as a Fishbowl Ecosystem Solar energy Natural Resources Energy Resources Environmental Services Heat 7

8 Small Population and Little Technology Small population and little technology society has low impact on environment ENVIRONMENT Deplete SOCIETY Traditional economics Pollute 8

9 Our Expanding Numbers World population growth throughout history and near-term future billion billion billion billion billion billion Billions of People 2.5 M yrs ago 7000 B.C B.C B.C. A.D. A.D

10 Larger Population and Increased Technology Larger population and increased technology society has great impact on environment ENVIRONMENT Deplete SOCIETY Pollute Environmental economics 10

11 Societal Needs and Wants W N E E D S W A N T S A N T ENVIRONMENT S 11

12 Why Do We Pollute the Environment? Human behavior Needs Wants Driving forces Population Technology Economic, political, and social values Mitigating forces Environmental laws Market adjustments Informal social regulation Environmental change 12

13 The Industrial Process and the Environment Chemical inputs (raw materials) Power inputs (gas, oil coal) Other inputs (water) I N D U S T R Y Air pollution Water pollution Toxic waste The product itself 13

14 Environmental Impact (A Model) I = P x A x T I = environmental impact; P = population; A = affluence; T = technology Growth in environ. impact Growth in population Growth in affluence = x x Growth in technology Consumption 14

15 U.S. Material Consumption Trends 800 Million Metric Tons Indust. Minerals Metals Nonfuel Organics Paper Wood Agriculture

16 U.S. Household Ownership of Appliances Percent Color TV Air Conditioners Microwave Video Recorders 16

17 World Fossil Fuel Use Million Tons of Oil Equivalent

18 Sulfur and Nitrogen Emissions from Fossil Fuel Burning Worldwide emissions from burning fossil fuels 80 Million Tons Sulfur Nitrogen Dioxide 18

19 The London Killer Smog of 1952 Daily concentrations of smoke and sulfur dioxide are related to the number of excess deaths each day in London Adapted by CTLT from. 19

20 World Automobile Production and Fleet Production (millions) Fleet (millions) Production Fleet 0 20

21 MSW and Per Capita Generation of MSW Municipal solid waste (MSW) and per capita generation of MSW Million Tons Pounds/Person/Day Million Tons of MSW Pounds/Person/Day 21

22 The Big Questions 1. What is this pollution doing to us? 2. What can we do about it? 22

23 Problem-Solving Paradigm: Six Steps 1. Define the problem 2. Measure its magnitude 3. Understand key determinants 4. Develop intervention/ prevention strategies 5. Set policy/priorities 6. Implement and evaluate Risk assessment Risk management 23

24 Risk Assessment and Management Hazard identification Exposure assessment Doseresponse assessment Risk characterization Risk communication Risk management 24

25 Dose-Response Curve 100% R e s p o n s e 0 Carcinogens Non-carcinogens Dose 25

26 Dose-Response Curve R e s p o n s e Observable Range Range of Inference Dose 26

27 Risk Management Approaches Engineering Process controls Emission reduction Social and behavioral Worker training Risk communication and risk reduction 27

28 Risk Management Approaches Regulatory Emission limits Mandated processes 28

29 Perceived vs. Actual Risk Underprotection Optimum Protection Overprotection Public Policy Public Policy Public Policy Perceived Risk Perceived Risk Perceived Risk Actual Risk 29

30 Recognition of a Broader Environmental Impact Food security Climate change Deforestation Desertification Land degradation Stratospheric ozone depletion Loss of biodiversity 30

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