Lecture 1: The Idea of Conservation: Humankind’s knowledge brings responsibility and manages human use of the planet earth. Topics: what is conservation, history of resource conservation movements, approaches to natural resource conservation management “The Great Resource is: Education”; the knowledge also brings responsibility not borne by the bacteria-the responsibility to manage the human use of the planet earth argues that both the creation and decline of civilizations is related to more than resource availability-it is human kind that provides the key factor of economic evelopment-specifically the ideas and values that we use to think.
What is conservation? 1 . Why should we be concerned with conservation of our natural resources? 2. At this point in time? 3. Ultimately why conserve rather than exploit? A Brief History of the Resource Conservation, Environmental, and Sustainability Movements l. Conservation in the Nineteenth Century – the 1700s and 1800s were time of seemingly limitedness boundaries in the United States. -George Perkins Marsh-wrote “Man and Nature” in 1864, it served as a catalyst for the fledging conservation movement -John Muir-born in Scotland in 1838; in 1867, he walked from
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Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico; lobbied for the establishment of Yosemite and Sequoia national parks; Yellowstone (1872) and Sequoia (1890) were established because of his efforts; in 1872, he founded the Sierra Club. II. Conservation in the Twentieth Century -First wave (1901-1909) -concerned with the severe depletion of timber and the growing apprehension that resources were being grossly mismanaged, Theodore Roosevelt established a 50 member National Conservation Commission. -Gifford Pinchot-profoundly influenced the way forests are now managed; he later became the first chief of the Forest ervice. second wave (1933-1941) -FDR established a National Resources Board which completed the nation’s second comprehensive Natural Resources inventory; in its report, the board identified serious resource problems plaguing the country and described methods for solving them. -Examples of Roosevelt’s Programs -Prairie States Forestry Project (shelter belts), Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), established the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), and established the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the North American Wildlife and Resources Conference. Third Wave (1960-1980) the conservation movement took off-Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), Paul Ehrlich wrote “The Population Bomb”, and Garrett Hardin’s “The Tragedy of the Commons” -in 1969 Senator Gaylord Nelson called for a nationwide environmental watch-in an attempt to marshal the energies of the nation’s college students “to halt tne accelerating pollutlon ana oestructlon 0T tne envlronment”; co-organlzea Dy Denis Hayes, the event was called Earth Day and it continues to be celebrated on April 22. The Decade of the Environment (1970-1980) -Congress responded to citizen protests by enacting many important laws to upgrade ur resources, so this decade became known as the “decade of the environment” – Fourth Wave (1980-Present) -The Beginning of a Sustainable Revolution? from an environmental standpoint the 1980’s and 1990’s represented some of the best of time and worst of times -this was a period of intense resistance to environmental protection, especially in the United States -After suffering through a crippling period of global inflation in the late ’70s and early ’80s, many politicians and business leaders cast a skeptical eye on environmental protection, perceiving it as a ounterproductive to economic progress -Lester Brown wrote a book “Building a Sustainable Future” outlining the persistent erosion of the earth’s life support system and proposed a strategy for building a sustainably society Conservation- “the wise use of natural resources to provide a sustained reasonable quality of living for humankind” The definition raises some question: what are natural resources, what is wise, use, what does sustained mean, what constitutes a reasonable quality of living?
Sustaining Natural Resources -we must find strategies to better manage both renewable and nonrenewable esources -we must consider the exhaustibility of natural resources -some like solar energy, wind, and tidal energy are inexhaustible -renewable resources are not a panacea, some can be exhausted by over exploitation and poor management practices -forests, fish, topsoil, groundwater, and many other renewable resources we depend on, can be depleted -cut down a rain forest and let the soil wash away, and you may have destroyed a valuable renewable resource forever -other nonrenewable resources are finite??”such as coal??”there is only so much in earth’s crust Approaches to natural Resource Management . Exploitation-a human-centered approach; suggests that a given resource should be used as intensively as possible to provide the greatest profit to the user: Redwood Forest, Dust Bowl days -“Then early in the 1930’s, an eight-year drought began, and a series of major wind storms swept over the Great Plains and the Southwest creating huge smothering dust storms. ” 2.
Preservation-a nature-centered approach; suggest that resources should be preserved, set aside, and protected -John Muir-founder of the Sierra Club, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks -Earth First, wilderness 3. Utilitarian-sustained yield-approach; renewable resources should be managed so that they will never be exhausted -Gifford Pinchot – leaay Roosevelt 4. Ecological or sustained approach-managing natural resources and ourselves – based on ecological principles -requires a system approach -ecosystem approach -functioning ecosystems -process oriented restoration Several disciplines are important in answering these questions: -Ecology-what can be done, what kind of planet can we have? -Economics-what is economically feasible? -Politics-what is politically viable? -Ethics/theology-what ought to be done?