Chapter 20 By: Maddie Young

  • Discuss sustainability in a variety of environmental contexts including human well-being.
  • The well-being of humans- the status of being healthy, happy, and prosperous- has caused individuals and nations to exploit and degrade natural resources.
  • Evaluate ways in which the use of economic analysis can do a better job of including the costs of economic activities on the environment and on people.
  • Market economy is determined by supply and demand. When a good is in high demand and wanted by many people, producers are typically unable to provide an unlimited supply of that good.
Whenever the cost of an item is low, the demand for that item is high. As the price goes up, the demand goes down. Supply and Demand eventually hit an equilibrium, when prices and demand are stable. Then the prices continue to go up and demand starts to drop and supply continues to go up.
  • Externalities can sometimes effect the curve of supply and demand. When an externality is created by manufacturing a good or offering a service, the price changes, and therefore the supply and demand are also affected.
When the cost of emitting pollutants is included in the price of a good, for any given quantity of items, the price increases. This causes the supply curve to shift to the left, from S to S1. Since the law of demand states that when the price of a good goes up, demand falls, the amount demanded falls, and the market reaches a new equilibrium, E1.
  • GDP is short for Gross Domestic Product, which refers to the value of all products and services produced in a year in a given country. GDP is not an accurate measurement of well-being because costs for health care contribute to a higher GDP, a society that has a great deal of illness would have a higher GDP than an equivalent society without a great deal of illness. For wealth; because of externalities, such as pollution and land degradation are not included in GDP, measurement of GDP does not reflect the true cost of production.
  • Video to explain GDP a little more:

  • Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), is a measure of economic status that includes personal consumption, income distribution, levels of higher education, resource depletion, pollution, and the health of the population. There are factors that GPI takes into account that GDP does not, those factors include; the attempt to include the level of education, personal consumption, income distribution, resource depletion, pollution, and the health of the population, when GDP only includes the value of all products and services a country produces.
  • The Kuznets Curve is used to address some of the shortcomings of GDP as a measurement of wealth, some environmental economists and scientists advocate using a model- the Kuznets Curve. Situations that would not fit the Kuznets Curve is nations that are not developing well because they do not get the money to industrialize the country more, because the more money there is the more industrialized the country is the more the environment is hurt.
  • Developed countries can help developing countries because of technology transfer which is when less developed countries adopt technological inventions that were developed in wealthy countries. For example, in many less developed countries, a proportion of the population uses cell phones without ever having access to a network of landline telephones. A situation like this, in which less developed countries use new technology is known as leapfrogging, or when less developed countries use new technology without using earlier technology.
  • Understand that economic systems are based on three forms of capital- natural, human, and manufactured
  • Natural Capital refers to the resources of the planet, such as air, water, and minerals.
  • Human Capital refers to human knowledge and abilities.
  • Manufactured Capital refers to all goods and services that humans produce.
  • A capital is just the totality of our economic assets.
  • Environmental scientists have pointed out that in order to live, a natural capital is required.
  • A free-market is believed that when left alone, human work and creativity will find solutions to problems of natural resource degradation and depletion. However, externalities are not assessed appropriately if the cost of environmental degradation is not charged to the individuals responsible for that degradation .
  • A market failure occurs when the economic system does not account for all costs.
  • Environmental Economics is a subfield of economics that examines the cost and benefits of various policies and regulations that seek to regulate or limit air and water pollution and other causes of environmental degradation.
  • Ecological Economics is the study of economics as a component of ecological systems.
  • Valuation is the practice of assigning monetary value to intangible benefits and natural capital. Valuation can be measured in two ways; surveys, and by calculating the revenue generated by people who pay for the benefit.
  • Example for calculating the revenue: The amount tourists pay to visit a nature preserve would represent the dollar value of the preserve.
  • Example for surveys: Ask a number of people how much they are willing to pay just to know that spotted owls exist, even if they are unlikely ever to see one.
  • A less sustainable system (a), is like our economy, is based on maximizing the utilization of resources and results in a fairly large waste stream.
  • A more sustainable system (b), is based on greater use of ecosystem services, less resource extraction, and minimizing the waste system.
  • Explain the role of laws and regulations in attempting to protect our natural and human capital.
  • The three dimensions of an environmental worldview are Anthropocentric, biocentric, and ecocentric.
  • Anthropocentric worldview is a worldview that focuses on human welfare and well-being. In other words,
  • Biocentric worldview is a worldview that holds that humans are just one of many species on Earth, all of which have equal in essential value.
  • The Precautionary Principle states that when the results of an action are uncertain- such as the effects caused by the introduction of a compound or chemical- it is better to choose an alternative known to be harmless. For example, Industrial and business groups have used scientific uncertainty as a reason to avoid applying expensive measures that would reduce future environmental harms
  • The world organizations are all connected to sustainability
  • The United Nations Environment Programme: a program of the United Nations Responsible for gathering environmental information, conducting research, and assessing environmental problems.
  • Video explaining what the UNEP does below:

  • The World Bank: A global institution that provides technical and financial assistance to developing countries with the objectives of reducing poverty and promoting growth, especially in the poorest countries.
  • The World Health Organizations: a global institution dedicated to the improvement of human health by monitoring and assessing health trends and providing medical advice to countries.
  • United Nations Development Programme: An international program that works in 166 countries around the world to advocate change that will help people obtain a better life throughout development.
  • There is also United States Agencies, they are:
  • The Environmental Protection Agency: The U.S. organization that oversees all governmental efforts related to the environment, including science, research, assessment, and education.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration: An agency of the U.S. Department of Labor, Responsible for the enforcement of health and safety regulations.
  • The Department of Energy: The U.S. organization that advances the energy and economic security of the United States.
  • Define and Discuss the relationships among sustainability, poverty, personal action, and stewardship.
  • The human development index (HDI) is a measurement index that combines three basic measures of human status; expectancy, knowledge and education.
  • The human poverty index (HPI) is a measurement index developed by the united nations to investigate the proportion of a population suffering from deprivation in a country with high HDI.
  • The five steps to the policy process in the United States are: problem identification, policy formulation, policy adoption, policy implementation, and policy evaluation.
  • There are three strategies taken to modify human behavior to help the environment more, there is the command-and-control approach, the incentive-based approach, and the green tax.
  • The command-and-control approach is a strategy for pollution control that involves regulations and enforcement mechanisms.
  • The incentive-based approach is a strategy for pollution control that constructs financial and other incentives for lowering emissions based on profits and benefits.
  • The green tax is a tax placed on environmentally harmful activities or emissions in an attempt to internalize some of the externalities that may be involved in the life cycle of those activities or products.
  • Triple bottom line- an approach to sustainability that considers three factors- economic. environmental, and social- when making decisions about business, the economy, and development.
Dr. Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement.
  • Dr. Wangari Maathai was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, a Kenyan and international environmental organization that empowers women by paying them to plant trees, some of which can be harvested for firewood after a few years. The Green Belt Movement is credited with replanting large expanses of land in East Africa, reducing erosion and improving soil conditions and moisture retention.
  • Environmental Equity is the fair distribution of resources on Earth.
  • The typical North American uses many more resources than the average person in many other parts of the world, this is not equitable.
  • Environmental justice is the fair treatment of all, regardless of race, nationality, etc.
  • African Americans and other minorities in the United States are more likely than Caucasians to live in an area with solid waste incinerators, chemical production plants, and other so-called "dirty" industries.

Friedland, Andrew, and Rick Relyea. "Chapter 20." Environmental Science for AP. 2nd ed. W.H. Freeman, 2015. 701-723. Print.


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