APES Ch. 1

Unsustainable addiction to over-consumption and materialism exhibited in the lifestyles of affluent consumers in the United States and other developed countries
agricultural revolution
Gradual shift from small, mobile hunting and gathering bands to settles agricultural communities in which people survived by learning how to breed and raise wild animals and to cultivate wild plants near where they lived. It began 10,000-12,000 years ago. Compare environmental revolution, hunter-gatherers, industrial-medical revolution, information and globalization revolution.
Variety of different species (species diversity), genetic variability among individuals within each species (genetic diversity), variety of ecosystems (ecological diversity), and functions such as energy flow and matter cycling needed for the survival of species and biological communities (functional diversity).
common-property resource
Resource that people normally are free to use; each user can deplete or degrade the available supply.

Most are renewable and owned by no one. Examples are clean air, fish in parts of the ocean not under the control of a coastal country, migratory birds, gases of the lower atmosphere, and the ozone content of the upper atmosphere (stratosphere). See tragedy of the commons.

Sensible and careful use of natural resources by humans. People with this view are called conservationists.

Person concerned with using natural areas and wildlife in ways that sustain them for current and future generations of humans and other forms of life. Compare conservation biologist, ecologist, environmentalist, environment scientist, preservationist, restorationist.
developed country
Country that is highly industrialized and has a high per capita GNP. Compare developing country.
developing country
Country that has low to moderate industrialization and low to moderate per capita GNP. Most are located in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

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Compare developed country.

doubling time
The time it takes (usually in years) for the quantity of something growing exponentially to double. It can be calculated by dividing the annual percentage growth rate into 70.
Ability of earth’s various systems, including human cultural systems and economies, to survive and adapt to changing environmental conditions indefinitely. This is another name for sustainability.
earth-centered environmental worldview
See environmental wisdom worldview.

ecological footprint
Amount of biologically productive land and water needed to supply each person or population with the renewable resources they use and to absorb or dispose of the wastes from such resource use. It measures the average environmental impact of individuals or populations in different countries and areas.
Biological scientist who studies relationships between living organisms and their environment. Compare conservation biologist, conservationist, environmentalist environmental scientist.
Study of the interactions of living organisms with one another and with their nonliving environment of matter and energy; study of the structure and functions of nature.

economic development
Improvement of living standards by economic growth. Compare economic growth, environmentally sustainable economic development.
economic growth
Increase in the capacity to provide people with goods and services produced by an economy; an increase in gross domestic product (GNP). Compare economic development, environmentally sustainable economic development, sustainable economic development, sustainable economic development. See gross domestic product.

All external conditions and factors, living and nonliving (chemicals and energy), that affect an organism or other specified system during its lifetime.
environmental degradation
Depletion or destruction of a potentially renewable resource such as soil, grassland, forest, or wildlife that is used faster than it is naturally replenished. If such use continues, the resource becomes nonrenewable (on a human time scale) or nonexistent (extinct). See also sustainable yield.
environmental ethics
Human beliefs about what is right or wrong environmental behavior.
environmental movement
Efforts by citizens at the grassroots level to demand that political leaders enact laws and develop policies to curtail pollution, clean up polluted environments, and protect pristine aras and species from environmental degradation.

environmental revolution
Cultural change involving halting population growth and altering lifestyles, political and economic systems, and the way we treat the environment so that we can help sustain the earth for ourselves and other species. This involves working with the rest of nature by learning more about how nature sustains itself.
environmental science
an interdisciplinary study that uses information from the physical sciences and social sciences tolerant how the earth works, how we interact with the earth, and how to deal with environmental problems.
environmental scientist
Scientist who uses information form the physical sciences and social sciences to understand how the earth works, learn how humans interact with the earth, and develop solutions to environmental problems.
environmental wisdom worldview

Beliefs that (1) nature exists for all the earth’s species and we are not in charge of the earth; (2) resources are limited, should not be wasted, and are not all for us; (3) we should encourage earth-sustaining forms of economic growth and discourage earth-degrading forms of economic growth; and (4) our success depends on learning how the earth sustains itself and integrating such lessons from nature into the ways we think and act.


environmental worldview
How people think the world works, what they think their role in the world should be, and what they believe is right and wrong environmental behavior (environmental ethics).
A social movement dedicated to protecting the earth’s life support systems for us and other species.
Person who is concerned about the impact of people on environmental quality and believe that some human actions are degrading parts of the earth’s life-support systems for humans and many other forms of life.

environmentally sustainable economic development
Development that encourages forms of economic growth that meet the basic needs of the current generations of humans and other species without preventing future generations of humans and other species from meeting their basic needs and discourages environmentally harmful and unsustainable forms of economic growth. It is the economic component of an environmentally sustainable society.
environmentally sustainable society
Society that satisfies the basic needs of its people without depleting or degrading its natural resources and thereby preventing current ad future generations of humans and other species from meeting their basic needs.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; responsible for managing federal efforts to control air and water pollution, radiation and pesticide hazards, environmental research, hazardous waste, and solid-solid waste disposal.
exhaustible resource
See nonrenewable resource
exponential growth
Growth in which some quantity, such as population size or economic output, increases at a constant rate per unit of time.

An example is the growth sequence 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 and so on; when the increase in quantity over time is plotted, this type of growth yields a curve shaped like the letter J.

free-access resource
see common-property resource.
frontier environmental worldview
Viewing undeveloped land as a hostile wilderness to be conquered (cleared, planted) and exploited for its resources as quickly as possible.
Broad process of global social, economic, and environmental change that leads to an increasingly integrated world.


gross domestic product (GDP)
Annual market value of all goods and services produced by all firms and organizations, foreign and domestic, operating within a country.
human-centered environmental worldviews
Humans are the planet’s most important species and should become managers or stewards of the earth.
People who get their food by gathering edible wild plants and other materials and by hunting wild animals and fish.
industrial-medical revolution
Use of new sources of energy from fossil fuels and later from nuclear fuels, and use of new technologies, to grow food and manufacture products.
information and globalization revolution
Use of new technologies such as the telephone, radio, television, computers, the Internet, automated databases, and remote sensing satellites to enable people to have increasingly rapid access to much more information on a global scale.
input pollution control
see pollution prevention
see developing country
less developed country (LDC)
see developing country
maximum sustainable yield
see sustainable yield
see developed country
more developed country (MDC)
see developed country
multiple use
Use of an ecosystem such as a forest for a variety of purposes such as timber harvesting, wildlife habitat, watershed protection, and recreation.
natural capital
see natural resources
nonpoint source
Large or dispersed land areas such as crop fields, streets, and lawns that discharge pollutants into the environment over a large area.
nonrenewable resource
Resource that exists in a fixed amount (stock) in various places in the earth’s crust and has the potential for renewal by geological, physical, and chemical processes taking place over hundreds of millions to billions of years.

Examples are copper, aluminum, coal, and oil. We classify these resources as exhaustible because we are extracting and using them at a much faster rate than they were formed.

output pollution control
see pollution cleanup
per capita ecological footprint
Amount of biologically productive land and water needed to supply each person or population with the renewable resources they use and to absorb or dispose of the wastes from such resource use. It measures the average environmental impact of individuals or populations in different countries and areas.

per capita GDP
Annual gross domestic product (GDP) of a country divided by its total population at mid-year midyear.  It gives the average slice of the economic pie per person. Used to be called per capita GNP.


perpetual resource
An essentially inexhaustible resource on a human time scale. Solar energy is an example.
planetary management worldview
Beliefs that (1) as the planet’s most important species, we are in charge of the earth; (2) we will not run out of resources because of our ability to develop and find new ones; (3) the potential for economic growth is essentially unlimited; and (4) our success depends on how well we manage the earth’s life-support systems mostly for our own benefit.
point source
Single identifiable source that discharges pollutants into the environment. Examples are the smokestack of a power plant or an industrial plant, drainpipe of a meatpacking plant, chimney of a house, or exhaust pipe of an automobile.

A particular chemical or form of energy that can adversely affect the health, survival, or activities of humans or other living organisms.
An undesirable change in the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of air, water, soil, or food that can adversely affect the health, survival, or activities of humans or other living organisms.
pollution cleanup
Device or process that removes or reduces the level of a pollutant after it has been produced or has entered the environment. Examples are automobile emission control devices and sewage treatment plants.

pollution prevention
Device or process that prevents a potential pollutant from forming or entering the environment or sharply reduces the amount entering the environment.
inability to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
Collecting and reprocessing a resource so that it can be made into new products. An examples is collecting aluminum cans, melting them down, and using the aluminum to make new cans or other aluminum products.

renewable resource
Resource that can be replenished rapidly (hours to several decades) through natural processes. Examples are trees in forests, grasses in grasslands, wild animals, fresh surface water in lakes and streams, most groundwater, fresh air, and fertile soil. If such a resource is used faster than it is replenished, it can be depleted and converted into a nonrenewable resource.
Anything obtained from the living and nonliving environment to meet human needs and wants. It can also be applied to other species.

Using a product over and over again in the same form. An example is collecting, washing, and refilling glass beverage bottles.
rule of 70
Doubling time (in years) = 70/(percentage growth rate).
social capital
Positive force created when people with different views and values find common ground and work together to build understanding, trust, and informed shared visions of what their communities, states, nations, and the world could and should be.
solar capital
Solar energy from the sun reaching the earth.
sound science
Scientific data, models, theories, and laws that are widely accepted by scientists considered experts in the area of study.

These results of science are very reliable.

stewardship worldview
Beliefs that (1) we are the planet’s most important species but we have an ethical responsibility to care for the rest of nature; (2) we will probably not run out of resources but they should not be wasted; (3) we should encourage environmentally beneficial forms of economic growth and discourage environmentally harmful forms of economic growth; and (4) our success depends on how well we can manage the earth’s life-support systems for our benefit and for the rest of nature. 
Ability of a system to survive for some specified (finite) time.
sustainable development
See environmentally sustainable economic development.

sustainable living
Taking no more potentially renewable resources from the natural world than can be replenished naturally and not overloading the capacity of the environment to cleanse and renew itself by natural processes.
sustainable yield (sustained yield)
Highest rate at which a potentially renewable resource can be used without reducing its available supply throughout the world or in a particular area.
tragedy of the commons
Depletion or degradation of a potentially renewable resource to which people have free and unmanaged access. An example is the depletion of commercially desirable fish species in the open ocean beyond areas controlled by coastal countries.

See common-property resource.