Chapter 1

Gaia hypthosis

life on Earth, through a complex system of positive and negative feedback, regulates Earth’s envir. to help sustain life

system

(feedback is a special kind of syst. response)

set of compontents that function together as a whole.

they respond to inputs and have outputs

environmental unity

holds that everything affects everything else. it emphasizes linkages among parts of systems

exponential growth

when it increases by a constant percentage per time period

Increase in number or size, at a constantly growing rate. It is one possible result of a reingorcing feedback.

ecosystem
community of idfferent specis and their local nonliving environment in which energy flows and chemicals cycle
precautionary principle
when there is a threat of serious ( maybe irreversible) environmental damage, we should not wait for scientific proof before taking cost effective steps to prevent potential harm to the environment
biosphere
is region of Earth where life exists. includes all life plus, lower atmosphere, waters, soils, and solid sediments. here, energy is received from the sun.
biota
general term used to refer to all living things
carrying capacity
(sustainability included in this)
maximum # of individuals of a species that can b sustained by an environment w/out lessening the environment’s ability to sustain that same # of individuals in the future.
doubling time
is the time it takes for what is growing to double in size or #.Depends on rate of growth.Is a kind of exponential growth.
ecological footprint
the total area each person requires based on the resources we use and the waste we produce
feedback
outputof the system also serves as input and leads to further changes in the system
overshoot
carrying capacity is exceeded
steady state
when input is = to output, there is no net change in size of the storage compartment. it is a dynamic equilibrium, bc its not just sitting still, something is happening
sustainability
finding ways to ensure that future generations have equal access to Earth’s resources, and that what we do today wont cause irreversible harm to the environment