Chapter 1 Vocabulary – first 15 pages

exponential growth
growth in which some quantity, such population size or economic output, increases at a constant rate per unit of time; when the increase in quantity over time is plotted, this time of growth yields a curve shaped like the letter J
species
group of organisms that resemble one another in appearance; behavior; chemical makeup and processes, and genetic structure
biodiversity
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)
environment
all external conditions and factors, living and nonliving (chemicals and energy), that affect any living organism or other specified system
environmental science
an interdisciplinary study that integrates information and ideas from the natural sciences (such as biology, chemistry, and geology) that study the natural world and the social sciences (such as economics, politics, and ethics) that study how humans and their institutions interact with the natural world
natural sciences
biology, chemistry, and geology
social sciences
economics, politics, and ethics
ecology
biological science that studies the relationships between living organisms and their environment; study of the structure and functions of nature
environmentalism
social movement dedicated to protecting the earth’s life-support systems for us and other species
sustainability
ability of earth’s various systems, including human cultural systems and economies, to survive and adapt to changing environmental conditions indefinitely
durability
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
natural capital
natural resources and natural services that keep us and other species alive and support our economies
solar capital
solar energy that warms the planet and supports photosynthesis, the process that plants use to provide food for themselves and for us and other animals; also produces indirect forms of renewable energy such as wind and flowing water
sound science
concepts and ideas that are widely accepted by experts in a particular field of the natural or social sciences; these results of science are very reliable
environmentally sustainable society
society that meets the current and future basic needs of its people for basic resources in a just and equitable manner without compromising the ability of future generations of humans and other species from meeting their basic needs
economic growth
increase in the capacity to provide people with goods and services; an increase in gross domestic product
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
per capita GDP
annual GDP of a country divided by its total population at midyear; it gives the average slice of the economic pie per person; used to be called per capita gross national product (GNP)
Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)
a measurement of GDPs; in terms of GDP-PPP, the world’s six largest economies in 2006 were the US, China, Japan, India, Germany, and France
economic development
improvement of human living standards by economic growth
developed countries
country that is highly industrialized and has a high per capita GDP
developing countries
country that has low to moderate industrialization and low to moderate per capita GDP; most are located in Africa, Asia, and Latin America
middle-income, moderately developed countries
a subcategory of developing countries; China, India, Brazil, and Mexico
doubling time
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
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
rule of 70
doubling time (in years) =70/(percentage growth rate)
perpetual resource
essentially inexhaustible resource on a human time scale because it is renewed continuously; for example, solar energy
renewable resource
resource that can be replenished rapidly (hours to several decades) through natural processes as long as it is not used up faster than it is replaced; for example, 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 resources is used faster than it is replenished, it can be depleted and converted into a nonrenewable resource
nonrenewable resource
resource that exists in a fixed amount (stock) 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; for example, 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 are formed
sustainable yield
highest rate at which a potentially renewable resource can be used indefinitely without reducing its available supply
environmental degradation
depletion or destruction of a potentially renewable resources 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)
common-property resource
resources that people normally are free to use; each user can deplete or degrade the available supply; most such resources are renewable and owned by no one; for example, 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)
free-access resource
common-property resource
tragedy of the commons
depletion or degradation of a potentially renewable resource to which people have free and unmanaged acces; for example, the depletion of commercially desirable fish species in the open ocean beyond areas controlled by coastal countries
ecological footprint
amount of biologically productive land and water needed to supply a population with the renewable resources it uses and to absorb or dispose of the wastes from such resource use; it measures the average environmental impact of populations in different countries and areas
per capita ecological footprint
amount of biologically productive land and water needed to supply a population with the renewable resources it uses 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
energy resource
coal, oil, and natural gas
metallic mineral resource
iron, copper, and aluminum
nonmetallic mineral resource
salt, clay, sand, and phosphates
economic depletion
exhaustion of 80% of the estimated supply of a nonrenewable resource; finding, extracting, and processing the remaining 20% usually costs more than it is worth; may also apply to the depletion of a renewable resource, such as a fish or tree species
recycling
collecting and reprocessing a resource so that it can be made into new products; for example, collecting aluminum cans, melting them down, and using the aluminum to make new cans or other aluminum products
reuse
using a product over and over again int he same form; for example, collecting, washing, and refilling glass beverage bottles
pollution
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
point sources
single identifiable source that discharges pollutants into the environment; for example, 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
nonpoint sources
large or dispersed land areas such as crop fields, streets, and lawns that discharge pollutants into the environment over a large area