causes and consequences of environmental degradation

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  • Causes and Consequences of Environmental DegradationMartin Donohoe

  • Am I Stoned?A 1999 Utah anti-drug pamphlet warns:Danger signs that your child may be smoking marijuana include excessive preoccupation with social causes, race relations, and environmental issues

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  • Our Home

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  • Overpopulation World population - exponential growth1 billion in 18002.5 billion in 19506 billion in 20007 billion in 2011

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  • OverpopulationAfrica, Asia, and Latin America primarily affectedCauses:PovertyWomens rights issuesimpaired access to reproductive health care and educationpolitical/legal/economic/social marginalization

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  • Air Pollution

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  • Health Effects of Air PollutionCauses approximately 60,000 - 75,000 premature deaths/yr. in U.S.

    656,000 in China

    Over 2 million worldwide

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  • Health Effects of Air PollutionMICHFVentricular arrythmiasAsthma/COPDPVDCerebrovascular diseaseMultiple other illnesses

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  • Air PollutionIndoor combustion of coal and biomass for cooking, heating and food preservation3 billion people worldwide2 million deaths/yrTobacco smoke5.4 million deaths/yr worldwide (1/10 deaths)

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  • Air Pollution: The Good NewsReductions in air pollution under Clean Air Act Account for up to 15% of overall increase in life expectancy in major U.S. metropolitan areasSaved 160,000 lives in 2010

  • Effects of Ozone Destruction Ozone hole over Antarctic (2X size of Europe)ShrinkingIncreased cataracts (UV damage)Increased lifetime melanoma risk1/1500 - 19301/68 - today

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  • US Energy Consumption by FuelOil 37% - peak oil production expected 2014Natural gas 24%Coal 22% - peak coal production 1920Nuclear 8.5%Renewables (mostly hydroelectric and biomass; small amounts of geothermal, wind, and solar) 7.3%

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  • Oil and WarCountries that export oil are >40 times more likely to be engaged in civil war than those that do notGulf Wars I and IIThe Future Water Wars

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  • Toxins/Pesticides6 trillion tons of over 85,000 chemicals produced annuallyMore than 90% have never been screened for toxicity5 billion lbs/yr pesticides worldwide1.1 billion lbs/yr in U.S.About 3 lbs/person/yr in U.S.

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  • PesticidesEPA: U.S. farm workers suffer up to 300,000 pesticide-related acute illnesses and injuries per year25 million cases/yr worldwideNAS: Pesticides in food could cause up to 1 million cancers in the current generation of AmericansWHO: 1,000,000 people killed by pesticides over the last 6 years

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  • Health Effects of PesticidesAutismParkinsons DiseaseAlzheimers diseaseDiabetesObesity (with prenatal exposure)DepressionADHDEndocrine/reproductive effects

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  • Toxic Pollutants85,000 known or suspected hazardous waste sites in the U.S.Environmental RacismWaste dumps/incinerators more common in lower SES neighborhoodsCancer Belt (Baton Rogue to New Orleans)

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  • Infamous Industrial DisastersMinimata, Japan

    Love Canal

    Bhopal, India

    Chernobyl, USSR

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  • Infamous Industrial DisastersAlaska, Exxon Valdez, 1989

    2006 BP Alaskan pipeline rupture

    2010 BP Gulf disaster

    2011 Yellowstone pipe rupture

  • Minimata DiseaseW Eugene Smith

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  • DeforestationTropical forests constitute 7% of land surface area, contain > 50% of plant and animal speciesMajority of tropical forests destroyedOne acre of worlds forest cut down every second50% of global wetlands destroyed (54% in U.S.)

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  • DeforestationHistorical-Easter Island (Polynesians), Middle East, U.S. Southwest (Anasazi Indians)Contemporary-Mauritania, Ethiopia, Haiti deforested-Philippines and Thailand are now net importers of forest products, looking at Latin America

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  • Deforestation: CausesNew agricultural settlements (overpopulation, poverty, unsustainable farming practices)LoggingOil and gas explorationCattle ranchingDrug cultivation

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  • Global Warming

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  • Consequences of Global Warming160,000 deaths and 5.5 million disability-adjusted life years lost per yearWHO, UN Environment ProgramExpected to double by 2020

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  • Consequences of Global WarmingPolar icecaps/glaciers/Greenland ice sheet/Himalayas/permafrost melting, sea levels rising weather extremes/natural disasters/insurance claims

    infectious diseases

  • Greenlands Ice Cap Melting: 1992

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  • Greenlands Ice Cap Melting: 2002

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  • Greenlands Ice Cap Melting: 2005

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  • Global WarmingThe top 1/5 of the worlds largest 145 countries account for 63% of global C02 emissions (lowest 1/5 = 2%)Countries most affected are those least responsibleClimate refugeesDisappearing locales: Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Kivalina (Alaska), Male (Maldives)

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  • AgricultureGlobal per capita cropland down over 50% from 1961 to presentSoil erosion exceeds soil formationDecreasing crop diversity/genetic diversityConsequences: vulnerability to disease, huge crop losses (e.g., Irish potato famine)

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  • Factory Farming

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  • Factory FarmingFactory farms have replaced industrial factories as the # 1 polluters of American waterwaysAgriculture accounts for 70% of U.S. antibiotic useCDC: Antibiotic use in food animals is the dominant source of antibiotic resistance among food-borne pathogens.

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  • OverfishingFisheries collapsing

    Coral reef destruction

    Aquaculture

  • Species LossRate of extinction = 4,000-6,000 species/year

    1,000 - 10,000X background rate of extinction

  • Causes of Species LossHabitat loss (overpopulation, logging, etc.)Environmental pollutionGlobal warmingExotic species invasionsOverhuntingBlack market in endangered animalsHUMANS

  • Maldistribution of Wealth500 billionaires worldwidetop 250 billionaires worth $1 trillion, the combined income of bottom 2.5 billion people (45% of worlds population)

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  • Maldistribution of WealthU.S: Richest 1% of the population owns 50% of the countrys wealth -poorest 90% own 30%-widest gap of any industrialized nationAssociated with 880,000 deaths per year over expected number if gap was same as in Western European nations

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  • Maldistribution of wealthLess than 4% of the combined wealth of the 225 richest individuals in the world would pay for ongoing access to basic education, health care (including reproductive health care), adequate food, safe water, and adequate sanitation for all humans (UNDP)

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  • Declaration of Independence

    All men are created equal.

  • George Orwell

    Some people are more equal than others

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  • Hudson River, 2009

  • Voltaire

    The comfort of the rich rests upon an abundance of the poor

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  • Maldistribution of Wealth/Resources Threatens National Security and Requires a Permanent War EconomyThe U.S. has about 50% of the worlds wealth, but only 6.3% of its population. This situation cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity withoug positive detriment to our national security.George Kennan, U.S. State Dept. Policy Planning Study, 1948

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  • Racial DisparitiesEconomic

    Educational

    Criminal justice system involvement

    Discrimination

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  • Racial Disparities: Health CareHigher maternal and infant mortalityHigher death rates for most diseasesShorter life expectanciesLess health insuranceFewer diagnostic tests / therapeutic procedures

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  • Racial Disparities: Health CareEqualizing the mortality rates of whites and African-Americans would have averted 686,202 deaths between 1991 and 2000Whereas medical advances averted 176,633 deathsAJPH 2004;94:2078-2081

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  • Overconsumption (Affluenza)U.S. = 6.3% of worlds populationOwn 50% of the worlds wealthU.S. responsible for:-25% of worlds energy consumption-33% of paper use-72% of hazardous waste production (1 ton/person/year)

  • But are we happier?Workloads increasing, vacation and free time decreasingU.S.: Only OECD country not to guarantee paid vacation and sick leaveErosion of social capital

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  • Economic StagnationInflation-adjusted income of the median U.S. household1989 - $54,6001997 - $49,0002004 - $44,3892009 - $49,7772011 - $51,860Financial Crisis / Recession

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  • Exorbitant CEO PayCEO salaries up 500% since 1980The average CEO makes 300-400X the salary of the average U.S. worker (1960 - 41X; 1980 - 42X)Mexico 45:1Britain 25:1Germany 11:1Japan 10:1

  • The Global Economy53 of the worlds 100 largest economies are private corporations; 47 are countriesWal-Mart is larger than Israel and GreeceAT&T is larger than Malaysia and Ireland

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  • Corporations

    Almost 6 million corporations

    500 companies control 70% of world trade

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  • CorporationsInternalize profits

    Externalize health and environmental costs

    Confidential legal settlements keep important public health and safety information secretMay delay governmental intervention, cause unnecessary morbidity and mortality

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  • Corporate TaxationCorporations shouldered over 30% of the nations tax burden in 1950 vs. 6.5% today (real rate = 2.8% per U.S. Treasury Department)Corporate taxes are at their lowest level since WW II

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  • Reasons for Inadequate Corporate TaxationTax br

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