Shayla Scheitler – GEOG 360: Week 10

Reading: Environment and Society

I found this to be similar to that of a textbook. I could skim through and find key points, but I gave up reading it meticulously after the 5th chapter. With that being said, I thought the first part had some very interesting key points:

  • Human population is the single greatest influence on the status of the Earth.
  • Earth’s resources provide the most definitive and powerful limit for human growth and expansion.
  • Malthus thinks poor people are a burden because they rely on handouts. He says they are bad managers of time and money, and that they are given to irrational procreation. He blames women for population growth, says we should expand our moral restraint.
    • Poor people are poor because our capitalist society has allowed extreme rich and extreme poor. Someone has to do the low end paying jobs, e.g. janitor, and unless we raise wages our standard of living is a barrier.
    • Women already lack reproductive rights – let’s not reverse progress and limit them more.
  • “It has been estimated…that if we calculate carrying capacity based on an assumption that all people lived like people do in the U.S., the Earth could sustain only 2 billion people, or 1/3 of the world’s current population.” 
  • China’s 1 child policy:
    • Decreases generation of waste, air pollution, and greenhouse gases.
    • Preference for boys has skewed population sex.
    • Aging population and a smaller productive workforce.
  • “The solution to population problems lies not in the diminution of rights, but in their expansion.” i.e. too many people have too little access to resources – women lack contraceptive access.
  • Julian Simon thinks human population growth improved living conditions and environmental quality because more people = more good ideas, and more demand for things (clean air and water) produces an incentive to find, make, and creatively maintain the world.
    • No, climate change is not an improvement by any means. We are struggling to decrease its effects and it’s difficult to find a reliable energy source when the population is continuously growing.

The market based solutions chart was actually pretty interesting because it addresses the question people unfamiliar with economics would ask – why don’t we just switch to renewable energy sources?

I found this to be a very beneficial read, I just wish it wasn’t so dense!

Environmental News:

The  “Dog Project” conducts research on how dogs process words. Previous research suggests dogs rely on other cues from verbal command, such as gaze, gestures, and emotional expressions. New research show that the dogs may show greater neural activation to a new word because they sense their owners want them to understand what they’re saying. Dogs want to please their owners and be rewarded. We tend to think verbal commands are the best way to communicate, but visual commands may be more efficient to your dog! Woof.

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