4.1 Setting the scene for the environment

4.1 Setting the scene for the environment
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AardrijkskundeMiddelbare schoolhavo, vwoLeerjaar 3

This lesson contains 18 slides, with text slides and 4 videos.

time-iconLesson duration is: 30 min

Items in this lesson

4.1 Setting the scene for the environment

Slide 1 - Slide

Learning objectives
After studying this section, you will be able to:
  • Define the environment;
  • Explain the links between environment and development.

Slide 2 - Slide

Defining the environment
The environment = our surroundings.
  • Natural environment = Living, non-living things that occur naturally on the Earth.
  • Built environment = Landscapes constructed by human beings.

Environmental problem = Negative effects of human activities on the environment. Three causes: Population growth, globalisation and increased prosperity.

Slide 3 - Slide

Environmental problems
We distinguish three types of environmental problems:
  1. Pollution = Introducing harmful substances into the environment.
  2. Depletion = Using natural resources more quickly than they are replenished.
  3. Degradation = decrease in size, quality and diversity of the natural landscape.

In parapgrah 4.2 we will look at examples for each of them.

Slide 4 - Slide

Development and the environment
More economic activity (high GDP per capita) = more environmental issues.

In chapter 1 you learned about the supply chain:
MEDCs: design process + sale of products.
NIC: production process. 
  • Main reason: NICs have fewer laws protecting the environment.
  • Positive aspects: Jobs and income for the NIC’s population. 
  • Negative aspect: factories cause environmental problems.

Slide 5 - Slide

Development and the environment
Increase of development and welfare levels lead to more awareness of environmental problems.

More protest amongst inhabitants and (environmental) NGOs. 

After a turning point, environmental problems will decrease, because of stricter regulation. This process is described in the environmental Kuznets curve, as you can see in the figure on the right.

Slide 6 - Slide

Another way to look at the relationship between the environment and development is by using the ecological footprint

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Slide 8 - Video

Solutions to environmental problems: sustainable development
Sustainable development
= A development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, 2015) were created by the United Nations.
Goals that relate directly to the environment include:
  • Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy
  • Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

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Slide 10 - Video

Slide 11 - Video

Sustainable originally meant “durable”, or, in ecology the concept that human population and activity should not be larger than the carrying capacity of Earth. However, nowadays the term sustainable is found everywhere: from government reports, to company websites and marketing, and it often means something like “good”. However, the definition of what is “good” is often vague.

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The environment is defined as our surroundings. This can be either the natural environment or the built environment. Through human activity, the environment is facing problems. Environmental problems increase as the development and ecological footprint of a country increase. However, after a country has reached a certain level of development, public concern leads to more environmental legislation. The sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a global effort to bring solutions to environmental problems.

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Havo: Look at the planner in Teams for the exercises of 4.1

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Historic environmental problems
In the past, several societies collapsed as a result of environmental problems. They do no longer exist.

Watch the National Geographic video clip about the Anasazi, a native American people in Southwest Colorado.

Also read the text in your textbook (part G).

Slide 15 - Slide

Slide 16 - Video

Ruins of some of the impressive buildings constructed by the Anasazi culture in present day Colorado (USA).

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Vwo: Look at the planner in Teams for the exercises of 4.1

Slide 18 - Slide