Talk:Sustainability/application-implementation

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Started page. This is the outline for this section. I for one need to think about this more - and also to see how what is in the "live" article that we haven't used so far relates to it. Granitethighs (talk) 22:48, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. Nick carson (talk) 00:23, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Further to discussion on the article talk page, I've copied the "Environmental management" section here for editing and reduction based on summary style. Sunray (talk) 06:09, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Need to focus on sustainability not unsustainability. The sustainability article is too long since it stray too far from the title. The sections on extinctions and invasive weeds etc are all about environmental issues and conservation (ethic). -- Alan Liefting (talk) - 11:46, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

We are now making headway in reducing the article and this section reduction here should be a great help. Thanks for your input. But, just for clarity, what exactly do you mean when you draw a distinction between sustainability and unsustainability? And what criteria do you use do differentiate between conservation, environmental issues, environmental ethics and sustainability? Clearing this sort of thing up a bit will help enormously in dealing with the material here. Granitethighs (talk) 14:19, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Wind power is sustainable, coal fired power plants are unsustainable. Extinctions, over fishing, and water crisis are a result of unsustainable practices. Environmental issues are due to unsustainable practices. Etc. The articles about the topics you mention should clearly (I hope) spell out the distinctions between the topics. -- Alan Liefting (talk) - 20:08, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Alan that we need to focus on sustainability, not unsustainability. I also think that the heading "Environmental management" is not descriptive of what is included. Nor do I think that we should give too many column inches to environmental management. It doesn't seem to me to be within the scope of the article. Sunray (talk) 23:31, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
OK, good points. I'll try and have a go at this over the next few days.

Granitethighs 23:44, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

I guess I'm only repeating what others have said but in re-approaching this section I wonder if it might be best to keep it extremely general - providing a synthesis that sets the scene for other articles and steering well clear of any detail. There are good articles that synthesise the topics discussed here, for example, climate change and food so there is really no need for us to say it all at once. Putting this another way - perhaps we can develop the article more as an outline of sustainability so that readers understand where individual topics fit into the overall scheme of sustainability. Doing this we can perhaps reduce the number of headings quite drastically. I'll have a go and see what you think. Sunray, it will mean a much simpler approach to things like air pollution and climate change. Granitethighs 01:11, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Archives[edit]

Archive 1

Existing version of "Environmental management" section[edit]

Environmental management[edit]

At the global scale and in the broadest sense environmental management involves the oceans, freshwater systems, land and atmosphere, but following the sustainability principle of scale it can be equally applied to any ecosystem from a tropical rainforest to a home garden.[1]

Atmosphere, oceans, freshwater, land, forests, cultivated land[edit]

Atmosphere
Further information: Earth's atmosphere and Climate change

In March 2009 at a meeting of the Copenhagen Climate Council 2,500 climate experts from 80 countries issued a keynote statement that there is now "no excuse" for failing to act on global warming and that without strong carbon reduction targets "abrupt or irreversible" shifts in climate may occur that "will be very difficult for contemporary societies to cope with".[2][3] Management of the global atmosphere now involves assessment of all aspects of the carbon cycle to identify opportunities to address human-induced climate change and this has become a major focus of scientific research because of the potential catastrophic effects on biodiversity and human communities (see Energy below).

Other human impacts on the atmosphere include the air pollution in cities, the pollutants including toxic chemicals like nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter that produce photochemical smog and acid rain, and the chlorofluorocarbons that degrade the ozone layer. Anthropogenic particulates such as sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere reduce the direct irradiance and reflectance (albedo) of the Earth's surface. Known as global dimming the decrease is estimated to have been about 4% between 1960 and 1990 although the trend has subsequently reversed. Global dimming may have disturbed the global water cycle by reducing evaporation and rainfall in some areas. It also creates a cooling effect and this may have partially masked the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming.[4]

Oceans 
Further information: Coastal management and Overfishing
A selection of the world's saltwater fish

Ocean circulation patterns have a strong influence on climate and weather and, in turn, the food supply of both humans and other organisms. Scientists have warned of the possibility, under the influence of climate change, of a sudden alteration in circulation patterns of ocean currents that could drastically alter the climate in some regions of the globe.[5] Major human environmental impacts occur in the more habitable regions of the ocean fringes – the estuaries, coastline and bays. Ten per cent of the world's population – about 600 million people – live in low-lying areas vulnerable to sea level rise. Trends of concern that require management include: over-fishing (beyond sustainable levels); coral bleaching due to ocean warming and ocean acidification due to increasing levels of dissolved carbon dioxide;[6] and sea level rise due to climate change. Because of their vastness oceans also act as a convenient dumping ground for human waste.[7] Remedial strategies include: more careful waste management, statutory control of overfishing by adoption of sustainable fishing practices and the use of environmentally sensitive and sustainable aquaculture and fish farming, reduction of fossil fuel emissions and restoration of coastal and other marine habitat.[8]

Freshwater 
Further information: Water crisis

Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface . Of this, 97.5% is the salty water of the oceans and only 2.5% freshwater, most of which is locked up in the Antarctic ice sheet. The remaining freshwater is found in lakes, rivers, wetlands, the soil, aquifers and atmosphere. All life depends on the solar-powered global water cycle, the evaporation from oceans and land to form water vapour that later condenses from clouds as rain, which then becomes the renewable part of the freshwater supply.[9] Awareness of the global importance of preserving water for ecosystem services has only recently emerged as, during the 20th century, more than half the world’s wetlands have been lost along with their valuable environmental services. Biodiversity-rich freshwater ecosystems are currently declining faster than marine or land ecosystems[10] making them the world's most vulnerable habitats.[11] Increasing urbanization pollutes clean water supplies and much of the world still does not have access to clean, safe water.[9] In the industrial world demand management has slowed absolute usage rates but increasingly water is being transported over vast distances from water-rich natural areas to population-dense urban areas and energy-hungry desalination is becoming more widely used. Greater emphasis is now being placed on the improved management of blue (harvestable) and green (soil water available for plant use) water, and this applies at all scales of water management.[10]

Land 
Further information: Land use

Loss of biodiversity stems largely from the habitat loss and fragmentation produced by the human appropriation of land for development, forestry and agriculture as natural capital is progressively converted to man-made capital. Land use change is fundamental to the operations of the biosphere because alterations in the relative proportions of land dedicated to urbanisation, agriculture, forest, woodland, grassland and pasture have a marked effect on the global water, carbon and nitrogen biogeochemical cycles and this can impact negatively on both natural and human systems.[12] At the local human scale major sustainability benefits accrue from the pursuit of green cities and sustainable parks and gardens.[13][14]

Forests 
Further information: Forestry and Ecoforestry

Since the Neolithic Revolution about 47% of the world’s forests have been lost to human use. Present-day forests occupy about a quarter of the world’s ice-free land with about half of these occurring in the tropics[15] In temperate and boreal regions forest area is gradually increasing (with the exception of Siberia), but deforestation in the tropics is of major concern.[16]

Beech Forest – Grib Skov, Denmark

Forests moderate the local climate and the global water cycle through their light reflectance (albedo) and evapotranspiration. They also conserve biodiversity, protect water quality, preserve soil and soil quality, provide fuel and pharmaceuticals, and purify the air. These free ecosystem services have no market value and so forest conservation has little appeal when compared with the economic benefits of logging and clearance which, through soil degradation and organic decomposition returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.[17] The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that about 90% of the carbon stored in land vegetation is locked up in trees and that they sequester about 50% more carbon than is present in the atmosphere. Changes in land use currently contribute about 20% of total global carbon emissions (heavily logged Indonesia and Brazil are a major source of emissions).[17] Climate change can be mitigated by sequestering carbon in reafforestation schemes, plantations and timber products. Also wood biomass can be utilized as a renewable carbon-neutral fuel. The FAO has suggested that, over the period 2005–2050, effective use of tree planting could absorb about 10–20% of man-made emissions – so monitoring the condition of the world's forests must be part of a global strategy to mitigate emissions and protect ecosystem services.[18] However, climate change may pre-empt this FAO scenario as a study by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations in 2009 concluded that the stress of a 2.5C (4.5F) temperature rise above pre-industrial levels could result in the release of vast amounts of carbon[19] so the potential of forests to act as carbon "sinks" is "at risk of being lost entirely".[20]

Cultivated land 
A rice paddy. Rice, wheat, corn and potatoes make up more than half the world's food supply

Feeding more than six billion human bodies takes a heavy toll on the Earth’s resources. This begins with the appropriation of about 38% of the Earth’s land surface[21] and about 20% of its net primary productivity.[22] Added to this are the resource-hungry activities of industrial agribusiness – everything from the crop need for irrigation water, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to the resource costs of food packaging, transport (now a major part of global trade) and retail. Food is essential to life. But the list of environmental costs of food production is a long one: topsoil depletion, erosion and conversion to desert from constant tillage of annual crops; overgrazing; salinization; sodification; waterlogging; high levels of fossil fuel use; reliance on inorganic fertilisers and synthetic organic pesticides; reductions in genetic diversity by the mass use of monocultures; water resource depletion; pollution of waterbodies by run-off and groundwater contamination; social problems including the decline of family farms and weakening of rural communities.[23]

All of these environmental problems associated with industrial agriculture and agribusiness are now being addressed through such movements as sustainable agriculture, organic farming and more sustainable business practices.[24]

Extinctions[edit]

Further information: Extinction
The extinct Dodo (Raphus cucullatus)

Although biodiversity loss can be monitored simply as loss of species, effective conservation demands the protection of species within their natural habitats and ecosystems. Following human migration and population growth, species extinctions have progressively increased to a rate unprecedented since the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event. Known as the Holocene extinction event this current human-induced extinction of species ranks as one of the worlds six mass extinction events. Some scientific estimates indicate that up to half of presently existing species may become extinct by 2100.[25][26] Current extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times their prehuman levels with more than 10% birds and mammals threatened, about 8% of plants, 5% of fish and more than 20% of freshwater species.[27]

The 2008 IUCN Red List warns that long-term droughts and extreme weather put additional stress on key habitats and, for example, lists 1,226 bird species as threatened with extinction, which is one-in-eight of all bird species.[28][29] The Red List Index also identifies 44 tree species in Central Asia as under threat of extinction due to over-exploitation and human development and threatening the region's forests which are home to more than 300 wild ancestors of modern domesticated fruit and nut cultivars.[30]

Biological invasions[edit]

Further information: Introduced species
Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) infesting trees in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

In many parts of the industrial world land clearing for agriculture has diminished and here the greatest threat to biodiversity, after climate change, has become the destructive effect of invasive species.[31] Increasingly efficient global transport has facilitated the spread of organisms across the planet. The potential danger of this aspect of globalization is starkly illustrated through the spread of human diseases like HIV AIDS, mad cow disease, bird flu and swine flu, but invasive plants and animals are also having a devastating impact on native biodiversity. Non-indigenous organisms can quickly occupy disturbed land and natural areas where, in the absence of their natural predators, they are able to thrive.[32] At the global scale this issue is being addressed through the Global Invasive Species Information Network but there is improved international biosecurity legislation to minimise the transmission of pathogens and invasive organisms. Also, through CITES legislation there is control the trade in rare and threatened species. Increasingly at the local level public awareness programs are alerting communities, gardeners, the nursery industry, collectors, and the pet and aquarium industries, to the harmful effects of potentially invasive species.[33]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ NOAA Economics [1] Web site. Retrieved on: 2009-04-29.
  2. ^ University of Copenhagen (March 2009) "Key Messages from the Congress" News item on Copenhagen Climate Congress in March 2009. Retrieved on: 2009-03-18.
  3. ^ Adams, D. (March 2009) "Stern attacks politicians over climate 'devastation'". The Guardian. Retrieved on: 2009-03-18.
  4. ^ Hegerl, G.C. et al. (2007). "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis." Chapter 9, "Understanding and Attributing Climate Change." Contribution of Working Group 1 to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. p. 676. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Full report at: [2] IPCC Report. Retrieved on: 2009-03-18.
  5. ^ Kerr, R.A. (2004). "A slowing cog in the North Atlantic ocean's climate machine ." Science 304: 371–372.[3] Retrieved on: 2009-04-19.
  6. ^ Harrabin, R. (March 2009). "'Coral lab' offers acidity insight". BBC News, UK. Retrieved on: 2009-03-18.
  7. ^ Schukman, D. (March 2009). "Sea rise 'to exceed expectations'". BBC News, UK. Retrieved on: 2009-03-18.
  8. ^ Lindenmayer, D. & Burgman, M. (2005). Practical Conservation Biology. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing. ISBN 0643090894.
  9. ^ a b Clarke, R. & King, J. (2006). The Atlas of Water. London: Earthscan, pp. 20–21. ISBN 9781844071333.
  10. ^ a b Hoekstra, A.Y. (2006). "The Global Dimension of Water Governance: Nine Reasons for Global Arrangements in Order to Cope with Local Problems." Value of Water Research Report Series No. 20 UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. Retrieved on: 2009-03-18.
  11. ^ Cite error: The named reference LPR was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  12. ^ Krebs, C.J. (2001). Ecology: the Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance. Sydney: Benjamin Cummings, pp. 560–582. ISBN 0321042891.
  13. ^ http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6220 Organic Gardening Techniques Organic gardening Lewis W. Jett Department of Horticulture Retrieved June-17-09
  14. ^ Daniel Boone Regional Library Retrieved June-17-09
  15. ^ World Resources Institute (1998). World Resources 1998–1999. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195214080.
  16. ^ Groombridge, B. & Jenkins, M.D. (2002). World Atlas of Biodiversity. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520236684.
  17. ^ a b Food and Agriculture Organisation (2006). "Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005: Progress Towards Sustainable Forest Management." Forestry paper 147. Rome: FAO. Retrieved on: 2009-04-17.
  18. ^ IPCC (2006). IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Inventories, Vol.4, Agriculture, Forestry, and other Land Uses. Japan: Institute for Global Environment Strategies.
  19. ^ Kinver, M. (April 2009). "Key role of forests 'may be lost'" BBC News, UK. Retrieved on: 2009-04-19.
  20. ^ Dold, M. (April 2009). "New Study Warns Damage to Forests from Climate Change Could Cost the Planet Its Major Keeper of Greenhouse Gases.". IUFRO News. Retrieved on: 2009-04-20.
  21. ^ Food and Agriculture Organization (June 2006). "Food and Agriculture Statistics Global Outlook." Rome: FAO Statistics Division. Retrieved on: 2009-03-18.
  22. ^ Imhoff, M.L. et al. (2004). "Global Patterns in Human Consumption of Net Primary Production." Nature 429: 870–873.
  23. ^ Tudge, C. (2004). So Shall We Reap. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0141009500.
  24. ^ [4] World Business Council for Sustainable Development. This web site has multiple articles on WBCSD contributions to sustainable development. Retrieved on: 2009-04-07.
  25. ^ Wilson, E.O. (2002). The Future of Life. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0679450785
  26. ^ Leakey, R. & Lewin, R. (1995). The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind. New York: Bantam Dell Publishing Group. ISBN 0385468091
  27. ^ Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, pp. 42–47.
  28. ^ Kinver, M. (May 2008). Climate 'accelerating bird loss. BBC News, UK. Retrieved on: 2009-04-17/
  29. ^ BBC News (March 2009) "Climate 'hitting Europe's birds'." BBC News, UK. Retrieved on: 2009-04-17.
  30. ^ Gill, V."The wild ancestors of common domestic fruit trees are in danger of becoming extinct, scientists have warned." BBC News, UK. Retrieved on: 2009-05-09.
  31. ^ Randall, R. (2002). A Global Compendium of Weeds. Meredith, Victoria, Australia: R.G. & F.J. Richardson. ISBN 9780958743983.
  32. ^ Krebs, C.J., pp. 190–205.
  33. ^ Blood, K. (2001). Environmental Weeds. Mt Waverley, Victoria: C.H. Jerram & Associates. ISBN 0957908601. An example of a local guide to invasive plants.

Editing environmental management section—New version 1[edit]

At the global scale and in the broadest sense environmental management involves the oceans, freshwater systems, land and atmosphere, but following the sustainability principle of scale it can be equally applied to any ecosystem from a tropical rainforest to a home garden.[1]

Atmosphere[edit]

Major impacts of human activity on the atmosphere include global warming and air pollution. Both are the result of an excess of chemicals released into the atmosphere by humans. Global warming is caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases resulting from fossil fuel burning and deforestation.[2] Pollutants that are a factor in air pollution includeing toxic chemicals such as nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter that produce photochemical smog and acid rain, and the chlorofluorocarbons that degrade the ozone layer. Anthropogenic particulates such as sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere reduce the direct irradiance and reflectance (albedo) of the Earth's surface. Known as global dimming the decrease is estimated to have been about 4% between 1960 and 1990 although the trend has subsequently reversed. Global dimming may have disturbed the global water cycle by reducing evaporation and rainfall in some areas. It also creates a cooling effect and this may have partially masked the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming.[3]

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an approach to mitigation. Emissions may be sequestered from fossil fuel power plants, or removed during processing in hydrogen production. When used on plants, it is known as bio-energy with carbon capture and storage.

Mitigation of global warming can be accomplished through reductions in the rate of anthropogenic greenhouse gas release. The Kyoto Protocol, negotiated in 1997, is the primary international agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Protocol now covers more than 160 countries and over 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.[4] International talks began in May 2007 on a future treaty to succeed the current one, which expires in 2012.[5] A significant step is the meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009.[6]

There are individual community and regional actions against global warming. Proposals have been made for a quota on worldwide fossil fuel production, citing a direct link between fossil fuel production and CO2 emissions.[7][8] There has also been business action on climate change, including efforts to improve energy efficiency and limited moves towards use of alternative fuels. In January 2005 the European Union introduced its European Union Emission Trading Scheme, through which companies in conjunction with government agree to cap their emissions or to purchase credits from those below their allowances. Australia announced its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2008.

Water[edit]

Oceans[edit]

Further information: Coastal management and Overfishing
A selection of the world's saltwater fish

Ocean circulation patterns have a strong influence on climate and weather and, in turn, the food supply of both humans and other organisms. Scientists have warned of the possibility, under the influence of climate change, of a sudden alteration in circulation patterns of ocean currents that could drastically alter the climate in some regions of the globe.[9] Major human environmental impacts occur in the more habitable regions of the ocean fringes – the estuaries, coastline and bays. Ten per cent of the world's population – about 600 million people – live in low-lying areas vulnerable to sea level rise. Trends of concern that require management include: over-fishing (beyond sustainable levels); coral bleaching due to ocean warming and ocean acidification due to increasing levels of dissolved carbon dioxide;[10] and sea level rise due to climate change. Because of their vastness oceans also act as a convenient dumping ground for human waste.[11] Remedial strategies include: more careful waste management, statutory control of overfishing by adoption of sustainable fishing practices and the use of environmentally sensitive and sustainable aquaculture and fish farming, reduction of fossil fuel emissions and restoration of coastal and other marine habitat.[12]

Freshwater[edit]

Further information: Water crisis

Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface . Of this, 97.5% is the salty water of the oceans and only 2.5% freshwater, most of which is locked up in the Antarctic ice sheet. The remaining freshwater is found in lakes, rivers, wetlands, the soil, aquifers and atmosphere. All life depends on the solar-powered global water cycle, the evaporation from oceans and land to form water vapour that later condenses from clouds as rain, which then becomes the renewable part of the freshwater supply.[13] Awareness of the global importance of preserving water for ecosystem services has only recently emerged as, during the 20th century, more than half the world’s wetlands have been lost along with their valuable environmental services. Biodiversity-rich freshwater ecosystems are currently declining faster than marine or land ecosystems[14] making them the world's most vulnerable habitats.[15] Increasing urbanization pollutes clean water supplies and much of the world still does not have access to clean, safe water.[13] In the industrial world demand management has slowed absolute usage rates but increasingly water is being transported over vast distances from water-rich natural areas to population-dense urban areas and energy-hungry desalination is becoming more widely used. Greater emphasis is now being placed on the improved management of blue (harvestable) and green (soil water available for plant use) water, and this applies at all scales of water management.[14]

Life on earth[edit]

Habitat[edit]

Further information: Land use

Loss of biodiversity stems largely from the habitat loss and fragmentation produced by the human appropriation of land for development, forestry and agriculture as natural capital is progressively converted to man-made capital. Land use change is fundamental to the operations of the biosphere because alterations in the relative proportions of land dedicated to urbanisation, agriculture, forest, woodland, grassland and pasture have a marked effect on the global water, carbon and nitrogen biogeochemical cycles and this can impact negatively on both natural and human systems.[16] At the local human scale major sustainability benefits accrue from the pursuit of green cities and sustainable parks and gardens.[17][18]

Forests[edit]

Further information: Forestry and Ecoforestry

Since the Neolithic Revolution about 47% of the world’s forests have been lost to human use. Present-day forests occupy about a quarter of the world’s ice-free land with about half of these occurring in the tropics[19] In temperate and boreal regions forest area is gradually increasing (with the exception of Siberia), but deforestation in the tropics is of major concern.[20]

Beech Forest – Grib Skov, Denmark

Forests moderate the local climate and the global water cycle through their light reflectance (albedo) and evapotranspiration. They also conserve biodiversity, protect water quality, preserve soil and soil quality, provide fuel and pharmaceuticals, and purify the air. These free ecosystem services have no market value and so forest conservation has little appeal when compared with the economic benefits of logging and clearance which, through soil degradation and organic decomposition returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.[21] The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that about 90% of the carbon stored in land vegetation is locked up in trees and that they sequester about 50% more carbon than is present in the atmosphere. Changes in land use currently contribute about 20% of total global carbon emissions (heavily logged Indonesia and Brazil are a major source of emissions).[21] Climate change can be mitigated by sequestering carbon in reafforestation schemes, plantations and timber products. Also wood biomass can be utilized as a renewable carbon-neutral fuel. The FAO has suggested that, over the period 2005–2050, effective use of tree planting could absorb about 10–20% of man-made emissions – so monitoring the condition of the world's forests must be part of a global strategy to mitigate emissions and protect ecosystem services.[22] However, climate change may pre-empt this FAO scenario as a study by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations in 2009 concluded that the stress of a 2.5C (4.5F) temperature rise above pre-industrial levels could result in the release of vast amounts of carbon[23] so the potential of forests to act as carbon "sinks" is "at risk of being lost entirely".[24]

Cultivated land[edit]

A rice paddy. Rice, wheat, corn and potatoes make up more than half the world's food supply

Feeding more than six billion human bodies takes a heavy toll on the Earth’s resources. This begins with the appropriation of about 38% of the Earth’s land surface[25] and about 20% of its net primary productivity.[26] Added to this are the resource-hungry activities of industrial agribusiness – everything from the crop need for irrigation water, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to the resource costs of food packaging, transport (now a major part of global trade) and retail. Food is essential to life. But the list of environmental costs of food production is a long one: topsoil depletion, erosion and conversion to desert from constant tillage of annual crops; overgrazing; salinization; sodification; waterlogging; high levels of fossil fuel use; reliance on inorganic fertilisers and synthetic organic pesticides; reductions in genetic diversity by the mass use of monocultures; water resource depletion; pollution of waterbodies by run-off and groundwater contamination; social problems including the decline of family farms and weakening of rural communities.[27]

All of these environmental problems associated with industrial agriculture and agribusiness are now being addressed through such movements as sustainable agriculture, organic farming and more sustainable business practices.[28]

Extinctions[edit]

Further information: Extinction
The extinct Dodo (Raphus cucullatus)

Although biodiversity loss can be monitored simply as loss of species, effective conservation demands the protection of species within their natural habitats and ecosystems. Following human migration and population growth, species extinctions have progressively increased to a rate unprecedented since the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event. Known as the Holocene extinction event this current human-induced extinction of species ranks as one of the worlds six mass extinction events. Some scientific estimates indicate that up to half of presently existing species may become extinct by 2100.[29][30] Current extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times their prehuman levels with more than 10% birds and mammals threatened, about 8% of plants, 5% of fish and more than 20% of freshwater species.[31]

The 2008 IUCN Red List warns that long-term droughts and extreme weather put additional stress on key habitats and, for example, lists 1,226 bird species as threatened with extinction, which is one-in-eight of all bird species.[32][33] The Red List Index also identifies 44 tree species in Central Asia as under threat of extinction due to over-exploitation and human development and threatening the region's forests which are home to more than 300 wild ancestors of modern domesticated fruit and nut cultivars.[34]

Biological invasions[edit]

Further information: Introduced species
Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) infesting trees in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

In many parts of the industrial world land clearing for agriculture has diminished and here the greatest threat to biodiversity, after climate change, has become the destructive effect of invasive species.[35] Increasingly efficient global transport has facilitated the spread of organisms across the planet. The potential danger of this aspect of globalization is starkly illustrated through the spread of human diseases like HIV AIDS, mad cow disease, bird flu and swine flu, but invasive plants and animals are also having a devastating impact on native biodiversity. Non-indigenous organisms can quickly occupy disturbed land and natural areas where, in the absence of their natural predators, they are able to thrive.[36] At the global scale this issue is being addressed through the Global Invasive Species Information Network but there is improved international biosecurity legislation to minimise the transmission of pathogens and invasive organisms. Also, through CITES legislation there is control the trade in rare and threatened species. Increasingly at the local level public awareness programs are alerting communities, gardeners, the nursery industry, collectors, and the pet and aquarium industries, to the harmful effects of potentially invasive species.[37]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ NOAA Economics [5] Web site. Retrieved on: 2009-04-29.
  2. ^ IPCC (2007-05-04). "Summary for Policymakers" (PDF). Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  3. ^ Hegerl, G.C. et al. (2007). "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis." Chapter 9, "Understanding and Attributing Climate Change." Contribution of Working Group 1 to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. p. 676. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Full report at: [6] IPCC Report. Retrieved on: 2009-03-18.
  4. ^ "Kyoto Protocol Status of Ratification" (PDF). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 2006-07-10. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  5. ^ "Twenty-sixth session and Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG), Third session". United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  6. ^ Adam, David (14 April 2009). "World will not meet 2C warming target, climate change experts agree". Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2009-04-14. The poll comes as UN negotiations to agree a new global treaty to regulate carbon pollution gather pace in advance of a key meeting in Copenhagen in December. Officials will try to agree a successor to the Kyoto protocol, the first phase of which expires in 2012. 
  7. ^ "Climate Control: a proposal for controlling global greenhouse gas emissions" (PDF). Sustento Institute. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  8. ^ Monbiot, George. "Rigged - The climate talks are a stitch-up, as no one is talking about supply.". Retrieved 2007-12-22. 
  9. ^ Kerr, R.A. (2004). "A slowing cog in the North Atlantic ocean's climate machine ." Science 304: 371–372.[7] Retrieved on: 2009-04-19.
  10. ^ Harrabin, R. (March 2009). "'Coral lab' offers acidity insight". BBC News, UK. Retrieved on: 2009-03-18.
  11. ^ Schukman, D. (March 2009). "Sea rise 'to exceed expectations'". BBC News, UK. Retrieved on: 2009-03-18.
  12. ^ Lindenmayer, D. & Burgman, M. (2005). Practical Conservation Biology. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing. ISBN 0643090894.
  13. ^ a b Clarke, R. & King, J. (2006). The Atlas of Water. London: Earthscan, pp. 20–21. ISBN 9781844071333.
  14. ^ a b Hoekstra, A.Y. (2006). "The Global Dimension of Water Governance: Nine Reasons for Global Arrangements in Order to Cope with Local Problems." Value of Water Research Report Series No. 20 UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. Retrieved on: 2009-03-18.
  15. ^ Cite error: The named reference LPR was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  16. ^ Krebs, C.J. (2001). Ecology: the Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance. Sydney: Benjamin Cummings, pp. 560–582. ISBN 0321042891.
  17. ^ http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6220 Organic Gardening Techniques Organic gardening Lewis W. Jett Department of Horticulture Retrieved June-17-09
  18. ^ Daniel Boone Regional Library Retrieved June-17-09
  19. ^ World Resources Institute (1998). World Resources 1998–1999. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195214080.
  20. ^ Groombridge, B. & Jenkins, M.D. (2002). World Atlas of Biodiversity. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520236684.
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Comments[edit]

Following on the theme introduced by Alan, above. I note that the article currently makes no mention of Kyoto. In an overview article on Sustainability, is seems to be a grave omission. I think that the first section "Atmosphere" (and subsequent sections) should give an overview of progress towards sustainability. Thus the section would present the environmental issues and then describe what humans have done to become more sustainable. With that in mind, I will begin. Sunray (talk) 00:08, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

I had a go at the "Atmosphere" section, adding new material. It is far too long and will need to be edited down. Sunray (talk) 01:32, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
There are now (in the current version) five subsections to the former "Environmental management" section. I am thinking that the three main ones should be Atmosphere, Hydrosphere (including both Oceans and Freshwater) and Biosphere. These would logically be roughly equal in length. The other two sections (Extinctions and Invasive species could become subsections of the biosphere section.
I'm also thinking that the other major component of the Environmental dimension (i.e., the subsections of the section on "Management of human consumption") should be integrated with the above sections. If that were the case, sections on energy, food, water, materials and waste could be integrated with the sections here. The major headings could thus be: Atmosphere, Hydrosphere (perhaps titled "Water" for user friendliness), Lithosphere ("Earth's crust"), and Biosphere ("Life on earth"). Then the section on "Energy" could go under "Earth's crust" etc., as could "Materials." Waste, however, could become its own section (since it is a central problem of sustainability). I don't like the term "Management of human consumption" either. As a recovering manager, I tend to avoid the word, when possible. "Conservation" would seem more suitable for our purposes (and might merit its own section).
If there are no disagreements with this proposal, I will have a go at a complete re-write of the Environmental dimension and post it here. Sunray (talk) 21:24, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
That all makes sense to me Sunray, thanks for giving it a go, I'm running out of steam - should make this section much more digestible. I will help out where I can. My only (rather obvious) suggestion at this stage is to make sure there are clear leads to "sub-articles - sub-disciplines of sustainability". Granitethighs 21:29, 7 November 2009 (UTC)