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3.3 Sustainable Human Communities
Transcript of 3.3 Sustainable Human Communities
Choosing Sustainable Communities
*Decisions to change human activities and technologies to benefit the environment have measurable costs and benefits.
*Human communities can manage their waste products in order to cycle matter.
*Technology and practices to clean the air and water, reduce waste and reduce energy needs already exist.
In the mid-1960s our lakes and rivers started turning green. The algae was so thick that sunlight couldn't get through to the underwater ecosystems.
Oxygen was consumed by the decomposers eating the dead algae, so there was little left for the aquatic life.
The algae was a result of phosphates in laundry detergent used by us. The phosphates were left in the water that was cycled back into the lakes and rivers, and was a fertilizer for the algae.
Consumers demanded 'phosphate reduced' laundry soap and the soap producers met their requests.
Choosing Sustainable Technologies
This refers to technologies that help us meet our needs WITHOUT burning fossil fuels. Examples include;
*Water power to cool down buildings.
*Wind farms to generate energy based on wind speeds.
*Solar powered technologies.
*'Green' roofs, and solar panels.
The Costs and Benefits of Recycling
Beyond Recycling: Re-use and Reduce
These are 2 other methods to eliminate the amount of solid waste going into our landfills.
*Finding uses for containers and materials again can sometimes be tricky or time consuming on our part.
*Re-use cuts down on manufacturing costs and packaging waste.
*Reducing the use of technologies that pollute or destroy ecosystems also causes sacrifice on our part.
Evaluating Costs and Benefits
There are different types of costs and benefits associated with sustainable technologies.
*Social; air pollution would lead to more people suffering from respiratory illness.
*Financial; less air pollution would lead to less people needing healthcare.
*Environmental; loss of habitat or fresh water.
*Financial; research and testing to create a new product.
Assessing both costs and benefits of new technologies and ways of doing things is an important part of looking at the impact of human activity and technology on the environment
If you were using a product that was in some way destroying a local ecosystem would you stop using it?
If the replacement product costs more than the original, would you pay the extra money?
A sustainable human community is one that models an ecosystem. Energy comes from renewable resources and all waste can be broken down for re-use. Becoming sustainable means either spending a bit more money or cutting back on conveniences. Recycling programs are the most common method toward sustainable communities.
*Millions of dollars are spent building the recycling plants, collecting the waste, sorting materials and educating people on the program.
*In earlier days, buying recycled paper cost MORE than new paper.
*With technology the amount of total energy and water used in recycling is LESS than in the processing of wood pulp.
*Fewer chemicals are used.
*There is LESS solid waste going into landfills.
Watch this video for one example of how recycling plants work... Based on a Coca Cola plant in the United Kingdom