Human-Environment Relations: How humans relate to the environment, and how the environment relates to humans, or "The Human Factor"


Massive toxic spill in British Columbia pollutes streams and lakes. The Mount Polley Mine mines copper and gold. These mines require massive amounts of toxic acids to “eat” the rocks that contain the copper and gold. The waste is “contained” in a big retention pond (in this case a huge lake). The ponds just sit there with no plans for clean up. Humans are banned from the ponds. Governments say they are safe (despite that ponds fail on average of 30%).

Millions of tons of harmful metals, soils, and wastewater spilled into pristine habitat. Canada’s response? Whooppsy! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Above images: NASA and CBC.

An earthen dam at Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia breached on August 4, 2014, sending contaminated water surging into nearby lakes. Wastewater and metal-laden sand spilled from a retention basin and triggered a water-use ban in Likely, British Columbia, and other nearby towns. Local authorities had lifted the ban as of August 12.

On August 5, nearly all of the wastewater in the retention basin had drained, exposing the silty bottom. Hazeltine Creek, normally about 1 meter (3 feet) wide, swelled to a width of 150 meters (490 feet) as a result of the spill. In the aftermath of the flood, a layer of brown sediment coated forests and stream valleys affected by the spill. Notice how much forest immediately north of the retention basin was leveled. Debris, mainly downed trees, are visible floating on Quesnel Lake.


Several excellent Canadian, environmental, and political tumblrs are covering the spill: https://www.tumblr.com/search/mount+polley+mine.

(Source: earthobservatory.nasa.gov, via climate-changing)

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#Fossil Fuels
#Human-Environment Relations


Each year, the pollsters at Gallup ask Americans how much they personally worry about various environmental problems. In each survey, people express less concern for global warming, the term Gallup uses, than for each of the other problems. Indeed Americans are much more troubled by traditional environmental problems, with upward of 80 percent of the public worrying “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about air pollution, water pollution, and toxic waste. In most years the number stands closer to 55 percent for global warming, about ten points lower than seemingly less pressing issues of tropical rainforest loss and species extinction.

Who Cares About Climate Change?

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#Human-Environment Relations
#Climate change
#Global Change

Q&A: Sylvia Earle’s Personal Journey and Why the Ocean is Vital to Life 

(Source: oceansthefirstfrontier)

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#Human-Environment Relations
#Sylvia Earle

Manatees could lose their endangered species status 


This is one of the two toughest arguments any active environmentalist will face in their career: Environmental protection violates my property rights." The other tough argument is: "Environmental protection will cost hundreds of jobs."

There are a ton of techniques to overcome these objections (going to law school doesn’t hurt, though it’s damned expensive). The best way is to work together. I know, I know, cats and dogs, democrats and republicans, heaven and hell. But you’d be surprised at how easy it is to work together so long as each side agrees to listen to one another.

There are two books I recommend that can help you functionally overcome these objections. Both of these books start by insisting you build a strong foundation of negotiation skills. The first is Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, the other is Overcoming Obstacles in Environmental Policymaking.They’ll also serve you well in other contexts.

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#Human-Environment Relations
#Endangered Species List

NOAA Report on Sea Level Rise: ‘Nuisance flooding’ an increasing problem in U.S. coastal cities 


The flood frequency table is eye opening:

Baltimore, Md. 922% increase in floods over average
Atlantic City, N.J. 682%
Philadelphia, Pa. 650%
Sandy Hook, N.J. 626%

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#Climate Change
#Global Change
#Human-Environment Relations
#Climate Resilience


Ecologists underestimating impacts of old-growth logging

Ecologists may be underestimating the impact of logging in old-growth tropical forests by failing to account for subtleties in how different animal groups respond to the intensity of timber extraction, argues a paper published today in the journal Current Biology.

The study, led by Zuzana Burivalova of ETH Zurich, is based on a meta-analysis of 48 studies that evaluated the impact of selective logging on mammals, birds, amphibians, and invertebrates in tropical forests. Burivalova, together with co-authors Cagan Sekercioglu and Lian Pin Koh, found that biodiversity is inversely proportional to logging intensity.

"We should think about logging as a land use gradient rather than a single form of land use," Burivalova said during a talk last week at the annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) in Cairns, Australia.

While the findings may seem intuitive, the study is the first to take a comprehensive look at the impacts of selective logging across animal groups and identify logging intensity as the most important factor in driving biodiversity loss. The researchers reached that conclusion after testing nearly three dozen other explantations, including proximity to roads, size of the area logged, distance to primary forest, and time since logging, among others.

"Selective logging has a smaller impact on tropical forest biodiversity than if we cut the forest down completely. This is part of the reason why many ecologists emphasize that selective logging is, at least on average, relatively benign," Burivalova told Mongabay.com. "However, as we have shown in this study, depending on how heavily the forest is logged, the impacts of logging are anything from benign to catastrophic. This is something that became apparent only as enough individual studies on logging have accumulated."

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#Human-Environment Relations
#Old-Growth Logging


Top 10 U.S. Cities Running Out of Water

Even as we watch the stunning footage of an overwhelmed Detroit drowning under massive rainfall, U.S. Drought Monitor shows other regions of the country parched and longing for more water.



(via climate-changing)

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#Water Crisis
#Human-Environment Relations

"As the majority of the world’s poor, women play decisive roles in managing and preserving biodiversity, water, land and other natural resources, yet their centrality is often ignored or exploited."

Klaus Toepfer, executive director united nations environment programme 

Considering women’s roles especially in the third world where they have to walk long miles to collect water or plant crops while farming, you will understand why this is true. In the third world it is mainly women who carry water home to there families, and it is usually women who are the first ones to relise when the closest water source they have for miles is polluted

(via stefanibluex)

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