The human population is actively modifying Earth’s atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere through resource consumption and the use of technology. Researchers have recognized that the number and magnitude of the environmental problems now facing the Earth are directly correlated to the size of the human population. Humans can influence natural phenomena and processes at the local, regional, and global scale. The various human populations found on our planet also vary greatly in terms of affluence, level of education, and access to health care. The area of knowledge known as sustainable development tries to find solutions to the various social and environmental problems we now face.
Light pollution is the intrusion of unwanted or unneeded artificial light into a man-made or natural environment. A variety of somewhat separate phenomena comprise the...
Sustainable scaleLast Updated on 2013-09-05 00:37:26
Sustainable scale is one of three defining goals (along with efficient allocation and just distribution) of ecological economics. It “refers to the physical volume of the through put, the flow of matter-energy from the environment as low-entropy raw materials, and back to the environment as high-entropy wastes”. Whereas neoclassical economics considers the ecosystem to be a component of the economy, ecological economics assumes the economy to be a subsystem of a fixed ecosystem. Earth, the global ecosystem, is a closed system of a finite size in which only energy passes through. The economy is an open system of variable size in which matter and energy from the ecosystem enter as resource inputs and exit as waste outputs. As the economy expands within the ecosystem, it uses increasing amounts of inputs and expels increasing amounts of waste outputs, requiring larger... More »
Anthropogenic biomesLast Updated on 2013-09-03 12:25:31Anthropogenic biomes describe globally-significant ecological patterns within the terrestrial biosphere caused by sustained direct human interaction with ecosystems, including agriculture, urbanization, forestry and other land uses.
Conventional biomes, such as tropical rainforests or grasslands, are based on global vegetation patterns related to climate. Now that humans have fundamentally altered global patterns of ecosystem form, process, and biodiversity, anthropogenic biomes provide a contemporary view of the terrestrial biosphere in its human-altered form. Anthropogenic biomes may also be termed "anthromes" to distinguish them from conventional biome systems, or "human biomes" (a simpler but less precise term).
Humans are the ultimate ecosystem engineers, routinely reshaping ecosystem form and process using tools and technologies, such as fire, that are... More »
Africa collection: PopulationLast Updated on 2013-09-03 12:19:22
Human well-being and livelihoods in Africa
Empowering people and institutions in Africa: institutional and governance interlinkages
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Food Insecurity, WorldwideLast Updated on 2011-05-31 00:00:00
Broken food system and environmental crises
spell hunger for millions.
A broken food system and environmental crises are now reversing decades of progress against hunger according to new Oxfam analysis. Spiralling food prices and endless cycles of regional food crises will create millions more hungry people unless we transform the way we grow and share food. Oxfam launches, in June 2011, a global campaign to ensure everyone has enough to eat always.
Growing a Better Future, catalogues the symptoms of today’s broken food system: growing hunger, flat-lining yields, a scramble for fertile land and water and rising food prices. It warns we have entered a new age of crisis where depletion of the earth’s natural resources and increasingly severe climate change impacts will create millions more hungry people.
The report states that ". .... More »
Surviving the Population BombLast Updated on 2011-04-03 00:00:00
An April 1, 2011, News Release from the University of Michigan:
World population will reach 7 billion this year, prompting new concerns about whether the world will soon face a major population crisis.
"In spite of 50 years of the fastest population growth on record, the world did remarkably well in producing enough food and reducing poverty," said University of Michigan economist David Lam, in his presidential address at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America.
Lam is a professor of economics and a research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research. The talk is titled "How the World Survived the Population Bomb: Lessons from 50 Years of Exceptional Demographic History."
In 1968, when Paul Ehrlich's book, "The Population Bomb," triggered alarm about the impact of a rapidly growing world population, growth... More »
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