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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP Environmental Science
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The Future of the Environment

  • Ecotopia would have: a stable or declining human population, resources are all sustainable, plenty of wilderness, minimized pollution, low risk of extinction, healthy ecosystems, and enough food/water for all life forms
  • Planning for the future can be tricky because democracy involves a constant debate revolving around individual freedoms versus the welfare of society as a whole
  • Environmental law and the history of such can inform us on where we are going. There are 3 stages of environmental law history, from public lands being used for private enterprise, to conserving public lands, finally leading Regional planning and government oversight have worked in the past (see Tennessee Valley Authority, TVA), and policy implementation regarding public lands has worked to preserve precious resources. Another interesting concept for the future is “rewilding”
  • Participation in environmental law-making from the citizen level includes “ecotage” and the Sierra Club
  • International laws could be better in terms of using our resources for making the planet better instead of focusing on our differences (political, religious, and otherwise)
  • The Earth Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 gives us hope in terms of the younger generations being better able to deal with our global environmental struggles

The Future of the Environment

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Ecotopia! 0:05
    • Stable or Declining Human Population
    • All Resources are Sustainable
    • Enough Wilderness for People to Enjoy Recreation
    • Minimized Pollution
    • Risk of Extinction Minimized for Many Species
    • Healthy, Functioning Ecosystems
    • Enough Water and Food for All Life
  • Planning a Future 2:48
    • Self-Organizing Systems
    • Example: Town Formation vs. Deepwater Horizon
    • Democracy
    • Planning is a Social Experiment We All Participate In
  • Environment and the Law 7:23
    • 'A Horse, a Gun, and a Plan'
    • Three Stages
    • How Far Can Governments Go with Enacting Environmental Legislation?
  • Planning for Services and Recreation 12:51
    • Regional Planning
    • Planning Goes Into Providing Recreational National Park Space
    • Policy Implementation Examples
    • Skiing at Mineral King
    • Rewilding
  • Participation in Environmental Law 20:13
    • Environmental Groups Have Been a Powerful Force
    • Citizens Actions
    • Mediation
  • International Law and Security 22:57
    • More Than One Billion People on Earth Live in Poverty
    • United Nation's Annual Budget for Environment
  • Earth Summit of Sustainable Development 27:14
    • Johannesburg, South Africa
    • Objectives