Environmental Science, Paper Edition (with Printed Access by G. Tyler Miller

By G. Tyler Miller

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For example, in parts of the world we are clearing mature forests much faster than nature can replenish them. We are also harvesting many species of ocean fish faster than they can replenish themselves. This leads us to the third component of sustainability: the scientific search for solutions to these and other environmental problems. Implementing such solutions involves using our economic and political systems. For example, scientific solutions might be to stop clearcutting biologically diverse, mature forests, and to harvest fish species no faster than they can replenish themselves.

These efforts paid off. Since 1989, the levels of the seven major air pollutants in Chattanooga have been lower than those required by federal standards. Another project involved renovating much of the city’s low-income housing and building new lowincome rental units. Chattanooga also built the nation’s largest freshwater aquarium, which became the centerpiece for downtown renewal. The city developed a 35-kilometer-long (22-mile-long) riverfront park along both banks of the Tennessee River running through downtown.

12 CHAPTER 1 Supplying people with renewable resources and dealing with the resulting wastes and pollution can have a large environmental impact. We can think of it as an ecological footprint—the amount of biologically productive land and water needed to supply the people in a particular country or area with renewable resources and to absorb and recycle the wastes and pollution produced by resource use. The per capita ecological footprint is the average ecological footprint of an individual in a given country or area.

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