Unit 4: Sustainability - Aspects of Modern Life that Reduce Sustainability

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  • Aspects of Modern Life that Reduce Sustainability
    • Planned Obsolescence
      • Increased consumer demand = increased income
      • Durable items don't need to be replaced = reduced demand
      • Reduced durability = cheaper manufacture process
      • Planned obsolescence - deliberate plan to make items that do not last long
        • Technical failure - non-serviceable components deliberately designed to wear out
        • Built-in batteries - cannot be replaced so when they fail whole item is replaced
        • Lack of spare parts/tech support - manufactures may stop providing spare parts or IT support for old versions
        • Customer information - products tell consumers to replace items unnecessarily early
      • Fashion - ads make old items outdated when latest style is introduced
      • Throwaway society - inconvinient to reuse items due to more effort or organisation e.g. carrier bags
    • Ecological Footprints
      • Ecological footprint - area of Earth needed to provide the resources used by the human population and to deal with wastes
        • Total footprint < area of planet = population is supported
      • Ecological debt day - day on which we have used up a years worth of resources
        • Day occurs earlier as human impact increases
      • Ecological overshoot - exploitation of resources faster than replacement rates (ecological debt)
    • Carbon Footprint - part of ecological footprint caused by CO2 release
      • Expressed as a mass CO2 equivalent
      • Comprehensive - includes all direct and indirect causes
    • Biocapacity - measure of biological productivity in an area
      • Whole planet or a small area e.g. country
      • Combines productivity of all sub-areas e.g. arable, water
      • Affected by both farming and human management methods - either positive or negative
      • Does not assume land is reserved for other species except us
      • Biodiversity buffers - land set aside for other species and wildlife communities


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