Week 1 Assignment
Sustainable Living Guide Contributions, Part One of Four:
Sustaining Biodiversity and Ecosystems
For a given region, carrying capacity is the maximum number of individuals of a given species that an area’s resources can sustain indefinitely without significantly depleting or degrading those resources. (Western Oregon University, para. 3) Once a regions carrying capacity is exceeded by a species there will be drastic changes to that region. “Populations that exceed their carrying capacity experience increased death rates, reduced birth rates, and sometimes sudden, catastrophic collapses.”. (Bensel-Turk 2014, pg. 1.4) On Earth there is a finite amount of resources with a limited carrying capacity for all living things, if we reach this limit in any given area we will see drastic changes. We must acknowledge that there is a limit and take action to not exceed it, otherwise we may do irreversible damage. This concept applies to this week’s theme of biodiversity and limiting our carbon footprint so that we has humans do not exceed our regions carrying capacity. A good example of this would be our construction of mega cities, paving roads, and depleting ground water faster then it can be replaced.
The term carrying capacity affects all living things in all corners of the earth, the amount of any given species is restricted by it. In each region of the earth there are limited quantities of resources but we as humans have figured out new ways of both collecting and shipping resources across countries to other regions. This provides us with new challenges, such as the potential for unintentional contamination of other regions and species as we can see from the “Case History—Mercury’s Impact on Wildlife” (Bensel-Turk 2014, pg. 1.7). As we become more aware of how far reaching our resource gathering affects can spread it helps us in our goal of global sustainability because we are more aware of it’s impact. There are many obstacles to over come for our world to truly live within the carrying capacity of the earth but having the data that shows the areas we need to improve on will help with reaching that goal.
The first suggestion, on an individual level I plan on implementing is to purchase a rain barrel so I can collect water for later use. I have several plants and a lawn in my backyard that I will be able to use the collected rain water for. The other suggestion is to plan on at least one day a week where mine and my families diet will consist of only fruits and vegetables. By reducing the amount of meat we consume I estimate we will be helping save 15,000 gals of water a year by simply reducing the amount of meat we consume (“How Much Water Does it Take to Grow a Hamburger?” December 2, 2016). These are some very easy steps that most people can easily do to help the environment and help keep us below the carrying capacity of the earth.
Western Oregon University. (2019). Population Size. Retrieved from https://www.wou.edu/las/physci/ch371/lecture/popgrowth/carrying.htm
Bensel, T. and Turk, J. (2014). Contemporary Environmental Issues. (2nd Ed). Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu
How Much Water Does it Take to Grow a Hamburger? (December 2, 2016).USGS Water Science School. United States Geologic Survey. Retrieved from: https://water.usgs.gov/edu/activity-watercontent.html