Human Population Growth and Demographics

The purpose of this assignment is to see the different opinions between the two views (Cornucopians and Cassandras).

Current human population:

The human population is now so large and is growing rapidly.  In the next few years human population is going to be twice bigger than it is now, that means, earth could not support so many population and the problems are going to be many and without solutions. 

Causes of increased human population:

            Some causes of increased human population are:

  • This explosive growth came about because death rates fell faster than birth rates. 
  • A rise in average life expectancy has also contributed to the surge in human numbers.
  • Fertility is the key to population growth over the long term (in order to maintain a stable population size, a total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.1 us needed).


Cornucopian’s and Cassandra’s views:

“Cornucopian is a worldview that we will find ways to make earth’s natural resources meet all of our needs indefinitely and that human ingenuity will see us through any difficulty.” (Brennan Scott, Withgott Jay pg.  200)

“Cassandra is a worldview that predicts doom and disaster as a result of our environmental impacts.” (Brennan Scott, Withgott Jay pg.  154)

From Our point of view:

Of course there is a problem, considering the fact that the earth’s population has raised dramatically in the last years.  Elaborating on that we would say that the existing problem has nothing to do with the space, the earth is huge and it can hold more people than we believe, the actual problem is that if new generations have the same behavior as the previous ones then the problem is the that the earth is going to be destroyed and along with that, mankind.  Other than that we know that those who hold the reins are not going to allow overpopulation (i.e. diseases-cancer (they won’t give the medicine out), HIV).

Paul Ehrlich and the IPAT equation:

“Paul Erlich is a biologist and author of the best-selling book The Population Bomb. Since the release of this book in 1968, Ehrlich has been one of the most frequently cited “experts” on environmental issues by the media, despite the fact that his predictions on the fate of the planet, more often than not, have been wrong. In The Population Bomb, Ehrlich predicted that hundreds of millions of people would die of starvation during the 1970s because the earth’s inhabitants would multiply at a faster rate than world’s ability to supply food.” (


IPAT model, it is a variation of a formula proposed in 1974 by Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren.  The IPAT model represents how our total impact (I) on the environment results from the interaction among population (P), affluence (A), and technology (T).

I=P x A x T


            The population of United States is approximately 311,320,823.  A big number of population but is a country that is increasing in technology.


The population of China is more than 1,4 billion.  China has the biggest population The current affluent size in china is approximately 2,9 million and is going to rise until to 2015.  China except the problem of the overpopulation we must say that they are increasing day by day their technology which is something important.


                The population of Greece is approximately 10,964,020 million people. Greece is a country that it has a number of population which is normal but it has problems for example in technology which in nowadays is something important, is not decreasing but also is not increasing.  



Predictions by Paul Erlich:

“The battle to feed all of humanity is over.  In the 1970’s the world will undergo famines-hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.  At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate, although many lives could be saved through dramatic programs to “stretch” the carrying capacity of the earth by increasing food production.  But these programs will only provide a stay of execution unless they are accompanied by determined and successful efforts at population control.  Population control is the conscious regulation of the numbers of human beings to meet the needs, not just of individual families, but of society as a whole.

    Nothing could be more misleading to our children than our present affluent society.  They will inherit a totally different world, a world in which the standards, politics, and economics of the 1960’s are dead.  As the most powerful nation in the world today, and its largest consumer, the United States cannot stand isolated.  We are today involved in the events leading to famine; tomorrow we may be destroyed by its consequences.” (For further information about the issue visit the following site:

Hans Rosling:

            “Hans Rosling is professor of international health at Karolinska Institute (KI), the medical university in Stockholm, Sweden.  During the last 20 years he performed field surveys investigating outbreaks of konzo in famine threaten remote rural areas in five African countries. The causes were traced to a combination of malnutrition and the dietary cyanide from inadequately processed bitter cassava roots that due to hunger were consume without. His research started with analysis of links between poverty, hunger, gender relations and health in small scale farming systems. It now deals with links between health and absolute poverty at both micro and macro level.” (,3438,en_21571361_31834434_33614811_1_1_1_1,00.html)

Impressions from the speech of Hans Rosling:

            The truth is that we have been impressed from all the speech, it was very interesting how many things we can understand from a diagram.  One thing that impressed us it was in the very beginning of the speech who speaks about the western world and developing world the long life in small family and it refers to the western world and the short life in large families and he refers to the developing worlds.

My partner is Michael



Withgott, J & Brennan, S.  (2010) Environment: The science behind the stories. Fourth ed.  San Francisco: Pearson education

The Importance of Ecological Footprint

Ecological Footprint

Ecological Footprint represents the total area of biologically productive land and water needed to produce the resources and dispose of the waste for a given person or population.  The footprint of an average citizen of an affluent nation is much larger than the physical are in which the person lives day to day.

Transportation costs for each category in the following table:

Assuming that you are an American (not all of us are in this class), you live in New York City (2009 population estimate 8,363,710), and that the average American eats 1 kg (2 pounds) of food per day, calculate the food transportation costs for each category in the table below (U.S. 2009 population estimates 307,006,550).

  1. Challenges to environmental sustainability

Ecological/Environmental sustainability relies upon:

  • Long-term maintenance of ecosystem components and functions for future generations.
  • The quality of a policy or proposal of ensuring an impact on the environment that is positive or at least within the limits of acceptability.
  • Meeting the neeeds of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Environmental sustainability embodies whatever it is required to save future human well being status.  it is highly approved that during recent years sustainability is being challenged by several parameters some of which concentrate on food production processes and the transportation needed to reach end costumers.  Food manufacturing basically depends on water, energy (carbon extracts highly emitted during the technical procedure of production), preservatives, refrigerants and packaging materials.  Still, as mentioned above, carbon emissions are the number one cause of environmental challenge followed by water and solid wastes throughout the food manufacturing practice.  Second, food miles travelled to reach final customers can equally threat the environmental status.  For instance, transporation in order to be successfully complete takes enough quantity of fuels, oil, gas, refrigerants and so forth.  The more the transportation miles are the more the quantity of the above is needed upon environmental welfare is apparently lethal.  Air emissions and other forms of greenhouse gases are fully evaporated throughout the air therefore the environmental status is finally at stake.

2.  Advantages and Disadvantages from the study of Pirog and Benjamin (2003).

Local means different things to different people, depending on where they live, how long their growing season is, and what products they are looking for. 

Local means different things to different people, depending on where they live, how long their growing season is, and what products they are looking for. Local foods are produced as close to home as possible. Buying local supports a more sustainable food system because true sustainability goes beyond the methods used in food production to include every step that brings food to final customers.

Under the research conducted it is being revealed that local food consumption can be more than trustworthy after all for many reasons at the same time.  For instance, human health is largely protected since pure farm-oriented raw materials are being used.  Also the natural feature of environment is totally saved since agriculture works in harmony with the natural environment. This begins with healthy soil that stores water and nutrients and provides a stable base to support plant roots. In a sustainable system, soil is kept in balance   Another reason that can make advantages pass over disadvantages of buying and finally consuming local food is that food miles can be significantly reduced.  In other words, transportation distance travelled from the farms to the final customers’ plates can be decreased.


3.      What happened to the gasoline prices recently.

As we all know the price of the gasoline is going everyday and constantly higher, it is a big issue there are many people now on that they are using gas because it is cheaper.  Fuelling nowadays vehicles in order to have them transferring cargo and food in more particular becomes and expensive issue.  Take into consideration that the net price of plain diesel has reached €1.68/ltr.  Consequently, as transportation cost gets greater manufactures and food producers charge the food cargo even more having as a result the greater monetary charge that consumers finally bare. Therefore, as gas or diesel prices rise transportation expenses will equally increase and consumers who prefer buying non local food will absorb the cost.  However, the solution of consuming local food products could take customers out of the high cost market dead end.


4.      If you are an American, how do you think these figures apply to other countries or your country? Where do you base your assumptions?

I believe that the things in America are better since beneficial tendencies are easily absorbed.  In other words, American citizens tend to apply more quickly to alternative tendencies that would benefit their financial status.  American citizens realize directly that financial parameters are crucially affecting their personal well being and their social welfare in the long run.  Based on their feelings towards their home country they tend to go through drastic changes that would benefit the environmental status for sure since that way they would benefit their personal welfare. There are many cases that should be changed and it is difficult for that reason there are many people from Greece which are going in America.  It is difficult to think from the opposite way because I do not know how the Americans react to situations like this. 

The purpose of this assignment is to understand exactly the meaning of ecological footprint and the importance of it.


“Brennan Scott and Withgott Jay.  Environment.  The science behind the stories.  4th edition.  San Francisco, 2011.”




The reason of this assignment is to do a review of all chapters we did up until now in the course, and to refresh our ecological knowledge!

Chapter 2

In this chapter we learn about the procedure of photosynthesis, about different types of energy.

1)   Define the term energy:

2)   Proteins consist of long chains of organic molecules called :

  • nucleic acids
  • genes
  • organic compaounds
  • amino acids

3)   Photosynthesis produces food for plants and animals:

  •   True
  •   False

4)   Some organisms use the sun’s radiation directly to produce their own food. Such organisms are called:

  • autotrophs
  • primary producer
  • heterotrophs
  • A and B

5)   According to above, those organisms turn light energy from the sun into chemical energy in a process called:

  • cellular respiration
  • chemosynthesis
  • plate tectonics
  • photosynthesis

6)   Rock that form when magma or lava cools is called:

  • rock cycle
  • igneous rock
  • metamorphic rock
  • sedimentary rock


Match the answer to the picture: kinetic energy, increase in entropy, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, potential energy


Say what is the above process and say a few words about it

9) Landslides are severe and often sudden manifestation at the more general phenomenon of:

  •  tsunami
  • earthquake
  •  mass wasting
  •  volcano

10) Atoms and element are NOT chemical building blocks:



Chapter 3

In this chapter we learn about biodiversity  and biological diversity, what is ecology in general, about population and the different types of population.

1)   The process by which inherited characteristics that enhance survival and reproduction are passed on more frequently to future generations that those that do not, thus altering the genetic makeup of populations through time is called:

  • mutations
  • adaptation
  • natural selection
  • none of the above

2) The Sixth mass extinction is being caused by humans:



3) The process by which new species are generated is called:

  • a. artificial selection
  • b. speciation
  • c. evolution
  • d. habitat selection

4) Number of individuals in a population                         a) age distribution

per units are:

The spatial arrangement                                                 b) birth and death rates

of organisms in an area

A population’s proportion of                                            c) population density

males and females which can

influence whether the population

will increase or decrease over time                                       d) sex ratio

The relative numbers of organisms

of each ago within a population

The preceding factors that can influence

the rates at which individuals

within a population are born and die

5) A population’s growth is being restrained by limiting factors:

  • TRUE

6)   The study of interaction s among organisms and between organisms and their environments is called:

  • population
  • biology
  • ecology
  • ecosystem ecology

7)   Large animals (elephants, giraffes) with low biotic potential produce relatively few offspring during their lifetimes. Such species are said to be :

  • k-selected
  • r-selected
  • specialists
  • generalist

8)   What is ecotourism?

9)   Discuss in a paragraph the term evolution and it’s importance to all of Earth’s species and especially man-kind.

10)                  A species _________ reflects its use of resources and its functional role in a community

  • habitat use
  • niche
  • habitat selection
  • immigration

Chapter 1

In this chapter we learn about environmental science, the importance of natural resources and how we define the ecological footprint.

  1. The use of resources in a manner that satisfies our current needs but does not compromise the future availability of resources called?
  • Triple bottom line
  • Manipulative experiment
  • Sustainable development
  • Interdisciplinary

2.   The social movement which protecting the natural world and by extension people from undesirable changes is called?

  • Cassandras
  • Environmentalism
  • Environmental science
  • None of the above

3.   Scientific method is:

  • Research that proceed a more targeted and structured manner
  • Research in which scientists gather basic information about materials
  • Technique for testing ideas
  • None of the above

4.   ———- is the challenge of, a guiding principle of modern environmental science.

  • Sustainability
  • Natural capital
  • Paradigm
  • Theory

5.   What an ecological footprint represents?

  • Expresses environmental impact
  • The average of an affluent nation
  • The total area of biologically productive land and water needed to produce the resources and dispose of the waste for given person or population
  • All of the above

6.   Environmental science is especially broad because it encompasses not only the natural sciences but also   the social sciences.

  • True
  • False

7.    People who predict doom and disaster have been called cornucopian.

  • True
  • False

8.   Which of the following five resources belong to the Renewable natural resources and nonrenewable?

Renewable Nonrenewable


  • Sunlight
  • Coal
  • Wind energy
  • Copper
  • Fresh water


9.   Explain the diagram and discuss briefly each step.

10. “Human impact on earth:  the ecological footprint”

Use the video below about the ecological footprint and develop a paragraph in order to give your solutions for a better world.

Chapter 6

In this chapter we talk about environmental ethics, about culture, worldview and economy.

Multiple choice questions:

  1. Which of the following are assumptions of neoclassical economics?
  • Resources are infinite or substitutable
  • Costs and benefits are internal
  • Long-term effects are discounted
  • Growth is good
  • All of the above

2.   Neoclassical economics are:

  • Examining the psychological factors underlying consumer choices
  • The amount of a product offered for sale at a given price
  • The amount of a product people will buy at a given price if free to do so
  • None of the above

3.   Costs or benefits that effect people other than the buyer or seller are known as?

  • External cost
  • Economic growth
  • Externalities
  • None of the above

4.   What is the capitalist market economy?

  • People get their daily needs directly from nature
  • Government interne to some extent
  • The government determines how to allocate
  • None of the above

5.   Contingent valuation it measures:

  • How much people are willing to pay to protect or restore a resource
  • Measure’s people’s expressed preferences
  • Measure’s people’s revealed preferences
  • All of the above

True false questions:

6.   Subsistence economy is a survival economy, in which people meet most or all of their daily needs directly from nature and do not purchase or trade for most of life’s necessities.

  • True
  • False

7.   An ethicist who maintains that there exist objective notions of right or wrong that hold across cultures and situations called Universalist.

  • True
  • False

8.   Matching question

Genuine progress indicator A value that is not usually included in the price of a good or service
relativists A technique that uses surveys to determine how much people would be willing to pay to protect a resource or to restore it after damage has been done
Environmental justice advocate An ethicist who maintains that ethics do and should vary with social context
Contingent valuation For costs such as environmental degradation and social upheaval.
Nonmarket values The fair and equitable treatment of all people with respect to environmental policy and practice regardless of their income

Essay questions:

9.   Discuss and analyze briefly the three terms (ecocentric, biocentric, anthropocentric) and in which of the three categories you belong and why?

10. Define the concept of environmental justice.  Give an example that exists in your city.

Chapter 4

In this chapter we discuss about characteristics of keystone species, biomes, we explain the restoration ecology.

Multiple choice questions:

  1. The relationship in which organism is harmed and the other is unaffected called:
  • Pollination
  • Commensalism
  • Amensalism
  • Symbiosis

2.  A species that has strong or wide-reaching impact far out of proportion to its abundance is called:

  • Food web
  • Keystone species
  • Herbirory
  • Trophic cascade

3.  Species that arrive first and colonize the new substrate are referred to as:

  • Invasive species
  • Secondary succession
  • Pioneer species
  • None of the above

4.  The study of the historical conditions of ecological communities as they existed before humans called:

  • Restoration ecology
  • Ecological restoration
  • Keystone species
  • All of the above

5.  A major region complex of similar communities a large scale ecological unit recognized primarily by its dominant plant type and vegetation structure and referred as:

  • Resistance
  • Resilience
  • Biome
  • None of the above

True false questions

6.  A community is not an assemblage of populations of organisms living in the same area at the same time

  • True
  • False

7.   Mutualism is a relationship in which two or more species benefit from interaction with one another.

  • True
  • False

8. Matching question

Character displacement Is a relationship in which one organism depends on another
Species coexistence The species that may continue live side by side
Parasitism Competing species come to diverge in physical characteristics because of the evolution of traits
Competitive exclusion The process by which individuals of one species, hunt, capture, kill and consume individuals of another species
Predation If one species is a very effective competitor, it may exclude another species from resource use entirely.

Essay questions

9.  Discuss the ten terrestrial biomes.

10.  Analyze the energy passes among trophic levels.

The Meaning of Footprint


      In order to start in a right way to explain the footprint network that I am going to analyze I must explain first few things.  First of all I must mention what are the carrying capacity, overshoot and EF.  EF is the ecological footprint which represents the total area of biologically productive land and water needed to produce the resources and dispose of the waste for a given person or population  Carrying capacity is the maximum population size of a species that a given environment can sustain.  Overshoot, is the amount by which humanity has surpassed Earth’s long-term carrying capacity for our species.  (Withgott, Jay, and Scott R. Brennan. Environment: the Science behind the Stories. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings, 2008. Print.)

The Ecological Footprint table and the results


Ecological Footprint of Bangladesh

The ecological footprint as we can see from the table is 0.6 which is small according to the average world, that can happened because Bangladesh in a big percentage are overpopulated, poor, and they have slow implementation of economic reforms.


 Ecological Footprint of Australia

The ecological footprint of Australia as we can see from the table is 7.7 which is large according to the average world, that can happened because Australia has a lot of population and from a source that I have read about Australia which talks about the ecological footprint said that: “the more they spend, the bigger the footprint”.  (

Ecological Footprint of United Arab Emirates

The ecological footprint of United Arab Emirates as we can see from the table is 9.9 which are also large like as Australia according to the world average which is 2.23, that can happened because United Arab Emirates has a lot of natural resources. The United Arab Emirates, the world’s third-largest oil exporter, has one of the highest per capita carbon footprints in the world.  (

Personal Ecological Footprint

According to my personal ecological footprint which is 2.74 and according to my countries ecological footprint which is 5.4 I believe that I am in the middle, it is not so high but it is not also so low.  Although, my ecological footprint according to Bangladesh is very high because if we see in the table we can realize that Bangladesh has 0.6 in the ecological footprint, the same thing we can say about the ecological footprint of Pakistan which 0.7 according to my ecological footprint which is 2.74 which is also very high.  But we must mention that there are also high ecological footprints like as United Arab Emirates which is 9.9 and my personal is 2.74.

Four Categories about the Ecological Footprint


Withgott, Jay, and Scott R. Brennan. Environment: the Science behind the Stories. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings, 2008. Print.)



My Worldview and the Environment

Although, it is important for people especially nowadays to act in an environment oriented manner in order to protect it since it is frequently threatened at present, many of us don’t.

          There are three terms that describe people’s intentions towards environment:  anthropocentric, biocentric, and ecocentric.  Anthropocentric is a term describing humans interested in peoples well being, for example plants are not important for those who belong to anthropocentrists they do not care for the nonhuman things but only for humans.  The other term is Biocentric which focuses on not only human but also cares about the environment and nonhuman things as well.  And the last term refers to the ecocentric as those who care and do everything they can in order to save and protect the environment, for example cares about the quality of the water, or air quality.

          After this research, I could say about my self that I belong to the biocentric because I care for humans but also for nonhuman things.

Ecology 110                                                                                        

Information about me:



My name is Elli and I am studying at the American College of Thessaloniki from 2004.  My major is business with concentration in Marketing, this is my last semester.  The purpose of my blog is about ecology course in order to submit everything that I am interested for and of course is opportunities to contact with others who are interested in subjects like ecology.

A topic that I am interested


A particular topic that I might be interested to discuss during the semester is about climate changes.



Environmental issue of this year


One of the many environmental issues that I have heard it was that at 2010 we did not have snow on Greek mountains.  From this we can understand that there are going to be a lot of changes in the environment.  Those kinds of environmental changes that we were afraid would happen in the distant future have already started.

Place of origin

The place which is close to my home is Hortiatis, which is a wonderful mountain and very famous in our city.

Environmental Problem


One very important and specific environmental problem before few years was the fire of the forest in the place of Chalkidiki, which was a disaster and is something which is not easy to be retraced.

 The place where I am from is Thessaloniki.

Thessaloniki is a wonderful city which is surrounded by sea; it has a lot of history and a lot of places that everyone must visit. 

The place where I live

The place where I live is Panorama, is in the East side of Thessaloniki and is a place which is surrounded from nature and to be more specific it has a lot of green which is very pleasant for  all of us who live there. 


Environmental scientist vs.  Ecologist vs.  Environmentalist

In order to explain the three terms that we have I above I would like to mention that environmental scientist and environmentalist are two different things, maybe from the first side we can understand that they are exact the same but they are two different terms.  “Environmental scientists are interested in solving problems, it would be incorrect to confuse environmental science with environmentalism or environmental activism” (Environment the science behind the stories.  Jay Withgott, Scott Brennan).  “Environmental science, in contrast, is the pursuit of knowledge about the working of the environment and our interactions with it” (Environment the science behind the stories.  Jay Withgott, Scott Brennan).  “Environmentalism is a social movement dedicated to protecting the natural world and, by extension, people from undesirable changes brought about human actions” (Environment the science behind the stories.  Jay Withgott, Scott Brennan).    Ecologists are those who can analyze everything that it has to do with organisms and environment.  I think that there is an order between these three terms.  There are differences between the three but the environmental scientists and the environmentalists as we can read from the book: “study many of the same issues that they care about, as scientists they aim to maintain an objective approach in how they conduct their work” (Environment the science behind the stories.  Jay Withgott, Scott Brennan). 

From those that I have already read and because I do not know a lot of things about ecology in general I believe that it would be very hard for me to be interested to any of three, it has a lot of research and I think that it is difficult.  So I could not be a part of these three terms.



In order to analyze the exact hypothesis and have a result we must first of all explain the method of the diagram.  The first step is the observations that we must mention about the topic that we are going to analyze.  The second is the questions for example what this have happened?  The third is to develop the hypothesis which means that we must explain the question that we have to analyze.  The other step is to make the predictions for our hypothesis.  The other step is the testing and then we have the results.  From the results we are going to see if our hypothesis right or we must make another one.  In our case this is not a suitable hypothesis because we cannot follow all the steps of the diagram.

Work cited

Environment, The Science behind the Stories. Fourth ed. San Francisco: Pearson, 2011. Print