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1.2.3 Boundaries of ‘normality’

The origin of the ‘other’ in society is the widespread human tendency to create categories where people who don't fit in can be placed away from the mainstream. Social categories may lead to prejudice and discrimination, but may also lead to the physical separation of people to the margins of that society. Sibley (1995) traces the physical marginalisation of people in what he calls the ‘geographies of exclusion’. Part of the process of exclusion is where the ‘bad’, the ‘mad’ a
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3.21 Conclusion

This extract has shown that CAM practice raises a variety of ethical issues. Although ethical considerations have different dimensions when applied to CAM, this extract demonstrated that ethical issues – such as consent, competence, boundaries and effective communication – remain central to good practice. CAM practitioners, like all other responsible health care workers, must be taught and encouraged to recognise the ethical dimensions of their work. All practitioners must be accountable
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3.12 Key ethical issues for CAM practitioners: competence

Practitioners must have a sufficient level of competence to benefit users. The proliferation of training bodies, and the diversity of qualifications available, make it harder to know what represents an appropriate standard of pre-registration training or continuing professional development (CPD). Bringing a therapy under a single regulatory body makes it easier to set national educational standards in which diversity can be maintained, but a basic level of competence to practise is ensured. A
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3.4.3 Respecting autonomy is the foremost ethical principle in health care

Some commentators believe the pendulum has swung so far in favour of respecting autonomy that it leaves little scope for users to be passive recipients of healing. The desire to make each user an active participant in their own healing process can make it hard, or even impossible, for a user to refuse to engage in active decision making, and leave the decision to the benevolent practitioner. In this case, the user may waive his or her rights, by choosing not to be kept informed about changes
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Keep on learning

Study another free course

There are more than 800 courses on OpenLearn for you to
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5.1.1 Linking supply and demand

But apart from these relatively few enlightened examples, the efficiency with which humanity currently uses its energy sources is generally extremely low. At present, only about one-third of the energy content of the fuel the world uses emerges as 'useful' energy, at the end of the long supply chains we have established to connect our coal and uranium mines, our oil and gas wells, with our energy-related needs for warmth, light, motion, communication, etc.


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4.3.2 Wave power

When winds blow over the world's oceans, they cause waves. The power in such waves, as they gradually build up over very long distances, can be very great – as anyone watching or feeling that power eventually being dissipated on a beach will know.

Various technologies for harnessing the power of waves have been developed over the past few decades, of which the 'oscillating water column' (OWC) is perhaps the most widely used. In an OWC, the rise and fall of the waves inside an enclosed
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4.3 Indirect use of solar energy

The above examples illustrate the direct harnessing of the sun's radiant energy to produce heat and electricity. But the sun's energy can also be harnessed via other forms of energy that are indirect manifestations of its power. Principally, these are bioenergy and hydropower, already discussed in Section 3 above, together with wind energy and wave power.


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4.1 What are renewable energy sources?

Fossil and nuclear fuels are often termed non-renewable energy sources. This is because, although the quantities in which they are available may be extremely large, they are nevertheless finite and so will in principle 'run out' at some time in the future.

By contrast, hydropower and bioenergy (from biofuels grown sustainably) are two examples of renewable energy sources – that is, sources that are continuously replenished by natural processes. Renewable energy sources a
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Conclusion

In this Introduction we have explored the development of technology from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the present day. At the same time we have traced the increasing impact our industrial societies have had on our environment, and the role that science and technology has played in this. We have explored some major global environmental issues, in particular our dependence on the exploitation of fossil fuels, and have outlined some of the fundamental constraints on the abili
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6.4.4 Environmental limits

There are many different definitions of what sustainable development means; you were given one in Section 5.3, and how this should guide policy. The underpinning concepts are: equity for human development, and limits on the capacity of the environment. The idea of environmental limits on the ability of the Earth's biophysical systems to cope with and adapt to pressures from human activity, whether from demand for natural resources, the waste products of modern economies, or from habitat modif
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6.4.1 The dual nature of technology

Exercise 5

List the main advantages to you of using a refrigerator in your home, then list some of the potential environmental hazards that using a fridge might entail.


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4.1 Domestic appliances and fossil fuels

For this second case study I shall look specifically at the energy use of domestic 'cold appliances', that is freezers and refrigerators, and discuss whether efficiency measures can play a significant role in reducing their energy consumption. The reason for this is quite simple. For many years there has been well-documented evidence of the damage to the environment and cost to human life associated with the extraction, transport and consumption of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, from smog
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3.1 Refrigeration and chlorofluorocarbons

A domestic refrigerator consists essentially of two elements. First, it has a well-insulated box that minimises the flow of heat energy from the warmer outside environment to the cold space inside. Second, it has a motor to circulate a cooling liquid or refrigerant which extracts heat from the cold space and carries it to the outside, where it is released, usually through a radiator at the back. Most refrigerators make use of the principle that when liquids vaporise – that is, change
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2.2 We are part of nature

Take a few minutes to look around at your surroundings before you read on. What do you see? Obviously this depends on where you are at the moment: at home, at work, or perhaps travelling in between, or maybe you have the misfortune to be laid up in hospital. Possibly like me you are at home. I am fortunate to have a study where I do much of my writing and you won't be surprised to hear that I'm looking at a computer screen at the moment. What else can I see? Books and bookshelves, furniture o
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate an awareness of different ways in which our use of technology can affect the environment

  • demonstrate a set of skills in reading and interpreting texts and diagrams containing some technical descriptions.


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3.1 Voyages of discovery and settlement

In Section 2, we saw that there are momentous new and recently transformed flows that are impacting on island territories. Some flows have important precedents, and others may not be quite as novel as they first appear. In this section, we look more closely at some of the flows that have helped make, remake and sometimes unmake is
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1.1 Introduction

Looking back over the 1970s, it is perhaps hard now to appreciate just how dramatic were the changes to the global map of industry taking place at that time. As more and more of the world's industry shifted from the affluent nations to the poorer, less developed countries in search of a cheaper labour force, the global economic map had to be redrawn to take account of the borders crossed and the distances traversed by firms from wealthier countries seeking to generate higher profits by reloca
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2.5 Living systems and information flows

Understanding the role of information flows in feedback relationships is often confusing. It is relatively easy to visualise flows of energy and matter (ecosystem food webs, water flowing through a rainforest ecosystem, etc). But how does information ‘flow’ within feedback loops, and how does this affect systems?

The first point to make clear is that information is only meaningful to those systems that can perceive it. In other words, these systems need to have components th
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2.2 Positive feedback and change

Simple positive feedback loops are easily illustrated since they are the mechanism through which anything changes rapidly. Take for example the explosion of water hyacinth when introduced into new environments:

Water hyacinth is a floating plant that has spread from South America to waterways around the world. It can cover the water so completely that it obstructs the movement of boats. Imagine a lake that is 10
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