Key Environmental Issues Assignment –2019-20
Background Information: As you start your foray into the study of environmental science, it is imperative to quickly learn the “language” that those in the field use to convey basic understanding of scientific concepts. Therefore, you should have a working knowledge and a base level of understanding of several important, current issues that are prevalent in environmental science. Below is a list of 6 key issues facing the world today, which effectively provide you with a broad cross-section of “hot topics” and a realization that the issues are diverse and interconnected. By becoming familiar with these issues, you will be able to present and discuss additional issues from a sound foundation of knowledge and understanding. We all need to be educated to a basic level to be able to delve more deeply into each of these issues and others throughout the course. In addition, you should gain an appreciation for the diversity, complexity, and interconnectedness of environmental issues from scientific, social, political, moral, and naturalist viewpoints.
Assignment: Read the textbook sections and associated resources provided for each of the issues given below. The resources are found on Mr. Manzo’s webpage. Once you’ve read the materials for each topic, create a summary sheet for each topic. This should include a section for information from the textbook, a section for information from the online resources, and a final reflective paragraph that includes your thoughts and analysis of the topic. Be certain that your summary sheets prove that you have a reliable understanding of the major concepts involved. Be prepared to present your findings to class and discuss each of these topics. If you have questions, please ask! We will also create a poster presentation of these topics.
Topics and textbook pages to read, and online resources to view:
1. Reintroduction of Wolves into Yellowstone National Park – p. 83
- Online Resource: Read about the “trophic cascade” created by loss of and subsequent reintroduction of wolves into the Yellowstone National Park ecosystem. Watch the included video segment.
2. Disappearing Frogs – p. 320-321
- Online Resource: Watch the video about disappearing frogs (5:04) and read associated information from the National Science Foundation. Also watch this one.
3. Thinning of the Ozone Layer – p. 384-386
- Online Resource: Basic Ozone Layer Science; and the Antarctic Ozone Hole from NOAA; Effects of Ozone Depletion; and current Nasa monitoring of ozone, including Dobson units
4. Overfishing of the Seas – p. 368-369
- Online Resource: Read the information and watch the several short video clips about destructive fishing practices from Monterrey Bay Aquarium, and this for an example of impacts.
5. Endocrine Disruptors – p. 142-144
- Online Resource: Watch “Our Chemical Lives” (25 min.) and read associated information, from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
6. Invasive Species – p. 318-320
- Online Resource: Read the general information presented here, from the NYS Dept. of Env. Conservation: https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/265.html Then, we will focus on a few specific examples, as follows: Northern Snakehead, Garlic Mustard, and Water Chestnut (Video 5:38)