1. Differentiate a food chain from a food web. Which best represents the reality of communities, and why?
2. What is meant by the term keystone species, and what types of organisms are most often considered keystone species?
3. Compare and contrast the view so neoclassical economists, environmental economists, and ecological economists, particularly regarding the issue of economic growth.
4. Describe and critique three common justifications for environmental policy. Explain the concept of external costs, and state why it is relevant to environmental policy.
5. Contrast the views of environmental scientists with those of economists and policymakers regarding whether population growth is a problem. Name several reasons why population growth is commonly viewed as a problem.
6. Why are the empowerment of women and the pursuit of gender equality viewed as important to controlling population growth? Describe the aim of family-planning programs.
7. How do you think a farmer can best help to conserve soil? How do you think a scientist can best help to conserve soil? How do you think a national government can best help to conserve soil?
8. How is a transgenic organism created? How is genetic engineering different from traditional agriculture breeding? How is it similar?
9. What is biodiversity? Describe three levels of biodiversity. What are the benefits of biodiversity? What are the five primary causes of biodiversity loss? Give specific examples of each. What is a biodiversity “hotspot”?
10. Some people declare that we should not worry about endangered species because extinction has always occurred. How would you respond to this view?
11. Compare and contrast maximum sustainable yield, ecosystem-based management, and adaptive management. Why may pursuing maximum sustainable yield sometimes conflict with what is ecologically desirable?
12. People in developed nations are fond of warning people in developing nations to stop destroying rainforest. People of emerging nations often respond that this is hypocritical, because the developed nations became wealthy by deforesting their land and exploiting their resources in the past. What would you say to the president of an emerging nation in which a great deal of forest is being cleared?
13. How do toxic substances travel though the environment, and where are they most likely to be found? Describe and contrast the processes of bioaccumulation and biomagnification.
14. What factors may affect an individual’s response to a toxic substance? Why is chronic exposure to toxic agents more difficult to measure and diagnose than acute exposure?
15. Describe how plate tectonics accounts for the formation of (a) mountains, (b) volcanoes, and (c) earthquakes. In your answer, explain the roles that divergent plate boundaries and convergent plate boundaries play in the formation of each.
16. What are the major methods of mining? What are the environmental and social impacts of mining? Explain why reclamation efforts after mining frequently fail to effectively restore natural communities. Discuss both soil and vegetation in your answer.
17. Define groundwater and list some anthropogenic (human) sources of groundwater pollution. Why do many scientists consider groundwater pollution a greater problem than surface water pollution? Describe and explain the major steps in the process of wastewater treatment. How can artificially constructed wetlands aid such treatment?
18. How does a marine reserve differ from a marine protected area? Why do many fishers oppose marine reserves? Explain why scientists say no-take reserves will be good for fishers?
19. Name three sources of indoor pollution and their associated health risks. For each pollution source, describe one way to reduce exposure to the source.
20. Where is the “ozone layer” located? How and why is stratospheric ozone beneficial for people, whereas tropospheric ozone is harmful? How do chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) deplete stratospheric ozone? Why this depletion is considered a long-term international problem? What has been done to address this problem?
21. What happens to solar radiation after it reaches Earth? How do greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere? Why is carbon dioxide considered the main greenhouse gas? Why are carbon dioxide concentrations increasing in the atmosphere?
22. Describe how rising sea levels, caused by global warming, can create problems for people. How may climate change affect marine ecosystems?
23. Why are fossil fuels our most prevalent source of energy today? Why are they considered nonrenewable sources of energy? How are fossil fuels formed?
24. Describe three environmental impacts of fossil fuel production and consumption. What impacts have resulted from drilling for oil offshore in the Gulf of Mexico?
25. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of bioenergy, hydroelectric power, geothermal energy, solar energy, wind power, and hydrogen fuel cells relative to fossil fuels and nuclear power.
26. Do you think we can develop renewable energy resources to replace fossil fuels without great social, economic, and environmental disruption? What steps would we need to take? Will market forces alone suffice to bring about this transition, or will we also need government? Do you think a shift like this would be good for our economy? Why or why not?
27. Describe five major methods of managing waste. Why do we practice waste management?
28. What are the advantages and disadvantages of sanitary landfills, incineration, and composting?
29. What is urban sprawl? Describe negative impacts that have been suggested to result from sprawl. How are some people trying to prevent or slow urban sprawl? Describe some key elements of “smart growth.” What effects, positive and negative, do urban growth boundaries tend to have?
30. Describe the connection between urban ecology and sustainable cities. List actions a city can take to enhance its sustainability.

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