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Gaia Hypothesis Hypothesis. In Chapter 3, the Gaia hypothesis is introduced. It addresses two hypotheses; (11) life, since its inception, has greatly affected the planetary environment and (22) life has altered Earthâ€™s environment in ways that have allowed life to persist. Do you agree with these two hypotheses? Why or why not? Energy and Food Supplies Supplies. The underlying theme of this course is energy. As a whole, the global society needs to find ways to reduce our energy consumption. The food pyramid is a prime example of energy transfer within individual ecosystems and the biosphere. As you increase the trophic levels, a greater amount of energy is lost. Some environmentalists argue that humans should eat a vegetarian diet in order to conserve energy. What are some of the pros and cons of this action? Consider the impact to the agricultural industry? How low on the food chain do you eat? Would you consider eating lower? Model Ecosystems Ecosystems. Review the virtual lab in Model Ecosystems. Within this laboratory exercise you will categorize various organisms into the correct trophic level for five different ecosystems. Once completed, you will calculate the amount of energy transferred between levels. Record your observations. Answer the journal questions and upload it as a Word document into the online course. Energy Policy Policy. The U.S. Energy Policy is currently being reviewed and six main recommendations are listed, by Botkin and Keller (2011, p. 298). Discuss whether or not each recommendation will lead us to a sustainable society. Defend your position by discussing the benefits and drawbacks. Provide substantive evidence from outside sources if necessary. Fossil Fuel Reserves Reserves. Fossil fuels reserves are rapidly depleting in the United States. The oil industry is lobbying the United States government to grant permission to allow drilling in several untapped areas. Select one of the areas below and discuss whether you believe that government should be allowed to drill for oil. Include the environmental and economic viewpoints. Support your position with scholarly resources. a. Wildlife refuges/National parks (example ANWR) b. Offshore drilling
Final Research Paper Outline Outline. Review the Final Research Paper instructions in Week Five of the online course or in the Components of Course Evaluation section of the course guide. Submit an outline of the Final Research Paper. Nuclear Energy Energy. Based on your readings, do you believe that the Unites States should increase the use of nuclear energy, a non-renewable resource, as a replacement for fossil fuels? Defend your answer by discussing the pros and cons of nuclear energy. When answering, be sure to address the following (aa) mining of uranium, (bb) safety, (cc) environmental impacts, and (dd) waste disposal Nuclear Waste Disposal Disposal. One of the most controversial issues when discussing the possibility of nuclear power as an energy source is the disposal of the spent fuel rods. Yucca Mountain, the main proposed repository, has been studied for consideration for over ten years. What geological features of Yucca Mountain made it a potential waste site? What were the drawbacks of this location? Since President Obama took office, he has halted funding for the development of Yucca Mountain. What impact will this have on utilizing nuclear waste since an alternate waste site has not been selected? Is it a good idea to have all of the nation’s waste in one location or should it be spread out over several locations? Non-renewable Energy Sources Sources. Energy generation is an ongoing topic in the United States and worldwide. Historically, the nation’s main energy source is fossil fuels. However, nuclear power has also contributed throughout history. These energy sources are considered non-renewable resources because their inputs are limited in both quantity and availability. Select either fossil fuel energy or nuclear power as the main topic for this paper. Discuss the impact that the selected source has had on the environment. Additionally, select one environmental disaster that has occurred because of your selected fuel source and describe the disaster in detail. (aa) What, specifically, occurred? (bb)What were the ecological and human health effects? (cc) How was the disaster handled? (dd) And, what did we learn from it? If applicable, discuss what environmental policies were established because of the selected disaster. Alternative Energy Sources and Your Local Ecosystem Ecosystem. During this week’s readings, you have learned about numerous types of alternative energy sources. Each energy source has its advantages and disadvantages. Geography often determines which of these sources will be the most useful in a given area. Consider your local ecosystem. Which alternative energy source would be the most compatible with your area? Provide a comprehensive explanation as to why it would be the most successful. Also, discuss why two other sources would not be beneficial in your area. Unorthodox Energy Sources Sources. Throughout the text, mainstream energy sources are discussed. One of the factors that set humans apart from any other species is the ability to think critically and develop new and innovative ideas to solve environmental problems. After reading the article by Meg Carter, discuss some of the practical applications of non-mainstream (i.e., human power) energy sources. Do you believe that these are viable energy options in large scale operations? Small scale operations? Discuss one other non-mainstream option that may have practicality in Hint energy production? (Hint Hint: If you are unable to find any via the Internet, look at the recommended readings).
How Big is Your Footprint Footprint. You will be the energy manager for a large business. You will determine the mix of solar, wind, coal, and gas that will not only provide ample energy, but keep your footprint low. You will also attempt to find the proper mix of energy at a low cost. Visit How Big Is Your Footprint? Discovery Education Player and follow the instructions below: 1. Read instructions and then enter your name when prompted. 2. Select Level 1. 3. Read the directions (You do not need to plan your investigation or get approval ahead of time.) and then begin attempting to find the right mix. Your results will be recorded in the results table. Perform the test at least ten times using different combinations. 4. Copy and paste this table. 5. Close the window and follow Steps 1 and 2 again. 6. Select Level 2. 7. Read the directions (You do not need to plan your investigation or get approval ahead of time.) and attempt to find the right mix of energy, light bulbs, and costs. Perform this exercise at least ten times using different combinations. 8. Copy and paste this table. 9. Answer the following questions based on your results of the two levels and upload it as a Word document into your online course. LEVEL 1 a. Which combination of energy sources provided the smallest carbon footprint? Does this support what you have learned throughout this course? b. Which combination provided a small footprint and a small cost? Defend your answer. LEVEL 2 a. Which combination of energy sources coupled with the amount of light bulbs, provided the smallest cost per month? Does this support what you have learned throughout this course? Defend your answer. Energy Consumption Consumption. Reducing our energy consumption is vital in our quest to preserve the environment. The conversion from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources will not happen overnight. In the meantime, individuals and businesses can decrease their dependence on fossil fuels by following several simple ideas. After reading The Energy Savers Booklet, what areas of
energy conservation do you already employ? In what areas do you need to improve? Explain your answers, in detail. Voluntary vs. Regulatory Involvement Involvement. Affluence leads to overconsumption and increased waste. Governments, industries, and individuals have contributed to the lack of environmental sustainability. Actions must be taken immediately to alter our wasteful ways. The government has developed programs to help reduce energy consumption. However, the majority of these programs are voluntary, such as the Energy Star Program. Should the government continue to develop voluntary programs or do more drastic actions employing regulations that enforce compliance of governments, industries, and individuals be instituted? Defend your answer. Focus of the Final Paper Energy is defined as the ability to do work. Over the duration of this course, you will come to differentiate between nonrenewable and renewable energy sources. For the Final Research Paper, you will need to: 1. Select an energy source from the list below. a. Fossil fuels b. Nuclear power c. Solar power d. Wind power e. Hydroelectric power f. Geothermal power g. Biofuels/Biomass energy h. Hydrogen power 2. Discuss the components associated with your energy source. 3. Compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks in relationship to the environment and the economic market. 4. Discuss the long-term availability and successfulness of this option. Analyze the impact that it has had or may have on the environment.