You must be able to outline TWO examples of human impact on the environment, sourcing data. One must be Greenhouse Effect (Climate Change), the other is your choice. You have to be able to discuss the causes and effects of the phenomena as well as propose a possible solution for each example.


Please be succinct in your writing and use simple language. Provide references for your work and links to further information.
Climate Change Due 10.8.07
Working Groups established by F block: Causes - Effects - Evidence - Solutions - Uncertainty

Working Groups established by D block: Causes - Effects - Evidence - Solutions - Uncertainty

Second Topics: Due 10.15.07

Loss of Biodiversity - Habitat Destruction (D Block!!) - Pollution - Invasive Species - Habitat Loss - Fragmentation of Habitat - Over-harvesting- Pollution: Acid Rain (D Block)-Role of Humans in Evolution - The Impact of Genetic Engineering - Human Population
Overpopulation 2

The Big Questions

Add your responses below the questions. Please sign your response by typing 4 "~" characters at the end.

  • What is "Tragedy of the Commons?" How is this concept relate to the environmental problems you've researched?
Tragedy of the Commons is the idea that where there is no clear ownership of rights to a natural resource, the users of the resource are likely to overexploit it. This concept is related to many of the environmental problems caused by human impact, such as loss of biodiversity and global warming because these problems arise as a result of self-interest overcoming the common good. Even though natural resources are not solely for the use of humans, we tend to use and destroy more than our fair share, often to the point where the resources become depleted. We as humans destroy natural resources like ocean water, trees, etc because they are mostly open access resources. - sayheecook sayheecook Oct 13, 2007
  • What is are the fundamental reasons that many of the problems mentioned have no solution in sight and may even be getting worse?
  • In what ways is our current "post-industrial technology society" both our hope for the future and our own worst nightmare?
Our current society, for all of it's benefits is negatively affecting our environment. We have produced cars, airplanes and other technologies that both pump carbon-dioxide into the air and spread diseases faster than they can be contained. Improved technology has enabled us to have and support more people, causing over population. It is difficult to go from having nine children in hopes of saving one to having only one or two children and having them both live. This increase in population has put huge pressure on our atmosphere and our oceans. It has also lead to the over production of animals, like cows, who produce methane, which degrades the environment. Luckily scientists, engineers and businessmen are working on new technologies to protect our environment and it's inhabitants. They can exlore the origins and methods through which deadly viruses evolve and can counteract them with vaccines and other forms of prevention and cure. With the new technologies made possible, we can produce cars and other modes of transport which allow us to interact positively with our environment, and let us enjoy the standard of living to which we have become accustomed. - ArielleR ArielleR Oct 15, 2007
  • Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic that your generation will solve some of these problems? What gives you hope? What worries you?
I think I am generally more pessimistic that our generation will solve the problems. The problem seem to large-scale, and to be honest, it seems like a lot of people don't care. I don't feel that worried actually about our generation, but I worry for the next (our children). I think in their time there may be some serious problems. - davidhsiao davidhsiao Sep 27, 2007
  • What did Aldo Leopold mean by the "land ethic?" Do you think this concept is more or less relevant today that when Leopold wrote about it?
  • Many of you are also studying economics. Describe some relationships between Economics and the Environment.
Human economic activity produces what economists like to refer to as "negative externalities", which are costs of production or consumption borne by society but not by the producers or consumers themselves. Pollution by factories is seen as a negative externality, as it is society that pays for the effects of pollution, not the company. For instance, if acid rain destroys a farm, the companies that are collectively responsible for generating the pollution which caused that acid rain do not have to pay a dime. - JustinHansen JustinHansen Oct 6, 2007

A large part of my assignment for the first wiki assignment was discussing the effects of Global Warming. I was honestly quite surprised by how much of a correlation economics and global warming have. In the end a lot of it comes down to common sense. A rise in the temperature causes a rise in sea levels and ultimately an increase in natural disasters. The predicted economic effects on countries in the Caribbean are shocking. They predict a loss of tourism of over 20-30% if Global Warming becomes a bigger issue than it already is. People basically do not want to visit places that are dangerous and possibly won't exist soon. Also there is a large concern in the increase of migration rates of people from countries in the Caribbean. There is the chance that people will move from their homes to avoid the rise in sea levels and increased risk of floods amongst other natural disasters. As Justin mentioned above, there are negative externalities for sure but it is interesting to look at this from a common sense point of view and observe some of the economic predictions this may have on particular countries. - James McCann

  • What does sustainability mean? What changes would you have to make to live a more sustainable lifestyle? Are the concepts of growth and sustainability at odds with each other?