Environmental Science

Week 1
1) Some ethicists have questioned the notion that all invasive species should automatically be considered bad. If we introduce a nonĀ­native species to a community and it greatly modifies the community, do you think that it is a bad thing? What if it drives another species extinct? What if the invasive species arrived on its own, rather than through human intervention? What ethical standard(s) would you apply to determine whether we should battle or accept a given invasive species?
2) What are the differences between environmental science and environmentalism? Do you think environmental science is important? Do you think that Colin Beavan and the folks in the “full green” article give environmental issues a bad rap because of their extremism, or are they good examples of ways people can change their lifestyles in order to truly make a difference?
3) Imagine you have become head of a major funding agency that disburses funding to researchers pursuing work in environmental science. You must give your staff several priorities to determine what types of scientific research to fund. What environmental problems would you most like to see addressed with research? Describe the research you think would need to be completed so that workable solutions to these problems can be developed. Would more than science be needed to develop sustainable solutions?
4) What are the differences among anthropocentrism, biocentrism, and ecocentrism? Please provide some examples. Which most applies to you and why?
5) Today’s environmental policy can follow a variety of strategies within three major approaches as described on pages 106-107. An example of pollution from a factory occurs. Which approach do you feel is most effective? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your choice?
6) What is your impression over Rachel Carson and DDT? Was she a villain or hero? Support your decision. Should DDT be banned or not? Support that decision as well.
7) Visit two online footprint calculators at http://www.earthday.org/footprint-calculator and http://ecocamp.us/eco-footprint-calculator. Take the tests to determine your own personal ecological footprint. What do you feel are the advantages/disadvantaged of each website. Please share your results and your thoughts about your individual score. Which portions do you think it normal/abnormal? Are they any adjustments you would implement in your daily routine? What do you think accounts for the variation in sizes of ecological footprints among societies? Do you think that nations with larger footprints have an ethical obligation to reduce their environmental impact, so as to leave more resources available for nations with smaller footprints?