1. Are all coastal processes naturally hazardous? Explain
2. What can be done to reduce damages from tropical cyclones?
3. Beach nourishment project: an environmental decision or an economic decision or both?
4. Will coastal hazards become more severe, less severe, or stay the same in the geologic future?
5. What are the management procedures in place for your community, if you live in a coastal state?
6. Do you agree or disagree with the statements that all structures in the coastal zone (with exceptions of critical facilities) should be considered temporary and expendable and that any development in the coastal zone must be in the best interest of the general public rather than the few who developed the ocean front? Explain your position.
7. Do you think building a space colony is a feasible solution to the impact of MACs? Why or why not?
8. Will new technology be available to shield us from potential major aerial bursts or direct impact? If yes, how?
9. Should we have an equal emphasis on the environment threats at the Earth’s surface and the potential threats from the space? Explain
10. Consider the hypothetical concept of planetary sustainability over a time period of hundreds of millions of years. At this time frame, what is the role of large impacts of extraterrestrial objects? How does your answer link to sustainability at a human time frame (hundreds of years)?
11. What is the feasibility of mining extraterrestrial objects for rare ores?
12. Describe the likely results if a Tunguska-type (check your book) event were to occur over or in central North America. If the event were predicted with 100 years warning, what could be done to mitigate the effects if changing the object’s orbit were not possible? Outline a plan to minimize death and destruction.
13. In your area, which type of water source (surface water or groundwater) is more important? Why? Why not?
14. If we change the ways we use water, what would be the impact on the global water cycle?
15. What sort of wetlands are found in your region? Any changes over the years?
16. Which continent will the global warming have a greater impact on its water resources?
17. Do you think we are living in a “food bubble” that may burst in the next few decades? That is, will links between food and water lead to a drop in food production with increasing human tragedy?
18. When a municipal water system needs to expand its supply because of growing demand, why is it often preferable to accomplish this through conservation efforts as opposed to building a new reservoir or drilling additional wells?
19. What can individual citizens do to reduce groundwater pollutants?
20. Does surface water contamination automatically trigger groundwater pollution at a given location?
21. What are the major point and nonpoint sources of water pollution in your community?
22. What current water laws and legislation are you familiar with? Are there any problems with them?
23. How safe do you think your drinking water supply is? Upon what are you basing your answer? What do you need to know to give an informed answer?
24. Dams can create large reservoirs for greatly expanding a region’s water supply. If a dam releases water and always maintains the flow of its river, how can it have a negative impact on the downstream ecosystem?
25. Considering mineral resources are nonrenewable, do you believe that technology will eventually help meet the growing demand for mineral resources? If yes, explain.
26. Biotechnology shows the potential for cleaner minerals extraction and waste disposal. Will biotechnology bring about any environmental problems?
27. What types of environmental impact would there be if we increasingly extract more mineral resources from seafloor?
28. Conservation is important when it comes to any of Earth’s resources. How is conserving metals, such as aluminum or copper, any more important that conserving water?
29. How can some valuable elements and minerals be fairly abundant in Earth’s crust, yet rarely be found in concentrations that are economical to mine?
30. Select one metallic mineral resource and investigate its occurrence, distribution, consumption, and reserves. A good place to start is the USGS Mineral Resource Program website. Evaluate the impact of its customary mining and extraction methods:
a. How and where is it mined?
b. How much energy is used in processing it?
c. What special pollution problems, if any, are associated with the processing?
d. Can this metal be recycled, and if so, from what sorts of materials?
e. Are there practical substitutions for it?
31. Sustainable energy development means an energy policy and energy sources without harming the environment. Do you think this is possible?
32. Is it possible that new technology will be able to make fossil-fuel burning a clean process? Explain.
33. Speculate the possibility of power plants in space.
34. List specific actions that an individual citizen can take to conserve energy and reduce environmental impact.
35. Do you think that peak oil will be a defining moment in human history? Why or why not?
36. How long do you think it will take to transition from oil (mostly used in the transportation sector [e.g. cars, buses, trains, planes]) to other sources of energy? Is it possible in 20 years? 50? Why or why not?
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