TOPICS

1. Biodiversity and Conservation
Learning Objectives:
• Define biological diversity and distinguish among genetic diversity, species richness, and ecosystem diversity.
• Relate several important ecosystem services provided by biological diversity.
• Define extinction and distinguish between background extinction and mass extinction.
• Contrast threatened and endangered species, and list characteristics common to many endangered species.
• Define biodiversity hotspots and explain where most of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are located.
• Describe human causes of species endangerment and extinction.
• Explain how invasive species endanger native species.
• Briefly describe the benefits and shortcomings of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

2. Human Population, Agriculture, Biotechnology, and the Future of Food
Learning Objectives:
• Relate carrying capacity to agricultural productivity.
• Define food insecurity and relate human population to world hunger.
• Describe the relationship between economic development and population growth.
• Explain how the availability of family planning services affects total fertility rate.
• Compare the ways the governments of China, India, Mexico, and Nigeria have tried to slow human population growth.
• Outline how governments can help achieve global population stabilization.
• Explain how individuals can adopt voluntary simplicity to mitigate the effects of population growth.
• Relate the benefits and problems associated with the green revolution.
• Explain the roles of hormones and antibiotics in industrialized agriculture.
• Identify the potential benefits and problems with genetic engineering.
• Describe the environmental impacts of industrialized agriculture, including land degradation and habitat fragmentation.
• Define sustainable agriculture and contrast it with industrialized agriculture.
• Contrast fishing and aquaculture and relate the environmental challenges of each activity.

3. Global Climate Change
Learning Objectives:
• Describe the enhanced greenhouse effect and list the five main greenhouse gases.
• Distinguish between positive and negative feedback and discuss water vapor and the aerosol effect as they relate to global climate change.
• Discuss some of the potential effects of global climate change.
• Give examples of ways to mitigate and adapt to global climate change, including carbon management.
• Define stratospheric ozone thinning and relate some of the harmful effects of ozone depletion.
• Define chlorofluorocarbons and explain how they and other chemicals attack ozone.
• Explain how acid deposition develops and relate some of the effects of acid deposition.
• Define forest decline and relate its possible causes.
• Describe how interactions among global climate change, ozone depletion, and acid deposition affect North American lakes.


4. Fossil Fuels and Renewable Energy Alternatives
Learning Objectives:
• Compare per capita energy consumption in highly developed and developing countries.
• Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of coal.
• Summarize the environmental problems associated with using coal, including acid mine drainage and acid deposition.
• Explain how two types of technology, resource recovery and fluidized-bed combustion, make coal a cleaner fuel.
• Discuss the environmental problems of using oil and natural gas.
• Briefly describe U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
• Summarize the continuing controversy surrounding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
• Define synfuel and distinguish among tar sands, oil shales, gas hydrates, liquid coal, and coal gas.
• Consider the environmental implications of using synfuels.
• Distinguish between active and passive solar heating and describe how each is used.
• Contrast the advantages and disadvantages of solar thermal electric generation and photovoltaic solar cells in converting solar energy into electricity.
• Define biomass, explain why it is an example of indirect solar energy, and outline how it is used as a source of energy.
• Describe the locations that can make optimum use of wind energy and of hydropower.
• Compare the potential of wind energy and hydropower.
• Describe tidal energy and geothermal energy, the two forms of renewable energy that are not direct or indirect results of solar energy.

5. Water and Air Pollution
Learning Objectives:
• Define air pollution and distinguish between primary and secondary air pollutants.
• List the seven major classes of air pollutants, including ozone and hazardous air pollutants,and describe their characteristics and effects.
• Describe industrial smog, photochemical smog, and temperature inversions.
• Relate the adverse health effects of specific air pollutants and explain why children are particularly susceptible to air pollution.
• Summarize how electrostatic precipitators and scrubbers work.
• Summarize the effects of the Clean Air Act on U.S. air pollution.
• Explain why air pollution is generally worse in developing countries than in highly developed countries.
• Describe the role of irrigation in world water consumption.
• Define flood plain and explain how humans exacerbate flood damage, using the upper Mississippi River Basin as an example.
• Relate some of the problems caused by overdrawing surface water, aquifer depletion (including saltwater intrusion), and salinization of irrigated soil.
• Define water pollution.
• List and briefly define eight categories of water pollutants.
• Contrast point source pollution and nonpoint source pollution.
• Describe how most drinking water is purified in the United States and discuss the chlorine dilemma.
• Compare the goals of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act.

6. Waste Management
Learning Objectives:
• Distinguish between municipal solid waste and nonmunicipal solid waste.
• Describe the features of a modern sanitary landfill and relate some of the problems associated with sanitary landfills.
• Describe the features of a mass burn incinerator and relate some of the problems associated with incinerators.
• Summarize how source reduction, reuse, and recycling help reduce the volume of solid waste.
• Define integrated waste management.
• Define hazardous waste and briefly characterize representative hazardous wastes (dioxins, PCBs, and radioactive wastes).
• Contrast the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (the Superfund Act).
• Explain how environmental chemistry is related to source reduction.