In my opinion, this assignment has several purposes. Firstly, it is a challenge for students since majority of the students most probably has never had an assignment like this before. Second of all, this assignment is a unique way to get students in groups and force them to create a test as they want it to be. Moreover, I found this as an interesting and intriguing way by which we learn the material from this course. In addition to this, our professor may get some new ideas and I think he’ll be able to se our way of thinking and point of view. He is able to hear our voice and hopefully use it as a positive or negative critique in the future.

Chapter 1 – Introduction to Environmental Science

This chapter deals with the importance of the natural resources and ecosystem services to or lives as well as understanding the term environment as well as the field of the environmental science. On the other hand, the chapter also addresses the issue of sustainability and sustainable development while at the same time appreciating the importance and the understanding of applying the scientific method.


1. What assumption does the scientific method not rely on?

  1. the universe works according to natural laws that don’t change regardless of the time or place
  2. the responsibility of humans and the effects they cause on the natural environment
  3. all events are created from a particular cause which create other events
  4. the use of senses and reasoning in order to detect and describe natural processes

2. Which of the following disciplines is not a contributory field for environmental science?

  1. political science
  2. oceanography
  3. engineering
  4. architecture

3. Choose the incorrect factor of the destruction of productive cropland:

  1. climate change
  2. chemical fertilizers
  3. erosion
  4. poorly managed irrigation

4. Which phenomena caused the increase of population size?

  1. agricultural and industrial revolution
  2. resource consumption
  3. exploration of new environments
  4. different perceptions of environmental problems

5.  Which is the first step a scientist would take when conducting the scientific method?

  1. Hypothesis
  2. Questions
  3. Observations
  4. Predictions

6. Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary pursuit. True or False? (True)

7. Environmental Science is the same as Environmentalism. True or False? (False)

8. Match the definition with corresponding term:


Pursuit of knowledge about the workings of the environment and the human interaction with it. Environmentalism
An experiment in which the scientists observe how the independent variable varies naturally. Environmental Science
Potential for long – term maintenance due to social, economic, and environmental causes. Natural Experiment
Social movement concerned with the protection of the natural world. Manipulative Experiment
An experiment in which the scientist consciously chooses and controls the independent variable. Sustainability

9. Explain the size of Kuwait’s Ecological Footprint in comparison to its annual GDP (Gross Domestic Product).


Kuwait's Ecological Footprint (Source 1)

Kuwait's GDP per capita (Source 1)

Kuwait's GDP per capita (Source 1)

10. Describe the causes and the effects of the deforestation of Easter Island. Support your argument by giving your personal interpretation of the issue and your opinion.

Chapter 2: Matter, Energy and Geology

In this chapter we learn the fundamentals of matter and chemistry while at the same time applying them to real world situations. We also learn the different types and forms of energy as well as the essentials of energy flow. We learn how to differentiate between photosynthesis and chemosynthesis. This chapter also includes the topic of plate tectonics and the rock cycle also addressing major types of geological hazards and ways to avoid their impacts.


1. Which one of the following is NOT a component of the Earth’s crust?

  1. Aluminium
  2. Sulphur
  3. Sillicone
  4. Oxygen

2. Atoms of the same element differing with differing numbers of neutrons are:

  1. Isotopes
  2. Acids
  3. Bases
  4. Organic compounds

3. Which one of the following is not a type of a macromolecule polymer?

  1. Proteins
  2. Carbohydrates
  3. Lipids
  4. Nucleic Acids

4. The nature of energy will change from a more ordered state to a less ordered state as long as no force counteracts this tendency. To which law does this apply?

  1. The first law of thermodynamics
  2. The second law of thermodynamics
  3. The third law of thermodynamics
  4. The zeroth law of thermodynamics

5. Which of the following are types of plate boundaries:

  1. Sedimentary and metamorphic
  2. Continental and oceanic
  3. Rock and mineral
  4. Transform, divergent and convergent

6. The pH scale ranges from 0-20. True or False?

7. Entropy: an increasing state of order. True or False?

8. Match the definition with corresponding term:


The ratio of useful energy output to the amount needing to be input Polymers
Long chains of repeated molecules and building blocks of life Organic compounds
Process of converting light energy into chemical energy Energy conversion efficiency
Pollution cleanup through enhanced natural biodegradation Photosynthesis
Carbon atoms joined by covalent bonds and may include other elements Bioremediation


9. Energy manifests itself in different ways and can be converted from one form to another. Explain and give examples of the different types of energy.

10.  Illustrate the three different hypotheses that explain life’s origin. Choose one you agree with the most and explain why.

Chapter 3: Evolution, Biodiversity and Population Ecology

This chapter explains the process of natural selection and how evolution results in biodiversity. It also deals with the ever emerging issue of the extinction and rarity of species and ecological organization. Similarly enough, this chapter covers the issue of population growth and many other aspects of population ecology, such as logistic growth, carrying capacity, and limiting factors.


1. Biological diversity refers to:

  1. Variety of life across all levels of biological organization
  2. Widespread of species
  3. Divergent evolution
  4. Allopatric speciation

2. Which one of the following is not a way of natural selection acting on genetic variation

  1. Directional Selection
  2. Symmetric Selection
  3. Stabilizing Selection
  4. Disruptive Selection

3. What are the factors of population change?

  1. Natality, mortality and population size
  2. Immigration and emigration
  3. Mortality, natality, immigration and emigration
  4. Population size and biodiversity

4. Which population growth has a J-shaped curve?

  1. Cubic growth
  2. Linear growth
  3. Logistic growth
  4. Exponential growth

5. Population distribution describes:

  1. Spatial arrangement of organisms in an area
  2. Number of individuals in a population per unit area
  3. The relative numbers of organisms of each age within a population
  4. The dynamics of population change

6. Biological evolution is the domestic change in populations of organisms across generations. True or false?

7. Once a species is extinct, it is lost forever. True or false?

8. Match the definition with corresponding term:


Process by which individuals of one species capture, kill, and consume individuals of another species. Commensalism
Interaction which occurs when animals feed on tissues of plants. Mutualism
Strong or wide – reaching impact far out of proportion to its abundance. Herbivory
Relationship between the species in which one species benefits and the other is unaffected. Predation
Relationship in which 2 or more species benefit from their interaction. Keystone species


9. Commonness, rarity and extinction. The House Sparrow (Passer Domesticus) has an extensive geographic range, a broad habitat tolerance and a large local population. The Fish Crow has a restricted geographic range, a narrow habitat tolerance and a large local population. Recognize and explain which of the two given species is more likely to be vulnerable to extinction.

10. The human population has risen to 6.9 billion, which has exceeded Earth’s historic carrying capacity for people. What do you think are the factors which increased Earth’s carrying capacity for humans? Are there limiting factors for us and what might they be?

Chapter 4 – Species Interactions and Community Ecology


This chapter informs us about the major types of species interactions and the characterization of feeding relationships and energy flow. It also tells us about the construction of trophic levels and food webs with particular focus on keystone species. The chapter deals with possible impacts on a given community by an invasive species and lists terrestrial biomes of the world.


1. Latitudinal location determines:

  1. temperature and precipitation
  2. appearance of particular biome and particular season
  3. atmospheric circulation
  4. plant adaptation

2. Secondary succession is:

  1. predictable changes of series in a community following a disturbance
  2. disturbance in which eliminates all vegetation and/or soil life
  3. disturbance which dramatically alters but doesn’t destroy all local organisms
  4. a communities changes in response to disturbance, but later returns to its original state

3. Which one of the following is not  one of the most important categories of species interaction?

  1. Habitat
  2. Predation, herbivory and parasitism
  3. Mutualism
  4. Competition

4. Which one of the following is not one of the ten terrestrial biomes;

  1. Temperate deciduous forest
  2. Temperate grassland
  3. Tropical grassland
  4. Tropical rainforest

5. Top predators control populations of:

  1. Herbivores
  2. Carnivores
  3. Omnivores
  4. Keystone species

6. Biome is a major regional complex of similar communities recognized by plant type and vegetation structure. True or False?

7. Species interaction determine only the structure and species composition of the community. True or False?

8. Match the definition with corresponding term:


Process by which individuals of one species capture, kill, and consume individuals of another species. Commensalism
Interaction which occurs when animals feed on tissues of plants. Mutualism
Strong or wide – reaching impact far out of proportion to its abundance. Herbivory
Relationship between the species in which one species benefits and the other is unaffected. Predation
Relationship in which 2 or more species benefit from their interaction. Keystone species

9.  “Some animals are more equal than others”, George Orwell wrote in his classic novel Animal Farm. In communities, ecologists have found, some species exert greater influence than others. Identify and describe the name given to these types of species in a community and explain how they affect or influence the food chain.


10. Analyzing the graph given below, pick up all the information you can and conclude which biome has the characteristics shown in this example.

(Source 2)

Chapter 6- Environmental Ethics and Economics: Values and Choices

This chapter discusses the influences of culture and world view on the choices people make. It also deals with the historical expansion of ethics in Western cultures and environmental ethics. The chapter explains how our economies exist within the environment and rely on ecosystem services. Chapter 6 also addresses the pronciples of classical and neoclassical economics. It discusses the concepts of economic growth, well – being, and sustainability.


1. Which of the following is not an assumption of neoclassical economics:

  1. Resources are infinite or substitutable
  2. Costs and benefits are internal
  3. The market is guided by an “invisible hand”
  4. Long-term effects are discounted

2. In which of the following modern economies the government determines how to allocate resources:

  1. Subsistence economy
  2. Capitalist market economy
  3. Mixed economy
  4. Centrally planned economy

1. Which of the following refers to classical economics:

  1. The market favors market equilibrium between supply and demand
  2. Competition between people free to pursue their own economic self interest will benefit society as a whole
  3. Human economies exist within and depend on the environment
  4. Environment is an external “factor of production”

2.Which of the following is not a factor which shapes our worldviews:

  1. Religion and spiritual beliefs
  2. Political ideology
  3. Economics
  4. Culture

3.Which of the Western ethics claim that certain living things also have value:

  1. Biocentrism
  2. Anthropocentrism
  3. Ecocentrism
  4. Ecofeminism

6. Our values affect our environmental decisions and actions. True or false?

7. Neoclassical economics incorporates anthropology. True or false?

8. Match the definition with corresponding term:


A person’s or group’s beliefs about the meaning,purpose, orientation and essence of the world. Externalities
Manufactured materials that are brought. Economic growth
An increase in an economy’s production and consumption of goods and services. Worldview
Costs or benefits which involve people other than buyers and sellers. Goods
Work done for others as a form of business Services

9. Define and compare economic growth, well being and sustainability.

10. Is environmental justice equally applied to all world nations? If not, explain why and give and example.

Conclusion


From this unusual assignment and activity I learned how to observe from a more of critical point of view towards the chapters in our text book, meaning I’ve spent more time on distinguishing what is important and what is irrelevant. All of the chapters which have been reviewed in this assignment are pretty long, but useful. Not only are they consisted of information, but also of the case studies, examples and critical points of view.

To sum up, I found this activity very beneficial, since it was uncommon and exceptional way to learn material for this course, which is the main purpose of the whole effort invested in the end.

Sources:

(1) Globalis. Retrieved on March 27, 2011 from http://globalis.gvu.unu.edu/indicator_detail.cfm?Country=KW&IndicatorID=19#row

(2) Worldwide Bioclimatic Classification System.Retrieved on March 27, 2011 from http://www.globalbioclimatics.org/plot/cy-papho.htm



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