Midterm Study Guide, People and the Environment, 2:00 p.m. large group Spring 2011


1. Describe the Law of Conservation of Matter and the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics.  Why did we discuss the Law of Conservation of Matter and the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics in a People and the Environment class?  Discuss how these laws relate to four critical environmental issues of today.

2. In lecture it was stated that “6.8 billion people are breeding exponentially. The process of fulfilling human needs and wants has potentially negative consequences for our planet”. Define exponential growth and logistic growth.  List four approaches/choices that you could make to minimize the “negative consequences” associated with human use of planet earth’s resources.

3. What role does economic growth play in environmental sustainability? Briefly describe four situations discussed in class in which the decision to promote economic growth has negatively impacted the environment.

4. What does species biodiversity mean?  Describe three areas that would have a lot of biodiversity and three areas that would have little biodiversity.  List five reasons why biodiversity is important.  Describe four ways humans are impacting biodiversity positively and four ways humans are impacting biodiversity negatively.

5. Congratulations! You have just been put in charge of the world. Discuss your three most important policies to facilitate efficient and environmentally sound food production. Discuss how your policies will help produce enough food while limiting energy use, soil degradation, and water contamination.

6. Define keystone species. Do you think humans are a keystone species?  Why or why not?  Would planet Earth be better or worse off without humans?  Explain.

7. List and discuss 3 advantages and 3 disadvantages of high-input agriculture.