ENV Essay

Ma 1




Go to the following website: http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/ (Links to an external site.)


Complete your carbon footprint for your self or for those in your household. Then, complete the reciprocal relationship prompt. In addition to that, answer the following questions:


a. What is the largest part of your footprint?


b. What is the smallest part of your footprint?


c. How much space do you think your annual carbon emissions take up in the atmosphere?


d. What do your emissions do after they leave your home/car/ food source, etc? In other words, how do they affect the Greenhouse Effect?


e. What can you do to reduce your carbon emissions?


f. Which of the actions that you named above would you actually be willing and able to do?






For those who are interested, we will be meeting at the Clark County Wetlands Park on the 24th to do a “walk-about” and talk about some of the principles and ecosystem characteristics that we have discussed in class, specifically geared toward our Las Vegas Wash. We will meet at the visitors center at 9 am. You will receive half of your extra credit points for your attendance and then half for completing the reciprocal relationship prompt posted at the bottom of this page.


You are welcome to bring friends and family, but I do ask that everyone (with guests or flying solo) send me an email and let me know that you are coming no later than Sunday, April 17th, so that I can give the Wetlands Park a head count before we come.


Where comfortable shoes and bring water. The trails are smooth and pretty stroller/wheelchair friendly, but there is some gravel and slight uphill/downhill stuff. See directions on the CCWP website below.


http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/parks/Pages/cc-wetlands-park-planyourvisit.aspx (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)




A. Modeling task: Use the modeling guidance below to create a system dynamics model, similar to the ones we have created in class. Below are ideas for articles you might read and then model, but you are welcome to find your own topic, as long as you get my approval, so that I can make sure it is an appropriate dynamic, environmental problem.


SYSTEM DYNAMICS MODELING GUIDANCEPreview the documentView in a new window


Articles you might model:


1. Where have all the sea otters gone?Preview the documentView in a new window


2. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/us/colorado-river-drought-forces-a-painful-reckoning-for-states.html?_r=0 (Links to an external site.)




B. Critical Essay Task: Read the article linked below, which describes he benefit of thinking of complex problems systemically, the danger of not doing so, and some ways of thinking about the world to help us think of our impact. After reading the article, use the RECIPROCAL RELATIONSHIP PROMPT to write a few paragraphs about how this article is related to that concept.


Systems Thinking Meets the Press, by Donella MeadowsPreview the documentView in a new window




C. Water Log: Use the worksheet below to track the ways in which and how much water you use for three days (you don’t have to complete the whole week). After completing your log, use the RECIPROCAL RELATIONSHIP PROMPT to write a few paragraphs about what you learned about your behavior, how the environment affects it and how you impact the environment.


Water LogPreview the documentView in a new window


D. Food Tracker: Use the worksheet below to track the types of food you consume for three days. After completing your log, use the RECIPROCAL RELATIONSHIP PROMPT to write a few paragraphs about what you learned about your behavior, how the environment affects it and how you impact the environment.


Where does your food come from?Preview the documentView in a new window


E. Food Inc.: Use the one of the links below to watch the documentary Food Inc. Fair warning: this film certainly has a perspective, but it is an interesting one and worth a listen. Use the RECIPROCAL RELATIONSHIP PROMPT below to reflect on the film and how our food connects us to our environment. You are also welcome to weigh in with you thoughts on the documentary and the message it conveys.


Netflix: Food Inc. (Links to an external site.)


http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/food-inc/ (Links to an external site.)


F. Trash Challenge (20 points):


Use the link below to listen to or read the marketplace article that describes “Tess’s Trash Challenge (from about 33:15 to 39:13…don’t listen to the whole thing. It’s not relevant). Use this beginning information to think about why we might carry our own trash for this project and some of the things we might learn. Then, use the guidelines below the link to engage in your own trash challenge and write about your experience.


Tess’s Trash Challenge (Links to an external site.)


1. Your trash challenge will last for 4 days.


2. You must carry your trash everywhere you go, unless you have a job in which this might be prohibitive. Then, you can leave you trash somewhere else for you work hours.


3. Take a picture of your trash accumulation at the end of each day, to include in your final report.


4. If you recycle it, you don’t have to carry it.


5. As a suggestion, take some Ziploc bags with you to put your food waste in and seal it up. It tends to get stinky.


6. Include your daily photographs along with a daily trash journal in a report. Each day you should answer the following questions:


a. What were some of the most significant things you accumulated today?


b. How did you reduce your trash today?


c. Did you reuse anything rather than throw it away?


d. What did you recycle today?


e. How did you change your habits today, knowing that you would have to carry your trash with you?


7. Finally, with your report, write a couple of summary paragraphs on the experience. Things to consider: Did anything surprise you? What did you learn about your relationship with ‘stuff’ and waste? How much waste do you think you generate in, say, a month, given what you learned about your habits?


Your final report should have a photo and a journal for each of the four days and your summary paragraphs. Since this project is more laborious, you will earn 20 point for completing this activity.

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