Questions for Discussion:
1. Given the global decline in fish stocks, and the difficulty in patrolling the open ocean, what should be done?
2. If the Kyoto Protocol set targets for carbon dioxide emission reductions that were too weak to reverse the process of climatic destabilization, should the U.S. have ratified the treaty anyway? In spite of the U.S. refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, what do you think should be done in the U.S. to combat global climate change and reduce carbon dioxide emissions?
3. Las Vegas, Nevada, combines rapid population growth and arid climate, and water needs that place demands on the Colorado River which already compete for water with agriculture in Mexico, Arizona, and California. What process could help find a healthy way forwards in this set of circumstances?
4. How can a society that values freedom of speech, deal with intentional programs of misleading climate change denial being funded by a few corporations and trade organizations?
5. China, India, and Indonesia are three countries with substantial segments of their populations in poverty, and rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions accompanying their economic development. How can this Janus-faced challenge be dealt with?
6. Why was the Montreal Protocol able to reverse the accumulations of CFCs in the stratosphere, while the Kyoto Protocol has been unable to reverse the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?
Active Learning Exercises:
1. Go online to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website’s Ultra Violet Forecast page and click on the Map option that allows you to see the UV map for Australia today, study the material there, then go back to the home page and click on the link that takes you to the UV Forecast Table, and study this material. Once you have thoroughly examined this material, follow the link to the SunSmart page run by the Australian Cancer Council. Use this second resource to learn something about the recommended safety procedures for Australians and the risks they face. Write a two-page essay about how the risk of skin cancer due to ozone layer thinning would cause you to change your schedule of daily activities this week if you lived in Australia. Would you exercise at different times, dress differently, carry out activities with friends or family members in a different way?
2. Read one week of your local newspaper, and make note of all the articles in it that appear to be related to ongoing climatic destabilization due to rising levels of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane. Make a table listing the publication date, author byline (if any), length of article, title of article, and a brief review of the contents of the article. Turn this table in, it will be evaluated in terms of how thorough a job was done.
Storms of My Grandchildren, the Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and our Last Chance to Save Humanity, by James Hansen (2009, Bloomsbury USA, New York)
The Climate War: True Believers, Power Brokers, and the Fight to Save the Earth, by Eric Pooley (2010, HarperCollins Publishers, New York)
Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming battle for the Right to Water, by Maude Barlow (2007, The New Press, New York)
The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future, by Elizabeth C. Economy (2004, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY)