5 Assignments and Discussion Threads for Ecology and Environmental Sustainability

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Assignment 2: Discussion—Species Interactions and You

Humans interact with various species every day without actually realizing it. In the field of ecology, these interactions can either be interspecific (between species) or intraspecific (within species). Interactions between humans are known as intraspecific (within species) interactions. For example, interactions between a human and a pet would be interspecific, whereas interactions between a human and another human would be intraspecific.

Research interspecific and intraspecific interactions using the module readings, the Argosy University online library resources, and the Internet.

This assignment has two parts. Complete both parts.

Part A

Complete the following:Track your interactions with other organisms—between and within species—for one day.Summarize your interactions throughout the day, using the terms from this module’s readings. If required, review the module’s readings again.At a minimum, identify ten interactions that you witnessed or participated in today. Among those interactions, you should be able to identify a predatory-prey relationship, a competitive relationship, and a mutualism. You could also identify parasitic relationships or commensalisms, if you choose. Although you can repeat interaction types—for instance, you can have multiple mutualisms—the examples must differ. These are some examples:Did you have a predatory-prey relationship with a chicken today? That is, did you eat chicken for lunch?Did you have a competitive relationship with a coworker today? That is, were you competing for a raise?

Click here to download this template to track interactions with organisms.

Part B

Respond to the following:For every interaction you identified above, describe an interaction in nature that is similar to what you experienced or witnessed. For example, if you had a predatory-prey interaction with your meal, identify and describe an example of a predatory-prey interaction in nature. Or, if you had a competitive interaction with your coworker, identify and describe a competitive interaction in nature.Using the information you reviewed, explain why it is important to recognize these interactions.

Support your statements with appropriate examples and scholarly references.

Using the information that you compiled above, summarize your interactions for the day. Be sure to classify your interactions (parasitic, mutualism, etc.) and that you also determine if the interactions are considered intraspecific or interspecific.

Write your initial response in a minimum of 300–350 words. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.

By Saturday, July 16, 2016 , post your response to the appropriate Discussion Area.

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Assignment 3: Environmental Issues and the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution, which began in the eighteenth century, has had an ongoing influence on society as well as the relationship between humans and their environment. With the onset of industrialization came the drastic increase in urbanization, setting up of factories in places which were once biomes, and the rapid development of land. All this occurred without assessing the long-term impact to the environment. Recognizing the importance of the Industrial Revolution era and the ongoing impact it has had on the environment is essential to learning how to help the environment and correct the damage of that era.

Using the readings for this module, the Argosy University online library resources, and the Internet, complete the following:Identify three of the most environmentally negative impacts of the Industrial Revolution and justify your choices. For example, the invention of the automobile revolutionized travel in a positive manner. However, this invention is causing some of the biggest environmental problems as a result of the extensive use of oil extracted from the earth.Examine how these three negative impacts changed the environment; list the mechanisms through which this happened. For example, factories caused an increase in pollution through the release of toxic waste, which led to diminished and lost fish populations in rivers.Explain the effect of the environmental movement on the process of industrialization in the United States during the 1970s.Identify the laws passed to help ameliorate the environmental issues in the U.S. or around the world related to these three impacts. Have any laws been passed since this movement in the 1970s? If there have been laws implemented, summarize the spirit of the law and comment on the effectiveness of the law.Based on your research, examine whether the state of the environment has become worse or has improved as a result of these laws. Suggest steps to improve the environmental situation.

Support your statements with appropriate examples and scholarly references. Be sure to include an additional page for references.

Write a 4–5-page paper in Word format. Apply APA standards to citation of sources. Use the following file naming convention: LastnameFirstInitial_M1_A3.doc. For example, if your name is John Smith, your document will be named SmithJ_M1_A3.doc.

By Wednesday, July 20, 2016 , deliver your assignment to the M1: Assignment 3 Dropbox.

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Working Ahead

In M4: Assignment 2—Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing, you will evaluate the impact of being a conscientious recycler. You will physically review the recyclables you have collected over one week, and use your research to identify all materials that can be recycled from what you would normally throw away in a week’s time.

To prepare for this assignment, complete the following:Identify the recycling services available in your community.Determine whether your community offers a recycling program, and if so, what types of material they recycle. For example, do they take compost, steel cans, and such other material?Find out how recycling materials need to be separated and the dates and times of recycling pickup in your area. If you do not have recycling in your area, select a nearby community that offers recycling and use their information to guide your assignment.

For Module 4, you will collect items to be recycled and log a journal of these items. Plan to collect the material for recycling in either Module 2 or Module 3 of this course.

As you collect these items, you will need to rinse them in order to deter bugs. Save all your recyclables in a container that is separate from your actual trash. You can use another trash bag or a paper bag. Suggested items to separate and recycle include plastics, paper, cans, glass, aluminum, and other recyclable items.

During the week you collect this data—the recyclables—keep a record of the material you are recycling. This recycling journal needs to be a rough estimate for each day.

Use the Recycling Journal template to keep this record. This journal will be submitted as part of M4: Assignment 2.

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Assignment 1: Discussion—Biomes, Development, Pollution, and You

Each part of the United States has at least one ecological crisis based on location, biome, and industrialization pattern. For example, the Midwest was once a prairie with very fertile soil. However, when people realized that with the right watering and drainage system this area could become productive farmland, there arose ecological problems. The conversion of the prairie to farmland is the root cause of many ecological problems in this region.

Regardless of what biome you consider, humans have likely had an impact on the ecology of that area.

For this assignment, identify the biome in which you live. The following are a few examples of biomes:Tropical rainforests: This biome has high average temperatures, high moisture levels, and high species diversity.Prairies: The prairies have grassland-variable temperatures, variable moisture levels—depending on proximity to mountain ranges—and are mainly dominated by grasses and ungulate herbivores.Deserts: These biomes have hotter average temperatures, low moisture, lower species diversity, and a composition of species limited mainly to those that are adapted to hot temperatures.Temperate forests: The temperate forests have variable temperatures, high moisture levels, and higher species diversity.Taigas: These biomes have colder average temperatures, lower moisture levels, and lower species diversity.Tundras: The tundras have cold average temperatures, low moisture levels, and low species diversity.Coral reefs: These biomes have high average temperatures and high species diversity.Open oceans: These biomes have a wide range of temperatures and species diversity varies.Chaparrals: The chaparrals have higher average temperatures, lower moisture levels, and are dominated mainly by grasses and shrubs.Alpines: These biomes have low average temperatures, low precipitation, and receive high ultraviolet (UV) rays due to high elevation.

Using the readings for this module, the Argosy University online library resources, and the Internet, respond to the following:Explain how humans have impacted the biome in which you live. List the types of environmental damage that have been caused and the species that have been impacted.Describe the major pollution issues for your biome, and elaborate on the sources of this pollution.List any species that have become extinct in this biome.

Support your statements with appropriate examples and scholarly references.

Write your initial response in approximately 300–350 words. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.

By Saturday, July 23, 2016 , post your response to the appropriate Discussion Area.

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Assignment 2: Demographic Transitions

Demographic transition is the process in which a nation transitions from being a less industrialized society, with high birth and death rates, to an industrialized nation, with lower birth and death rates. Many countries have already been through this transition including the United States, England, and Canada.

The demographic transition to an industrialized society is detrimental for the environment because industrialized societies tend to use up nonrenewable resources and give off pollution. Industrialized nations have the largest ecological and carbon footprint relative to developing or nonindustrialized countries. Fortunately, there are some benefits to the process of demographic transition, including lower birth and death rates. Essentially, people in industrialized countries have fewer children and this in turn helps control the overall population size.

Demographic transition involves the following five stages:Stage 1 High birth rate, high death rate, low population size Stage 2

High birth rate, decreasing death rate, increasing population size Stage 3 Decreasing birth rate, decreasing death rate, increasing population size Stage 4 Low birth rate, low death rate, high population size Stage 5 Low birth rate, low death rate, population size decreasing

It should be noted that stage 5 is controversial, and it is sometimes not considered to be a stage. This is partially because so few countries are at this stage.

The following graph depicts the various stages of demographic transition:

Using the stages listed above, create a demographic and environmental timeline for one industrialized country, excluding the United States. The following are a few suggested industrialized nations:CanadaEnglandGermanyRussiaItaly

You can download the Demographic and Environmental Timeline—United States of America to review an example of such a timeline.

Include the following points in your timeline in order to examine the advantages and drawbacks of demographic transition in your selected country:Major historical changes that caused the shift from one stage to another (if available).Changing population size through time (increasing or decreasing).Increase or decrease of birth and death rates through time—particularly when considering the process of industrialization.Environmental impact of this transition.Dates (if available), series of events, and scholarly references for these items.

Support your timeline with appropriate examples and a minimum of three credible resources.

Present your timeline in a media that best displays the information you researched. This can be in Microsoft Word, or Microsoft PowerPoint. Apply APA standards to citation of sources. Use the following file naming convention: LastnameFirstInitial_M2_A2.doc, LastnameFirstInitial_M2_A2.xls, or LastnameFirstInitial_M2_A2.ppt.

By Wednesday, July 27, 2016 , deliver your assignment to the M2: Assignment 2 Dropbox.

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Working ahead

In Module 1, you were informed about M4: Assignment 2—Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing, where you will physically review the recyclables you have collected over one week, and use your research to identify all materials that can be recycled from what you would normally throw away in a week’s time.

In order to prepare for this assignment, you were asked to complete the following:Identify the recycling services available in your community.Determine whether your community offers a recycling program, and if so, what types of material they recycle. For example, do they take compost, steel cans, and such other material?Find out how recycling materials need to be separated and the dates and times of recycling pickup in your area. If you do not have recycling in your area, select a nearby community that offers recycling and use their information to guide your assignment.

In addition, you were asked to select either Module 2 or Module 3 to collect items to be recycled and log a journal of these items.

If you have chosen Module 2 to collect these recyclable items, be sure to rinse them in order to deter bugs. Save all your recyclables in a container that is separate from your actual trash. You can use another trash bag or a paper bag. Suggested items to separate and recycle include plastics, paper, cans, glass, aluminum, and other recyclable items.

As you collect this data—the recyclables—keep a record of the material you are recycling. This recycling journal needs to be a rough estimate for each day.

Use the Recycling Journal template to keep this record. This journal will be submitted as part of M4: Assignment 2.

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Assignment 1: Discussion—Nonrenewable Resources

Today, more than any other time in history, there is growing support to move away from nonrenewable resources towards developing renewable resources to meet current and future energy needs. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable resources that continue to negatively impact the environment. It is important to learn how these resources are formed since this process of formation is at the very heart of why fossil fuels are considered to be nonrenewable.

Using the readings for this module, the Argosy University online library resources, and the Internet, research the nonrenewable resource assigned to you:CoalNatural gasPetroleum (oil)

Note: You are assigned a resource based on the first initial of your last name. Last names beginning with K–R research natural gas.

Respond to the following:Describe how this nonrenewable resource was initially formed.Briefly explain where the major reserves of this nonrenewable resource are located and how it is extracted.Examine the environmental impact caused by the extraction process.Explain how this nonrenewable resource is used to produce energy, and identify the pollution problems that are caused from this energy source.

Support your statements with appropriate examples and scholarly references.

Write your initial response in approximately 350–400 words. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.

By Saturday, July 30, 2016 , post your response to the appropriate Discussion Area.

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Assignment 2: LASA 1: Organisms in Your Biome

In this assignment, you will create a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation that exhibits the different organisms in your current biome.

Include the following in your presentation:Describe Your Own Environment
Consider the natural environment or biome found in the geographic area where you currently live. For example, if you live in the Midwest, the natural biome for this area is the grassland. If you live in Alaska you are likely to live in either the tundra or the boreal forest. Describe the main features of the biome found in your geographic area. Include features such as the environment (moisture, temperature) and any topographic features that would influence the climate (mountains, large bodies of water, etc.).Identify Ten Organisms
Make a list identifying at least ten organisms—at least five plants and five animals—that live in your biome, and describe how these organisms interact with one another. For example, is the relationship competitive or symbiotic?Describe Each Organism and its Environmental Needs
In the speaker notes section in your presentation, briefly describe these ten organisms and the type of conditions—that is, moisture, warm temperatures, or a type of plant—they need in order to survive. Be sure to include the interactions between these organisms and the resources they need to survive. You may wish to use various tools available in Microsoft PowerPoint to visually depict these relationships.Hypothesis of a New Environment
Consider a situation where the temperature of the climate was to increase by an average of ten degrees Celsius. Address the following:How would these organisms survive if the temperature warmed up this much?Would they stay or move to a more suitable environment?Would a new species move in?How would migratory species be impacted?What would happen to your biome?

Now, consider if your biome changes with the temperature shift. Address the following:What types of plants and animals do you think would live there?What will happen to the rarer species? Will they cease to exist?Identify five plants and five animals that you feel would inhabit this warmer area.Describe this new ecosystem and the new interactions that will most likely exist.Additional Topics to Include
How would environmental management practices change in your area?Would this drastic shift in temperature impact culture and society in your area?Would you still choose to live in this area after a drastic shift in temperature? Give reasons to support your answer.

Use pictures from the Internet to represent your chosen species, and give credit to these Web sites. Support your statements with 3–5 credible sources. Use the last slide of your presentation as a reference slide.

Develop a 10–15-slide presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint format. Apply APA standards to citation of sources. Use the following file naming convention: LastnameFirstInitial_M3_A2.ppt.

By Wednesday, August 3, 2016 , deliver your assignment to the M3: Assignment 2 Dropbox.

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Working AheadIn Modules 1 and 2, you were informed about M4: Assignment 2—Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing, where you will physically review the recyclables you have collected over one week, and use your research to identify all materials that can be recycled from what you would normally throw away in a week’s time.

In order to prepare for this assignment, you were asked to complete the following:Identify the recycling services available in your community.Determine whether your community offers a recycling program, and if so, what types of material they recycle. For example, do they take compost, steel cans, and such other material?Find out how recycling materials need to be separated and the dates and times of recycling pickup in your area. If you do not have recycling in your area, select a nearby community that offers recycling and use their information to guide your assignment.

In addition, you were asked to select either Module 2 or Module 3 to collect items to be recycled and log a journal of these items.

If you have not yet collected these recyclable items, be sure to begin in Module 3. Ensure that you rinse the recyclable items in order to deter bugs. Save all your recyclables in a container that is separate from your actual trash. You can use another trash bag or a paper bag. Suggested items to separate and recycle include plastics, paper, cans, glass, aluminum, and other recyclable items.

As you collect this data—the recyclables—keep a record of the material you are recycling. This recycling journal needs to be a rough estimate for each day.

Use the Recycling Journal template to keep this record. This journal will be submitted as part of M4: Assignment 2.

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Assignment 1: Discussion—Renewable Resources

Each type of proposed renewable energy has its benefits and drawbacks. For example, hydropower has the benefit of relatively consistent results; however, it remains controversial due to its impact on aquatic environments.

For this assignment, select one renewable resource to examine its benefits and drawbacks.

Using this module’s readings, the Argosy University online library resources, and the Internet, respond to the following:Describe the sources of this renewable resource.Explain how this renewable resource is harnessed for energy.Considering that it takes energy to make energy, identify the kind of energy needed to make electrical energy from this resource.State the average amount of energy this renewable source produces. For example, on average, how much energy does a single wind turbine produce in a year? Or, how much energy does a dam produce in a year? Or, how many wind turbines would be needed to produce the same amount of energy as the average dam?Compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks of the renewable energy resource.

Support your statements with scholarly references and appropriate examples.

Write your initial response in a minimum of 350–400 words. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.

By Saturday, August 6, 2016 , post your response to the appropriate Discussion Area

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Assignment 2: Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing

In the Working Ahead section in Modules 1, 2, and 3, you were informed to collect items to be recycled and log a journal of these items. You were also instructed to select either Module 2 or Module 3 to collect these items.

Your assignment in this module is to submit your weeklong Recycling Journal, along with an analysis of your recycling efforts and an examination of the recycling process.

Be sure to examine what you have recycled in your chosen week and estimate how many grocery sacks of material you recycled—try to estimate the size. Results showing who recycled the most material will be posted by your facilitator in Module 5.

For this assignment, complete the following:

Part 1

Review your Recycling Journal for the week you selected. Write a report that covers the next two parts of this assignment.

Part 2

Based on what you identified as recyclable in one week and using this data, estimate how much garbage your entire locality or city could prevent sending to the landfill. Include the following:What is the total population of your community? You may use reliable Internet resources to identify this information.If everyone in your community recycled as much trash as you did for one week, how much garbage could your area recycle? To calculate this number, you can use your number and multiply it by the number of people in your community.How much trash could your community save in a year? To calculate this number, multiply the weekly estimate for your community by the number of weeks in a year.Do you think your community recycles enough? How can the US Government place more importance on recycling?

Part 3

Examine the process of recycling. Include the following:Explain how recycled material is reused.Describe what happens to recycled cans, bottles, and newspapers after they go to the recycling bin.Examine the impact you have on creating renewed resources from these recycled items.

Support your statements with appropriate examples and scholarly references.

Write a 4–5-page report in Word format. Submit the report, along with your recycling journal. Apply APA standards to citation of sources. Use the following file naming convention: LastnameFirstInitial_M4_A2.doc.

By Wednesday, August 10, 2016 , submit the report, along with your recycling journal to the M4: Assignment 2 Dropbox.

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Assignment 1: LASA 2: Examining Your Community’s Source of Energy

It is easy to criticize society for not using renewable resources, but in reality, how difficult would this transition be? What processes and procedures would be involved? How would such a transition be made?

The purpose of this assignment is for you to consider what type of energy your neighborhood is currently powered by and what it would really take to convert this source to a renewable one. How much would it take to switch your community to a renewable resource and what would this mean for the environment?

For the assignment, complete the following:Identify three primary types of energy that powers your home as well as all of the homes in your community. You may find this information on your community Web site or the Web sites of the local power companies. For example, your community may use electricity and solar panels.Explain how the sources of energy you identified impact the environment. Consider the following:Does the use of these types of energy resource have a negative impact on the environment in your area?Does your community have nuclear waste to dispose of?Has your community always used these three power sources? If so, how do you feel this has impacted the environment over time?How much of an impact have these sources of energy had on local air and water quality?Considering the current source(s) of power available, determine how much energy your house uses each month. You can find this information on your monthly energy bill.

Calculate your annual usage for a year. Using this value, estimate the energy consumption for your community. The US Census Bureau is one resource you can use to estimate the number of households in your community.

You can use the following formulae for this calculation:

 (monthly energy usage) × (12 months per year) = (household energy usage per year);
(yearly energy estimate for your house) × (estimated number of houses in your community) = (estimated yearly energy use for your community)

The following is an example of the above calculation:

52.8 kilowatt hours (kwh) per month × 12 months = 633.6 kwh;
633.6 kwh × 200 houses in your community = 126,720 kwh Recommend a realistic, renewable resource to power your community, using your calculated power needs. Consider the following sources: hydropower, solar power, wind turbines, and geothermal energy.Which source would be the best for your community?Justify your choice based on the kind of resources that are available, how much power these alternative sources can produce, and your estimated energy demands for the community.Having recommended an alternative power source, conclude by addressing the following:How realistic is this alternative power source for your community?How will people in your community respond to energy conversion? Will they support it or be against it? Give reasons.How expensive would it be to convert to the alternative power source you recommended? How would this new source impact the environment?What organisms would benefit most from this conversion?

Support your statements with appropriate examples and approximately 4–6 credible resources.

Write an 8–10-page paper in Word format. Apply APA standards to citation of sources. Use the following file naming convention: LastnameFirstInitial_M5_A1.doc.

By Monday, August 15, 2016 , deliver your assignment to the M5: Assignment 1 Dropbox.

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Assignment 2: Discussion—Your Carbon Footprint and the Future

A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that each individual produces. Calculating your carbon footprint can give you a new perspective concerning how much you are really contributing to the greenhouse effect.

In this assignment, you will apply what you have learned about taking personal responsibility for your environment and calculate your own carbon footprint.

Using The Nature Conservancy Web site, calculate your carbon footprint. You can calculate this by clicking on the calculator and filling out the estimated values. Access this Web site using the following link:The Nature Conservancy. (2011). Carbon footprint calculator: What’s my carbon footprint? Retrieved from http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/index.htm

Respond to the following:Describe your final carbon footprint.Classify where most of the carbon you generate comes from.Considering all you have learned in this course, state if you feel you have a new appreciation for your role in the environment.Examine how you impact the environment. Do you think you impact the environment more than you should?Describe the part of your life that is contributing the most carbon.Propose how you can reduce this number. In your opinion, explain if it is realistic for you to try and reduce this number.

Write your initial response in approximately 300–350 words. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.

By Sunday, August 14, 2016 , post your response to the appropriate Discussion Area.

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