1. Section three of Chapter one (see 1.3) discusses some of the environmental downsides of affluence, comfort and development. What are some of these downsides? Summarize in your own words.
2. Section three of Chapter one (see 1.3) also discusses China in particular. What has changed about China in the last few decades and how is this impacting the environment?
3. Looking at the Olympic Sports Center in Beijing, China within Google Earth (see the instruction PDF), what evidence do you see of modern development? Why?
4. Search for undeveloped locations along the 4th Ring Road where parks could still be built. What do you see?
(In Google Earth, be sure that the variable labeled ROADS is checked in the layers area. The Ring Roads encircle the city. Zoom out or in until you can see the 4th Ring Road labeled. Zoom back in until you can see the 4th Ring Road closely again, and then use the mouse to travel some around the road. Look for green areas, which designate vegetation / open space.)
5. Besides aIDing green space / areas of no development, what would be some things that China could do to be more sustainable outside of the Olympic area?
(See Figure 1.15 in the textbook and the information about the Olympic area above.)
6. Just for Fun: If you travel about 8 km straight south from the Olympic village, you reach the “ForbiIDen City” where the Chinese emperors had lived for centuries.
(Search for the Olympic Village, Beijing, China. Zoom out and then move directly south (down) until you see a large rectangular, green bordered area. This is the ForbiIDen City area.)
Valley of Yosemite National Park
Chapter 2, Section 3
Chapter 2, Section 3 of the textbook discusses the overall process of science and scientific consensus, the process of scientists solving problems together as teams. Sometimes, discoveries bring about great changes in understandings, paradigm shifts.
Yosemite National Park is well known for many reasons, including the fact that John Muir developed much of his philosophy toward wilderness here. Yosemite is also a place with dramatic glacial features, including flat-bottomed, U-shaped valleys (compare these to the steep, V-shaped valleys in most mountains), and steep cliffs.
1. According to Chapter 2, Section 3, what is the paradigm shift in geology understandings that began with Louis Aggasiz’s work?
2. At Yosemite can you see the flat-bottomed valleys in this area? What is the origin of these valleys? (In the Google Earth search box, enter: Yosemite Valley, CA Then click Search. Move to the right and left to view the flat valleys. Notice the steep rock slopes toward the right and less steep, more vegetated hillsides to the left.)
3. What is the green seen on the flat valley floor, and why are the valley walls not as green?
Just for Fun: For a fun, optional hike, we will use Google Street View instead of Google Earth. Simply go to http://google.com/maps and enter this latitude and longitude in the search box, exactly as shown here, with all decimals, minus signs, commas: 37.743429,-119.593317 (You may copy and paste). Then click the search icon. Once the map opens, zoom in a little. Then drag the tiny little orange person-icon found near the bottom right of the screen and place the person-icon directly onto the red placemarker in the miIDle of the screen. This will open the Google Street View of the location. You can look 360 degrees around as well as up and down by moving your mouse. You can cross the bridge and go on a short hike, right in Yosemite Valley by clicking your mouse. You can see things much better with full screen view; F11 on many computers will do this for you.)
Northwest of Yosemite
Chapter 3, Sections 3 and 5
Chapter 3, section 3 discusses the importance of photosynthesis in capturing the life-sustaining energy of the sun. That energy is later released for use by other living things, using the process of respiration. Section 5 of Chapter 3 describes how these two processes are tied to the carbon cycle. As long as these two processes stay in balance, we are fine. If we interfere with this cycling, though, we can disrupt the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
While Yosemite serves to protect millions of acres of property as a protected environment, just a short distance away, there are significant impacts to the environment taking place.
1. Here we will move northwest of the Yosemite area. (Search for Cottage Springs, CA for this question. Then zoom in as much as you can to examine the patch areas. Then zoom out to view the area overall.) The light colored patches are areas where logging had been done. Logging like this occurs in many locations in the U.S. and Canada to provide timber for lumber and paper use. How many such patches are found in this area?
2. (Zoom way in to closely examine some of the patches). Can you see evidence of replantings in the patches? Do most of the patches show replantings?
3. When zoomed way in, what specific evidences of logging can you see in some of the patches?
4. If large amounts of vegetation are removed from extensive areas, how does this affect the carbon cycle? (See Section 5 of Chapter 3.)
5. Besides logging, what are some other ways that human activities can result in loss of vegetation?