Environmental Science

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(Science, Man, and His Environment)




Introduction

Environmental Science (formerly called Science, Man, and His Environment) is a first year, general education course in environmental science taught at Assumption University of Thailand. These pages contain material to accompany the course and other material of interest to students.

Note that these pages could also be used as an introductory course for environmental science. Some individual sections could also be used in an advanced course.

Course Notes

These contain the lecture notes from Ajahn John Stampe. They also include activities and resources related to those lectures.

What is Environment?

Population

Energy Flow in Ecosystems

Ecology

Biogeochemical Cycles

Biodiversity

Energy

Atmosphere

Air Quality

Global Warming

Water Quantity

Water Quality

Solid Waste

Collection of all the course notes as of August 2014

These two sections are from the former curriculum:

Scientific Method

Matter and Energy

Special Topic Pages

These pages include material, not in the course notes, which cover special topics. Additional topics will be added in the future.

Sustainability and Sustainable Development

Activities

Below are activities given within the course notes above:

Ecology and Observation


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Activity
Purpose:An important part of science is the abililty to observe and take notes.

Objectives: Observe wildlife in order to appreciate ecology and to hone your observation skills.

Preparation: Print this observation form

Activity: Go to either a park or to a wildlife area where there is little outside disturbances (such as cars or people). Then sit quietly and watch an animal (bird, mammal, reptile, or amphiban) for about one to two hours taking notes (using the observation form) of everything you see and hear.

Note:This could be done individually or in groups of two or three.

Hints: You may not see any activity at first, but after a while things will start to appear.



Population


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Activity
Pick a country and look at the population issues of that country. Especially, consider what problems the country has -- each country has different problems. As a start point look at the resources here.




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Activity
Pick a country and go to the population statistics for the UN HERE. Then using the statistics, answer the following questions:
  1. What is the population of the country
  2. Is the population growth rate of the country, high or low?
  3. Based on the data, what is state of the health care in the country? On what do you base this?
  4. Do you expect the population growth rate to increase or decrease. Why?
  5. How does the country compare to the other countries in its region? Its economic group? The world? (hint: go to here to find the UN region and economic group)
  6. What is the predicted population, given the different variants?
  7. In your opinion, what is the most important population issue in the country?



Energy


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Activity
Think about how you use energy:
  1. Write down all of the ways in which you use energy in a normal day
  2. Consider how you could reduce your energy usage
  3. Apply number two to your ordinary life




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Activity
Do an energy audit on your own home/apartment/dorm. See the directions on this page



Air Quality


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Activity
Print this form listing different air pollutants. Then research their effects and fill out the blanks on the form. Be sure to include references



Water Quantity


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Activity
Investigate what drinking water source is used in your home town. Be as specific as possible. What, if any, treatment is done to this water before it reaches your home?



Water Quality


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Read the following articles:

Sanitation Too Often Overlooked in Developing Nations
Nano Tea Bags
Lake Erie

Then answer the following questions:

  1. What role does local government play in sanitation?
  2. In addition to the use of nanofibres in the article, in what other ways can they be used to clean water?
  3. What measures could be done to reduce the sediment and nutrient loads on Lake Erie?
  4. Would any of the solutions mentioned in the articles apply to non-point sources?
  5. The Theme of the 2010 World Water Week is ""The Water Quality Challenge - Prevention, Wise Use and Abatement". List what topics would you include if you could write the agenda for this seminar?



Web Resources

This is a collection of all of the resources listed on the course notes pages. See also the next two sections.



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Web Resources

This is a collection of all of the resources listed on the course notes pages. See also the two sections below.

Thermodynamics - A wikieducator project on this topic

Definition of Science at The Skeptic's Dictionary.

Bad Astronomy - A blog about critical thinking, astronomy, and science.

Population Statistics from UN Population Division

Statistics and Reports from Population Reference Bureau

International Data Base from US Census Bureau

World Population Clock

State of the World's Cities annual report of UN Habitat

Ecogeek - Website with all the recent news about energy especially renewable energy and energy conservation

BP Oil Disaster - An excellent website by the BBC all about the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

The Role of Natural Gas in a Low-Carbon Energy Economy Report by the Worldwatch Institute

World Commission on Dams 2000 Report on effects of large scale dams



Other Resources

Environmental Education - This page is a link to web resources on the environment

Environmental Glossary - A glossary of environmental terms (note it is incomplete).

Miniblog for Science Man students

Ajahn John's blog on the environment (See also individual articles listed in the course notes)

Keeping up with environment news

One very good way to understand environmental issues is to follow the environmental news. There are a number of websites which are dedicated to environmental news (either general or a specific aspect).

RSS Feeds - one good way to keep up with news is to use RSS feeds. For a good description of RSS see the BBC's Feed Page. For reading feeds we recommend Feedly - especially since you can use it from any computer.

Below is some recommended sites.

News Sites

Blogs

Intergovernmental and Non-governmental Organizations