Posted: November 16th, 2021
Throughout, be sure to answer the questions thoroughly, but only the questions
All answers should be 1 to 2 pages each, typed and double spaced, using 12-point font size.
Write only in complete sentences, and use
formal English throughout. The quality of your spelling, grammar and English usage is an
indicator of the time and effort that you have put into this assignment, and will be reflected in
Answer FOUR out of the following five questions in paragraph form, 1 to 2 pages each (double space)
The United States’ efforts to combat air and water pollution began in earnest in the 1960s and early 1970s. In essay form, describe the Donora, PA air-pollution crisis (1948). Briefly identify and describe the Clean Air Act (1970, with later amendments). Using insights from the movie Erin Brockovich (1988, centering on water pollution), describe the complexities facing plaintiffs seeking to win a class-action “toxic tort” lawsuit against polluting corporations. Discuss.
Toxic waste is an American and worldwide problem. Describe and explain the Love Canal crisis (late 1970s) in Niagara Falls, NY. In so doing, describe the evolution of the narrative surrounding this environmental case from favoring unrestrained economic development to favoring prevention and amelioration of public-health hazards. Discuss.
The one-time Rocky Flats defense installation near Denver, Colorado has been the focus of recurring episodes of nuclear (radioactive) contamination of air and water. Describe the evolution of narrative from Rocky Flats being a mandatorily secrecy-shrouded the linchpin in US national defense during the Cold War era, to a public-health hazard due to radiation exposure, and the circumstances behind this shift (including the fires of 1957 and 1969). Discuss.
Snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming) began in 1963, and has been the focus of conflict between environmentalists on one side, and snowmobiling enthusiasts and pro-business advocates on the other side. Describe this political conflict, focusing on environmentalists’ claims about air and noise pollution and ecosystem disruption, versus pro-business and snowmobiling advocates’ claims about snowmobiling contributing to the local economy (hotels/motels, restaurants, bars, etc.). Discuss.
Sometimes, environmental crises have taken the form of “commons problems.” In essay form, describe and explain the “tragedy of the commons” phenomenon first described by Garrett Hardin (1968). Next, describe and explain the New England fisheries crisis (the 1990s to today), including how it represents a commons problem. Comment on the “Ludwig’s ratchet” model that has been argued to propel the New England fisheries crisis across approximately the past 25 years. Discuss
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