What are they?
A quick-reference, bulleted page that introduces a user to:
1) the cause-and-effect mechanisms of a given environmental issue or problem,
2) some selected interventions, noting disadvantages,
3) at least one action that an individual can take to help alleviate the problem, and
4) sources used in creating the EIT
How do I develop one?
Sources of Information: In most cases you will be able to find the necessary information in your textbook. For some, you will need additional information from your course notes. You also may want to find information on the Web. ThatŐs fine, just be sure you are using a reliable site. (You should know how to assess the creditability of a source by now). Of course, you may consult any other reliable sources that you choose to.
Identifying Causes: Here you need to pay attention to ultimate (root) causes, as well as proximate (immediate) ones. For example, one immediate cause of acid rain is the release of primary air pollutants SO2 and SO3,but these pollutants are released partly because of the demand (Malthusian and neomathusian) for electricity and the ease of burning coal to produce it.
Before you list a cause, be sure that you recognize the difference between a cause and its effect and that you understand how the cause results in an effect. For example, as a secondary pollutant in photochemical smogs, ozone (O3 ) is an oxidative chemical that contributes to respiratory disease. However, as a component of the stratosphere, it is an essential molecule that helps shield us from ultraviolet radiation.
Not all immediate causes are pollutants. For example, consider some of the immediate causes of famine.
Recognize that most problems have multiple causes and usually multiple effects.
Identifying Interventions: Supply at least three good interventions. Best place to start is the text, but donŐt restrict yourself to what your author lists. As you learn more and more about various problems and especially about ways of engaging in conservation of resources, you should be able to add interventions on your own (e.g., use of more public transit to reduce automobile emissions reduces air pollutants involved in global warming, acid rain, smog, etc.).
Be sure you understand where in the chain of cause-and-effect events the intervention is aimed. Otherwise, you may list something that really doesnŐt ŇfitÓ with your problem or issue. Every intervention has some disadvantages associated with it. List at least one disadvantage for each intervention.
Individual Actions: Think of at least one plausible action that you could take as an individual to help lessen the problem or resolve the issue. You can take the action from a source or you can dream it up yourself. Be creative! But be reasonable. For example, not driving your car one day a week is something many people might find reasonable and would help reduce air pollution (if lots of drivers did so). However, passing a law forbidding the use of cars is not likely to resonate with very many folk, and it could cause lots of other problems, at least in the short run.
see example EIT on back
Use the following example as a guide to both format and content. Note that sources of information are cited in the EIT and properly referenced in the ŇSources Cited.Ó
General Nature of the Issue (2 pts)
Pesticide use helps control spread of insect-borne diseases and helps increase total world food production. Improper use often kills beneficial and other non-target organisms, increases rates of pesticide resistance in pests, contributes to problems of biomagnification, and has direct adverse effects on human health.
Causes and Effects (Miller 2004:401-402, except where otherwise indicated) (5 pts)
Interventions (Miller 2004:404-406, except where otherwise indicated) (5 pts)
Individual Action (1 pt)
Sources Cited (2 pts)
Miller GT. 2004. Environmental science: working with the earth, 10th edition. Pacific Grove, (CA): Brooks/Cole-Thomson Learning. 538 pp.
Natural Resources Defense Council. 2000 Jun 6. Organophosphate and carbamate insecticides. <http://www.nrdc.org/health/pesticides/forgano.asp>. Accessed 2003 Oct 23.
North Star Chapter of Sierra Club. 2003. Stop pesticide overuse. <http://northstar.sierraclubaction.org/showalert.asp?aaid=117>. Accessed 2003 Oct 23.
EIT#1—Accelerated Erosion EIT#5—Global Warming
EIT#2—Cultural Eutrophication EIT#6—Endangered Species
EIT#3—Acid Rain EIT#7—Tropical Rainforest Deforestation
EIT#4—Ozone Depletion EIT#8—Coral Reef Crises
last modified 17 January 2006