Waterfall Environmental Science, Eighth Edition
Student Resources

Chapter 4: Principles of Ecology: How Ecosystems Work

Controversy over Extinction
In the Point/Counterpoint in Chapter 4, two scientists, David Armstrong and Norman Levine, debate the importance of the extinction of plants and animals. In the text, I asked you to summarize their views and consider which view most closely relates to your view on the subject. To explore the issue further, we invite you to check out the web sites listed below. As you examine each site, be certain to identify who is providing the information and any hidden agendas they might have. The questions posed below will help you evaluate the web sites and clarify your own opinion. Spend a few minutes reviewing them before you start reading the information posted at these sites.Furthering the Exploration: To help you evaluate the Web sites and clarify your own opinion, write down your answers to the following questions. Taking an active part in this exercise will help you prepare for discussions in and out of your class.

1. What new facts, ideas, and viewpoints, if any, did these web sites provide for you? How did they further your understanding of this issue? Be specific.

2. Did your examination and analysis of the material affect your support of one of the two viewpoints presented in the text? If so, explain how and why.

3. After reading the material, can you think of an alternative position other than those taken by the authors? Explain it.

4. Do you think that the information provided by all organizations and individuals at the web sites you visited was reliable and unbiased? How much of the information was scientific? How much was each viewpoint based on ethics?

5. Reread one essay from a group that favors species protection and one from a group that is less inclined to argue in favor of their protection. Underline key words or phrases used to stir the emotions of the reader. What other techniques are used to increase the emotional appeal of each viewpoint.

6. Much of the debate over saving endangered species centers on ways to do it, not the validity of it. The Endangered Species Act is one tool, but is criticized by supporters and opponents alike. From your readings what are the various proposals regarding the Endangered Species Act? What are the goals of each proposal?
Defenders of Wildlife
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. We focus our programs on what scientists consider two of the most serious environmental threats to the planet: the accelerating rate of extinction of species and the associated loss of biological diversity, and habitat alteration and destruction." This link will take you to the Defenders of Wildlife's policy page where you can read experts' testimony about the Endangered Species Act.
World Resource Institute
The World Resources Institute is an independent center for policy research and technical assistance on global environmental and development issues. The mission of World Resources Institute (WRI) is to move human society to live in ways that protect the Earth's environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. This link goes directly to a summary of the WRI report, "The United States Needs a National Biodiversity Policy."
The National Center for Public Policy Research
This site addresses both sides of the issue. The link goes directly to a summary of a roundtable held at Stanford titled Who Lives, Who Dies: Technological Advances and Ethical Choices
The Society of American Foresters
The Society of American Foresters is the national organization that represents all segments of the forestry profession in the United States. This link goes directly to the SAF's position paper titled "Reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act."

View Point/Counterpoints for All Chapters

View eLearning for All Chapters

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