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29 terms

Chapter 1 - Understanding Our Environment

Cunningham & Cunningham
STUDY
PLAY
environment
the natural world and the "built" or technological, social and cultural world
environmental science
the systematic study of our environment and our place in it
challenges in environmental studies (7)
climate change, hunger, clean water, energy resources, air quality, biodiversity loss and marine resources
signs of hope in environmental studies (6)
population and pollution, health, renewable energy, information and education, conservation of forests and nature preserves and the protection of marine resources
sustainable development
meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
indigenous people
the least powerful, most neglected group of people in the world; natives
science
a process for producing empirical knowledge by observing natural phenomena
reproducibility
scientists demand for this because they are cautious about accepting conclusions; making an observation or obtaining a result just once doesn't count for much
replication
repeating studies or tests
deductive reasoning
logical reasoning from general to specific
inductive reasoning
reasoning from many observations to produce a general rule
hypothesis
a testable explanation: "the flashlight doesn't work because the batteries are dead"
scientific theory
when an explanation has been supported by a large number of tests and when a majority of experts have reached a general consensus that it is a reliable description or explanation
probability
a measure of how likely something is to occur; estimates are based on a set of previous observations or on standard statistical measures (what is likely to happen)
natural experiment
an experiment that involves observation of events that have already happened
manipulative experiment
an experiment in which conditions are deliberately altered, and all other variables are held constant
controlled study
comparison of an exposed treatment group and an unexposed control group
blind experiment
an experiment in which the researcher doesn't know which group is treated until after the data have been analyzed (avoids bias)
double-blind experiment
neither the subject (who receives a drug or a placebo) nor the researcher knows who is in the treatment group and who is in the control group
dependent variable
affected by the independent variable (response variable found on the Y axis)
independent
variables that are rarely really independent, may be affected by the same environmental conditions as the dependent variable (explanatory variables)
scientific consensus
general agreement among informed scholars
paradigm shifts
great changes in explanatory frameworks; term coined by Thomas Kuhn
critical thinking
the logical, orderly, analytical assessment of ideas, evidence and arguments
different types of thinking
analytical (how can I break down this problem?), creative (how can I approach this problem in an inventive way?), logical (does my argument make sense?) and reflective (what does it all mean?)
utilitarian conservation
policy that forests should be saved "not because they are beautiful or because they shelter wild creatures of the wilderness, but only to provide homes and jobs for people"
preservation
emphasizes the fundamental right of other organisms - and nature as a whole - to exist and to pursue their own interests
modern environmentalism
new wave of concerns extended to include both natural resources and environmental pollution
sustainable development
the idea that economic improvement for the world's poorest populations is possible without devastating the environment (ideas was well known after the Earth Summit in 1992)