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Essay Assignments for Unit 5, Environmental Problems
Write on one of the following topics:
A) Given that China's energy demands between now and 2035 are expected to almost double, and given that you have read about all sorts of reasons why China should not develop coal, nuclear, or hydroelectric power any further, and since solar and wind energy, even at the unexpectedly high rates of recent growth, don't promise to be able to fill all these enormous demands any time soon, what should Chinese leaders do about energy? Where can they conserve, and where conservation is impossible or impractical, what sources should they develop and why? How do you compare the negative environmental effects of the different forms of energy? Then come up with a concrete plan, not just a discussion of the pros and (mostly) cons of various strategies.
B) Your readings on pollution present in grim statistical detail the human health and economic costs of water, indoor air, and outdoor air pollution. Put yourself in the position of an official at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and draft a 1500-2000 word report to the State Council on pollution control priorities for the next 10 years. What are the most pressing problems, and what measures would you recommend taking to alleviate them? Keep in mind not only the physical and health costs of the problems themselves, but also the power structures that will have to implement them and the public discourses about environment and development.
C) The Blame Game, domestic version: Following on our class readings and discussions for May 26, as well as Hathaway's Environmental Winds, analyze the blame game for grassland destruction, deforestation, and species loss in contemporary China. Who blames whom and why, and where would you place the blame for these aspects of environmental degradation?