What Everyone Needs to Know®
Table of Contents
1 Environmental Protection: An Introduction
What is the environment?
What is environmental protection?
Why does the environment need protection?
How did protecting the environment become a societal concern?
What is the Environmental Protection Agency?
Do most countries have environmental agencies similar to the EPA?
What values drive environmental policy?
Why is environmental protection so hard to achieve?
What does the idea of unintended consequences have to do with environmental protection?
What is sustainability?
What is pollution?
What are pollutants?
What are persistent organic pollutants?
What are endocrine disruptors?
What are bioaccumulation and biomagnification?
How do we know what a safe level of pollution is?
What is noise pollution?
What is light pollution?
What is nanopollution?
What is the precautionary principle?
What are the most dangerous pollutants?
3 Environmental Laws
What is environmental law in the United States?
What does the US Constitution say about protecting the environment?
Why did Congress enact environmental laws?
What are the most important United States environmental laws?
What is the National Environmental Policy Act?
Do environmental laws protect Native American lands and populations?
Is United States environmental law out of date?
What are the environmental laws of other countries?
4 Environmental Protection and the Global Community
Is protecting the environment a global concern?
Is there international environmental law?
What is the role of the United Nations in global environmental protection?
What are the main obstacles to achieving global environmental agreements?
Should developing countries be asked to help solve environmental problems?
What is the connection between international trade and the environment?
Which countries are best at protecting the environment?
Is the United States a global leader in environmental protection?
Why is water important?
What is a watershed?
What is groundwater?
What are aquifers?
What is water pollution?
Why is water pollution a problem?
What are the main kinds of water pollutants?
How can nutrients cause water pollution?
What are algal blooms?
How do excess nutrients get into the aquatic environment?
What are pathogens?
Why are sediments water pollutants?
Which chemicals are the most harmful water pollutants?
What are contaminants of emerging concern?
Are plastics in water a serious problem?
Why is heat a water pollutant?
How does noise cause water pollution?
What are other main sources of water pollution?
Is sewage treated before it gets into water?
What is stormwater pollution?
Which industries pollute the water most?
Why are oil spills so bad?
What was the BP Deepwater Horizons oil spill?
How is it possible for cars to pollute water?
What kinds of pollutants go down the drain?
How is water pollution controlled in the United States?
How is water pollution controlled in other countries?
What are wetlands?
What are regulated wetlands?
Why are wetlands important?
Do wetlands contribute to disease?
Are wetlands disappearing?
How can we protect wetlands?
How is drinking water protected?
Is water becoming scarce?
How can water quality be further improved?
Why is clean air important?
What is air pollution?
Why is air pollution a problem?
Why are children especially vulnerable to air pollution?
What are the major air pollutants?
What is ozone?
What are volatile organic compounds?
Why is ground-level ozone harmful?
What is the ozone hole?
What is particulate matter?
Why is particulate matter harmful?
What is asthma, and what does it have to do with air pollution?
What is smog?
What is a temperature inversion?
Why is carbon monoxide a major air pollutant?
Why are nitrogen oxides major air pollutants?
Why is sulfur dioxide a major air pollutant?
What is acid rain?
Is lead too heavy to be an air pollutant?
What are the toxic air pollutants?
What is indoor air pollution?
What are the main sources of air pollution?
What are fossil fuels, and why are they so harmful?
What are mobile sources of air pollution?
What are stationary sources of air pollution?
What are fugitive emissions?
How is air pollution controlled in the United States?
How much has the Clean Air Act helped reduce air pollution?
What are other countries doing to control air pollution?
How polluted is the air outside?
How can air quality be further improved?
What is an ecosystem?
What do ecosystems do for us?
What is biodiversity?
What is a species?
How many species live on Earth?
How fast is the planet losing species?
Why should we be concerned about species loss?
If there are millions of species, can the planet spare some of them?
Why is the spotted owl so controversial?
What is the Endangered Species Act?
How many species are endangered?
What are invasive species?
Why is genetic diversity important?
Is agriculture a clean, even How is pollution from large-scale animal farms in the United States controlled?
Is soil an ecosystem?
Why is ecosystem diversity important?
How are ecosystems protected?
What is the relationship between sustainability and ecosystems?
Is biodiversity loss as important as other environmental problems?
8 Climate Change
What is climate change?
Are weather and climate the same?
Are climate change and global warming the same?
What is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?
How do we know that the earth is getting warmer?
Are humans really the main cause of climate change?
Why is climate change such a big problem?
What is the greenhouse effect?
What are greenhouse gases?
What is climate change feedback?
What do trees have to do with climate change?
What is a carbon footprint?
What are climate change deniers thinking?
Is it too late to reverse climate change?
What is climate change adaptation?
What is climate change mitigation?
Why is energy efficiency an important climate change mitigation tool?
What are renewables?
Is nuclear power a viable mitigation option?
Is hydrofracking part of the solution?
What is carbon capture and sequestration?
What is geoengineering?
How does a tax on carbon mitigate climate change?
Are there laws that address climate change?
What is the Kyoto Protocol?
What is the Paris Climate Change Conference?
What is climate justice?
What does climate have to do with world peace?
What is waste?
Why is solid waste a problem?
What do Americans discard?
Where does garbage go?
What is the difference between an open dump and a landfill?
How is waste controlled in the United States?
What are household hazardous wastes?
What about abandoned hazardous waste sites?
What is Superfund?
How hard is it to clean up groundwater?
What are brownfields?
How is waste controlled in other countries?
What more can be done to reduce waste?
Why is recycling so important?
Is it possible to eliminate waste altogether?
10 The Built Environment
What is the built environment?
What does the built environment have to do with environmental protection?
What is smart growth?
What is wrong with NIMBY?
What special environmental challenges do cities present?
Can landowners do anything they want on their property?
Is there anything a landowner in the United States cannot do?
How do public lands help protect the environment?
11 Environmental Justice
How is justice a part of environmental protection?
What is an environmental justice concern?
What is an environmental justice population?
How is environmental justice defined?
What is the environmental justice movement?
How is environmental justice promoted in the United States?
What are the main barriers to achieving environmental justice in the United States?
What more can be done to achieve environmental justice?
12 Environmental Protection and the Economy
Are environmental protection and economic growth compatible?
How accurate is the gross domestic product as an economic measurement tool?
What is an externality?
What is cost benefit analysis and why is it difficult to apply?
Does environmental regulation kill jobs?
Can environmental regulation be good for business?
What economic tools can be used to protect the environment?
What are subsidies and how do they work in the environmental context?
What is cap and trade?
What does market disclosure have to do with environmental protection?
What economic steps to protect the environment are most promising?
13 The Future
What are the greatest threats to the environment today?
Why is climate change one of the greatest environmental threats?
How serious is the future climate change threat?
Why is biodiversity loss such a great threat?
Are the oceans really dying?
Why are new pollutants such a great threat?
What does population growth have to do with environmental protection?
How is poverty connected to environmental protection?
What solutions are most promising?
Does individual action matter?
What is the prognosis for future generations?