Saturday, August 29, 2009

Part I: Where We Are (Chapter 1)

1. In your own words, briefly describe what Friedman means by saying that the world is becoming "Hot, Flat, and Crowded," and what he asserts the role of the United States should be in dealing with these problems.

2. Speculate, based on your current understanding of the APES course and current environmental problems, as to why I chose this book for us to read for the course (what is the relevance?)

Part I: Where We Are (chapter 2)

You probably didn't need to read this book to know that the world is becoming "hot, flat, and crowded." Friedman's point in writing this book has to do with the convergence of these three factors at this point in time.

Briefly explain how these three factors (hot, flat, and crowded) are interconnected - what are the relationships among them?

Ch. 3: Too Many Americans?

The authors of your textbook, Botkin and Keller, posit that the increasing size of the human population is the fundamental cause of all environmental problems. However, in Chapter 3 of Hot, Flat, and Crowded, Friedman provides an elaborate explanation of what happens “when flat meets crowded,” and in so doing, illustrates that our impacts on environmental resources has to do with more than just our sheer population size.

1. Explain Friedman’s statement that there are increasingly “too many Americans.” Can you think of any of your own examples of this basic phenomenon (if not, just incorporate one of Freidman’s examples into your explanation)? Be sure that you make the link to environmental issues clear in you answer.
2. What barriers exist to solving this problem (of “too many Americans”)? If you were the Ruler of the Universe, how would you solve it?

This issue of affluenza on a global scale is tremendously important to understand. It also illustrates that environmental problems can’t be addressed by science alone; solving them requires a consideration of many social, political, economic, and moral issues as well.