Environmental Science Essay


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GG 354OC Final Paper (20%)
The assignment will be marked out of 28 based on the below criteria:
Level 4
(4 marks)
• Effectively identifies an appropriate issue
(16 marks)

(4 marks)

(4 marks)

Provides appropriate background and reference material to
justify choice
Identifies the related biophysical, socio-economic and
political concerns as appropriate
Provides commentary on how different stakeholders may
perceive the issue
Clearly identifies the implications for regional management
and development
Provides commentary on whether actions can be taken to
improve the outlook for the North and whether additional
research is needed
Organized with good flow and easy for the reader to see
connections between ideas, research and course materials
Presents findings clearly, logically and with sufficient
Student’s own thoughts/connections are clear
Uses figures and tables where appropriate
Report submitted as directed, correct format
References (minimum 3 peer reviewed) adhere to consistent
format with all important information included
Report is written in scientific style: clear and to the point
Grammar and spelling are correct
Level 3
Meets most
for Level 4
Level 2
Meets some
for Level 4
Level 1
Meets few to
for Level 4
Meets most
Meets some Meets few to
requirements requirements no
for Level 4
for Level 4
for Level 4
Meets most
Meets some Meets few to
requirements requirements no
for Level 4
for Level 4
for Level 4
Meets most
Meets some Meets few to
requirements requirements no
for Level 4
for Level 4
for Level 4
GG 354OC Final Paper – Top Issue Facing the Canadian North (20%)
As discussed throughout this course, the Canadian North is facing many issues. Your final
assignment is to integrate course material and present a short argument (~3 pages of text
double spaced, not including tables, figures or references) on what you think is the most
important issue the North will face going forward.
This paper is a final summative project and should integrate ideas and concepts you have
learned throughout the whole course. You will need to conduct additional research on your
own on the topic. There is no one correct answer. Please see MyLearningSpace for the rubric
for how marks will be earned
Questions your paper should address include:
• Why do you think this is the top issue facing the North?
• What are the related biophysical, socio-economic and political concerns?
• How would different northern stakeholders perceive these issues?
• What are the implications for regional management and development?
• Are there actions that can be taken to improve the outlook for the North?
• What future research is needed?
This paper is due by Sunday April 10 at 11:59pm through the dropbox on MyLearningSpace.
Please see the rubric for how marks will be earned.
Module Five
Lesson 12: Northern Strategy and Conclusions
Final Thoughts
In this final lesson, you will consider the diversity and variety of material that has been
presented and draw some conclusions to your studies. To do this we will consider a series of
questions. These will help guide you to synthesizing the modules we have studied. The final
chapter in your text sets up this form of investigation and we will expand on that
Lesson 12: Northern Strategy and Conclusions
Future Concerns
In an earlier edition of your text, Bone raised three questions regarding the future of the
North. These included:
Can the resource economy support the northern labour force?
How can government ensure that the resource industry limits its impact on the
Is there a place for Aboriginal peoples in the resource economy?
Northern Strategy
These questions touch on many of the themes we have examined throughout the course. In
general, this addresses the sustainability of the Northern economic systems, impacts on the
environment and social and governance issues within the aboriginal community. They also
capture the main themes of recent attempts by the federal government to establish
a Northern Strategy. These are broken down into four categories

Exercising our Arctic sovereignty
Protecting our environmental heritage
Promoting social and economic development
Improving and devolving Northern governance
Lesson 12: Northern Strategy and Conclusions
Climate Change
There has been a great deal of discussion regarding the reality of climate change. Longterm changes have been documented by many sources but the main debate is whether
these changes are from natural fluxes or are they human-induced or a combination of the
two? In this section we will consider the patterns of climate change and the causes; the
effects this will have on the environment of the North; and what measures are being taken
to reduce these impacts.
Bone provides a short introduction to this subject in chapter two (page 29). We will expand
on this by considering several areas of the North that could possibly be impacted from
climate change. Of all regions of Canada there is greatest concern for the impact of climate
change on the North. Already we are seeing images of Polar Bears struggling with declining
ice flows and vessels traveling through unfrozen waters of the Northwest passage. From the
text and the following links consider the main patterns of climate change. What patterns
have we developed and what are the causes.
Predictions and Warnings
Since global warming could affect many natural processes it is difficult to understand the
complex results. Most predictions are based on changes to CO 2 levels such as a doubling of
output. For more in-depth discussion of the global warming in the Arctic read and watch the
material on the following links from CBC.
The Arctic: First and Worst
Climate Change Threatens Polar Bears
Global Meltdown May Clear the Passage
The national atlas has produced several maps that suggest how different climatic variables
might be altered. Link to this map from the Atlas of Canada to gain an understanding of
how summer temperatures will change across Canada over the next several decades.
How does the North compare to the rest of the country? What are the implications of this?
Now link to this map of the projected changes to annual precipitation. Again how will the
North be affected and what are the implications of this?
In general, the following is a list of possible changes that may occur to the land and society
following an increase in global temperatures.
There is much speculation and emerging science on what the potential impacts will be with
increased global warming. Some of the impacts are identified below but work through the
map to expand on these and add new ones to the list.
General ecosystems such as the prairies and boreal forest may see a migration in their
boundaries, likely to the north. It could also lead to large disruptions to sensitive
ecosystems such as the peatlands of central and northern Canada (consider the map of
peatland sensitivity from the National Atlas) With this shift there could be changes in
biodiversity and possible species extinctions.
Some areas may see an increase or decrease in productivity depending on temperature and
precipitation fluctuations. There could also be an increase in drought and wildfire. Use
the link to this map of Canadian forest fire severity in 2050 based on climate change
scenarios. You can understand this hazard by comparing the severity levels from the 1980s.
Similarly there could be increased crown dieback and more forest pests feeding on the
trees. All of these could lead to decreased productivity in the forest sector.
Sea-Level Rise
It is estimated that global warming will lead to the melting of polar ice which in turn will
lead to an increase in global water levels. This could be as great as a 1-11 cm/decade rise.
This will become a major hazard for coastal communities and will make these areas more
susceptible to natural hazards and weaken their infrastructure to cope with disasters.
Use this map to view a map of the potential hazard areas of Canada following sea-level rise.
How will the North be affected?
Northern Sovereignty
Another issue that has been linked to global warming is the threat to our sovereignty to
Arctic waters. Read through the articles at the following links and discuss the points of
concern involved in the sovereignty issue.
Canada and the Arctic: the Issue of Northern Sovereignty
Inuit View on Canada’s Arctic Sovereignty
Lesson 12: Northern Strategy and Conclusions
Regional Geography and the North
We introduced the concept of a regional geography in the first lesson and discussed the
difficulties in applying this concept. After having worked through the course material I would
like you to come back to this concept.
Regional Geography
Should we consider the North as a separate region of Canada – is it really a region?
Do you agree with the general division of the North into two divisions: the Arctic and the
Prepare an alternative division of northern regions and at least three arguments for a
different perception of northern regions.
The North
Have you changed your view of the North from the beginning of the course? How has your
perception changed?

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environmental science



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