Nonprofit journalism dedicated to creating a Human Age we actually want to live in.

Classroom Resources: Are We Putting Tigers in Our Tanks?

By Staff
January-March 2007 (Vol. 8, No. 1)

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Discussion Questions

  1. How might biofuel production (biodiesel, ethanol and the like)—even though it replaces dependence on fossil fuels—end up as a negatively influencing biodiversity?
  2. What is meant by “humanity’s footprint”? Have you ever assessed your own ecological footprint? How many square feet is your house? How much do you drive every day? How far away from where you live is the food you eat grown?
  3. How does this article illuminate the tension between sustainability goals (i.e., energy conservation) and conservation of biological diversity?
  4. The U.S. Department of Energy website below assesses environmental costs and benefits of biofuels but does not mention risks to biodiversity—why?

Websites for Further Information

  • The Global Human Footprint
  • Ecological Footprint Quiz:

Biofuels and Conservation in the News

Peer-reviewed Literature

  • Anderson GQA and Fergusson MJ. 2006. Energy from biomass in the UK: sources, processes and biodiversity implications Ibis 148 (1): 180-183.
  • Huston MA and Marland G. 2003. Carbon management and biodiversity. Journal of Environmental Management 67: 77-86.

Key Concepts

  • Sustainability
  • Land Use
  • Deforestation
  • Primary productivity
  • Greenhouse effect
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