AP Environmental Science

Summer Assignment 2010-2011
AP Environmental Science ( APES)
General Information:
What is Environmental Science?
Although there is not one definition, the following definition is one most
environmental scientists would agree upon:
 Environmental science is the study of the natural sciences in an
interdisciplinary context that always includes consideration of people and how
they have influenced the systems under examination. It includes many aspects
of biology, earth, and atmospheric sciences, fundamental principles of
chemistry and physics, human population dynamics, and appreciation for
biological and natural resources.
The purpose of APES is to promote the development of citizens who can make
informed, knowledgeable decisions concerning environmental issues.
The goal of APES is to provide you with scientific principles and concepts
required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world. It should
help you to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and
human-made and aid you in assessing the risks associated with these problems
and evaluating alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them.
(Hopefully, not just while you are taking this course, but for your entire
As with any college-level course, a tremendous amount of material must be
covered in a limited amount of time. The course is rigorous and very
challenging. You must have motivation, creativity, and a good work ethic.
Because it is designed to be a course in environmental science rather than
environmental studies, the APES course must include a strong laboratory and
field investigation component. The goal of this component is to complement the
classroom portion of the course by allowing you to learn about the environment
through firsthand observation.
Summer Assignment
Study Guides: complete the study guides provided. We will spend very little time
reviewing these chapters in class, as it is basically an introduction. Be prepared to
hand in your study guide materials on the FIRST day of school.
Should you have any questions my email is [email protected]
Have a great summer and “THINK GREEN”
Study Guide Chapters 1&2
AP Environmental Science
Please answer the questions neatly on this page to be handed in on the first day of school,
it will be graded and handed back to you to use as a study sheet for the test.
The following website is a companion to Chapter 1 of your textbook (which you will
receive at the beginning of the school year) and should be helpful. Also use the internet
to search for answers.
(type in as a continuous address—navigate within the “Chapter Resources” links on the
left, especially the glossary, for help)
1. Exponential growth
2. Sustainability
3. Sustainable Society
4. Resource
5. Renewable resource
6. GNP
7. Pollutant
8. Rule of 70
9. Biodiversity
10. Ecological footprint
11. Developed country
12. Developing country
13. Earth capital
14. Environmental degradation
Short Answer:
1. Sketch a graph that would show an example of exponential growth. Linear growth.
2. What is the “Rule of 70”? If an area has a population of 1 million people and is
increasing at a rate of 2.4% per year, how many years will it take for that population
to reach 2 million people? To reach 4 million? (show your work!)
3. What are some differences between developing and developed countries?
4. Describe the tragedy of commons. List one example of this problem that is happening
in recent times. List three approaches that might lessen the problem.
5. Do you think the world is overpopulated? The USA? New Jersey? Explain? Can human
population be controlled? Should it be?
6. Distinguish between renewable, potentially renewable and non renewable resources. Do
you think the world will run out of renewable resources? Non renewable resources?
7. Do you and your family live sustainably? What could you do to move toward a more
sustainable lifestyle?
8. Give examples of point and non point sources of pollution, degradable, biodegradable,
slowly degradable and nondegradable pollutants. Give one example of each.
9. Why is continued dependence on fossil fuels as an energy source regarded as
unsustainable? What are the alternatives?
10. What do you believe is the top environmental issue that needs to be focused on?
What is the current estimate of the world population? Using past population figures, is
human population growing exponentially? What has happened to the length of doubling
time over the course of human history? What are some contributing factors?
You will be required to use math frequently in this course. This problem does not
necessarily relate to chapter 1 (you do not need any outside sources to complete these
problems), but are just a sample of the type of math problems you will be doing this year.
Note: calculators may not be used during the AP exam or during unit tests for this
Show your work (set up and units)!!! No work=no credit
West Freemont is a community of 3,000 homes. A small coal burning power plant
currently supplies electricity for the town. The capacity of the power plant is 12
megawatts(MW) and the average household consumes 8000kilowatt hours (kWh) of
electrical energy each year. The price paid to the electric utility by the residents is
$0.10 per kWh. The town leaders are considering a plan, the West Fremont Wind
Project(WFWP) , to generate their own electricity using 10 wind turbines that would be
located on the edge of town. Each turbine would have a capacity of 1.2 MW and each
would cost $3 million to purchase and operate for 25 years.
A. Assuming that existing power plant can operate at full capacity for 8000hrs/year,
how many kWh of electricity can be produced by the plant in a year?
B. At the current rate of electrical energy use per household, how many kWh or
electrical energy does the community consume in one year?
C. Compare your answers in a and b and explain why you would or would not expect
the numbers to be the same.
D. Assuming the electrical energy needs of the community do not change during the
25 year period, what would be the cost tot the community of electricity supplied
by the WFWP over 25 years? Express answer in dollars/kWh.
E. Identify and explain two environmental benefits to switching from coal to wind and
two environmental costs to switching from coal to wind.