1. As Washington state residents we receive 73% of our electricity from hydropower sources. We lead the nation in hydroelectric power generation. Many dam proponents tout hydropower as a source of clean sustainable energy, others argue that although hydropower generation does not foul the air like coal-fired power plants, it does have other environmental impacts.

Do a web/library search for information about the environmental benefits and impacts of dams. After you have gathered information from at least 2 respectable sources take a position either for or against hydroelectricity. Review chapter 18 to learn about how dams affect river form and function. Do dams provide other services besides electricity? Is electricity from hydropower a renewable resource?

This is a hot topic in Washington! Try some web searches on the Elwha River to learn about a large dam on the Olympic Peninsula that was recently removed.

2. Chapters 23 discusses the environmental and practical problems with fossil fuels. The chapter also briefly presents a few alternatives to an oil-based economy.  Over the past 10 years there has been considerable research aimed at producing a viable alternative to oil. And recently, the Bush administration – for years unwaveringly loyal to the oil lobby – has begun to increase funding for alternative fuel research, especially biofuels.  But are biofuels the best alternative?

Do a web/library search for information about the pros and cons of biofuels versus oil.  What are the economic costs associated with each?  What are the environmental costs?  Are there any other fuels which seem like a more viable alternative?

Be sure to find at least 2 respectable sources of information. I have included some interesting articles in the course materials for this week, but please find more sources of information.  There is a lot out there!

CHoose one of the 2


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