EM SC 240N
Energy and Sustainability in Contemporary Culture

Lesson 3: Critical Thinking and Specific Sustainability Issues



The material covered in this lesson applies a lot of the concepts introduced in Lessons 1 and 2 to specific issues related to sustainability. We could spend a whole semester on just this content, so the focus has been reduced to three areas of consideration: climate change, freshwater availability, and biodiversity. In addition, the beginning of the lesson provides some insight into critical analysis, and how to investigate the credibility of sources of information, a key concern in critical analysis.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • utilize characteristics of critical thinking;
  • analyze the credibility of information sources;
  • identify characteristics of the Anthropocene;
  • explain how the greenhouse effect increases the average surface temperature of the earth;
  • identify evidence for anthropogenic climate change;
  • analyze equity impacts of sustainability considerations, such as climate change and water scarcity;
  • identify characteristics of the 6th Mass Extinction;
  • explain the benefits of biodiversity;
  • analyze sustainability impacts of freshwater availability;
  • identify equity implications of access to fresh water; and
  • apply the precautionary principle to sustainability considerations.

What is due this lesson?

Please note that the quiz can only be taken once. You have unlimited time to complete it prior to the deadline, and can save your progress and pick up where you left off at a later time. See the Assignments and Grading section of the syllabus for tips on how to do this. Once you submit the quiz, you cannot change answers. All saved answers will automatically be submitted at the deadline if you have not submitted them.

Requirement Submission Location
Lesson 3 Quiz Canvas - Modules tab > Lesson 3
Continue posting to the Yellowdig discussion board. Canvas - Modules tab > Lesson 3
(Optional) Lesson 3 Extra credit quiz Canvas - Modules tab > Lesson 3


If you have any general course questions, please post them to our HAVE A QUESTION? discussion forum located under the Discussions tab. I will check that discussion forum regularly to respond as appropriate. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses and comments if you are able to help out a classmate. If you have a question but would like to remain anonymous to the other students, email me.

If you have something related to the material that you'd like to share, feel free to post to the Coffee Shop forum, also under the Discussions tab.