Study Questions

Schnaiberg and Gould, Chapter 2


(1)  What similarities and differences can we identify between “native” peoples and modern society in terms of their relationship with the natural world?  Do native groups provide us with an “environmental ideal” that we can strive for as a society?  Why or why not?


(2)  How did the industrial revolution change the relationship between people and the natural environment?  In your opinion, have these changes been, on balance, more positive or more negative?


(3)  What do Schnaiberg & Gould mean by the term “ecological limits?”  What is the relationship between ecological limits and technology?  Explain what the authors mean by the “return” of ecological limits?


(4)  Schnaiberg and Gould claim there is a close connection between industrialization and water.  Identify at least two ways in which water benefits industrialization, and at least two ways in which industrialization harms water.


(5)  What is the relationship between science and policy in resolving environmental issues?  Which can more effectively deal with environmental problems in your opinion, science or politics?  Explain.


(6)  What do Schnaiberg and Gould mean when the refer to the 1980s as the “lost decade?”  How have conditions changed in the 1990s?


(7)  How much longer will we be able to rely on fossil fuels for energy?  What are some alternatives to fossil fuels?  Which are the most likely to replace fossil fuels once they are depleted?