AP Environmental Science : Politics and Resources

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Politics And Resources

Which piece of legislation requires environmental impact statements for construction projects regulated by the federal government?

Possible Answers:

Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)

Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA)

Price-Anderson Act of 1957

Lacey Act of 1990

Correct answer:

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)

Explanation:

NEPA was a set of policies intended to protect the environment from humans, and required statements on the environmental impact of construction projects in order to better carry out its purpose.

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 ensured that land under the Bureau of Land Management would be multiple-use and have sustained yield. The Lacey Act of 1990 prohibits the transport of live or dead wild animals (parts or whole) across state lines without a permit. The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) regulates the restoration of surface coal mines. The Price-Anderson Act promotes nuclear power by limiting the liability of the owner of a power plant and the government in the event of a major accident.

Example Question #2 : Politics And Resources

 

Ivory is seeing a resurgence in popularity and demand, resulting in ever declining numbers of African Elephants. Which of the following is the international treaty that limits the trade and international transport of ivory products?

Possible Answers:

Madrid Protocol

Kyoto Protocol

Ocean Dumping Act

Montreal Protocol

CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)

Correct answer:

CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)

Explanation:

CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is a 1973 international treaty signed by most world nations that limits and prevents the sale and transportation of endangered species. The intent here was to ensure that international trade of animal and plant products would not cause the rapid decline or extinction of a species. The international shipping and sale of ivory would be banned under this treaty, due to its negative impact on African Elephant populations.

Example Question #1 : Politics And Resources

The three pillars of __________ include economic development, social development and environmental protection.

Possible Answers:

ecology

justice

sustainability

natural capital

renewability

Correct answer:

sustainability

Explanation:

Sustainability is often defined as the ability to endure. This definition can be applied to organisms and ecosystems as well as societies and economies. The 2005 World Summit on Social Development identified the three pillars of sustainability as economic development, social development and environmental protection. The goal of sustainability is to balance human needs (economic and social) with environmental needs. Put another way, sustainability improves the quality of human life without causing environmental degradation.

Example Question #4 : Politics And Resources

Which of the following is not an aspect of a sustainable society?

Possible Answers:

Water conservation

Recycling

Wildlife crossings

Deforestation

Wind power

Correct answer:

Deforestation

Explanation:

Some actions that promote sustainability, or as the very least are less wasteful of natural resources, include using renewable energies (e.g., wind and solar power), conserving water, following the three R’s (i.e., reuse, reduce and recycle), and protecting wildlife and biodiversity. Deforestation refers to the practice of cutting down trees in an unsustainable manner. There are ways to sustainably harvest trees which are considered renewable resources, but they must be managed carefully.

Example Question #5 : Politics And Resources

Which of the following would be an example of government confronting a tragedy of the commons?

Possible Answers:

Providing goats to subsistence villages through the UN's World Food Program, reducing their need to hunt endangered wildlife for food

The Brazilian government subsidizing large sugarcane growers to ensure a supply of environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient ethanol

California's statewide ban on commercial harvest of Abalone and the tight regulations on sport harvests

Fort Benning in Georgia offering bounties for any feral boars, an invasive species, that are trapped and hunted on the base

The creation of federal grants that fund research of low-carbon energy sources at public universities

Correct answer:

California's statewide ban on commercial harvest of Abalone and the tight regulations on sport harvests

Explanation:

A "tragedy of the commons" occurs when people exploit natural resources at a rate that is optimally profitable for the individual with no regard to the long-term sustainability or future profit of the resource. Abalone were harvested to near extinction in California because hundreds of individual fishermen were harvesting at a rate that was most profitable to themselves rather than a rate that would be collectively sustainable. Commercial harvest bans and stringent sport regulations are examples of government tackling issues associated with the tragedy of the commons. 

Example Question #6 : Politics And Resources

Which of the following is most characteristic of early U.S. environmental law (prior to the 1870s)?

Possible Answers:

Promoting westward settlement and exploitation of natural resources in unsettled areas

Conserving rapidly decreasing timber resources and old growth stands

No environmental law existed in the U.S. prior to the formation of the National Park Service in 1872

Heavily regulating large-scale miners and fur trappers that had moved west

Limiting westward expansion to wealthy planters in the south and individuals with successful businesses looking to expand

Correct answer:

Promoting westward settlement and exploitation of natural resources in unsettled areas

Explanation:

Until the late nineteenth century, environmental law had a heavy focus on westward expansion and increased land use. This trend was largely fueled by the potential wealth from agricultural activity and harvesting wildlife, timber, and minerals in a region that was largely unsettled and had vast natural resources. Since resources were still quite abundant, conservation was a lower priority than expansion at the time. The Homestead Acts ensured that people of all socioeconomic standing were given equal opportunity to settle the western United States. 

Example Question #7 : Politics And Resources

Which of the following is most characteristic of the second wave in U.S. environmental policy (i.e. from the 1870s to the early twentieth century)? 

Possible Answers:

Development of logging roads and infrastructure that helped large timber and mining companies

Formation of federally-protected parks and refuges where harvest of wildlife and resources was banned

Pollution control and emissions regulations geared towards restoring air quality diminished because of the newly-introduced automobile

Federal pollution regulations that targeted disease and pollutants entering the watershed from farms and cattle ranches

Tightened regulations for hunting and mining on federal land

Correct answer:

Formation of federally-protected parks and refuges where harvest of wildlife and resources was banned

Explanation:

The second wave of U.S. environmental law shifted the focus from westward expansion to conservation of wilderness areas for future use and enjoyment. By this time in history, the western United States had become largely settled and conservation of resources became a higher priority. Air quality had not yet become an issue of concern and remained this way until the middle of the twentieth century when the automobiles and subsequent pollution became more commonplace in the American landscape.

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