Academic Freedom: Liberty to pursue and teach relevant knowledge and to discuss it freely without restriction from school or public officials or from other sources of influence.

Bioethical Issue: Global Warming.

Blackboard Class Discussion

x An Inconvenient Truth Trailer

x The inconvenient truth trailer. View the x video below. It is best if you have fast Internet connection. Sometimes these YouTube links disappear. Please let the instructor know if this happens.) Uploaded by FallenAngels94. Enjoy!

x x

x I Need to Wake Up

x "Melissa talking over her Oscar winning song that is a projection at the least of what is happening on this mother earth today. We all indeed need to wake UP." View the x video below. It is best if you have fast Internet connection. Sometimes these YouTube links disappear. Please let the instructor know if this happens.) Uploaded by MEtheridgeStreetTeam. Enjoy!

The cartoon above is used for EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES by Dr. Nilsson, South Texas College, downloaded from http://newsbusters.org/.

An Inconvenient Truth.

xx During the Global Warming week the HYBRID classes meeting in the classroom will view the film"An Inconvenient Truth", which won an Oscar in March 2007 for best documentary, and for best film music by Melissa Etheridge. The work of Al Gore described in the film won the former vice-president the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2007. Unfortunately for the students in the online classes, and the "face-to-face" classes, they must buy or rent the video on their own if they wish to see the movie...

x YouTube link to the official video trailer of the Oscar winning song I Need To wake Up (it is on YouTube but could not be embedded).

The cartoons are used for educational purposes by Dr. Nilsson, South Texas College, scanned, from The Monitor, McAllen.

Below are some film critic comments:

x Will likely make you admire Al Gore a little more than you already do, worry about the planet a lot more than you already do, and finally, leave you with as many questions as when you started.
Michael Booth, Denver Post

x Although it's the most important film of the year, it will still be a hard sell to hard-headed truth-deniers.
Boo Allen, Denton Record Chronicle (TX)

x It's an enduring irony of movies that one guy talking can be more compelling than a million dollars in locations, extras and effects.
Paul Arendt, BBC

The cartoons are used for educational purposes by Dr. Nilsson, South Texas College, scanned, from The Monitor, McAllen.

The following review is from a consumer, "thornhillatthemovies", at Amazon.com where the movie can be purchased.

x Ok, let me get this straight. They made a documentary about Al Gore giving a lecture? About global warming? Okay, I'm already asleep. Snore. Yawn. Why don't I just stay home and save the money I would spend to take a nap.

x All kidding aside, if you know anything about Al Gore, you know this is a subject he is extremely committed to and passionate about. Very passionate. And after five years of some of the worst, most harmful environmental policy to ever come out of Washington, DC, there is no better time for "An Inconvenient Truth".

x I know many consider Gore to be less than a captivating speaker. But in "An Inconvenient Truth" he comes across as a different man because he is so passionate and committed to the subject of global warming, he comes across as a different man. Informed, knowledgeable, conversational and persuasive, if he were like this during the election, there would be no Florida Recount in our history books. Okay, so that didn't happen. But the result is that Gore, much like Clinton and Carter, are trying to do something with their status to help better the world. Gore has long been an environmental advocate and it shows. He knows the facts inside and out; people have provided him with statistics, graphs, charts and more, and he uses them in this presentation.

x As Gore states, he has given the lecture more than a thousand times around the globe. Because of this, he is extremely comfortable addressing large audiences, giving them a lot of scientific research to digest. Remarkably, he makes it easy to understand, pointing out key facts, walking us through some of the more difficult to understand ideas and problems. He also knows when the audience needs a break and interjects humor here and there. At one point, he shows a spoof of an educational film animated by the people at "The Simpsons". At others, he makes fun of himself and his political ambitions and woes.

x Davis Guggenheim, the filmmaker, has apparently presented Gore's lecture virtually intact. As Gore moves around on a dais, clicking for the next slide, he makes persuasive points. But he also reaches a couple of key points. When this happens, the filmmakers smartly pull back from the lecture, giving us a portrait of a few key moments in Gore's life. The argument he makes in his lecture is persuasive, intelligent and well thought out, but because we learn more about the man making the presentation, these points have even more resonance. Not only do these moments give us more details about Gore, they also provide a respite from the scientific data, allowing us to absorb what we have learned.

x At one point, Gore states that the data is irrefutable and it appears to be. Remarkably, the filmmakers show footage of various people attacking Gore, or claiming the data he is presenting is not based in fact. Yet, we can see it for ourselves, right in front of us. And I am sure Gore could easily provide a bibliography of resources for us to check out all of the facts he uses. What would drive some of these people to attack Gore and this data? Some of the clips are from Gore's days as a Senator and Vice President, so some of that can be contributed to political parties trying to one-up each other. But currently, Gore does not hold political office, yet the current administration seems intent on giving every break to the worst polluters in the country, allowing them to make as much money as possible while they pollute and pollute and pollute. Gore shows a slide about this argument. Apparently, there is the thought good environmental policy will impact the economy. How do these same people explain the relationship between Toyota, Honda, Ford and GM? Toyota and Honda manufacture vehicles with far better gas mileage than their competitors and are much more successful because of it. An argument Gore makes very convincingly.

x Thankfully, Gore stays away from political bias. More or less. A couple of times, he makes funny remarks about his failed run for the presidency, or he makes a pointed comment about the current administration, but by and large his comments are directed at us and what we should do to save our planet. The film isn't void of bias, but there could certainly have been a lot more. The fact the filmmaker and Gore showed some restraint makes his presentation even more persuasive.

x The film ends with a series of `calls to action' as the credits begin. Frankly, these aren't needed because Gore's arguments are so convincing. But they are effective. As one call to action states "Urge everyone you know to see this film." Well, folks, that's what I am doing. Go and see this film. We need to do something before it is too late to do anything. Hopefully, this film will one day be viewed as a historical document of the beginning of a great change and not as a horror film.

x How It All Ends

x "Greg, a high school science teacher in the process of burning out, talks about the risk of Global Warming." View the x video below.
( It is best if you have fast Internet connection. Sometimes these YouTube links disappear. Please let the instructor know if this happens.) Uploaded by wonderingmind42. Enjoy!

x Sinking Ship

x The video poster said, "This a parable that Daniel Quinn wrote. It exposes the fundamental problem holding us in place when it comes to making advances toward necessary change." View the x video below. It is best if you have fast Internet connection. Sometimes these YouTube links disappear. Please let the instructor know if this happens.) Uploaded by bbbleaver. Enjoy!

The information below about Global Warming (Global Climate Change) can be found in the Environmental Biology textbook. (Cunningham, W.P., Cunningham, M.A., and B. W. Saigo. 2007. Environmental Science: A Global Concern. McGraw Hill Higher Education, Boston. 620pp.)

Global Warming.

The Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius predicted as early as 1895 that carbon dioxide released by coal burning could cause global warming. Many scientists regard human caused global change to be an extremely important environmental issue. But the first evidence came from atmospheric measurements done on Hawaii started in 1958. The level of carbon dioxide then was 315 ppm (parts per million). The level today (2005) is 382 ppm.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that human activities must be at least partially responsible. It is hard to separate the impact of human activities from natural climate change, but the heat trapping properties of the so-called greenhouse gases -- of which carbon dioxide is one, is undisputed.

Carbon dioxide is the most important of the greenhouse gases, coming from burning fossil fuels, burning forests (such as the tropical rainforest), and other human activities. Human activities release 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year, containing 8 billion tons of carbon. Every year about 3 billion tons of this carbon is taken up by terrestrial ecosystems, and 2 billion tons are absorbed by the oceans. This leaves 3 billion tons of carbon increase in the atmosphere every year. Some of the other greenhouse gases are methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and nitrous oxides.

There is no question that the planet is warming. Over the last century the average global temperature has increased by 0.6 degrees Celsius (or 1 degree Fahrenheit). But Polar Regions have warmed much faster, as much as 4 degrees Celsius (7 degree Fahrenheit). This has made the arctic ice thinner, sea ice forms later in fall and melts earlier in spring. Polar bears have shorter hunting seasons and are on the brink of extinction, and other arctic marine mammals are also disappearing.

Most glaciers are retreating an average of 50 m per year, and the Greenland ice cap is thinning by 1 meter per year.

So far the oceans have been buffering the effect of human greenhouse emissions, by absorbing carbon dioxide and heat. However, higher levels of carbon dioxide are acidifying the oceans (lowering the pH). Many marine organisms cannot tolerate this, such as mollusks and corals that cannot make shells and skeletons at lower pH.

The sea level has risen worldwide by 15 - 20 cm (6 - 8 in.) in the past century, due to melting glaciers and thermal expansion of seawater (seawater expands when warmed up). It is projected that if the ice cap on Greenland melts the sea level will rise by 7 m. far more water is locked up in Antarctica. If all ice melts the sea level could rise several hundred meters.

The growing season for plants is now about three weeks longer due to warmer weather, and many organisms on Earth can be found further north than normal, have earlier breeding seasons, and many northern species are declining due to warmer weather. Polar bears have been found drowning because they cannot find ice in the ocean.

Droughts are more common, preventing agriculture and causing famines.

Many amphibians are declining due to changed weather patterns, and coral reefs worldwide are dieing as ocean water temperature rise above 30 degrees Celsius (85 degrees Fahrenheit).

Storms are increasing in frequency and strength, and forest fires are increasing. In 2004 Florida was hit by four major hurricanes in a single season.

There is no question that the planet is warming up. Will this continue? Some speculate that it is possible that increase ocean evaporation due to warmer weather might intensify snowfall at higher altitudes, so that arctic glaciers and snow pack eventually would increase rather than decrease. Due to increased albedo (sunlight being reflected back to space) because of snow-covered surfaces (white reflect more light than dark colors), the Earth temperatures may eventually be lower instead of higher and trigger a new ice age. Al Gore links to use:

Currently, the United States with 4.5 percent of the world's population, releases 28 percent of all human produced carbon dioxide. Many countries with higher standard of living than United States, Japan and in western Europe, produce only about half as much carbon dioxide per person. If the current U.S. consumption pattern continues, the carbon dioxide levels will be 43 percent above 1990 levels by 2020, rather than 7 percent below as promised.

126 countries have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, promised to cut down the carbon dioxide emissions, the Unites States and Australia have not.

x YouTube link to a National Geographic information video about Global Warming (about 3 minutes).

The cartoons are used for educational purposes by Dr. Nilsson, South Texas College, scanned, from The Monitor, McAllen.

Links to Readings

An Inconvenient Truth: About The Film

Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced.

If that sounds like a recipe for serious gloom and doom -- think again. From director Davis Guggenheim comes the Sundance Film Festival hit, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, which offers a passionate and inspirational look at one man's fervent crusade to halt global warming's deadly progress in its tracks by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it. That man is former Vice President Al Gore, who, in the wake of defeat in the 2000 election, re-set the course of his life to focus on a last-ditch, all-out effort to help save the planet from irrevocable change. In this eye-opening and poignant portrait of Gore and his "traveling global warming show,"

Gore also proves himself to be one of the most misunderstood characters in modern American public life. Here he is seen as never before in the media - funny, engaging, open and downright on fire about getting the surprisingly stirring truth about what he calls our "planetary emergency" out to ordinary citizens before it's too late.

Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" Movie: Fact or Hype?

Most scientists agree that the Earth is heating up, due primarily to an atmospheric increase in carbon dioxide caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum.

But how accurate are some of the scientific claims made in the documentary?

In an attempt to clear the air, National Geographic News checked in with Eric Steig, an earth scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, who saw An Inconvenient Truth at a preview screening.

He says the documentary handles the science well.

Gore Tears Up Global Warming Skeptic

Al Gore explains global warming to science skeptic and Texas GOP Rep. Joe Barton. Gore: "The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says, 'You have to intervene here,' you don't say, 'Well, I read a science fiction novel that says this isn't important.'"

A Buckley's Dinosaur Extinction Page

There have been many mass extinctions throughout the history of the Earth. Probably the most famous is the extinction that finally saw the end of the dinosaurs reign on the Earth, 65 million years ago. It wasn't just the dinosaurs that died out in this extinction. Whatever caused the death of the dinosaurs also caused the death of around 70% of all of the species on the Earth. Although the dinosaurs had been in a period of decline, it is thought that their recovery was prevented by some sort of catastrophic event.

The cartoons on this page, and other pages on Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice, are included to challenge the students to take their college education seriously and to make students understand that diminishing academic standards and increasing problems with grade inflation are major problems in the United States today. If you are a serious student read the cartoons and smile, if you are not a serious student read the cartoons and think...

The cartoon is used for educational purposes by Dr. Nilsson, South Texas College, scanned, from The Monitor, McAllen.

Current Topics Concerning Dinosaurs: What Killed The Dinosaurs?

Surely ever since the first fossils of obviously extinct animals were found, humankind has wondered: "Why did they die?" A poignant question, for it has relevance to us -- if extinct animals were wiped out by some catastrophe, couldn't that just as easily happen to us? Could we be found as fossils someday, and would no one know why we died?

The cartoons are used for educational purposes by Dr. Nilsson, South Texas College, scanned, from The Monitor, McAllen.

Dino crater viewed from space

You would not notice it on the ground but from space, the outline is unmistakable.

The ring that cuts across the Yucatan Peninsula pictured in this space shuttle image is one of the very few pieces of surface evidence that survives from a cataclysmic day in Earth history.

National Teach-in: On Global Warming Solutions. (Link submitted by Dr. Jerry Freeman).

Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, Jan A. Nilsson. Page created 23.V.2006, last updated 13.I.2008, most likely during the wee hours of the morning on a G3 PowerBook owned by Jan A. Nilsson. Web page layout and design © and intellectual property Jan A. Nilsson. Content on Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice may not be used for commercial purposes. All rights reserved. Except for educational purposes and 'fair use' (see below), reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited. If used for educational purposes and 'fair use', including photographs, source must be given. (Some clip art, texts and backgrounds used on Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice downloaded for educational purposes and/or 'fair use' from Internet free domain has no source.)

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