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Charles E. Ophardt, Professor of Chemistry, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL 60126, charleso@elmhurst.edu, Copyright 2004

On-Line Discussion of Environmental Issues

ISSUE 4:
METHYL BROMIDE BAN TO PREVENT OZONE DEPLETION?

Should the United States take a leading role in banning the production and use of methyl bromide because it is an ozone depleting chemical? (As of 2005 the production of methyl bromide in the U.S. has been largely banned according to the treaty, however there are still many exceptions for the use in this country and others around the world. So perhaps the question could be repharsed to say banning ALL uses, including the exceptions.)

The instructor will divide the students into "YES" and "NO" groups for the purposes of debate - see Question 7.

Students ID's

 Assigments are by student ID numbers.

 Option # 1 NO: Students ID's (1 - 7 & 14 - 20)

 Option # 2 YES: Students ID's ( 8 - 13 & 21 - 30)

Various members of the class and the professor contribute to the discussion. Please read these postings before you make a contribution to this ongoing discussion. You may add new information for this discussion, make further comments on information already posted, or ask questions to other students or the professor about the information already posted. Answers to THREE Rounds of Discussion are required. This may be done all at once or you may wait for more of the discussion in Round 1 to be completed before giving your final answer to the question in Round 2.


Round 1 Discussion: (2 points): One question from sub questions in 1-5 - You will be assigned to answer one of these questions to ensure complete topic coverage. See the Questions below for the student assignments.
Round 2 Discussion: (6 points) Main debate question (Ques. 7)
Round 3 Discussion: (2 points):One follow up response to another student.
 
Extra Credit: If you make a second response or a rebuttal, you can get up to one point of extra credit. Please label this second response as extra credit.

More details about the Discussion Format.


Please read the discussion responses before you decide which questions to answer. Try to answer questions that no one else has answered or respond to answers already present.

Check out the discussion responses on the
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Write out answers to questions in a WORD PROCESSOR
and then copy and paste into
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Use the following questions to briefly summarize the critical thinking necessary to solve the problem.

QUES. 1. Identify the major technologies used and science concepts and principles which are applied to the technologies in this issue.Definitions: Technology is the application of scientific knowledge in the creation of new products and processes. Science is the knowledge gathered about the natural world through observations and controlled experimentation.

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 1a: What is methyl bromide?  Std. ID. 7, 27
Ques. 1b: List some of the uses for methyl bromide  Std. ID. 23, 28

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QUES. 2.
Identify the issues, questions, limitations or drawbacks involved with the technology, especially environmental effects. Definition: Application of technology is called into question when the quality of life and/or the environment deteriorates.

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 2a: What is meant by ozone depletion? Be specific and give some word equations.  Std. ID. 9, 15
Ques. 2b: What is the relationship of ultraviolet light, ozone, and skin cancer?  Std. ID. 10, 25
 Ques. 2c: Is methyl bromide a toxic chemical in its own right? Explain.  Std. ID. 16, 26

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QUES. 3. For the issues and questions above, list/explain the science concepts and cause and effect relationships involved; and/or identify the use of the scientific method (Hypothesis? Experiments? Results and Conclusions?) to prove or disprove any of the questions or hypotheses.

Terms: Methyl bromide and U.V., bromine/ozone reactions, bromine recycling, ozone destruction

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 3a: How does methyl bromide get up into the stratosphere and what happens to it there in the presence of ultraviolet light?  Std. ID. 1, 17
Ques. 3b: How do bromine atoms effect the ozone reactions? Be specific and give some word equations.  Std. ID. 2, 18
 Ques. 3c: How does one bromine atom recycle and destroy hundreds of thousands of ozone molecules? Be specific and give some word equations.  Std. ID. 3, 19
 Ques. 3d: What is the evidence that methyl bromide is mostly absorbed by the soil?  Std. ID. 4, 20

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QUES. 4. Identify the limitations or uncertainties of the science in understanding and/or solving the problem.

Definition: Science is more limited in its ability to deal with systems with complex interactions because it can effectively study only a small number of variables and is incapable of controlling all of the variables. The "answers" provided by science may not be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 4a: How strong is the evidence that bromine from methyl bromide causes depletion of the ozone layer?  Std. ID. 5 ,11
Ques. 4b: Some people do not believe that CFC's or bromine causes depletion of the ozone layer. Can you cite any evidence to support this side of the issue?  Std. ID. 21, 6

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QUES. 5. Identify the social, philosophical, and/or ethical issues.

Definition: Social issues relate to the general welfare of society. Philosophical issues relate to the principles and values for the conduct of life. Ethical issues are concerned with morals (distinction between right and wrong) and values (the ultimate worth of actions or "things").

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 5a: Social: Should methyl bromides be allowed to protect the food supply or banned to protect from skin cancers?  Std. ID. 12, 29
Ques. 5b: Ethical: Should all necessary actions to prevent ozone destruction be taken to protect future generations of people?  Std. ID. 22, 30
 Ques. 5c: Ethical: Should food growers and importers suffer economic losses if methyl bromide is banned in the United States, but not in some other parts of the world?  Std. ID. 13, 14
 Ques. 5d: Philosophical: Should the protection of the environment be the highest priority - no matter what the costs?  Std. ID. 8, 24

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 QUES.6. Identify any questions, comments, or "eye opening" new ideas related to this issue.

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QUES. 7. As an individual citizen or as a group, what course of action would you take regarding the main issue question? Interpret available information and data to formulate a solution and a plan of action.

The instructor will divide the students into "YES" and "NO" groups for the purposes of debate.

Students ID's

 Assigments are by student ID numbers.

 Option # 1 NO: Students ID's (1 - 7 & 14 - 20)

 Option # 2 YES: Students ID's ( 8 - 13 & 21 - 30)

 QUES. 7: Should the United States take a leading role in banning the production and use of methyl bromide because it is an ozone depleting chemical? (As of 2005 the production of methyl bromide in the U.S. has been largely banned according to the treaty, however there are still many exceptions for the use in this country and others around the world. So perhaps the question could be repharsed to say banning ALL uses, including the exceptions.)

Blackboard - Discussion Pages