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Choose THREE topics from the list below that you would like to research; rank them as your 1st, 2nd & 3rd choice. You may work in groups of 2 or 3 students and present as a group to the class, but each student must submit a separate paper that has been individually written. It preferable for students in a group to research closely related topics. If you choose to work as a group, submit the names of all students in your group when requesting topic choices by email. Your three topic choices and list of any group members must be submitted using the Moodle assignments function.

Dates for a class presentation (worth 50 points) will be provided next to each group's names by the end of the. You must post your PowerPoint presentation to the class Moodle with voice-over narration. I will upload your presentation to a site visible to your classmates to serve as a reference to study from. Your individual written paper must be posted to the appropriate assignments page of Moodle and is due the day of the exam following your presentation.

Grades will be assigned according to the criteria described in syllabus signature assignment rubric.

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California  Energy/Climate Change Policy

What are the laws and policies California has formulated regarding energy and climate change?

Feb 11 Mar Flores


Climate change impacts in California

What problems is climate change is causing in California? What are the predicted consequences for for future climate change in California?

Feb 11 J Solis


International Climate Change Impacts

What are the specific threats of climate change in one country or region of the  world? What are the economic, ecological and/or human impacts associated with these changes?

Feb 11 E Acosta


National energy/climate change policy

What have been the federal government policies enacted to address climate change? What are the different proposals for U.S. energy policy?

Feb 11 I Gonzalez


International climate change policy

How is the international community currently addressing climate change? What are the current agreements and proposals? What are the criticisms or concerns regarding current international initiatives to address climate change?



Hydrolic Fracturing

How does "fracking" work? How has it been used to date and with what consequences? What are its potential costs and benefits?



Coal Power

What are the costs and benefits of reliance on coal power? What have been the trends in coal production? What is responsible for these changes? What are the proposals for the future of US coal?

Feb 23 M Berry



Choose a specific type of biofuel. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this form of biofuel? Is it sustainable? What has been done internationally, nationally, and in California to promote them?

Feb 23 N Thompson


Wind power

What have been the recent trends in wind energy production? What is the potential?  What are the costs and benefits of wind energy?

Feb 23 A Apodaca-V


Direct solar energy

What are the different types of technology and programs for generating electricity directly from the sun? What are the costs and benefits of direct solar energy?



Valley agriculture

What are the major kinds of agricultural products produced in the San Joaquin Valley? How do these crops compare with respect to acreage, value, water, and/or pesticide consumption? What are the trends in valley agriculture?

Mar 18 Mad Flores


Valley pesticide use

What are the major types of pesticides are used in the San Joaquin Valley? How are they regulated?  What are the costs and benefits of their use? Which pesticides pose the greatest risk to the health of farmworkers and the environment?

Mar 18 A Jasso
A Salinas


Organic farming

What characterizes organic farming? What are different types of organic farming? How is organic farming regulated? Is it sustainable? What are local examples?

Mar 18 N Rodriguez


Eating Locally

What is the "locavore" movement? What are the benefits of eating locally grown food? How can valley residents eat locally?

Mar 18 B Poole


Federal Farm Policy

What does the federal Farm Bill do? What types of agricultural practices does it support? How does it affect the environment? How does it affect human health? How could it be improved?



Central Valley Project

What is the CVP? What have been its economic and ecological benefits and costs? How has it changed over time?



Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta

What is the San Joaquin/ Sacramento delta? Why is it so important to California? What are the environmental and legal issues? What are the current proposals regarding the delta?



Westlands Water District

What is Westlands Water District? What are economic, agricultural and ecological costs & benefits of its agriculture? How is its agriculture sustainable or unsustainable? What are the current issues and proposals with respect to the district?

Mar 30

J Bynum


Temperance Flat Dam Proposal

What is the purpose and characteristics of the proposed dam above Millertaon Lake at Temperance Flat? How much might it cost, and how might it be funded? What are the arguments for and against this proposal?



Restoring the San Joaquin River

What are the plans and processes to restore the San Joaquin River? What is the current status of the restoration efforts? Who opposes and who supports its restoration, and why?



Poverty and Environmental Problems

What are the environmental problems faced by poor people in a particular developing country or region? What are the relationships between poverty and the environment in this country or region?

Apr 8 M Kennedy


Global trade agreements

What treaties regulate international trade? What are the costs and benefits of these agreements? What are the criticisms of free trade? What are the alternatives to free trade?

Apr 8 P Gonzalez-M


U.S. foreign aid

What are the major kinds of US foreign aid? How much do we give, compared to other nations? How does our aid help or hinder development among the world's poor? What are the costs and benefits of our aid?

Apr 8 N Lara


Microloans and development

What are microloans and how do they work? Who funds them, and who receives them? How do they contribute to development?



Mennonite Central Committee (or other Non-Governmental Aid Agency)

What is MCC? What is its approach to development aid? What kinds of projects does it sponsor?



Endangered Species Act

What are the major provisions of ESA? Why is the law controversial? What changes have been proposed? How does it impact California in particular?

Apr 27 A Contreras
Y Matias


Preserving California wetlands

What are the values of wetlands? What has been their history in the US & California? What regulations concern them?



Urban Ecology

What are the ways in which urban environments can be improved in cities such as Fresno? What are the benefits of urban trees, parks and green spaces? How can city planning alternatives result in better or worse environments?



Fire in California forests

What role has fire played in the ecology of California forests? What are the consequences of fire supression? What are the advantages & disadvantages of controlled burning?

Apr 27 JContreras


Yosemite Valley Management

What are the challenges to National Park Service management of Yosemite Valley? What are some alternative proposals? What are the controversies regarding various management plans?

Apr 27 E Xiong


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