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CNN Student News: Questions about Planet in Peril

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(CNN Student News) -- Before students watch Planet in Peril, use these questions to focus their attention on the concepts they will explore in the program:

1. Explain what is meant by "biodiversity." Why is biodiversity beneficial to the planet and to humans?

2. What does the term "extinct" mean? What are some reasons why a species of animal might become extinct?

3. What is contraband?

4. What is poaching?

5. Why do you think that some people buy or sell endangered animals and plants?

6. How do some governments and organizations try to prevent or stop the extinction of species?

7. How would you explain what an ecosystem is? How might extinction of one species throw an ecosystem into turmoil?

8. What is meant by the term "black market"? What kinds of goods are often sold "on the black market"?

9. What are some sources of pollution where you live? How does pollution affect humans, animals and plants?

10. What evidence suggests that the earth's climate is changing?

11. What changes are happening to the planet's living species and landscape that some have attributed to climate change?

12. List some of the ways that humans and other living things depend on water.

13. Name some tropical diseases. What do you think is the connection between these diseases and the climate in which they are typically found?

14. How might climate change impact the prevalence of tropical diseases?

15. What is deforestation?

16. What are some causes of deforestation?

17. What is the debate surrounding climate change?

18. How would you explain what a person's "carbon footprint" is?

19. What are some practical things a person could do to decrease his or her carbon footprint?


Episode 1

1. According to the United Nations, at what rate are plant and animal species becoming extinct? How does the program suggest that humans are contributing to the extinction of rare species?

2. What are "keystone species," and which ones are mentioned in Planet in Peril? Why might people buy and sell endangered animals, which are often keystone species?

3. What is the ecological importance of predators such as bears, tigers, wolves and sharks?

4. According to the report, why should Americans be concerned with the plight of endangered species in other parts of the world?

5. What are some of the obstacles that scientists, police and environmental groups face in preventing species loss?

6. In your opinion, what might be done to encourage nations to preserve their endangered habitats?

7. According to the program: What are some of the environmental side effects of China's recent economic growth? What health problems appear to be associated with water pollution in China?

8. What issues, if any, is your community, region or state dealing with in regard to population growth?

9. As presented in the report, what are some of the potential effects of the chemicals that can be detected by a "body burden" test?

10. Based on the information in the report, what do you think should be done to address the public health issue of chemical contamination?

Episode 2

11. According to the program: How is the global climate changing? What are some of the possible factors that might be responsible for these changes?

12. According to the report: How are recent climate changes affecting different habitats? How have these habitat changes affected different species of plants and animals?

13. Why is there scientific disagreement about whether or not global warming presents a serious threat to life on Earth?

14. In your view, can people reverse the effects of climate change? If so, how? If not, why not?

15. Can you think of ways that humans have adapted to changing climates? Do you think that animal or plant species could adapt to changes in their ecosystems as rapidly as humans have? Why or why not?

16. Based on the information in the report, what role do rain forests play in our daily lives?

17. What are some of the reasons offered in the program for why humans have exploited rain forests? What methods of deforestation are depicted in the program?

18. According to the report, what measures are being taken to protect the world's rain forests? What obstacles do the people that are carrying out this work face?

19. What are some examples of environmental pollutants? According to the report, who usually bears the brunt of these pollutants, and why?

20. Are there areas in your neighborhood that are affected by pollutants? If so, what is being done to clean up these areas and prevent future pollution? How might you get involved? E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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