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Homework answers / question archive / Discussion Forum 2: Offshore Drilling 22 unread replies

Discussion Forum 2: Offshore Drilling 22 unread replies

Biology

Discussion Forum 2: Offshore Drilling

22 unread replies.6868 replies.

Oil has proven to be one of the most important natural resources that we extract from the earth.  As you will learn, oil is a product of tiny marine organisms- the plankton- that have been altered by pressure and temperature over very long periods of time. Although the use of oil has become essential to our economic growth, it also has various problems associated with its use including but not limited to: air and water pollution, potential spills, its major contribution to climate change, and the fact that it is a non-renewable resource.

Increased offshore drilling has been in the national spotlight due to rising fuel costs, the growing potential for offshore hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and geopolitical factors which have increased support for expanding domestic production. On the other hand, the relatively recent oil spills (e.g. Refugio Oil Spill and the Gulf Oil Spill) and a growing awareness about climate change have increased support for a total ban on offshore drilling.

An important part of this class is to get an understanding of existing issues that are related to the oceans and will affect your daily life. Therefore, many of the subsequent discussion forums will be based on current events that will require you to form educated opinions on a topic and to then analyze and respond to differing opinions that your classmates may hold.

To get a little more background on oil spills as well as the general issues associated with increased off-shore drilling and what role they have played in helping to shape the last few years’ political environment, look up the links below. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of online resources to help you get a feel for the arguments on both sides and I encourage you to do your own internet searches.

However, I also wanted to provide you with a cross-section of news, video, arguments and opinions to help you get a background on the issue. Therefore, please look at the following links to give you a starting point (keep in mind that some of these links lead to groups that are obviously one sided and are not meant to be taken as reputable sources, just to get a feel for the arguments that are being commonly stated on both sides):

Directions for this discussion forum post: After doing some background research, create a position statement on whether or not you support the expansion of off-shore drilling and fracking in US territorial waters. There is no right or wrong answer to this question and grades will not be determined by which side you support, only by how well you support your argument.

  1. Briefly and clearly state your position and your reasoning in at least a 200-word forum post (please don't waste time describing what off-shore drilling or fracking is...we already know that from doing the background research.  Just state your position and support it with facts, details, etc.)
  2. Then, after reading additional posts from your classmates, choose two that interest you and respectfully explain why you support or disagree with their position in the context of what you believe to be better for the short or long-term prosperity of our nation or for the world (at least 100 words for each response).
  3. Cite sources of facts/data etc., but do not include quoted passages.  Your entire post should be your own words, thoughts, feelings, and ideas about this topic.  

Here are some important guidelines that you should follow when posting on our discussion forums:

  • Your discussion forum posts should be fact-based. That means that you need to support your position with a logical statement and then back it up with some data. So, if you present any quantitative information, such as figures, statistics or a judgment of quantity, you must cite that information. 
  • Be tactful and respectful of other people’s views.  Many topics that you will be discussing on the forums during the term may entice strong opinions, which may include criticism to lifestyles, political views, and cultural values.  However, in our discussion forum, you must refrain from attacks, name-calling or insults directed at individuals, politicians, celebrities, public figures, political parties, or other specific groups, such ethnic or religious groups.  Our discussion forum is not a place to vent our frustrations, but to promote a more sophisticated and broad debate. I’m not censoring anyone- you can still explain your position in light of your opinions regarding an institution, organization or individual, but you must do it in an insightful, non-hostile way so not to alienate other forum participants.

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