In this project, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following competency:
- Use natural sciences methodologies to explain natural phenomena
You work for Eco-Focused Response (EFR), a nonprofit environmental organization that provides resources and support to help communities prepare for and recover from natural phenomena; it also develops and implements strategies to address issues such as pollution, hazardous material, and waste disposal. As part of a community outreach effort, the organization would like to increase understanding of the scientific methods used by the organization and at the same time provide useful information concerning a natural phenomenon and a specific problem related to that phenomenon.
The organization asked visitors to their website to identify a natural phenomenon that has impacted them personally and that they would like to learn more about. The top three responses were hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes. Your manager has asked you to select one of the top three natural phenomena and create a brief informative article that provides information about the phenomenon and uses scientific methods to explore a specific problem caused by the phenomenon.
Once you have selected a phenomenon (hurricane, wildfire, or earthquake), gather information about that phenomenon that can be used to form direct and indirect observations—you may also include your personal experiences with this phenomenon—and then complete the process listed below. You must include the following information for the chosen phenomenon in your 500- to 750-word informative online article. (For additional information, see the Sample Nor’Easter Article document in the Supporting Materials section.)
- Make and describe observations you notice based on the resources you have gathered.
- What are the conditions that exist?
- What are the environmental factors?
- What is the location of the occurrence?
- What similarities and differences exist between different events of your chosen phenomenon?
- Define and provide details about a specific problem caused by the phenomenon you selected. Specific problems might include environmental effects (habitat destruction, pollution or waste releases, etc.), public health issues (access to safe water, exposure to communicable diseases, human displacement), infrastructural damage, and so on.
- Develop a hypothesis from the information you have gathered.
- Gather empirical evidence. You must use a minimum of three resources that meet the CRAAPO (currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, purpose, and objectivity) criteria. Use the Getting Started with Research at Shapiro Library link in the Supporting Materials section to access information on this method. For additional information and examples of empirical evidence, see the Sample Nor’Easter Article document in the Supporting Materials section.
- Summarize your results based on the data you used (the information found in the sources and the connection to the hypothesis) and include at least one suggestion individuals could use to reduce the risk and/or impact of the identified problem.
- Formulate a conclusion based on your data.
- Determine whether your conclusion supports or refutes (or does not support) your hypothesis.
What to Submit
Every project has a deliverable or deliverables, which are the files that must be submitted before your project can be assessed. For this project, you must submit the following:
Informative Online ArticleYour organization is looking for an informative 500–750 word online article that details the use of the scientific method to explain a natural phenomenon and a specific problem caused by that phenomenon.
Expert Solution Preview
In this article, we will discuss the natural phenomenon of wildfires and a specific problem caused by it. We will use the scientific method to explore this issue in detail.
Based on the research, we can observe that wildfires are uncontrolled fires that generally happen in areas with hot, dry weather conditions. They have a devastating impact on flora and fauna, and the natural environment. The smoke and ash from these fires can spread rapidly, covering vast distances and causing breathing difficulties for humans and animals alike. Environmental factors like droughts and lightning strikes can trigger wildfires. They can occur in any part of the world, but some regions are more susceptible than others.
The specific problem caused by wildfires is the destruction of forests and natural habitats. This leads to the displacement of animals from their natural habitats, loss of food sources for other animals, and an increased risk of soil erosion, leading to soil degradation. It also causes air pollution, which can cause respiratory illnesses to humans, and the eventual spread of diseases affecting animals.
Our hypothesis is that human activity is a significant cause of wildfires, with activities like hunting, farming, and construction activities increasing the risk of starting such incidents.
To investigate our hypothesis, we researched on the causes of wildfires and found that although natural factors like droughts and lightning strikes are a known cause, human activity plays a significant role in increasing the risk of wildfires. According to research by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2019), activities by humans like planting non-native plants that increase fuel loads, clearing forests for agriculture, urbanization, and construction, among others, all contribute to the outbreak of wildfires. Trustworthy sources like the National Interagency Fire Center and the US Forest Service have also published annual reports on the causes and locations of wildfires across the United States.
Our research confirms that human activities significantly contribute to wildfires. Therefore, we can conclude that humans must adopt sustainable practices to mitigate the risk of wildfires. One practical example is to reduce fuel loads by clearing areas near residential areas of vegetation and debris that can fuel wildfire. Community awareness and education programs and the implementation of fire-safe building materials and designs can also reduce the impact of wildfires.
In conclusion, wildfires are a significant natural phenomenon that negatively impacts the environment and poses a threat to public health. Through this article, we used the scientific method to explore the specific problem caused by wildfires, which is the destruction of natural habitat. We have suggested the need for human sustainability practices to mitigate the risks associated with wildfires.