Adams, Douglas & Carwardine, Mark

Join them as they encounter the animal kingdom in its stunning beauty, astonishing variety, and imminent peril: the giant Komodo dragon of Indonesia, the helpless but loveable Kakapo of New Zealand, the blind river dolphins of China, the white rhinos of Zaire, the rare birds of Mauritius island in the Indian Ocean. Hilarious and poignant—as only Douglas Adams can be—Last Chance to See is an entertaining and arresting odyssey through the Earth’s magnificent wildlife galaxy.

Agosta, William

The tobacco plant synthesizes nicotine to protect itself from herbivores. The female moth broadcasts sex pheromones to attract a mate, while a soldier ant deploys an alarm pheromone to call for help. The carbon dioxide on a mammal's breath beckons hungry ticks and mosquitoes, while a flower's fragrance speaks to the honey bee. Indeed, much of the communication that occurs within and between various species of organisms is done not by sight, sound, or touch, but with chemicals. From mating to parenting, foraging to self-defense, plant and animal activities are accomplished largely by the secretion or exchange of organic chemicals. The fascinating and fast-developing science that encompasses these diverse phenomena is introduced here, by William Agosta, in a series of remarkable stories absolutely accessible to the general reader yet revelatory to chemists and biologists.

 

Among Agosta's characters are the organisms that steal, counterfeit, or interpret the chemical signals of other species for their own ends. We learn of seeds that mimic ant odors to facilitate their own dispersion and flies that follow the scent of truffles to lay their eggs. We read about pit vipers that react in terror when their flicking tongues detect a king snake, and slave-making ants incapable of finding their own food. And we meet ice-age people who ate birch fungus to relieve whipworms and early human hunters who used the urine of wolves to maneuver deer to favorable sites.

 

Agosta also chronicles the rapid development of the applied science that makes use of chemical ecology. As researchers deepen our understanding of the biological world, they are making economically significant discoveries (such as enzymes that remain stable in extreme heat), finding ways to reduce our reliance on manufactured pesticides, identifying new uses for traditional medicines, and developing sophisticated new pharmaceuticals effective in treating malaria and several cancers. On the horizon are antiviral agents derived from the chemical defenses of marine species.

 

From the exploits of flies to the high-stakes effort to cure human disease, Agosta's tour of chemical ecology grants any reader entrance to the invisible realm where chemistry determines life and death.

Bronowski, Jacob

Thought-provoking essays on science as an integral part of the culture of our age from a leader in the scientific humanism movement. "A profoundly moving, brilliantly perceptive essay by a truly civilized man."--Scientific American

Carson, Rachel

Thought-provoking essays on science as an integral part of the culture of our age from a leader in the scientific humanism movement. "A profoundly moving, brilliantly perceptive essay by a truly civilized man."--Scientific American

Church, George and Regis, Ed

In Regenesis, Harvard biologist George Church and science writer Ed Regis explore the possibilities—and perils—of the emerging field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology, in which living organisms are selectively altered by modifying substantial portions of their genomes, allows for the creation of entirely new species of organisms. These technologies—far from the out-of-control nightmare depicted in science fiction—have the power to improve human and animal health, increase our intelligence, enhance our memory, and even extend our life span. A breathtaking look at the potential of this world-changing technology, Regenesis is nothing less than a guide to the future of life.

Close, William T.

At a Catholic Mission in Yambuku, an oasis of peace and efficiency in northern Congo's vast jungle forests, Mabalo Lokela, a teacher, receives an anti-malarial shot for a raging fever and headache. Sister Lucie, a Flemish nursing sister, swishes out a syringe with a weak disinfectant. The next patients are injected with the same syringe and the sick man's virus spreads.

Lokela was the first Congolese victim of a new African hemorrhagic disease that became known as Ebola fever. When Sister Lucie dies a few days later, panic erupts and hospitalized patients flee into the forest. With the convent connected to the outside world by a single primitive radio, the mission nuns can only pray and wonder if anyone will act on their cries for help.

Dennett, Daniel C.

In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the most provocative thinkers on the planet," focuses his unerringly logical mind on the theory of natural selection, showing how Darwin's great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of humanity's place in the universe. Dennett vividly describes the theory itself and then extends Darwin's vision with impeccable arguments to their often surprising conclusions, challenging the views of some of the most famous scientists of our day.

Diamond, Jared

In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.

Dillard, Annie

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is the story of a dramatic year in Virginia's Roanoke Valley. Annie Dillard sets out to see what she can see. What she sees are astonishing incidents of "beauty tangled in a rapture with violence."

 

Her personal narrative highlights one year's exploration on foot in the Virginia region through which Tinker Creek runs. In the summer, Dillard stalks muskrats in the creek and contemplates wave mechanics; in the fall, she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot; she collects pond water and examines it under a microscope. She unties a snake skin, witnesses a flood, and plays King of the Meadow with a field of grasshoppers. The result is an exhilarating tale of nature and its seasons.

Doudna, Jennifer and Sternberg, Samuel

Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. Not, that is, until the spring of 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the new gene-editing tool CRISPR—a revolutionary new technology that she helped create—to make heritable changes in human embryos. The cheapest, simplest, most effective way of manipulating DNA ever known, CRISPR may well give us the cure to HIV, genetic diseases, and some cancers, and will help address the world’s hunger crisis. Yet even the tiniest changes to DNA could have myriad, unforeseeable consequences—to say nothing of the ethical and societal repercussions of intentionally mutating embryos to create “better” humans.
 
Writing with fellow researcher Samuel Sternberg, Doudna shares the thrilling story of her discovery, and passionately argues that enormous responsibility comes with the ability to rewrite the code of life. With CRISPR, she shows, we have effectively taken control of evolution. What will we do with this unfathomable power?

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AP Environmental Science Book List

The descriptions and images of the books below are from Amazon. Books are listed alphabetically by author.

Part 2: Current Events Journal

One of the great things about studying science is there is constantly  events occurring that  change how scientists view the world or have drastic impacts on the environment.  For success on the AP Exam, one of the most repeated piece of advice is to stay up to date on current events from around the world.

  1. In a notebook (specific to AP Environmental Science.), log ONE current event that is related to environmental science every TWO weeks. 

  • Print out/ Cut out/ Include the URL for an article that shows an event that is related to biology

  • Summarize the event- include the answers to the major questions like what, where, why and how. This should have a focus of cause and effect (50 to 100 words).

  • Explain how the event is related to environmental science (100 to 150 words)

Please sign up for the ways we will be communicating during the course of the year:

Part 1: Reading Assignment

There are many books that tackle the wide range of environmental science issues of the past, present and future.  A budding environmental scientist has a plethora of options  when looking to dive into an aspect of biology.  For success on the AP Exam, being able to provide specific examples such as the examples found in these books is integral.

  1. Select a book from the book list found below. There are more than 60 options of books to choose from. Select a book that you are interested in. 

  2. After reading the book, complete the following:

  • 300- 500 word Summary of the book

  • 400- 500 word Reflection:

    • What is your thoughts about the author’s points?

    • What was your reaction while reading the book?

    • What impact does this book have on how you view the world around you?

  • Identification of the claim and evidence found in the book (please create a table like the one below). You should have between 5-8 pieces of evidence from different parts of the book.

Summer Assignment

AP Environmental Science

Adams, Douglas & Carwardine, Mark

Join them as they encounter the animal kingdom in its stunning beauty, astonishing variety, and imminent peril: the giant Komodo dragon of Indonesia, the helpless but loveable Kakapo of New Zealand, the blind river dolphins of China, the white rhinos of Zaire, the rare birds of Mauritius island in the Indian Ocean. Hilarious and poignant—as only Douglas Adams can be—Last Chance to See is an entertaining and arresting odyssey through the Earth’s magnificent wildlife galaxy.

Bormann, F. Herbert and Stephen Kellert (eds.)

In this book a distinguished group of environmental experts argues that in order to solve global environmental problems, we must view them in a broad interdisciplinary perspective that recognizes the relations―the interconnected circle―among ecology, economics, and ethics. Currently the circle is broken, they say, because environmental policy is decided on short-term estimations of material that take little account of the economic or moral burdens that will be borne by future generations if we deplete our resources now.

 

We must, assert the authors, have a better knowledge of the science underlying our environmental problems, we must understand their causes and consequences in relation to our economic and political systems, and we must recognize that an effective response will require a shift in a technologically oriented society’s ethical attitude toward the natural environment. The authors address a wide range of concerns from global atmospheric degradation and spreading toxification of the environment to loss of forests and massive species extinctions. They offer to general readers, students, and professionals practical assessments and remedies for many of these problems. They suggest, for example, mechanisms that provide economic incentives for conservation; engineering and technical adaptations to use resources more effectively and dispose of waste products; better economic accounting procedures for measuring the real environmental costs of our depletion of natural resources; and a remodeled education system that better prepares us to see each individual’s responsibility to the environment.

Bronowski, Jacob

Thought-provoking essays on science as an integral part of the culture of our age from a leader in the scientific humanism movement. "A profoundly moving, brilliantly perceptive essay by a truly civilized man."--Scientific American

Carson, Rachel

Thought-provoking essays on science as an integral part of the culture of our age from a leader in the scientific humanism movement. "A profoundly moving, brilliantly perceptive essay by a truly civilized man."--Scientific American

Close, William T.

At a Catholic Mission in Yambuku, an oasis of peace and efficiency in northern Congo's vast jungle forests, Mabalo Lokela, a teacher, receives an anti-malarial shot for a raging fever and headache. Sister Lucie, a Flemish nursing sister, swishes out a syringe with a weak disinfectant. The next patients are injected with the same syringe and the sick man's virus spreads.

Lokela was the first Congolese victim of a new African hemorrhagic disease that became known as Ebola fever. When Sister Lucie dies a few days later, panic erupts and hospitalized patients flee into the forest. With the convent connected to the outside world by a single primitive radio, the mission nuns can only pray and wonder if anyone will act on their cries for help.

Cone, Marla

Traditionally thought of as the last great unspoiled territory on Earth, the Arctic is in reality home to some of the most contaminated people and animals on the planet. Awarded a major grant to conduct an exhaustive study of the deteriorating environment of the Arctic by the Pew Charitable Trusts (the first time Pew has given such a grant to a journalist), Los Angeles Times environmental reporter Marla Cone traveled across the Arctic, from Greenland to the Aleutian Islands, to find out why the Arctic is toxic.

Silent Snow is not only a scientific journey, but a personal one. Whether hunting giant bowhead whales with native Alaskans who are struggling to protect their livelihood, or tracking endangered polar bears in Norway, Cone reports with an insider's eye on the dangers of pollution to native peoples and ecosystems, how Arctic cultures are adapting to this pollution, and what solutions will prevent the crisis from getting worse.

Cronon, William

Changes in the Land offers an original and persuasive interpretation of the changing circumstances in New England's plant and animal communities that occurred with the shift from Indian to European dominance. With the tools of both historian and ecologist, Cronon constructs an interdisciplinary analysis of how the land and the people influenced one another, and how that complex web of relationships shaped New England's communities.

Dean Moore, Kathleen and Nelson, Michael P.

Moral Ground brings together the testimony of over 80 visionaries — theologians and religious leaders, scientists, elected officials, business leaders, naturists, activists, and writers — to present a diverse and compelling call to honor our individual and collective moral responsibilities to our planet. In the face of environmental degradation and global climate change, scientific knowledge alone does not tell us what we ought to do. The missing premise of the argument and much-needed centerpiece in the debate to date has been the need for ethical values, moral guidance, and principled reasons for doing the right thing for our planet, its animals, its plants, and its people. This book encourages a newly discovered, or rediscovered, commitment to consensus about our ethical obligation to the future and why it’s wrong to wreck the world.

Dembicki, Geoff

A declaration of resistance, and a roadmap for radical change, from the generation that will be most screwed by climate change.

The Millennial generation could be first to experience the doomsday impacts of climate change. It's also the last generation able to do something about them. With time ticking down, 31-year-old journalist Geoff Dembicki journeyed to Silicon Valley, Canada's tar sands, Washington, DC, Wall Street and the Paris climate talks to find out if he should hope or despair. What he learned surprised him. Millions of people his age want to radically change our world, and they are at the forefront of resistance to the politicians and CEOs steering our planet towards disaster.

In Are We Screwed?, Dembicki gives a firsthand account of this movement, and the shift in generational values behind it, through the stories of young people fighting for their survival. It begins with a student who abandons society to live in the rainforest and ends with a Muslim feminist fomenting a political revolution. We meet a Brooklyn artist terrifying the oil industry, a Norwegian scientist running across the melting Arctic and an indigenous filmmaker challenging the worldview of Mark Zuckerberg.

Are We Screwed? makes a bold argument in these troubled times: A safer and more equitable future is more achievable than we've been led to believe. This book will forever change how you view the biggest existential challenge of our era and redefine the generation now battling against the odds to solve it.

Devall, Bill and Sessions, George

Deep Ecology explores the philosophical, psychological, and sociological roots of today's environmental movement, examines the human-centered assumptions behind most approaches to nature, explores the possibilities of an expanded human consciousness, and offers specific direct action suggestions for individuals to practice. Widely read in it first printing, Deep Ecology has established itself as one of the most significant books on environmental thought to appear in this decade.
"Deep Ecology is subversive, but it's the kind of subversion we can use." --San Francisco Chronicle
"This book is an attempt at codifying a scattered body of ecological insight into a philosophy that places human beings on an absolutely equal footing with all other creatures on the planet." --Stephanie Mills, Whole Earth Review
"Difficult and (to some) unfamiliar insights on nature and human beings presented with simplicity and clarity, Deep Ecology rattles a cage full of occidental presumptions and yet it all seems almost like common sense." --Gary Snyder
Bill Devall has studied the social organization, politics, psychology and philosophy of the environmental movement for fifteen years. He teaches at Humbolt State University in California and is active in many environmental groups including Earth First! and the Sierra Club.
George Sessions teaches philosophy at Sierra College California. He was appointed to the Mountaineering Committee of the the Sierra Club in 1962, has served as a philosophy consultant to the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is editor of the International Ecophilosophy Newsletter.

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A Science Classroom For The Next Generation