Write a 3–4-page report in which you examine ways to reduce your environmental impact.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

  • Competency 2: Analyze the impact of contaminants in the environment to human health.
    • Examine the impacts of personal choice on environmental health.
  • Competency 3: Apply personal and professional decisions based upon an understanding of environmental risks.
    • Illustrate ways to reduce personal impact on the environment.
    • Demonstrate how to encourage others to make a change in the ways they impact the environment.
  • Competency 4: Communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
    • Write coherently to support a central idea in appropriate format with correct grammar, usage, and mechanics.
    • Context

      As you consider your own impact on the environment, it is helpful to look more closely at the environmental issues that plague our natural resources. The
      Assessment 4 Context document provides a brief overview of some of these issues. You may wish to review this document for key concepts and ideas related to pollution, contaminants, and resource quality.

    • Questions to Consider

      To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

      • What do you see as the biggest pros and cons of the new plastic (PLA) technology?
      • What alternatives do you see for reducing plastic consumption?
      • Do you think bisphenol A (BPA) should be banned in baby bottles, formula cans, and infant and toddler toys?
      • How do you feel about the issue of BPA being used in the production of certain plastics?
      • What should individuals do to reduce air pollution? What is the responsibility of industry and government, with respect to air pollution?
      • What is the quality of air in your area?
      • What are the automobile emissions laws in your state?
      • What are the causes and effects of asthma?
      • Define what is meant by greenhouse gases and describe how they contribute to the greenhouse effect and climate change.
      • What specific examples illustrate the global nature of water pollution?
      • Which areas of the world have adequate supplies, and which are facing a chronic shortage?
      • How is the majority of water used in the average U.S. household? What are some ways in which households might conserve water and prevent waste of water?
      • Assessment Instructions

        For this assessment, examine in a 3–4-page report the impact of your choices on the environment and consider positive changes you could implement.Begin your report by explaining areas of your life in which your choices impact the environment. This list could be endless; choose to focus on 10 areas of impact. Then, choose
        five changes related to the areas you listed that you could implement in your life.

        • Include at least one change relevant to each of the three main natural resources—air, water, and land (soil).
        • For each of your five changes you have chosen to examine, address the following:
          • What is the financial cost/benefit of the change?
          • What health benefits are associated with the change?
          • What are the environmental benefits of this change? How does this change promote conservation of air, water, or land?
          • What is the impact on your lifestyle if you make the change?

        Finally, address the following in regard to your chosen changes overall:

        • What message are you trying to convey? Highlight the main points you want to present.
        • How do your personal choices affect environmental health?
        • Include a reference to the information from at least two reputable sources that support your choices. What do other sources of information say about these concepts?
        • Finally, explain how you could convince your friends and family that these changes are important.

        Additional Requirements

        Use the APA Paper Template (linked in the Resources under the Required Resources heading) to format your report.

        • Written Communication: Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
        • Length: This report should be 3–4 pages in content length. Include a separate title page and a separate references page.
        • Font and Font Size: Times New Roman, 12-point, double-spaced. Use Microsoft Word.
        • APA Formatting: Resources and in-text citations should be formatted according to APA (6th edition) style and formatting.
        • Number of Resources: You are required to cite a minimum of 2 scholarly resources. You may conduct independent research for resources and references to support your report. Provide a reference list and in-text citations for all of your resources, using APA format. You may cite texts and authors from the Resources.

      • Library Resources

        The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course:

        • Friis, R. H. (2012). The Praeger handbook of environmental health. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
          • Volume 1: Foundations of the Field.
            • Chapter 7, “Oceanic Pollution.”
            • Chapter 10, “Solutions to a Growing Solid Waste Problem.”
            • Chapter 23, “Green Living: Reducing the Individual’s Carbon Footprint.”
          • Volume 2: Agents of Disease.
            • Chapter 25, “Keeping Your Home Environment Clean, Safe, and Healthy.”
          • Volume 3: Water, Air and Solid Waste.
            • Chapter 1, “Global Availability of Water.”
            • Chapter 4, “Wastewater Treatment Alternatives.”
            • Chapter 7, “History of Air Pollution.”
            • Chapter 14, “Indoor Air Pollution and Health.”
            • Chapter 19, “Mortality from Air Pollution.”
            • Chapter 23, “Challenges Posed by Hazardous Waste.”
        • Philip, R. B. (2012). Environmental issues for the twenty-first century and their impact on human health. Sharjah, UAE: Bentham Science Publishers.
          • Chapter 2, “Water Pollution: The Usual Culprits.”
          • Chapter 3, “Water Pollution: Oceans and Great Lakes.”
          • Chapter 4, “Air Pollution and Global Warming.”
        • Rom, W. N. (2012). Environmental policy and public health: Air pollution, global climate change, and wilderness. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
          • Chapter 2, “Particulate Matter.”
          • Chapter 3, “Ozone.”
          • Chapter 4, “Sulfur Dioxide and Acid Rain.”
          • Chapter 9, “Chlorofluorocarbons and the Development of the Ozone Hole.”
          • Chapter 13, “Environmental Policy and the Land: Wilderness Preservation.”
          • Chapter 16, “The Clean Water Act and Water Ecosystems.”
        • Carruth, R. S., & Goldstein, B. D. (2013). Environmental health law: An introduction. Somerset, NJ: Wiley.
          • Chapter 3, “Clean Air Act (CAA).”
          • Chapter 4, “Clean Water Act (CWA).”
          • Chapter 5, “Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).”
        • Across the country. What’s happening in environmental health. (2014). Journal of Environmental Health, 77(1), 30–31.
        • Bloom, M. A., & Holden, M. (2011). Battling ecophobia: Instilling activism in nonscience majors when teaching environmental issues. Journal of College Science Teaching, 40(5), 46–49.
        • Dur, R., & Vollaard, B. (2014). The power of a bad example: A field experiment in household garbage disposal. Environment and Behavior, 1–31.
        • Overton, T. W. (2014, July). The water-energy nexus takes center stage. Power, 158(7), 32–35.
        • Tudor, T., Robinson, G. M., Riley, M., Guilbert, S., & Barr, S. W. (2011). Challenges facing the sustainable consumption and waste management agendas: Perspectives on UK households. Local Environment, 16(1), 51–66.
        • Williams, B. F. (2012, Winter). Green teen programming. Young Adult Library Services, 10(2), 29–31.
        • Ozzie Xehner: Alternatives to alternative energy [Interview]. (2012, September). Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 68(5), 1–7.
        • Internet Resources

          Access the following resources by clicking the links provided. Please note that URLs change frequently. Permissions for the following links have been either granted or deemed appropriate for educational use at the time of course publication.



          Air pollution is caused by a range of human activities, such as motor vehicle exhaust, industrial smoke, and the burning of coal and oil. It is responsible for many environmental health issues, such as aggravated asthma, and lung and heart disease. The Clean Air Act, originally introduced in 1963, and the Motor Vehicle Pollution Act of 1965 are designed to protect us from air pollution, and have had to be updated many times since their inception. Although regulations and enforcement take place on both local and national levels, most air pollution issues have global implications. Because air pollution is carried by the wind, many of the effects of industrial pollution, such as acid rain, are felt far away from the source.


          Water quality is of even greater concern to human health. Without water, humans would survive only three or four days. Although seventy percent of the earth’s surface is covered with water, only one percent of that can be consumed by humans. Our water supply is jeopardized by rapid population growth, increases in municipal water consumption, global warming and drought, and increases in irrigation and pollution. Several federal statutes have been enacted to help protect our water supply. In 1972, the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act prohibited the dumping of material into the ocean that would unreasonably degrade or endanger human health or the marine environment. In 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act was enacted to ensure the quality of drinking water in the United States. In 1990, the Oil Pollution Act began requiring oil companies to clean up oil spills.All of these laws have helped clean up and protect our water, but we must remember that water is not an unlimited resource. The treatment plants clean and recycle water and the hydrologic cycle recycles water for reuse, but we are not creating new water. We must care for what we have. According to the EPA, “The average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day. On average, approximately 70 percent of that water is used indoors, with the bathroom being the largest consumer (a toilet alone can use 27 percent!)” (2014). Considering ways to cut down on water use becomes more important as the demand increases.


          Besides clean air and water, population and economic growth depend on the productivity of the land. Land quality differs from place to place because, while soil should be a renewable resource, it can be degraded beyond reusability. Population growth and land degradation are related. Changes in farming practices have improved soil quality immensely in the U.S. because regulations have helped to make sure toxic substances are not dumped into the soil. It is essential to maintain soil quality both for food quality and to limit the potential for contaminated soil to pollute our water supply.

          Waste Management

          The disposal of waste is a looming problem in the country. Landfills are slowly filling up, chemicals from the breakdown of wastes have entered the soil and the water, and few steps have been taken to change the throw-away mentality of our society. According to the Duke Center for Sustainability and Commerce, the average person generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day. Further, waste disposal is one of the biggest expenses in city budgets (2014). Improper disposal causes problems with vermin and insects and pollutes surface as well as groundwater. Individuals are often unaware of the special programs for disposing of hazardous materials, so these too end up in landfills. The management of waste is a public health problem that must be addressed seriously, and soon.

          Polylactic Acid (PLA)

          Plastics make up almost 13 percent of our municipal solid waste, with most of it coming from containers and packaging (such as drink containers, lids, and shampoo bottles) (U.S EPA, 2014). Plastic waste in our landfills and oceans has become a major issue in environmental and human health.

          Most of you have probably seen the new corn-based plastic, which is being used in more and more products such as take-out containers, water bottles, and cardboard boxes. This new plastic is made from a resin called polylactic acid (PLA). According to Ryote (2006), conventional plastic packaging requires about 200,000 barrels of oil a day in the United States. PLA is touted as the way to break away from petroleum packaging and save us from the mounting piles of plastic taking over landfills.On the downside, PLA decomposition requires large-scale recycling. Specific microbes and levels of carbon dioxide and water and a specific temperature are needed. These facilities are very rare and most do not accept residential food scraps collected by municipalities. PLA causes problems for conventional plastic recyclers if it is mixed in, so they must now pay to remove it. There are also concerns that using corn in such a manner will continue to drive up food prices.

          Bisphenol A (BPA)

          BPA is a chemical used in the production of certain plastics. The chemical is known to leach out of plastic into foods and liquids. Critics believe BPA acts as an estrogen mimic and disrupts brain development in utero and in newborns. BPA supporters say the risks are minimal and that research has not supported the need for a ban. Canada has banned BPA in baby bottles and even tougher restrictions have been proposed by the U.S. Senate.


          Duke Center for Sustainability and Commerce. (2014). How much do we waste daily? Retrieved from
          http://center.sustainability.duke.edu/resources/gr…Royte, E. (2006). Corn plastic to the rescue.
          Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved from
          http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/corn-…United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2014). Indoor water use in the United States. Retrieved from

          United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2014). Plastics. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/plastics…

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