Chapter Reflection Questions & Explorations

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Reflection Questions

  1. How would you explain the principle causes of Earth’s natural resources?

  2. What are the four primary spheres from which Earth’s resources are drawn? Give examples of how these spheres are interrelated.

  3. Scientifically speaking, what does the following phrase mean: "The matter we have is all we have"?

  4. Are some forms of mining worse for the environment than others? Explain your answer.

  5. What is the distinction between 'conservation' and 'preservation'? What ethical issues are at stake in these two perspectives on natural resources?

  6. What is meant by "the tragedy of the commons"? What bearing does this have on thinking ethically about natural resources?

  7. How are your ideas and actions influenced by your worldview? What bearing does your worldview have on the meaning you give to Earth's resources?  

  8. Discuss why art is sometimes used to convey the experience of nature as 'sacred'.  Give an example.


  1. Go to Global Forest Watch and see the real-time deforestation and forest fire conditions around the world. Click on "get involved" and see ideas for developing your own app, submitting a story, or sharing data.

  2. Do you know the history of paper? Do you know that you can make paper at school or at home? Visit this website to learn more about paper, recycling, and making your own stationary.

  3. What natural resources are essential for your physical survival? Where do you personally acquire these resources? Select one of the resources you thought of and imagine that it is no longer available where you normally acquire it:

    • Would it be easy for you to acquire it somewhere else?
    • What would you need to acquire it? Help from another person? Transportation? Money?
    • After thinking about this, do you feel secure about the future availability of the natural resources you need for survival?
  4. Go back to the discussion of Sr. Dorothy Stang in the Ethics Section of this chapter and read more about Sr. Dorothy’s story. What was the meaning of her life and death for you?

  5. In 2014, the head Islamic clerical body in Indonesia issued a religious fatwa against the illegal hunting and trade in endangered animals in Indonesia. What is a fatwa and why is this significant for Indonesia's natural resources? You can begin your research here.