STEM 370T:  Impact of Technology on Society


Essay 2 Assignment (100 points):   Respond to the bolded question below in a 3-5 page essay.  Before beginning this assignment, read below the Thought Prompt, Documentary Synopses, Possible Actions, REQUIRED Mechanics of the Essay, REQRUIED Structure of the Essay, and the Essay Rubric.  [DO NOT REVIEW THE FILM, this is not the assignment.  Rather answer the prompt question and follow instructions!]   BE SURE TO FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS BELOW REGARDING MECHANICS and STRUCTURE.  ALSO BELOW, REVIEW THE RUBRIC I WILL USE TO GRADE THE ESSAY.

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Prompt Question:   Who should be responsible for overseeing the development, implementation, and impacts of technology development on the extraction of natural resources?    


Documentary Synopses

Documentary 1:  Blue Gold – Water Wars The water crisis. Unfortunately, just talking about the water crisis isn’t just muttering about a gloom and doom prediction of what could happen if we don’t straighten up and fly right. It is happening, and it is nearly upon us. If you need evidence, there is plenty of it in a new documentary highlighting the science, politics, and future of water on planet Earth entitled “Blue Gold: World Water Wars.” Blue Gold documents the environmental issues behind why we are rapidly losing our fresh water supplies, the politics behind water ownership and distribution that are worsening the situation, and the scenarios of what will happen as water becomes increasingly scarce. The documentary looks at how we are using up water faster than it can be replenished through natural systems – we are mining as much as 15 times more groundwater than is being replenished, at the rate of 30 billion gallons a day. We’re also polluting it beyond use, destroying wetlands that are natural filters, and blocking the rivers that carry nutrients that keep the water healthy and lands fertile. Basically, we’re desertifying the planet, and helping to send all our fresh water straight to the ocean via soil erosion, building more and more hardscaps, and cutting down forests. Water expert Dr. Michael Kravcik states in the film that we’re only about 50 years from a collapse in the planet’s water systems.

It also analyses the solutions we’ve come up with so far, from shipping water to desalinatin, and the side effects that negate the benefits. It shows that anything short of serious conservation will do little good. Agriculture, building, product production, soft drinks, pollution… we have to completely overhaul the way we use water if we want to avoid serious wars over this precious resource in the near future. The countries that have it will gain significant power, the countries that don’t will have to fight for it. Or, we fight for it now, through activism, conservation, and coming up with technologies that that help us conserve and purify the water we have, so that we can avoid world-wide water wars. Ultimately the world’s water supply is at risk of disappearing, and rich or poor, no one can’t escape it.


Documentary 2: Gasland II is a 2010 American documentary written and directed by Josh Fox. The film focuses on communities in the United States affected by natural gas drilling and, specifically, a method of horizontal drilling into shale formations known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  Along with Gasland, Gasland II was a key mobilizer for the anti-fracking movement.   Gasland II follows on from Gasland three years later.  It continues to document how the stakes have risen on all sides on this environmental issue which is spreading around the globe.  The sequel further enriches the argument that the gas industry’s portrayal of natural gas as being clean and an alternative to oil is false.  Over time, fracked wells are known to leak and inevitably vent powerful greenhouse gases such as methane, a greenhouse gas which is known to be over twenty times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide, another harmful greenhouse gas.  Additionally, fracking wells have been known to contaminate local ground water. Gasland II continues to question the role of corporations in the pursuit of exploiting natural resources.

[Synopsis:  Gasland I. Fox narrates his reception of a letter in May, 2008, from a natural gas company offering to lease his family’s land in Milanville, PA for $100,000 so that they can drill for gas.  Fox is aware that many of his neighbors have received such letters.  In making his decision, Fox sets out to see how communities are being affected by fracking.  A natural gas drilling boom, fracking, has been underway for the last decade in many communities in Western U.S, e.g., Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Texas.  Fox spends time with citizens in their homes and on their land as they relay their stories of natural gas drilling in their communities.  He speaks with residents who have experienced a variety of chronic health problems directly traceable to contamination of their air, of their water wells and/or of the surface water.  In some instances, the residents are reporting that they obtained a court injunction or settlement money from gas companies to replace the affected water supplies with drinkable water or with water purification systems.

Throughout the documentary, Fox reaches out to scientists, politicians, and gas industry executives and ultimately finds himself in the halls of Congress as a subcommittee was discussing the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, “a bill to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal an exemption so that hydraulic fracking can legally occur.  Hydraulic fracturing, fracking, was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the Energy Policy of 2005.



REQUIRED Format of the Essay

  • Review the essay Rubric before you develop your essay.
  • 3-5 typed double spaced paper; 1 inch margins; Times New Roman 12 point font.
  • Include at least one reference from each of the chapters in our text book – Chapter 3 and Chapter 4.
  • For each subtopic you address in the essay, include a minimum of two outside references about your subtopic (e.g., other books, journal articles, new paper articles, web articles, etc.).
  • Format in-text citations and references in the bibliography in APA style. For reference to APA style, see:
  • Cite each chapter reading and documentary assigned at least once in the essay.
  • Review the essay Rubric before you submit your essay.


REQUIRED Structure of the Essay

(Follow the instructions and bold where asked)

Introductory Paragraph – “tell me what you’re going to tell me”

  • Develop a single main topic or thesis statement. This one sentence controls the essay.  It informs the reader about the topic of the essay and on what position the author is taking.  Bold this sentence in the essay.
  • Develop a single conceptual framework or perspective sentence. This one sentence defines the author’s approach.  It informs the reader of the perspective the author is taking, e.g., personal opinion; opinion of another person, e.g., expert in the field; position of a particular group, e.g., indigenous people, a corporation, a government, etc.  Bold this sentence in the essay.
    • Develop a single sentence to introduce three subtopics. This one sentence introduces the evidence you will be using to support your position.  It informs the reader of the subtopics that are to be developed later in the body of the essay. Bold this sentence in the essay. 


Body of the Paper “tell me”

  • Divide the essay into three sections. For each subsection:
    • Develop a subtopic sentence. This sentence controls the subtopic section of the essay. It informs the reader about the subtopic being addressed.  Bold these sentences in the essay. [There should be three subtopic sentences, one per section as there are three subtopics.]
    • Provide details/information on the subtopic based on the research that was conducted. The details provided should answer  such questions as who, what, when, where, why, or how as related to the subtopic.  [Be sure to cite two outside references related to each subtopic in APA format.  Bold the references in your essay. [See APA style website:].


Conclusion – “tell me what you told me”

  • Restate in one sentence the main topic or thesis sentence. This one sentence reminds the reader about the topic of the essay and on what position the author took.  Bold this sentence in your essay. 
  • Restate in one sentence the three subtopics used as evidence. This one sentence reminds the reader of the evidence that the author used to support his or her position.  Bold this sentence in your essay. 
  • Develop multiple sentences (two to four) in which you analyze and synthesize the subtopics. These sentences explain how the subtopics supported the author’s position. Bold this sentence(s) in your essay.
  • Develop a one sentence closing statement. This sentence closes the essay and leaves the reader with a final thought.  Avoid using any overused phrases. Bold this sentence in your essay. 


Required Personal Reflection:

  • After completing your essay, develop a brief Personal Reflection in which you address how the topic of this assignment affected you personally.

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