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Aufgabenblock II

Aufgaben
Download als Dokument:PDF
1.
Outline the advantages and disadvantages of the oil sands boom mentioned in the article.
2.
Analyze the means used to convince the reader of the author's position.
Refer to the article and the photo published with it.
3.
Choose one of the following tasks:
3.1
As a host student at a Canadian school you are asked to deliver a speech to your fellow students in which you convey your personal opinion on the exploitation of fossil fuels and its implications.
Write this speech, using the situation in Alberta as a starting point.
$\quad \quad \;$ OR
3.2
"We only get one planet. Humankind must become accountable on a massive scale for the wanton destruction of our collective home. Protecting our future on this plant depends on the conscious evolution of our species."
(DiCaprio, Leonardo: Address to the United Nations Climate Summit, September 23, 2014).
Comment on this statement.
Text
Neela Banerjee: In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword (2013)
Aufgabenblock II
Abb. 1: A worker gets ready to replace the teeth of a giant electric shovel used to dig up tar sands at a mine in Canada's Alberta province. Oil sands production, already booming in northeastern Alberta, could grow far larger if the Keystone XL pipeline is built to link the province to Texas.
Aufgabenblock II
Abb. 1: A worker gets ready to replace the teeth of a giant electric shovel used to dig up tar sands at a mine in Canada's Alberta province. Oil sands production, already booming in northeastern Alberta, could grow far larger if the Keystone XL pipeline is built to link the province to Texas.
$\;$
The oil sands industry has brought good jobs to villages such as Fort Chipewyan. But there is fear about cancer and the environment.
Fort Chipewyan, Canada - In the Cree language, the word "athabasca" means "a place where grass is everywhere." Here in Alberta, the Athabasca River slices through forests of spruce
5
and birch before spilling into a vast freshwater delta and Lake Athabasca.
But 100 miles upstream, the boreal forest has been peeled back by enormous strip mines[1], where massive shovels pick up 100 tons of earth at a time and dump it into yellow trucks as big as houses.
The tarry bitumen[2] that is extracted is eventually shipped to refineries, many in the United States,
10
to be processed into gasoline, diesel and other fuels. But the leftover polluted slurry remains in miles-long impoundments, some high above the banks of the river. Air cannons sound periodically to keep migratory birds from landing on the toxic ponds.
Oil sands production, as the procedure is called, is booming in northeastern Alberta. […]
Debate in the U.S. over the pipeline has largely focused on whether the oil sands would
15
contribute to climate change, or spill along the route. But in northeastern Alberta, the effect of the oil sands industry plays out in more complicated ways.
Oil sands are exploited by injecting high-pressure steam into the earth or by strip mining to extract the sticky bitumen, which is then washed away from clay and sand, swiftly heated and diluted with the chemicals before being shipped to refineries.
20
The petroleum industry has funneled billions of dollars into Canada's national, provincial and local economies and employs thousands of people in places with few other jobs. But the oil sands boom may also be polluting the air and water, and is stoking fear that it is damaging the health of those in its arc.
"From everything I hear from the indigenous people, their thinking seem to be 'It's a choice
25
between whether we starve to death or are poisoned to death,'" said Dr. John O'Connor, a general practitioner who has worked here since 1993.
In Fort Chipewyan, a village of 1,100 people on the north shore of Lake Athabasca, cancer and autoimmune diseases such as lupus[3] have taken a heavy toll on its mostly indigenous Cree, Dene and Metis population during the last 20 years. In 2009, the provincial government
30
found that cancer rates here over a 12-year period were 30% higher than normal for such a small community (51 cancers in 47 individuals versus an expected 39 cancers).
Three weeks ago, government scientists told villagers that they had found high levels of mercury, a hazardous substance, in the eggs of migratory birds that nest downstream from oil sands production. Fishermen say pickerel[4] and northern pike in the lake show bulging eyes
35
and other deformities.
Three studies by independent scientists have shown rising concentrations of pollutants, including carcinogens[5], in waterways near Alberta's oil sands production.
Industry officials and the Alberta government have long insisted that the chemicals detected in area waterways are naturally occurring, not the result of pollution.
40
They also say they are taking full safety precautions to protect communities tucked into a vast wilderness. Some of the indigenous people, known as the First Nations, have hunted and fished here for thousands of years.
The oil industry is funding a government-run system to monitor possible pollution. Reclamation efforts, meanwhile, can take years, if not decades. Of the thousands of acres mined during 40
45
years of oil sands extraction in Alberta, only 247 acres have been restored to land resembling unmined areas.
"We will be here another 50 to 60 years," said Greg Stringham, vice president for oil sands for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. "We're very supportive of looking at the cumulative effect of what we do."
50
Canada already is the largest exporter of crude to the United States, mostly from oil sands. Officials hope to increase production by 2030 to about 5 million barrels a day from the current 1.9 million barrels. Many of the world's biggest oil companies hold leases to develop oil sands along the Athabasca River and other parts of eastern Alberta. Syncrude, Suncor and Shell already operate upstream from Fort Chipewyan.
55
The Keystone XL pipeline, the most efficient way to ship oil, is crucial to the effort. Some local residents fear the pipeline would accelerate development of the oil sands and create additional pollution.
Beginning in the 1990s, says 71-year-old commercial fisherman "Big Ray" Ladouceur, he began catching fish with deformities from Lake Athabasca. The cause is unknown, but three peer-
60
reviewed studies by university researches since 2009 have sounded warnings about water pollution linked to oil sands development in Alberta.
Banerjee, Neela: In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword. http://articles.latimes.com (25.11.2015)


[1] strip mines: mines in which the process of digging happens on the surface
[2] bitumen: mixtures of hydrocarbons that occur in asphalt or tar
[3] lupus: a serious skin disease
[4] pickerel: a type of fish commonly found in North America
[5] carcinogen: any substance that produces cancer
#quotation#zentraleraufgabenpool#comment#environmentalproblems#speech
Bildnachweise [nach oben]
[1]
https://goo.gl/LGeqtG – Oil sands production, (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times).
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$\blacktriangleright$  1. Outline advantages and disadvantages of oil sands boom
Zuerst sollst du die Vorteile und möglichen Bedrohungen des Ölsandbooms herausarbeiten.
The text "In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword" focuses on the various benefits, but also on the possible dangers of the oil sands boom in the Canadian province Alberta. The title already refers to the oil sands production as a double-edged sword - that metaphor means that a benefit carries some significant but not-so-obvious costs or risks.
When concentrating on the benefits of the oil sands boom, the article makes it pretty clear that this industry brings some advantages on economic levels. First of all, growing exports of bitumen to the U.S. strengthens the economic relationship to the U.S. and generates higher financial resources for Canada's industry. Furthermore, the bitumen will be processed into gasoline, diesel and other fuels - raw material that humanity will always be in need of. That the growth of oil sands seems infite contributes to that fact and is another advantage. Additionally, many of the top players in the oil sands industry have settled in eastern Alberta, for example Syncrude, Suncor or Shell. This supports the fact that the industry has brought billions of dollars into Canada's economy and meanwhile creates jobs for thousands of people in areas whith few other jobs.
Despite all these benefits, there is always the other side of the coin. Extracting the bitumen results in leftover polluted mud that is found in large pools of water. These poisonous water basins are lethal for the environment. People are also afraid that possible pipelines connecting Canada with the U.S. might be leaking and hence transferring the pollution to the U.S. as well. Moreover, pollutants like carcinogen have been found in various waterways - those might spread the pollutants all over the American continent. In addition, oil sands production is said to contribute negatively to climate change. It causes not only dangerous effects for humankind but for animals as well. During the last 20 years, autoimmune diseases and cancer have affected the habitants of a small village close to the oil sands production site. Fish in closeby lakes have shown deformities and eggs of migratory birds contain high levels of mercury.
In conclusion, the dangers of oil sands boom outweigh its benefits. Of course, exploiting fossil fuels is a rather cheap way to produce raw material like diesel and it is definitely beneficial for strenthening economical relationship between countries. However, it causes tremendous economical pollution and creates diseases like cancer on the long run.
Conclusion
#environmentalproblems
$\blacktriangleright$  2. Analyze means used to convince reader of author's position
In diesem Aufgabenteil sollst du die Mittel analysieren, mit denen die Autorin versucht, den Leser von ihrem Standpunkt zu überzeugen. Zuerst musst du dafür herausfinden, welchen Standpunkt die Autorin vertritt.
Both the article "In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword" and the picture published with it serve the author Neela Banerjee to broadcast her view on the oil sands boom in Canada. Her standpoint might not seem obvious at first but looking closer at the text and the picture, it is made clear that she stands not in favor of the oil sands production.
The very beginning of the article shows a stark contrast. The author starts by how the oil sands industry has brought a lot of jobs to the area and at the same time, she explains that the industry causes "fear about cancer and the environment" (l. 2). Then again, she states that the word "athabasca" - which is also the name of the river that flows through Alberta - means "a place where grass is everywhere" (l. 3-4). One sentence later, she juxtaposes that picture of lush meadows and crystal clear rivers with the image of a wasteland where strip mines and trucks rule. Banerjee wants to show the reader how the province Alberta could look like with its rivers and atmospheric landscapes were it not for the oil sands industry. In order to emphasize this, she uses words with positive connotations for the environment like "vast freshwater delta" (l. 5) or "forests of spruce and birch" (l. 4).
Throughout the article, various eye witness statements, scientific reports and quotations can be found which support her seemingly objective position. Yet, she is not really objective - all of the benefits she mentions have a negative side aspect. Hence, the petroleum industry creates jobs but "pollutes the air [and] is damaging the health of those in its arc" (l. 22-23). Furthermore, the government tries to "monitor possible pollution" (l. 43) but it would take decades to reverse the effects of oil sands production according to Banerjee. Basically, she starts with presenting the reader with poor economic benefits whereas she ends the article with rather strong arguments against oil sands production - in fact she is talking about environmental destruction. Therefore, her choice and the sequence of of aspects and quotations have influence on the reader.
Her argumentation is supported by direct quotations and examples of average people that bring her closer to the reader. The fisherman who caught fish with deformities ever since the 1990s is just one example of many for that (l. 58). That the oil sands industry can be held responsible for that is verified by diverse studies (l. 59-60). The indigenous people are hit hard by oil sands production as well. Resources like forests for hunting have been taken away from them and they suffer from cancer and autoimmune diseases (l. 27-28) - for them "it's a choice between whether [they] starve to death or are poisoned to death" (l. 24-25) says Dr. John O'Connor who works at one of the villages.
Means
quotations/reports/eye witness statements
The photo only emphasizes these effects even more. It matches the overall theme of contrast of the article. There is a huge machinery which is contrasted with just one small individual and it seems as if the shovel would almost swallow the worker. This enhances the argumentation of the author that industry destroys humankind on one side and the whole planet on the other side.
#environmentalproblems
$\blacktriangleright$  3.2 Write a speech
Du sollst eine Rede schreiben in der du deine persönliche Meinung zu fossilen Brennstoffen und deren Auswirkungen erläuterst. Gehe dabei auf die Situation in Alberta ein.
Folks of the 21st century!
Have you ever wondered where that stuff comes from with which you light up your stove? Did you ever think about the stuff you put in your gas tank at the gas station? Why the hell does your room light up when you push a switch? Magic! Magic in terms of fossil fuel, in terms of decayed plants and animals. Here in Alberta, we do have strip mines and I believe that some of our parents work there and of course, the oil sands boom has created tons of jobs and yes, it has definitely strengthened our economical situation! But - guess what - diseases have spread due to that and there is fear of leakage of pipelines and this can even reach our ground water! This affects us as terrible as it is!
Introduction
  • Comment on situation in Alberta
However, oil sands production is not the only way to produce fuels and it is by far not the only production kind that causes severe environmental problems. Harvesting and the utilization of fossil fuels creates environmental problems! Just take the exploitation of coal as an example: Strip mining is accomplished by excavating areas of land that disrupts large volumes of soil - this destroys the habitats of some animals and displaces the wildlife. In addition, coal mines can collapse, so coal deposits are exposed to the elements which leads to acid drainage and this in turn can be flushed into streams or ground water and hence might end up in our own bodies! Moreover, burning coal causes air pollution by the smoke that is released into the air.
  • Coal mining
  • displacement of wildlife
  • acid drainage
  • air pollution
Speaking of burning and smoke and fire - did you know that petroleum accidents can cause oil fires that massively pollute the air as well? And refining the petroleum also causes pollution; sometimes, the oil spills and spreads across the water, coating everything in its path and wildlife suffocates from the coating or gets poisoned. Not just that, the process of drilling impacts the wildlife in those areas just as well. Doesn't look all too good for the wildlife and ourselves, does it?
  • Petroleum
  • oil spills
  • process of drilling
The only faintly shimmering light we have regarding fossil fuels is natural gas: it is the most environmentally friendly and efficient fossil fuel since it can be harvested in a less disruptive manner and it burns cleaner, causing less air pollution than the other fuels. However, everything has its very own downside and here, it is the threat of gas explosions. And these are just the direct effects of using fossil fuels.
  • natural gas
  • less disruptive
  • less air pollution
  • gas explosions
Not only do the production or refining processes result in pollution, there are long-term issues linked to fossil fuels as well. For instance, the before mentioned fuels are all non-renewable sources of energy, they are all derived from pre-historic fossils. Those sources are finite and are depleting at a constantly increasing faster rate - they are destined to run out in the next 50 years! Moreover, the accidents that are certainly bound to happen can be more than disastrous like oil spills or fires or explosions. Not to mention the effects that using fossil fuels have on human health - emissions of greenhouse gases and other toxic elements as a result of fossil fuel combustion cancause serious health complications such as asthma or chronic bronchitis. Furthermore, the environmental pollution that is a consequence of the release of carbon dioxide when those fuels are burnt is mainly responsible for global warming. What is more, using fossil fuels affects politics! Countries that are not able to refine their own fossil fuels are thrown into an overdependence on foreign oil - this is a serious security threat and other nations can use this overreliance as a political leverage.
Impacts
  • non-renewable
  • accidents
  • effect on human health
  • global warming
  • overdependence
Considering all the facts that I have mentioned, one might believe that we possess the mental state of people of the medieval ages. We are such an advanced society - do we really need to rely on fuels that destroy our nature and ourselves?
Conclusion
$\blacktriangleright$  3.2 Comment on statement
Hier sollst du die Aussage Leonardo DiCaprios kommentieren.
The quote "We only get one planet. Humankind must become accountable on a massive scale for the wanton destruction of our collective home. Protecting our future on this plant depends on the conscious evolution of our species" by Leonardio DiCaprio shows on one side that humankind is responsible for the destruction of the planet earth and it explains on the other side that humankind needs to evolve in order to fix that problem.
Introduction
DiCaprio addressed the attendees of the United Nations Climate Summit in 2014 with that bold statement. Yet, he is right to criticize humankind's wanton destruction of its collective home planet earth. For years, we have depleted the planet's resources such as water, soil, fossil fuels and rare earth materials in our ever-growing, never-saturating quest for more. More food, more transportation, more choices, more of anything. Humankind is responsible for everything that changed and it has looked at climate change as if it were a fiction, happening to someone else's planet, pretending that it wasn't real would somehow make it go away. Our high living standards have resulted in various changes affecting the climate and the environment. The amount of people inhabiting earth has grown massively over the last few centuries - and with it, the need for resources such as food, water, fuels and many other things as well.
Humankind exploits the planet out of rather selfish reasons. In order to produce paper and furniture, rainforests are rooted out, leaving extra space for agriculture for the growing masses of people while destroying the natural habitat of millions of animals and while reducing precious trees that lower the carbon dioxide concentration in the air. But not only do we exploit forests but also the water areas - humankind hunts down nearly extinct animal species like whales and sharks to sell their meat just to satisfy a very small market. Moreover, humankind has been fallen a civtim to consumerism and hence produces tons and tons of trash that end up in the oceans causing the death of millions of marine animals. Furthermore, the evolution of humankind has caused a lot of damage in regard to the environment as well - all sorts of transportation emit carbon dioxid and thus pollutes the air. This in the end results in global warming. What is more, humankind basically destroys itself by producing radioactive material through nuclear power plants - resulting in the growing number of diseases like cancer.
Main Part
Humanity is to blame for destruction of planet
  • higher living standards
  • depletion of forests
  • hunt of nearly extinct animals
  • consumerism $\rightarrow$ trash
  • CO2-Emission
  • radioactivity
However, DiCaprio makes a shift towards a conscious evolution of the human species compulsory in order to protect the future on this planet. In fact, this is already happening. People are aware of the scale of the problem. For instance, ever since the 80s, people have been protesting against nuclear energy due to the many risks and accidents linked to nuclear energy and by 2021, Germany wants to have closed donw every single power plant. In addition, renewable energy is not only achievable, but a good economic policy since by 2050, clean and renewable energy might supply 100% of the world's energy needs. But clean air, water and livable climate are inalienable human rights - they are not anymore just a question of politics but of moral obligation. So, every individual is responsible for living a more conscious lifestyle and for reflecting on one's personal carbon footprint. People are already starting and implementing to rethink their choices of transportations and rather use the bike or do carpooling to run errands or to get to work. Furthermore, people try to reduce or recycle or even avoid waste in order to stop pollution. Shops that sell goods without packaging encourage that as well. In addition, more and more people decide to become beeskeepers in order to save the plants - and eventually the planet earth - from dying out.
Awareness of problem
  • closure of nuclear power plants
  • renewable energy
  • reflecting on carbon footprint
  • choice of transportation
  • avoiding waste
  • beeskeeper
In conclusion, humanity can totally be held responsible for what happened to our planet - pollution, animals going extinct, diseases, global warming just to name a few. But also, the human species consciously evolves and finally takes full responsibility for its actions. This is just logical since otherwise, humankind will go extinct sooner or later as well.
Conclusion
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