Identify and briefly discuss five causes of freshwater degradation.


The specific topic for the research paper this term will be freshwater quality and/or quantity and the causes and consequences of its degradation. In addition, you will critically assess one approach to managing the problem at a local or regional scale.

The intent of this assignment is to have you explore a type of global environmental change not covered in depth in the course material. You will be expected to provide an understanding of the processes and outcomes associated with the GEC and show an understanding of the strengths and challenges associated with one particular method of addressing it. The research paper also provides students with the opportunity to hone their research and writing skills.

You will have a lot to cover in your paper and so you will need to be focused and concise. At this level, remember that depth is more important than breadth. Please follow the instructions carefully and ask if you have questions. Failure to follow the instructions may result in lost marks.

Proposal Format:

The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with an early opportunity to develop your ideas for the term paper and demonstrate that you have a strong enough preliminary understanding to write a successful paper. This includes showing us that you have some strong references with which to work. You will receive feedback and guidance from the instructor and/or teaching assistant. The requirements are as follows.

1. A proposed title for your final paper.

2. A brief introduction to your topic. You want to explain why the topic is an important, relevant one. Ideally, you will use some specific data (e.g. statistics) to highlight the relevance of discussing the degradation of freshwater as a form of global environmental change.

3.You must include a statement of aim, i.e. a concise, yet detailed statement of what you will write in your paper. The statement of aim is a one or two sentence overview of what your paper is about and typically begins with wording such as, “This paper will…”

4.Identify and briefly discuss five causes of freshwater degradation. For each, identify two examples from different places around the world, i.e. how freshwater quality is being impacted by agriculture in Brazil. Your examples should be from different places with the goal of demonstrating why this is a global problem or, in other words, why we consider it a form of GEC.

5.Identify and briefly discuss three consequences of freshwater degradation. One must be social/economic and one must be related to the biophysical environment. The third can be either social/economic or biophysical. As above, identify two global examples for each consequence.

6.Identify and briefly introduce your management approach. This is an approach to addressing the degradation of freshwater quality or quantity in one place, which can be anywhere other than in Canada or the United States. What can we do to improve the situation? You must focus on one management approach only! Be careful not to select one that is broad (e.g. legislation); you have very little space in which to discuss and critique it, so one that is more focused (e.g. one specific activity or policy) is a better choice.

7.List (in proper format) five of your intended sources. They should all be At least three of them must be academic, peer-reviewed journal articles. The other two can be journal articles or other substantial sources, meaning academic books, major government or inter/non-governmental organisation reports, usually found as pdf files, if accessed via the internet (not just general website information!). We will look for five strong sources. For each, provide a two or three sentence annotation (summary) that clearly demonstrates how it relates to your paper. All of your references must be dated 2005 or more recent and none of them should be course readings. You may use course readings in your final paper, but for the proposal, we want to see your independent research. Be sure to have a look at the library’s guide for this course; it can help you with your research efforts! (

Please note that Wikipedia, and similar sites, as well as blogs and encyclopaedias are not acceptable sources for your proposal or your final paper. Internet-based information can be very helpful, but be very critical of your sources of information. Think of the authority of them! Focus on using strong, academic and professional literature.

Your overview, Points 2 through 6 above, must be 400 to 500 words in length. We expect that you will cite some references in your overview; substantiate your work. Use APA reference style. The references and annotations are separate from this; there is no particular word limit, but remember that your annotations should only be two to three sentences long.

Please use 1.5 spacing and page numbers. Place your name and the course information at the start of your proposal, either on a title page or just at the top of the first page. Submit your assignment in .doc, .docx or .rtf format. You may also use .pdf, although one of the others is preferable.

The following rubric will be used to grade your proposals.

1. Brief introduction to the topic, including clarity (5/100)

2. Inclusion and strength of statement of aim (5/100)

3. Identification and explanation of the five causes, including identification of examples (25/100)

4. Identification and explanation of three consequences, including identification of examples (15/100)

5. Identification, explanation and appropriateness of an approach (10/100)

6. References and annotations (20/100): Quality of references, i.e. five strong academic ones and relevance to the assigned topic. In part this will be assessed based on your annotations.

7. Quality of submission

Adherence to guidelines, e.g. length (5/100)

Spelling and grammar (10/100)

Proper referencing style (5/100)

Total: /100

*Note that proposals that do not address the assigned topic will receive a mark of zero. Be sure that you understand the topic and that you adhere to it!*