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The problems below are a selection of real world problems developed for the teaching of sustainability/conservation related College classes. The exercises are designed to foster quantitative competence (numeracy) as well as critical thinking and systems thinking. They are basic but realistic and all data used are taken from the published scientific literature and from public online databases maintained by official organizations such as FAO and EIA.
No advanced Mathematics is required, yet these problems are challenging for most students. Many students need help to overcome a certain math anxiety or even phobia. These exercises must be accompanied by intensive discussion, assistance, and feedback. Students who complete these assignments successfully experience the power of even basic quantitative methods. They learn that informed citizens do not have to rely solely upon the advice of experts – with reasonable effort they can gather and interpret information and come up with approximate answers to important, non-trivial real world questions.