Current Environmental Issues

Current Environmental Issues (CEI) - Middle School

The North Carolina Envirothon, through its Current Environmental Issues component, provides students the opportunity to explore the most urgent and controversial issues facing North Carolinians today. Many of these issues are the same issues being studied and publicly debated across the country and the world.

To improve issue awareness, analysis and critical thinking skills, Envirothon students are assigned a variety of articles and editorials written by individuals, academia, environmental organizations, business and industry, conservation agencies, the Internet, and the general media from various subject areas:

  • Earth’s Natural Resources - soil, water, air, plants and animals
  • Issues At Home and the World Over - global climate change, biodiversity, endangered species, exotic species, habitat
  • Our Global Family –people, population growth, resource consumption
  • Annual Issue - as selected by the International National Conservation Foundation Envirothon host state each year

The purpose of these readings is twofold: 1) to introduce students to the science behind the issues and their social, economic, political and ecological implications; and 2) to expose them to opposing viewpoints to stimulate thinking and to help them better understand the public debate on a variety of North Carolina and global issues.

While students are tested on their reading comprehension of each article’s content, they are encouraged to draw their own conclusions and form their own informed opinions with sound justification. The NC Envirothon State Committee strives to provide a balance of perspectives. The opinions presented are not necessarily those of the NC Envirothon State Committee or the NC Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts.

Articles for 2020-2021

(Same articles from previous year event cancelled by Covid-19)

CORE INFORMATION - To help Advisers and Students understand the importance of critical evaluation of information received through the internet and other media sources.

1. Introduction to Current Environmental Issues (revised 9/2019 with excerpts from Decision Making under Scientific Uncertainty)

2. First Amendment - Media Mixed Messages (Mini Page 2017; Science Matters 2013)


3. Neuse River Basin (edited), NC Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs, 2013


4. Six Things you're recycling wrong, Livia Albeck-Ripka, May 29, 2018


5. America's biggest salamanders: meet the 'snot otters' that call NC mountains home, Maddy Arrowood, August 3, 2019

6. Sixty percent of bird species came from Australia, Eleanor Imster, April 4, 2019

7. Fourteen fun facts about Dragonflies, Sarah Zielinski, October 5, 2011


8. What is Groundwater? Lyle Raymond, November 1988 - Middle School Only Studies

9. Groundwater Contamination, Lyle Raymond, November 1988 - Middle School Only Studies

10. Life in a city without water: anxious, exhausting and sweaty, Somini Sengupta, July 11, 2019

11. Fifty years ago, a burning river helped ignite a movement (edited for Middle School), Richard Stradling, June 29, 2019

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