Reading for Thinking - Online Practice
Choosing the Best Summary

Copyright 2013 © Laraine Flemming.
The right to copy this material is granted exclusively to instructors and students using textbooks written by Laraine Flemming. General distribution and redistribution are strictly prohibited.

Directions: For each passage, select the best summary. Be prepared to explain your choice.

Note: Remember, when you write a summary, you should

You should also consider


Modifications in Consumer Behavior

In the United States and other industrialized countries, many consumers are making "green" choices in their behavior and purchases that reflect concern for the environment. In some cases, these choices carry a price tag, such as paying more for organically grown food or for clothing made from organic cotton. Consumers are also motivated to make green purchases that save money. For example, after gas prices topped $4/gallon in 2008, sales of gas guzzling SUVs dropped, and sales of more fuel-efficient cars, such as hybrids, increased. Consumers often consider their utility bill when they choose energy-efficient appliances and electrical equipment. (Mooney et al. Understanding Social Problems, 8thed. p.428)
a. In the United States, growing numbers of people are thinking green, and both their purchases and actions show their desire to protect the environment.

b. Industrialized countries like the United States have a growing number of people who, in both their actions and purchases, are concerned about the environment and thinking green. Some consumers, for instance, are even willing to pay more money for organically grown groceries.
c. More and more people in industrialized countries like the U.S. are thinking green. They are paying more to buy organic products, saving money by avoiding high-priced gas-guzzlers, and choosing energy-efficient appliances and equipment.


Not Everyone is Listening to Warnings About the Environment

Scientists seem to think that simply telling people about various threats to the environment will induce people to change their behavior. But so far at least, that hasn't been the case. Real change hasn't occurred because people generally have one or all three of these reasons for thinking that future threats to the environment are over-rated. It's all so far away. Many people believe that the environment may be in danger, but they are convinced that the threat is a distant one. Their great grandchildren, not their immediate family, will face it. One person can't do anything. Faced with the enormity of problems like pollution and global warming, many people feel that one person's refusing to use plastic bottles is just a drop in the bucket that accomplishes nothing. Technology is going to solve the problem soon. There isn't much evidence for this belief. But it's comforting. Thus people repeat it without doing any research to see if it's true.
a. Science researchers may believe that warning people about what will happen to the environment is going to make a difference. But the warnings aren't being listened to. Or if they are, they aren't leading to action on the part of consumers.

b. There are three reasons why people don't listen to scientists' warnings about threats to the environment. They consider the threat to be far in the future and believe that even if it were closer, one person can't do anything. Some people are also convinced that threats to the environment will be solved by technological means.
c. Many people don't listen to warnings about threats to the environment because they are convinced that technology can save the environment. They believe this despite all evidence to the contrary, probably because it helps eliminate any anxiety they might have about the future.


Kevin Carter's Pulitzer Prize

Kevin Carter (1960-1994) was an award-winning photojournalist from South Africa, whose image of a starving Sudanese toddler stalked by a vulture won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1994. But prestigious as the Pulitzer is, it did not bring Carter much happiness. What it did bring was a lot of controversy and a host of personal accusations. Some of Carter's colleagues claimed that Carter had broken the photojournalist's cardinal rule of recording the moment as it happens by setting up the shot for maximum shock value. However, it was newspapers from around the world that really took him to task. An editorial in the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times said in print what many others were thinking: "The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene." Carter, who had suffered for years from depression and whose drug use had been increasing in the early nineties, went into an emotional tailspin following the uproar over his Pulitzer award. On July 27, 1994, Carter committed suicide by running a garden hose from the exhaust pipe of his red Nissan truck into the passenger side window, and he died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
a. In 1994, South African photojournalist Kevin Carter won a Pulitzer for his photo of a vulture lurking nearby as a starving Sudanese child lay hunched over on the ground. The prize though brought him more misery than happiness. He was criticized from all sides, especially by the press. In one editorial, he was likened to a vulture for taking the photo rather than helping the child. Suffering from depression and the effects of long drug use and made miserable by the criticism he received, Carter committed suicide in the same year that he received the Pulitzer Prize.

b. In 1994, after newspapers called him a "vulture" for exploiting the misery of a starving child, South African photojournalist Kevin Carter was an emotional wreck. Afflicted by depression and the effects of drug use, Carter was in no shape to handle the criticism. In July of the same year, he committed suicide by hooking a garden hose up to the exhaust pipe of his truck and snaking the hose through the passenger seat window. Inhaling the fumes, Carter died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
c. Kevin Carter was a South African journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize in1994. Unfortunately, Carter could not handle the fame that came with the prize. The effects of depression and drug use destroyed his ability to defend himself against attacks by other journalists. Shortly after receiving the Pulitzer, he committed suicide.

Last change made to this page: 11/01/13

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