Edexcel R.E Environmental and Medical Issues

Religion and Society

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Causes of global warming

Greenhouse effect

  • Burning fossil fuels produces CO2 so the suns radiation can get into the earths atmosphere but can't get out and so the earths temperature rises.

Natural climate change 

  • It can't be due to CO2 because the warmest periods have happened before humans made a carbon footprint.
  • If temperature rise was due to CO2 the top layer of the atmosphere would be heating faster than the earths surface.

Solar activity (amount of radiation from the sun)

  • High solar activity causes less clouds to form and so more of the suns radiation reaches the earth and the earths temperature rises.
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Solutions to the Greenhouse effect

Reduce CO2 emissions by

  • Using renewable energy rather than fossil fuels 
  • Car manufacturers using ethanol, biofeul and electricity instead of fuel from oil
  • Using less electrical appliances and turn them off when not using them
  • Increasing use of public transport
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Types of Pollution and solutions

Acid rain 

  • caused by the burning of fossil fuels making rain water more acidic which can destroy buildings and forests 

solution= electricity from wind, sun and nuclear power instead


  • lack of oxygen in rivers killing fish and making water plants grow caused by fertilisers, sewage pollution being washed into streams and lack of trees to soak up nitrogen 

solution= better sewage treatment and fewer nitrates in fertilisers 

Radioactive pollution

  • nuclear power waste which is around for millions of years causing cancers and genetic mutations 

solution= projects to store in deep underground 

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Types of Pollution and solutions

Human waste (sewage)

  • if untreated can cause water pollution

solution= use sewage to produce mathane gas 

Human waste (refuse)

  • as economy grows waste production increases

solution= recycling

Human waste (litter)

  • it increased the rat population bring disease 
  • cause bike and car accidents on roads
  • causes fire breakouts

solution= uk laws and fines 

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Unsolved problems

  • carbon emissions are still set to rise 
  • recycling costs are very high
  • nuclear waste will be a problem for years as it doesn't decay 
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Natural resources

Renewable resources 

e.g. wind power,solar power, fertile land 

  • wont run out
  • expensive
  • using biodiesel takes away fertile land for crops 
  • wont work in every country 

Non-renewable resources 

e.g. oil, coal, natural gas, iron, tin

  • produces a lot of energy
  • used for a long time so reliable
  • will run out 
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Problems of finite resources

  • fuel (petrol), used in almost all travel, comes from oil 
  • plastics, used for a lot of products, is made from oil
  • road surfaces are made with oil
  • most things are made with at least a  little part of metal 
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Possible solutions to finite resources

  • renewable energy e.g. wind , solar power
  • cars could be powered by water or electric batteries
  • recycling extends the lifetime of finite resources
  • scientists are working on plant chemicals to make plastics 
  • altering lifestyle e.g. using natural products like cotton or owning a bike instead of a car
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Christian teaching on stewarship

  • Christians are given the right to rule over the earth and its resources, but only as stewards

'rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky and all the creature'

  • Christians must treat animals and land kindly and share resources fairly 

'religion of love' Jesus's teachings on sharing what you have

  • Christians must leave the earth a better place then they found it 

the parable of the talents - 3 brothers are given money 2 invest and make a profit, 1 losed all the money

  • Chrstians will be judged on being good stewards of the earth 
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How stewardship affects christian attitudes

To leave the earth a better place they:

  • try to reduce pollution
  • preserve resources

To share resources fairly they:

  • improve standard of living in LEDCS

because they will be judged as stewards they:

  • support groups preserving resources and reducing pollutions

only by being a good steward and conserving the environmentcan a christian be a good christian 

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Why stewardships isn't enough

  • human interests come first e.g. closing a polluting factory causing uneployment would be bad
  • only the government has the power to deal with problems like waste disposal 
  • religion can change attitudes but groups have to be in place e.g people to build wind farms 
  • recycling and and buying fuel is done on an international basis and so couldn't be done by a religion 
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Islam teachings on stewardship

  • Islam teaches that Allah created adam as his khalifah (vice-gerent)

'i will create a vice gerent on earth'

  • they must keep the balance of creation and look after they earth for Allah like in shari'ah
  • Muslims will be judged on how they looked after the earth on the last day
  • life is a test from Allah and looking after the environment is part of that test. those who fail thetest will be punished.
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Islamic attitudes due to stewardship teachings

being Allahs khalifah maeans they:

  • try to reduce pollution
  • try to reserve resourses

shari'ahsays stewardship incukdes sharing the the earths resources and so musilms:

  • Share resources farily 
  • Try to improve quality of life for LEDCS

because Musilms willbe judged as khalifah on the last day they:

  • support groups which reduce pollution and conserve resourses

their is unity and balance in creation and so muslims:

  • think they have a duty to preserve the environment
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Types of infertility treatment

IVF - an egg is taken from the womb, fertilised in a test tube and put back into the womb 

Artifical insemination - when sperm is put into the wifes womb by artificial means 

AIH - Artifical insemination by husband

AID - Artifical insemination by donor 

Egg donaation - womans egg is fertilsed, by IVF, with husbands sperm and put into wifes womb

Embryo donation - both sperm and egg donated , fertilised by IVF and put into wifes womb

Surrogacy - fertilised by IVF, placed into another womans wom and baby given to husband and wife after birth

  • supervised by law and once 18 children can know genetic parents 
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Why are infertility treatments important

  • it has become an increaing problem
  • 1.5 million men in the uk have fertility problems
  • it is part of human nature to raise a family and child 
  • there are many psychological problems associated with being desperate to have children 
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Christian teachings for IVF

  • having children is a purpose of christian marriage

be fruitful and multiply 

  • in IVF and AIH hte baby is the biological offspring of both the parents
  • the discarded embryos are not feotuses and so no human life is lost
  • all christans encourage childless couples to adopt 
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Christian attitudes against infertility treatments

  • infertility is part of God plan

all the days ordained for us are writted in a book

  • IVF eggs are thrown away or experimented on which is against sancity of life
  • all form of treatment involve the sin of male masturbation
  • donors cause problems about who the parent is and cause identity problems for the child
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Islamic attitudes for infertility treaments


  • egg and sperm are from wife and husband
  • all musilms should have a family
  • the unused embryos are not feotuses so no life is taken away 
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Islamic attitudes against infertility treatments


  • it denys the child from knowing its natural parents
  • egg/ sperm donation is like adultery

'donating eggs or sperm is adultery'

  • it is the same a adoption which is banned in islam as children are not blood relations
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transplant surgury

From a dead person -             a wide range of organs

From a living person -            bone marrow, a kidney

  • ULTRA (unrelated live transplant regulatory authority) controls transplants so no-one sells organs 
  • they must be on the organ donor register to donate
  • when the register was to obstain from organ donation there was aound double the number of transplants 
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Why transplants are important

  • saves around 3000 lives a year and improves lives (cornea transplants)
  • people need transplant surgury every year so transplants are essential 
  • it can help people after you die istead of being burnt or buried 
  • it uses pioneering surgical metohds which lead to other development like artificial organs
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Why transplants are problematic

  • surgeons may not try to save the lives of accident victims if people are waiting for transplants
  • transplant surgury is expensive
  • it takes money and resourses away from cures which would benifit more people
  • rich people would be tempted to buy organs for LEDCS
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Christian attitudes to transplants


  • belief in immortality of the soul  means the body isn't needed after death
  • belief in ressurection means God willnot need organs to raise the body 
  • love your neighbour means christians should give their organs as this is the most loving thing
  • however the poor shouldn't be exploited 
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Christian attitudes to transplants


  • transplants from dead to living is playing God which is a great sin 
  • organs like the heart are an essential part of people individually created by God
  • Donating when alive is a way of loving your neighbour
  • exploiting the  poor is banned in the bible
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Christian attitudes to transplants


  • it ignores the sancity of life
  • it is playing god
  • it raises the problem of when someone is really dead
  • it takes money and resources from less expensive cures
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Islamic attitudes to transplants


  • the shari'ah teaches nothing should be removed from the body after death 
  • it is playing God - the greatest sin of shirk 
  • the qur'an teaches only god has the right to give and take life
  • they will needtheir organs for resurrection on the last day 
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Islamic attitudes to transplants


  • muslim lawyer have allowed it
  • the muslim law council in the uk say muslims can carry donor card and have transplants
  • islam aims to do good and help people 
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