Module 10, African Human Extinction Event

Current Events:

United Nations Environment Program releases cautionary fact sheet on climate change

From news story released April 21, 2016

Climate: Africa’s Human Existence Is at Severe Risk

In current news today, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) released a statement describing the peril that climate change might cause on the continent of Africa. UNEP announced that the African continent is the most severely affected continent when it comes to the effects of climate change, due to its poor development, natural deficiencies, and rapid climate change. T

The article describes several aspects of the biosphere that would be in danger of creating loss of biodiversity, including human life. Water is a big part of the climate change affects. Climate change affects rainfall which could affect droughts as well as flooding in various parts of Africa. These phenomenon could put drinking water strains on a population that already has a population that is under-nourished. Sea-level changes have also been noted and if they continue could affect coastal areas with large populations and endanger their lives.

According to the fact sheet produced ecosystems are critical in Africa, “contributing significantly to biodiversity and human well-being. Between 25 and 40% of mammal species in national parks in sub-Saharan Africa will become endangered.” This loss of biodiversity could adversely affect the human population by reducing resources and putting a strains on population survival.

The World Bank reported that by 2030 nearly 90million people in African will be exposed to malaria. If this disease or other diseases is combined with the phenomenon above, the African people face imminent danger.


System Diagram

The System Diagram above describes the hypothesized African Human Extinction Event. The source of such an event, is described in detail by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP.) UNEP predicts that current levels of climate change are affecting the African continent the most of any continent and that the African population is the most endangered human population due to climate change.
The Diagram shows climate change as the main source topic at the top. The red boxes above show the main topics, or how we get from A to B. The green boxes are the adversely affected areas of the biosphere, that could lead to a human extinction event on the continent of Africa. The arrows are in yellow to describe caution, as all of the effects shown here, happen to have negative effects.

Jordan Dodderer – Climate Change/WikiLeaks


In my system diagram I seek to explain the connection between Climate Change and WikiLeaks and the various input and output sources of those two items. As inputs, to Climate change, I included the burning of fossil fuels, which leads to a build up of CO2 ppm in the atmosphere. This build up of greenhouse gasses leads to climate change. As an output of Climate change, we have the proposed climate accord. The climate accord has various outputs of its own. These are the dealings of the United States government in an attempt to win support, and seek benefits for their own country. These outputs also serve as inputs to our output problem, which is the wikileaks hack. The wikileaks scandal made the US government look bad for their various secret dealings. This scandal served as an output source.

Drawing on this lesson’s core value of understanding the cause and effect of climate change, I think that any sustainability agreements that are reached on a global level are a win for environmentalists. In an environmental setting the accord is a winning output policy. However, as a surveillance state and the issue of public and private security I do not support the actions of the US economy. I think that there is a more altruistic and ethical way of dealing with such problems. The backdoor deals and coercion are a stain on democracy. So while I support the measure and the output policy I do not support the means by which the policy was achieved and hope for better in our future.

Module 8, Hazards!

I live in Los Angeles, CA and according to the Nathan World Map, we face a few natural hazards. The most prominent hazard in the area is living in a Zone 4 Earthquake area. Earthquakes happen regularly in Southern California and I have experienced quite a few, although none have been seriously threatening or damaging, the experience can still be scary. The area is also a Zone ¾ wildfire areas. It is very dry in Southern California, especially with recent drought and in the dry season there are frequent wildfires. Fortunately in an El Nino year, like this year, we experience a wetter season and have seen fewer wildfires. I think the Nathan Map has a fair representation of Los Angeles area hazards.


On the RDOE and EDIS map, I chose an event in Puebla, Mexico near Mexico City. On March 31, 2016 there was a volcanic eruption. Mile high Plumes were went up into the air and environmentalists warned of falling ash. Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention raised the environmental alert level to the second degree out of three, meaning nearby residents should be prepared to evacuate.


This phenomenon would not occur in the Los Angeles area because there are not any volcanic region nearby. The nearest active volcanic field is in Northern California so it would take a massive eruption to affect the Southern California area. Volcanic eruptions in Mexico have caused tremors though and there is a lot of earthquake activity. However, the tectonic plates in Southern California Slide past each other instead of the submersive variety seen at eruption sites, therefore there is no risk of magma eruption.


This volcanic region is very near Mexico City, Mexico, which is a large city and could compare to the large population of Los Angeles. The active volcano is one of the world’s most dangerous. A mass evacuation of a large city like that is a big deal and would affect the Los Angeles Metro area in a similar capacity. Luckily, there are more warning signs for volcanic explosions than there are for Massive Earthquakes, so maybe being near a volcanic region is a safer location than living on a slide past earthquake system. If evacuations in such a large metro area were necessary I think that a similar solution to Hurricane Katrina traffic could be considered, where both sides of the highway are used for outbound traffic and incoming traffic is prohibited. This would be the only feasible way of getting such a large metro area out of the danger zone.

Sustainable North Hollywood – Jordan Dodderer

I live in North Hollywood, CA. It is part of Los Angeles County and the massive urban sprawl that surrounds the smaller downtown area. The whole of los angeles is automobile centered. 18.5 million people live in Los Angeles, CA and 130,000 of those citizens live in my neighborhood of North Hollywood. Massive highways surround the specific community that I live in. I am within 5 minutes of 5 major highways. The community I live in also has access to a subway line, busses, and walking paths, but it is no small fact that automobiles rule the urban design landscape. North Hollywood is an artists community. There are acting studios, dance studios, an arts and design school, and many eclectic and eccentric businesses along the main street. I love my community, but the urban landscape leaves a lot to be desired aesthetically.


Copenhagen’s Bicycle culture is an incredibly inspiring program to me. The way they have crafted their streets to give cycle’s the priority in transportation, and made bike travel more convenient and safer for the citizens in their community. Where I live in North Hollywood, there are bike lanes on all of the streets. However, it is often seen as unsafe to be on the road because diving culture is so crazy. I just recently purchased a bicycle for local travel, but it is scary to be on the main roads because drivers are known to change lanes and make severe turns. Many cyclists ride on the sidewalk and in crosswalks to compensate, but then this causes trouble for pedestrians. I would love to see my community embrace bicycle traffic and make local commutes a safer and more efficient practice.
I also took particular inspiration from Michigan’s urban farming. I think the benefits of a community that embraces fresh produce and in turn helps clean up the surrounding urban landscape is the ultimate in urban renewal. In my community of North Hollywood we have large areas of unused land that sit under giant power lines. North Hollywood was a farming community in the 1940’s, but with the massive auto culture and urban sprawl, it got taken over by urban design. I would love to see my community turn these unused and “dirty” areas that are surrounded by chain link fences and trash, and turn them into sprawling farm and that is in turn sold at fair prices to the community. The thought of a grown local farmers market could bring a sense of community and pride as well.

Social Norm, Food Choice

When I think of how my personal food choices have been affected by social norms, I automatically pinpoint my upbringing on a small rural farm in Ohio. Much like in the videos and papers we engaged with in Module 6, my family’s average plate included a large portion of meat, usually red meat, and a small portion of a vegetable, along with potatoes. My childhood “meat and potato” diet was a diet found in almost all the rural homes I knew nearby. My family produced beef on a small farm and so our diet mainly consisted of this product. My family’s diet wasn’t a conscious choice, but one that grew out of a social norm. Often, I would hear residents tell one another that they looked “too skinny,” “needed to fatten up,” or needed to get some “meat and potatoes” in their diet. The expectation to eat a diet mainly based on red meat and provide for a desirably thick physical aesthetic was a pervasive social norm where I grew up and it continues today.


Having a meat-based diet puts a strain on the environment. The long shadow of livestock was alive and well in our small community. Often, there would be news articles about groundwater contamination and the op-ed pages were filled with complaints about the painful stench of nearby farms. My hometown was also near the industrial farming of the Ohio Egg Farm, which is notorious for the mistreatment of animals, waste runoff, and air pollution that we learned of in this lesson. Nutrition was also lacking in the community. When I return to Ohio still today I am amazed by the shape of the human body and the ignorance of the bodily harm that can come from eating a diet based solely on meat. I would recommend changing this dietary social norm and improve the community’s knowledge of both personal health and environmental health that could be produced from changing their diet to include 50% produce instead of 75% meat.


Good Agriculture in Indonesia and Drought in Ethiopia


In Lampung, Indonesia Agribusiness owner Great Giant Pineapple is working hard to meet he demands of a modern agricultural business model that meets environmental standards from governments and consumers alike. ( The leader in pineapple exports had several areas of concern in keeping up with a business that required achieving high yield while reducing waste, complying with environmental regulations and customer requirements, and participating in global warming prevention by reducing green house gas emissions. They were able to meet their goals by practicing “Good Agricultural Practices.” The corporation has been quite successful in creating a sustainable development plan. They reduced waste by 100% by building a biogas plant that turns their previous waste product into a natural energy source. They also switched over to all organic fertilizers (cow manure) as a natural source of soil fertilization to comply with customers needs as well as the health of the soil. In a further effort to meet standards they switched the products they use to treat their crop and they now include bio fertilizer and organic fertilizer application, as well as organic pest controller, nutrient conservation, soil conditioner, plant rotation, and nutrient storage.

In Adigrat, Ethiopia, The Economist reports on the massive drought that the country is experiencing. ( Although nowhere near the national emergency the country experienced in the 80’s, citizens are suffering on a large scale due to a lack of water. The drought has caused the loss of crops, as well as the deaths of hundreds of thousands of livestock animals. The government is doing their best to address the sustainability crisis and also to provide for those citizens who are too poor to afford the food that is available. The government created the Productive Safety Net Programme, which provides jobs for about 7million people who work on public-infrastructure projects in return for food or cash. In this way the government is able to provide for its citizens as well as invest in infrastructure development within its cities. In a further stage of development, as well as to address the crisis Ethiopia managed to accelerate the building of a new railway line—the country’s only one—to bring food supplies from Djibouti on the coast of the Horn of Africa.

I currently live in Southern California, where we too are experiencing a massive drought, just as in Ethiopia. Thankfully, El Nino is bringing California some much needed rain, as opposed to further drought. However, the scarcity of water still exists, thankfully we have the infrastructure to be sustainable for the moment, although the increasing drought threatens this ability. In connection to the same water crisis in California, I chose the Pineapple exporter’s Good agricultural practices, because the farmers of California are not held to this same high standard by the state government. The overuse of water by farmers is one of the reasons for the extremity of the drought in California. I think that the state government could learn from the policies of the Ethiopian government and the good practices of the Great Giant Pineapple company to be proactive in addressing the need for sustainable crops and sustainable water, especially in a crisis like a drought. The government can’t expect the daily citizen to turn around a drought, it will take a massive reform effort and new rules for everyone.

A Conversation on Ethics

Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue ethics vs. action ethics)?

It is my summation that it is more important to be a good person than to perform good acts. However, it appears to me that this is only the case by hedging virtues on the basis of a definition. Undoubtedly virtue and action are interconnected. If one holds a certain virtue the person will act according to their virtue. For example, the honest person will tell the truth, the conservationist may compost their leftovers at home, and the courageous may face bold tasks without hesitation. The problem with valuing action ethics is that actions are subject to review by our peers. One may value the virtue of honesty and always tell the truth, however the act of telling the truth may get you into trouble by hurting someone’s feelings, o revealing a telling secret of a guilty friend, which may lose that friend’s trust. The courageous virtue may catch one being foolhardy upon review of one’s actions. There is no measure of perfect virtue when it comes to the critiques of our actions. Therefore, I think that it is more important to be a good person and act closely to the virtue, than to be held accountable for the action.

Do ecosystems matter for their own sake, or do they only matter to the extent that they impact humans (ecocentric ethics vs. anthropocentric ethics)?

Culturally, I find it almost impossible to separate anthropocentric ethics from ecocentric ethics because we are humans and have a human understanding of the world. To act in an ecocentric fashion and think in an ecocentric manner seems to mirror the virtue vs action dilemma. As a species we think about our own survival first. In addition to this survival mechanism we have an expansionist quality to our actions that sees us using the Earth as it belongs to the human race above all else. We refer to nature as “resources” for our use, and other species as beneath our own species, and rendered for our use as food, labor, and companionship. However, I think that opening up the door to an ecocentric philosophy would feel most unnatural to human kind. Regardless of feeling superior to other animals or to nature, it seems to me that acting with an ecocentric view would itself go against the nature and cycle of the ecosystem. The hawk does not consider it’s food a lesser species, it is simply feeding. The bird does not consider the trees and branches of which it makes its nest, it simply is building its home. Maybe as a species of advanced understanding we could act more sustainably. However, I think that an anthropocentric view is an of itself part of an ecocentric view and hard to separate, because it is a humans way of acting naturally, not unnaturally and against the universe, but simply as another species surviving, expanding, and reacting to the world around us.

Do the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans (speciesism)?

I would like to combine this question with the previous question, as I find the theories intermixing and controversial to one another. I find myself evolving on the issue of speciesm, and I am not even sure how my feelings align with my thoughts on the other areas of ethics we have discussed. In my condensation, I find that other animals emotions, thoughts, and feelings are just as important as humans. With the reading and extra research throughout the week, I am really inspired to try a vegan diet in an effort to help end animal suffering inflicted by factory led suffering of animals bred for food consumption. I also would like to see a world where zoos exist as a compassionate sanctuary for animals that is in fact a better more rich life experience for the animal than would be a wild led life. However, I also think that this moral obligation led by humans to end specieism is at its core both subject to the critique of action ethic and anthropocentric ethics. How can one value an ecocentric viewpoint, and the natural cycle of life, and ignore our own species history of a carnivorous diet. One would in fact become even more anthropocentric by saying we have the compacity to control our diet based on moral regulation and therefore become more aware of other species “otherness” by handing them more respect and avoiding their suffering. At the same time, I think that it is important to avoid the suffering of all species, so I am both a proponent of avoiding the suffering of other species and respecting their oneness with us, but I think that this makes me MORE anthropocentric than ecocentric, even though ecocentric views consider our oneness with the ecosystem. This is definitely an enlightening conversation and has me constantly considering right and wrong philosophies. I think my views will continue to mold and evolve.




The system diagram above conveys the Human-Environment System by displaying the vast interactions of the social system and ecosystem within the biogas revolution in India. The diagram shows both the positive and negative impacts of the technological development of biogas culture. The wood burning culture had created poor health effects due to wood burning, it forced child labor for collecting firewood, and caused deforestation. The new biogas culture allowed for a cleaner environment, less health effects, and less deforestation. It also created new jobs and wealth which allows the human population to flourish.

In comparison with the Marten system diagram there are similarities and differences. Both the Marten diagram and my own showcase the various interactions of the Human-Environment system. They display the affects that human decisions have on the environment and the way the environment affects human decision making. They differ in that Marten has more specific cross interactions between the two. Mine could have used more wording in the cross between to be more complete. I think these similarities and differences help to showcase where one puts emphasis on certain decisions and where others may be overlooked. I think it is important for things to be analyzed from more than one perspective so that we get a more complete picture of the interactions from a research perspective.

Getting To Know You: M01, GEOG 30


Hello Class! My name is Jordan Dodderer. I am originally from Johnstown, Ohio but have since moved to Los Angeles, CA where I am a professional dancer for television, movies and music artists. It was always a dream of mine to pursue a dance career and the past 7 years have afforded me a great career in the entertainment industry. Another lifelong dream of mine was to receive my college diploma and so, I am pursuing my degree in Political Science through Penn State University World Campus. My pursuit of the degree at this point in time is really just to enhance my knowledge of the world at large and engage in thoughtful discussions in an academic setting. However, I am open to a future career change that is engaged in the political spectrum. I am taking this course in connection with understanding the political nature of human-environment interactions. I am excited to explore this area of study with you all!


The issue of governance resonates strongly with me as a resident of Southern California. The policy decisions made by governance have greatly affected our water resources and lead the region into a major drought in recent years. Many cities have enforced strict regulations on water usage, while others have enforced greater taxes on water consumption. Politically, the state has refused to impose these same regulations on farmers. I find this of particular interest in regards to the social aspect of human environment interactions and governance. Policy makers clearly regard that water is vital to the agriculture industry and keeping the land fertile with unrestricted water usage continues to drain the state water supply even as city residents continue to reduce their consumption effectively. Of course, there are no right and wrong answers to the policy debate, but I this specific example from my own experience came to mind as I read the descriptions of the importance of governance within Geography.