1) Discuss the why endangered and extinct animals matter to our ecosystems (150-200 words).
Many people notice that an animal has been added to an endangered list and goes, awe that’s sad or are shocked when an animal species goes extinct, but sometimes we don’t realize how different animals affect our lives as humans on a daily basis as well as our ecosystems.. Today I’m going to discuss specifically the affects that whales have on our environment and humans. First off, the logical answer which is their immediate ecosystems. For example, the whales affect the food chain and reproduction of other species by keeping in control of krill. Now it is constantly thought that by the extinction of one species may cause the other to thrive, it may also cause the krill to overpopulate and ruin the ecosystem. Here is a short diagram to explain some of the different ways their ecosystem will be affected:
Along with that, as far as it affects humans, it has a huge affect on the economic systems of numerous regions. The whale watching industry generated $2 billion dollars in revenue during 2012. Along with that, each year it creates over five thousand jobs. This is a way that whale watching, when done in their environment is both healthy for their space, as well as our economy.
So I am lucky enough to be from Bellefonte Pennsylvania which is about 5 miles away from our campus. It is a small town with roughly around 10,000 people. It is very pedestrian oriented town. After I left for college I really lost all connection to the town itself. I really don’t believe that there is anything that really ties me to it or the need to be around it. I believe that it is a great area being so close to Penn State but honestly, I believe that it wouldn’t be able to survive without the local business that comes from the university.
The first city I am going to relate to is Beacon Hill, Boston, Mass. It has a lot of different shopping opportunities that bring in business. Luckily it continues to be low key with many opportunities to take walks. The town is very pedestrian orientated with the numerous amounts of sidewalks for the community to easily access from anywhere. Due to the many amounts of sidewalks and accessible walking paths, it is not required to have a car to get to work or to shop. Bellefonte has a mix of a lot of sidewalks in the inner parts of the city but whenever it comes to the outer parts of it you can not live in the outskirts of Bellefonte without a car. There is so much country that you will not be able to attend work etc without it.
The second city I’m going to talk about is Copenhagen. The traffic there is a norm. They are very respectful of different events that are going on to shut down for foot traffic. But many people still choose to have a car. The town is very car heavy. I do believe though that they are moving to be a more pedestrian friendly society. I think that Copenhagen can actually look at this and take note. Bellefonte has not moved forward with trying to make the town less car heavy in a long time. So with possibly moving forward with new innovative ideas, they could all benefit.
So I decided to track the water usage not where I live now, but at my fiance’s home in Indiana. His family has water that comes from a well in the backyard. It fills naturally through the rain water and through the soil. From that it travels into the spouts of the different faucets. After use, the water from the toilet is drained into a sewage pump container. Water that is used from other faucets in the home go through purification and is reused. It’s interesting that they use this kind of new technology. They paid a lot of money to get ahold of this new technology, but it has been well worth their investment. This has not only reduced their water footprint in our environment, it has also been cost effective for their home. It has been really interesting to see how it worked as well as how it has effected and reduced their overall water use. Because of one change in their home, they are now subconsciously more observant of the amount of water they are using.
Watching My Water
- One Shower
- One Teeth Brushing (I know I’m lazy)
- 2 Glasses of water (I know I’m dehydrated)
- 3 Toilet flushing (Again dehydrated)
For the day, I used about 62 Gallons of water.
So my 2 gallon day was a challenge. The main areas that I thought would be great to focus on was cooking and showering. I thought that just by turning off the water while I brush my teeth and in between washing my hands, I would make a difference. But as soon as I used the restroom twice, it ruined all of it. I also tried to cut down my water footprint by satueeing a lot of my food rather than boiling it, as well as baking my foods. This experiment measured just about the same to what my gallons were in part b. I believe that geography maters because it has to be a collective as well as individual action. It is a collective problem, because it affects everyone. But if we all don’t take both individual and collective action against it, we will not be able to make a big enough foot print. If not everyone takes action, there will not be enough help to change our overall footprint.
- Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue ethics vs. action ethics)?
I believe that it is more important to perform good acts than to be a good person. I feel like performing acts are what makes you a good person. If you are a good person and do nothing, how does that result in you being a good person? I believe that good acts are what the world itself needs right now. Without it, I believe that the world will continue to spiral into a disarray that will end in another world war. With good acts, I believe that good people will arise. Within that thought, I do agree that good acts can be done by people who aren’t good people, but at the end of the day, I do believe that good people are defined by good acts done by people. I believe thoroughly that good people could also not do anything good other than things for themselves, and not for other people. Therefore, good acts lead to good people.
- Do the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans (speciesism)?
Being an owner of a cat and dog as well as lifetime owners of cats, hamsters, dogs, fish and even geckos, I am a huge advocate for animals and animal rights. I believe that their pain and pleasure matter just as much as humans. I believe that it goes back to the earlier question of virtue ethics vs action ethics. I believe that any person who abuses are mistreats animals, has no ethics whatsoever. Animals and things that can not completely defend themselves as a human can not be considered lesser because of the fact that they rely on other things and humans to survive. I also believe that animals are important to the lives of humans. The help the environment and a lot of them are able to give humans comfort as well as assist them in other ways, such as K-9 units in the cops or service animals. Someday we may need to rely on them for more things than we do now, so it is always important to keep their pleasure and pain in the focus of our lives.
- Is my own life worth more than the lives of others, the same, or less (selfishness vs. altruism)?
This question has come up a lot in my personal life in recent years. My mother had passed away, there would come up the question of my problems being more important than others and I relate this to the meaning of lives. I believe that all lives are equal. No matter the thought of if someone is smarter than someone else, or if they’ve accomplished more than another person, I thoroughly believe that everyone is of equal importance. This follow along the thought that people of higher wealth may believe that they are more important. Or if someone has invented something or have done more than another person. A lot of time, homeless people are looked at as unimportant and less of life than others, but we all came from the same place and will eventually all die, so what’s the point of looking at people different. It’s just a waste of energy and focus.
Hello! I’m Alisha Tyler-Lohr. I currently live right off of North Atherton Street in State College. I grew up down the road about five minutes away in Bellefonte. Currently I am pursuing a career in Stage Management. My interest in this course was from another course that I’ve taken before I transferred here to Penn State. I am really excited to be taking this course because being a theatre major isn’t easy and we don’t have the usual class schedule because we also have rehearsal in the evenings until late at night. So I’m lucky to be able to work on this course in the evenings.
I personally believe that sustainability is a huge problem now in our time. Sustainability, is all about how the world will survive in relation to what we do. I believe without the option of other ways to move our cars and heat our homes and use electricity, we will not have enough fossil fuels to survive. Along with that, we will continue to put bad things into the ozone. I also believe that this immediately coincides with environment and society. I believe that with how evolved the world is now, if we are not more aware of our footprint on the environment, the environment will not be able to sustain itself. With the help of integrating solar power as well as new technology, the sustainability of the planet itself will increase drastically. It will also increase the general well being of how we live and how it affects the world around us.