In this module, you will complete the following:
- First describe what biodiversity is and its importance to the world (150-250 words)
- Explain how biodiversity directly affects you (150-250 words)
- Biodiversity is all life and living organisms within a given ecosystem and can be viewed as the entirety of the world or just a small handful of soil and the organisms within that soil. Overall, biodiversity has many different values which can be seen in anthropocentric views as well as ecocentric views. In the world of an anthropocentric mind, one would think that they had to protect their environment because it could be useful to them somehow. In a world of an ecocentric mind, would just like to see the healthiness of the ecosystem’s existence, opposed to it being destroyed -in this case the species or environment is not being looked at as a resource like the mind of an anthropocentric person would think. But why is biodiversity so important? As learned in this module we look at hotspots, which are regions that lose an extreme amount of biodiversity. With biodiversity loss we must be aware of how it can affect the environment in general and then eventually how that affects us as humans later down the road.
- In Bellefonte, PA, many people go hunting, so in my personal ecosystem I could see something like over harvesting in animals. Usually the amount of animals that are killed during hunting seasons are monitored, however, it is still possible that they are being overharvested which is why the limits of what you can hunt in a day differs from year-to-year. Deforestation due to building more suburbs and city like areas will also affect the area I live in. In the past few years, more housing developments have been built in my area and because of this; farmland and forest have been sacrificed. Most people might just think of forest and farmland being taken away as less plants but those plants are also home to many species, most of which we never see or will be able to see. Lastly, Pollution is a problem everywhere and it mostly comes from the human population using too many resources.
If you are familiar with Penn State and what is outside of State College, PA then you are well aware that it is mostly surrounded by rural areas. My hometown, Bellefonte, is 20-30 minutes outside. I do not live directly in the town of Bellefonte therefore, my house is surrounded by farmland and woods or as some like to think of as small forests. Where my house is, it would be considered an automobile suburb since there are few houses near me but as you move closer to the center of Bellefonte it is more pedestrian-oriented. I would have to say that the town itself would have about 5,000 people in it and the closer to the core of the town is where the majority of these people are. Living in Bellefonte my entire life I have realized that it can be very laid back and boring at times due to the lack of people and things to do. Typically, most Bellefusions find themselves spending all of their leisure time in State College.
All though Beacon Hill located in Boston, Massachusetts is very different from my town, I have found some similarities between them when it comes to being pedestrian-oriented. Within the actual town of Bellefonte you are able to walk to a few things such as school, a few restaurants, the court house and some areas of work. Like the people in Beacon Hill, people a tend to walk everywhere within the town rather than drive cars around unless they are similar to my family who is still considered part of the Bellefonte zip code but lives too far to walk. If my town had more of its housing options closer to the the core of the town I definitely think we could be more similar to Beacon Hill and increase our sustainability efforts by more people walking rather than having to drive.
I never thought I would ever compared Detroit, Michigan to Bellefonte, Pennsylvania but due to the Urban Farming video that was provided in our module I realize that the two do have similarities. In the video it even mentions how Detroit is nothing like the rural areas in Pennsylvania but it does not mean they cannot have similar things like farming in Detroit. As I have said the town of Bellefonte is very pedestrian-oriented in the center so you never see things like farms or backyard gardens but after watching the video in Detroit, I can see the feasibility behind it. Growing up my parents always had a garden so this was something I could really relate to and with that being said every so often central Bellefonte would have farmers markets were local farmers would sell their goods for cheap to the community just like they showed in the video. Bellefonte could absolutely do this more often to be more sustainable.
My hometown is Bellefonte, PA which is about twenty to thirty minutes outside of State College, PA. In my hometown we have the Big Spring, which collects raw water from rain and run-offs and then is pumped into the distribution system. The distribution system allows the water to be pumped to each residency through pipes and in some cases the water is fed from a large water tank that is located near my high school. Throughout the distribution system are small pump stations that add pressure to help the process of water flow. After the water is consumed or used by the residence of Bellefonte, then the excess water or waste joins the watershed or is recycled back to the Big Spring. Centre County is part of the Susquehanna Watershed, meaning the disposal of my water usage will end up in the Susquehanna River, which is the same watershed for anybody living in State College.
In my water usage chart I came to a total of 167.2 gallons of water for day one of my experiment and instantly realized how I could improve my individual actions. I do not do dishes every day because I rarely cook or use any dishes as well as that I do not do laundry every day, I just happened to do my laundry on that day of the experiment so for the second day of the experiment I cut out both of those things because they were already one of my lowest priorities. Also I selfishly leave water on while brushing my teeth without even realizing what I am doing, so I could cut out at least another 8 gallons of water just by turning it off. There was actually a commercial about this during super bowl 50 this past weekend (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Ar0eCp6uE). In the video it showed one person brushing their teeth with the water running and other things that you could do with that water instead of letting it go to down the drain unused and I found the most effective one to be the little girl drinking the water out of her hands. On another note I decided drinking water was the highest priority and that I would never cut that out. I don’t have to shower daily and my showers could be a lot shorter. I could also flush the toilet less rather than flush it every time that I use the toilet and I personally have to be selfish and do not feel ok if I cut down the amount of times I have to wash my hands do to using the bathroom. So a day cutting back on my water I could cut back to 16.2 gallons which is failing the challenge but in the end I cut back majorly on my individual actions. I know that in some cultures going to the bathroom does not involve a functioning toilet and they have something more like an outhouse. I think we can relate our own individual actions from this experiment and think about where our water comes from and how some places on earth have it easier to live due to the sustainability of their rivers or water sources.
1. Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue vs. action ethics)?
Ethically, I highly believe in both being a good person and performing good acts, but if I had to choose one over the other I would have to say you should be a good person above performing good acts. My reasoning on choosing ethical virtue over action in this situation is because I think that if you are a good person, you will perform good acts but performing good acts does not necessarily mean you are a good person. For example, we sometimes see celebrities get into trouble on the news, and then days later we might see them doing good acts, however, just because they did a good act does not mean they are a good person. It makes them look like a good person but it is very possible that they are not. Another reason I pick virtue over action is because if you are a good person doing good acts you are more likely to care about what you are doing and will have more success in your actions opposed to somebody who is not a good person doing a good act and less likely to be successful.
4. Do ecosystems matter for their own sake, or do they only matter to extent that they impact humans (ecocentric ethics vs. Anthropocentric)?
Ecosystems definitely impact humans without question but they impact other things as well. All living things matter and from an ecocentric view the animals and plants that live in the same ecosystem. The ecosystem would be completely different without the other mammals and plants, which would change the entire ecosystem for humans. Basically what I am trying to say is that humans rely on the ecosystem along with other living things, meaning the ecosystem is here for its own sake and we’re just here living in it. A given ecosystem could probably be more successful without humans do to the waste that we produce that typically destroy the environment. If humans did not live in these ecosystems then the ecosystem could easily sustain itself but due to anthropocentrism views, more humans do not care about what happens to their ecosystem and most humans probably believe that the ecosystems sole purpose is to serve them.
6. Is my own life worth more than the lives of others, the same, or less (selfishness vs. altruism)?
My life is worth the same as anyone else, whether rich or poor, or black or white, we are all human beings breathing the same air and living on the same planet. Unfortunately some people disagree with this but I believe that if you have a great balance between selfishness and altruism then you will have the same or similar points as me in this question. I personally like to picture comparing ones selfishness and altruism as a scale where altruism is lowest on a scale from 1 to 10 and selfishness being 10 or the highest on the scale. If you are 10 on the scale then you think too highly of yourself and you should care more about the people surrounding you. If you are 1 on the scale then you need more confidence in yourself and maybe a little ego boost to meet selfishness at five with a balance of the two.
In the diagram I have created, I have included the villages social system elements and they ecosystem elements. From the video I decided that child labor, education, health issues, and women run businesses were all elements which are shown on the left-hand side and cooking gas, deforestation, and smoke were all elements that I thought were in their ecosystem. The first main idea from my diagram is that child labor effected deforestation and the more that children worked and got fire wood then their would be more deforestation which also led these same children to be less educated by missing school to do their work and destroy the forest. Another big idea is that women were able to run a business because of the cooking gas however the cooking gas is a partial problem causing health issues. Directly these health issues come from the smoke that the cooking gas ends up relieving.
In comparison to Figure 1.5 from the Marten reading, I have set up my diagram in the same way by setting social system as one side and ecosystem as the other. On the other hand, we do not posses the same elements. Some of them are similar in ways, for example, “trees, shrubs, and hills” are similar to my deforestation bubble. These differences occurred because in my mind I did not picture the words “biogas fuel technology” anywhere on the diagram except as a title in other words, we can learn from these similarities and differences because not everybody thinks in the same way.
My name is Andrea Garbrick and I am currently living in downtown State College, PA because I am also taking classes at Penn State Main Campus. I actually grew up here and am what people around here like to call a “townie.” I am a senior in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management (RPTM) and I plan to move to the West Coast to pursue a career in event management for a stadium or arena! This course interest me because in my major we learn a lot about sustainability and travel which I believe are aspects that are very important to this course. Since I have lived in Central Pennsylvania my entire life I would like to travel a lot after I graduate and I think this course can really help me learn about some different places I could travel to for all the right reasons.
Since I would one day like to travel somewhere, I would like to make it to somewhere that would not only give me the privilege of travel but to also benefit others or an entire community through the way they sustain life where they live. This would give me an opportunity to learn about their ecosystem in which I hope to learn about in this course and how to hopefully improve upon in the given community. This would be a time where we could really learn about how humans impact the environment and what they can stop doing or do to make things better.