Module 10

  1. In 150-200 words describe a threat to biodiversity in your hometown and how you can help prevent this threat.

The acronym H.I.P.P.O represents a way to remember the different kinds of threats to biodiversity. The “I” in this acronym stands for invasive species. In my area there are many invasive species problems. One of the greatest and fastest growing invasive species problem is the snakehead. The snakehead is native to China, Russia, North Korea, and South Korea and ever since they have been introduced to the water ways near my hometown of Waynesboro, PA, the native populations of fish have been effected. The snakehead is a top predator that is eating native species and causing great decreases in the native species populations. Snakeheads reproduce very quickly and this is creating many problems. DNR is working to solve the problem by advising to kill snakeheads immediately when they are removed from the water. As an avid angler, to help protect the native populations of fish I will help prevent the snakeheads threat to biodiversity by complying with the DNR’s request to remove the snakeheads from the water if I catch them.

2. In 150-200 words explain discuss human extinction hazards and how to prevent these hazards.

There are many hazards to the human population some that we can help and others that we can’t do anything about. One of these hazards that we can prevent is extinction by climate change. We could have great problems adapting to the climate change and go extinct from being too hot. Climate change is also effecting sea levels which could rise to such a point that humans could be wiped out of certain areas. Climate change is a slow process that could take decades or centuries to effect us but we should prepare and try to prevent this from happening by lessening the input of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as we have discussed in previous modules. One hazard that could cause human extinction that we can’t really prevent is the impact of an asteroid or comet hitting the earth. This scenario is very unlikely but there isn’t much we can do to prevent it. Our extinction from an asteroid impact would be caused by dust and tsunamis, not the actual impact of the asteroid or comet. Nuclear warfare is becoming a more scary and potential threat to the human race and this warfare could end in human extinction. We can prevent the threat of nuclear warfare by increasing good international relations.

Module 9

My diagram describes the events that led to the creation of the Copenhagen Accord and the effects of the accord. The creation of the Copenhagen Accord started because of the great amount of fossil fuels being burned all across the world. The burning of these fossil fuels put out an excessive amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases then created climate change and were leading to global warming problems. Global warming is a global problem that is very difficult to reverse which is why each country needed to be a part of the change to actually make a difference and slow it down. Many countries were being difficult with agreeing to negotiations which is why the Copenhagen Accord was created. The Copenhagen Accord was created to get the other countries to agree to actions to fight global warming by lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The accord would make bigger, faster growing countries bound to certain rules. However, the accord threatens the UN negotiations with the richer countries.These threats have made many countries object the accord and that is where the US ran into problems.  To get these other countries to agree the US bribed and manipulated them by offering money to the poorest nations effected by global warming. There was also a distrust that countries would not keep there word. There were many countries on the fence after all this dishonesty and manipulation from the US but 116 countries ended up agreeing with the accord. 26 other countries have agreed to associate themselves with the accord.

I think that the cables should be made public so there isn’t so much of an outcry after they are leaked. I also think that climate change and global warming isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. The whole world must work together to fight global warming because the efforts of a single country will not mean anything if many other countries continue their lives normally. When a large country like China is bound to the same rules as a smaller, poorer country there isn’t going to be a change. China is a huge country with many people and industrial areas and as it keeps growing and industrializing itself there will be much more greenhouse emissions created. China needs to have stricter rules binding it to fight against greenhouse gas emissions so that we actually have a chance against global warming. However, smaller countries also need to have strict binding rules and keep up with their end of the deal. Honestly, although it was wrong, I don’t think if the US hadn’t manipulated the other countries that anything would’ve been agreed to. Money talks and if the poorer countries hadn’t been offered/bribed money they probably still would never agreed to the accord. The US has created unnecessary distrust by this method but other countries need to be more acceptable to ideas that are for the greater good of the future. In the future the US should think more about international relations before it manipulates other countries.


Module 8

I live in Waynesboro, PA and I found this map to be quite interesting and correct for the most part. Where I live we are located in Zone 2 for hailstorms which is reasonable, zone 2 for tornadoes, and zone 1 for wildfires. These are all definitely threats to my town and we have seen all of these things occur here. There have been multiple instances of small tornadoes as well as hailstorms and a few wildfires. The Nathan map is very well suited for this task and shows very clearly where certain weather patterns are found and for Pennsylvania it was pretty accurate.

On March 31, 2016 there was a flash flood in Galicia, Spain.Nobody was injured but there was a high damage level. My hometown can experience this type of disaster and we have flash flood watches and warnings quite often. There are many creeks around Waynesboro which cause it to be vulnerable when there is a lot of rain put down in a short amount of time. The creeks grow quite large and become very fast and powerful. These flash floods can wash your car off the road, take down sheds, and flood houses and their basements. The flash flood is occurring region-wide in Galicia which is about the same as would happen around my town. They would have about the same impact depending on the amount of rain fall. There are different levels of vulnerability in my town during the event of a flash flood. People who live near creeks and bodies of water are more vulnerable than people who live in the mountains or higher elevations. To reduce my towns vulnerability I would suggest creating walls around creeks when they are near houses. Most places do have some sort of barrier so that the creek is low enough that there shouldn’t be a problem but that’s not always the case.

There are many natural hazards that occur in Waynesboro, however most are not severe. I have been through two very surprising earthquakes in the 21 years that I have been alive and both of them have been pretty recently. According to the Earthquake Index at, Waynesboro is a 0.04, which means its possible but not likely. There have also been multiple tornadoes around my area while I’ve been alive. Waynesboro is 115.34 on the Tornado Index. Waynesboro also is effected by strong winds, floods, blizzards, hail, wildfires, and droughts (Waynesboro). All of these hazards can create a lot of damage but since we are used to most of these hazards we have learned how to protect ourselves.

“Waynesboro, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” –™. N.p., 2016. Web. 31 Mar. 2016. <>

There are many ways we could reduce our vulnerability to these natural hazards and for the most part a lot of these ideas are already implemented. We have Smoky the Bear who shows us the level of risk we are for wildfires which in turn helps us protect ourselves by being more careful with fires or not have fires at all. DCNR and firefighters are the best at helping protect from these vulnerabilities and with their help of identifying situations where wildfires are prevalent we can stop ourselves from causing an accident. We can’t really do anything to reduce damage from hail except find a place to keep our cars and important things covered. One thing we are really not prepared for is a very bad tornado. Western states who get tornadoes all the time have cellars and shelters underground for protection unlike most houses around here that don’t even have basements; let alone a tornado shelter. To reduce our vulnerability against tornadoes we need to start building more houses with basements, or build a big shelter underground that people can go to if they don’t have anywhere to go and there is enough time to react to a tornado watch.

Module 7


My hometown is Waynesboro, PA. It is in south central Pennsylvania, about 20 miles from Gettysburg and about 2 miles from the Maryland state line. It is made up of mainly automobile suburbs and there are some pedestrian oriented neighborhoods. It is not very urban, there are no buses or streetcars or metros. There are 10,568 people populating Waynesboro as of the 2010 census. The area that makes up Waynesboro is 3.4 square miles. I was born and raised in Waynesboro and it has been going through some great changes lately; a Walmart was built as well as a number of restaurants. Many developments are being built and it is becoming more populated and busy. It is in the middle of multiple cities and industry areas so for the most part you have to drive out of town to get to your job but these places aren’t very far away usually. It is a great central location for people working in Washington DC who don’t want to live in the city.

The first city I would like to talk about is Rochester. It is an automobile suburb very much like Waynesboro. In Rochester you have to drive everywhere because it is located outside of the city. You have to drive to get to work, to go shopping for needs and wants, and other destinations. The population of Rochester is 210,565 people which is very different from Waynesboro but it just goes to show how large or small an automobile suburb can be. There are also some pedestrian oriented neighborhoods where people can walk to their destinations instead of driving. In November 2014, the city of Rochester started construction of walking and bicycle paths to “encourage sustainable economic growth and create a more livable Downtown, Rochester”. I think Waynesboro would benefit by constructing some of these walking and bicycle paths, by building these paths it is encouraging people to get out and be healthy as well as reducing some traffic and increasing the number of people walking by local shops and parks.

The next city I was interested in that I think Waynesboro could learn from is Copenhagen. The population of Copenhagen is also 50 times greater than Waynesboro’s which gives me a glimmer of hope that a town like mine could become better. I think Copenhagen is one of the coolest places; to have so many people biking everywhere is incredible. Waynesboro has been slowly growing and there is becoming a lot more traffic. The idea of traffic calming would be great and I think that Waynesboro would greatly benefit from calming. There are a good bit of people who walk in Waynesboro but there are multiple pedestrian accidents and deaths each year, by creating slower speeds and a more pedestrian/bicycle friendly environment we could save some lives, create a healthier environment, and a better quality town.

Module 6

My descent into the college lifestyle and social norm has altogether challenged my food choices. When I lived at home with my parents they were very into nutrition and dieting to go along with their weight lifting and exercising so I ate the same foods they did, fruit, vegetables and all that healthy food. When at home I ate  multiple meals a day that were all nutritionally balanced and I very rarely ate out or stopped at a fast food restaurant to eat. I also very rarely ate beef. Now that I live on my own and am on a budget I have been eating fast food and beef regularly because I don’t have time to make a decent meal and getting the healthy food you need is kind of expensive on a college budget. Because of my work and school schedule I only eat two meals a day. It’s also hard to be away from home and constantly going out to eat with friends. I can definitely tell a difference in myself since living at home and then living on my own.
I eat a lot of beef now that I am on my own which is not helping anybody! When I lived at home I would eat mainly fish or chicken every night and now I am eating a lot of bread and beef. By eating so much beef I am contributing to the need for live stocks which have a large land usage, which causes deforestation, and  am adding to the pollution created by the cattle and everything included in agriculture. Then there is the fact that I am contributing to an industry that can lead to obesity. It is usual for college students to be on a budget and have this kind of fast lifestyle but by eating so much beef and consuming fats we are creating unhealthy eating habits as well as an unhealthy environment.module6

Module 5

The case study that I selected is The Navajo-Hopi Struggle to Protect the Big Mountain Reservation. This case study was written by a student from the University of Michigan. The link to this case study is The goal of this development is to stop the Peabody Mining company from expanding its operations, which would threaten the reservation environment and force 300 families to relocate. This case relates to ideas discussed in the module because it is an issue of environmental justice. The Navajo and Hopi are poor and also a minority and according to the text, these populations are more likely to live within close proximity to facilities that have negative health effects. In the case study, if the Peabody Mining Company expands the Navajo and Hopi will see a decline in water quality as well as a depletion in their water supply, devastation of land, and desecration of their sacred lands.

The second case study I chose is the East-West Expressway Environmental Impact Study. This case study was provided by the Office of Planning, Environment and Realty in the U.S. Department of Transportation. The link to this case study is This case is about an expressway being planned near the business district of Durham, North Carolina that would go through an African American neighborhood. The neighborhood is called Crest Street. The goal in this case study is to oppose the building of the expressway so that the neighborhood wasn’t forced to relocate. This study relates to ideas discussed in the module because this is also an issue of environmental justice. The expressway is being built through the neighborhood of a minority, and although the population is not affected in ways like health effects, they still had to relocate.

In my hometown of Waynesboro, PA there is a lot of construction and growth happening and in the past couple years a Walmart and Lowes have been built on what used to be farmland. Ever since the building of these two stores there has been a horrible increase in the amount of trash outside. When you drive by Walmart there is a hill just plastered with plastic bags and other litter and it’s ridiculous. It is an awful sight. Although nobody human had to relocate, it still has affected the land like in these case studies. By looking at these case studies we can think of how relocating can effect minorities and how the land is effected. Sometimes growth is not a good thing and I have seen that in my hometown.



Module 4

In my hometown, Waynesboro, PA, our water comes from a surface water supply coming from the East Branch of the Antietam Creek, which is known as the Antietam Watershed. The water is then treated at the Waynesboro Water Filtration Plant. Waynesboro also uses a groundwater source that supplements the surface water supply. The groundwater source is filtered by a membrane before going into the distribution system, before it gets to your tap. After you’ve used it and water goes down the drain it goes through the sewer to the Waynesboro Wastewater Treatment Plant to be cleaned for it to travel on its way to its next destination.

According to the USGS site, I use approximately 168.36 gallons a day.

5 flushes = 15 gallons

1 20 minute shower= 40 gallons

2 teeth brushings = .5 gallons

1 face washing = 1 gallon

6 hand washings = 2 gallons

1 dishwashing by hand = 10 gallons

1 load of laundry = 25 gallons

6 glasses of water = .5 gallons

To make an attempt to use only 2 gallons of water a day I had to cut out taking a shower; normally I take a shower every day for roughly 20 minutes. According to the USGS just one minute in the shower uses 2 gallons of water so I made showering not a priority for this experiment. I definitely needed water for cooking and drinking, as well as for watering my two cats. I drink 6 glasses of water myself each day and give my cats about 2 glasses in a bowl. Another thing I cut out was washing the dishes for a day because normally that takes 8 gallons of water. I flushed a couple times during the day which ultimately pushed me over my 2 gallon limit. My experiment failed. I think if it didn’t take so much water to flush the toilet I could have survived on 2 gallons of water for the day, but it would just be made up for the next day because of the dishes piling up waiting to be washed and the need for a shower. I never realized how much water I used every day until this experiment and I could hardly imagine living on only two gallons for one day. In part 1b the USGS calculator estimated my usage at about 168.36 gallons a day! That’s almost 90 times more than what the people in Haiti and Mozambique use. Geography is very important to water use, where I live in PA there isn’t a shortage of water so I guess I kind of take it for granted. Some places even in the US have to take it easy on there water usage, like California during droughts.

Module 3-Ethics

Question 1.

I think it is more important to be a person who performs good acts rather than to just be a good person. Being a good person is alright and all but you’re not really doing any good to anything, you are just good. I would rather be the person fighting for a good cause rather than the person thinking about it but not doing anything. By performing acts for good you are helping to create a movement; the more people involved in a movement, the bigger the impact it has on what you’re fighting for. I think the end justifies the means because doing the action and the consequence of the action both have great impacts, but the consequence of the action is the most important part. Usually the consequence of the action is good. I like in the text how it says that cutting down trees can save other trees which justifies the means. Cutting down trees that are dangerous to other healthy trees and animals/people is important.

Question 4.

I believe that ecosystems matter for their own sake as well as ours so I guess I’m a little anthopocentric. Without thriving ecosystems we wouldn’t be able to live. We can’t just turn every forest into an industrial area or tear it down for wood, but we can make some of these places into parks so that we conserve the land and can take care of it. I also believe some forests can be used for cutting wood but by deciding how to give and take correctly we can help ourselves and the environment. I also don’t see a problem with creating roads through forests so that we can have scenic rides through the woods every now and again. By seeing forests in such a way some people may think a little differently about what it means to conserve forests.

Question 6.

I believe that my life is worth the same as everybody else’s. In some cases I believe that my life would be worth less than others but this would be mainly for family or dire events. I would help any person, animal, or ecosystem to my greatest ability as long as I wasn’t threatening my own life unless it was something really important to me, like I said before, something would have to be really bad before I’d want to risk my own life. One example would be an animal crossing a busy road and having a hard time doing so: there have been plenty of cases where people stopped their cars and got out to help said animal and wound up dying from being hit by another passing car. I honestly probably would not get out of the car to help any animal just because of the thought of that. My life is worth just as much as the other people who haven’t stopped to save the animal and I wouldn’t risk myself for something like that unless it was absolutely horrible Continue reading

Biogas Diagram

The main idea of my diagram is that the Biogas generator is a Human-Environment system. Human-environment is when environment affects humanity and humanity affects environment. They impact each other greatly. The Biogas generator is operated by man and uses environmental sources to create methane gas. This results in a positive end result for humans. It also creates a positive affect on the environment then because when fertilizer is created in the system it helps create more crops and continues in a loop. Humans and the environment are helping each other when the biogas generator is used.

My diagram is similar to the Marten diagram because it shows how human activities affect a social aspect and an environmental aspect. My diagram is different from the Marten diagram because it shows a more cause and effect way. Because of deforestation children are expected to work and due to work they are late to school which affects they’re schooling and other social aspects. There are similarities and differences because each diagram is trying to get across the same point. The Marten diagram shows how the human activities work for the ecosystem and how the ecosystem works for the humans and my diagram shows how working together with the biogas generator creates a better environment and humanity.


Module 1 – Getting to Know You

Hello, my name is Ashlee Hammonds. I am from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania which is right along the Maryland border and I have lived there my whole life. I am a sophmore at Penn State, however this is my first semster in World Campus. My current major is IST and I would like to major in Geography. I am hoping to get a job in the PA DCNR because being involved in the outdoors is my favorite thing. I would like to do something along the lines of GIS or mapping, I’ve always had a tough time deciding what I really wanted to do as a career. I am interested in this course because geography is one of my favorite topics. There are so many different aspects to geography and I want to learn as much as I can about all of these different subjects.

One area of the class that I really want to learn about is the human and environment interactions. The way we interact has so many causes and effects and we need to know/understand how the way we are interacting with the environment is hurting or helping it. I want to understand how decisions are made that involve very important changes to our environment. I am excited to learn more as we continue through the class and I am sure I will still enjoy geography just as much if not more when the semester is over.