Module 10: create your own activity

  1. Using the acronym H.I.P.P.O, analyze the biodiversity threats to your home, not state college, in 200-250 words.


I live in Manheim Township, which is located in the suburbs of Lancaster City. It is one of those townships that transitions from the city to the suburbs to more rural land in a short span of area. It is an automobile suburb that has roads expanding everywhere. More people are moving into the area and more developments are springing up because of it. This contributes to a few parts of the H.I.P.P.O. acronym. First the H, habitat loss, is represented by the replacement of trees and already small forests with homes, parking lots, and strip malls. Recently a whole new development was put in over a few small forests that housed a few important species. The second P, human populations, deals with this problem as the developments were made to house the growing populations in the area. More apartment buildings have been constructed and more shopping spaces have been developed with more parking lots covering more land. The undeveloped land in Manheim Township is shrinking which caused a dramatic change in the biodiversity of the area. As for the first P, pollution, Manheim Township is an automobile suburb, which in turn caused pollution in the area through exhaust. Earlier in the year we learned the effects of pollution on the climate, which can cause climate change in the area.


2. In 200-250 words, analyze a state park near you hometown and place it in a protected area category and explain why.


A park very close to my home is named Landis woods Park. This park is a common hiking spot for my hometown and one of the few untouched areas by developers. The website for Landis woods does not place the park in a specific category, but I would place it in category 3 for several reasons. The park is not open to motorized vehicles for most of the park, but is for a few small areas. It also is not maintained for scientific research only. These two things take it out of category one. The park is maintained, but does not have any security and is not labeled a national park. This takes it out of category 2. Landis Woods is not maintained as a habitat for humans but a habitat for local wildlife such as birds, insects, butterflies, etc. That takes out categories 5 and 6. Landis woods is a small area that has a management plan, but is not used for any human uses on the land other than walking and exploring. This puts it in category 3. It is like a national park but on a smaller scale. It is one of the few natural areas in Manheim Township and needs to be maintained that way.

Addressing Climate Change

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One of the biggest problems with climate change is that not enough people know about the real threat that it poses. Just in the past 200 years, climate change has become a reality due to the industrial revolution and the burning of fossil fuels creating green house gases. In the last 50 of those years, climate change has begun to be realized by the general population. As this becomes an ever growing threat, especially as we produce 3 tons of carbon emissions every year individually, people need to start reducing their output. The problem is people don’t want to change what they do on a daily basis. There is an added monetary factor to helping the environment that stops people from changing their ways. Due to this people ignore climate change. That is reflected in how the United States government handled the Copenhagen accord talks (this is from what I was able to gather from the document that was very hard to fully understand). In those talks the US paid money to developing countries to get them on their side for the accord that would get the US and larger countries out of their obligations in the Kyoto Protocol. The US would rather pay money for the damage caused so far than to pay money to help stop the problem that will cost a lot more to fix later. Overall smaller countries lose the most as they still will reap the consequences of larger countries and the larger countries will continue to press against the boundaries that make this planet habitable.

The Unites States made a mistake in my mind with the cables. They should’ve have been made public and because they were leaked on Wikileaks the public has benefitted. With these documents the public should realize that the government needs to change their diplomacy. As stated before, as a collective people we need to realize the threat that has been apart of our lives for the past few decades. The government along with everyone else needs to stop putting it off to the side as a smaller problem that can be solved by paying off countries. That money needs to be going towards efforts to halt the process we are in. The planet is very close to the lump we cannot get back from, where life is no longer sustainable. Initiatives like BP has made should be more common around the world and on a larger scale than it has been. The government has its fair share of money problems which I get, but more money should be put towards the sustainability of this earth. As mentioned in the module, cities like New York, LA, and others around the world can be lost if the ocean raises the few feet it is predicted to in the near future. Instead of coal we can use wind power or heat that can be changed into electricity. Something as little as just using public transportation or riding bikes like in Copenhagen can create a large impact if enough people do it. We need to act fast so we have enough time to create a reaction against this force that will push past the planetary boundaries.

Natural Disasters and Vulnerability

Lancaster, PA is a very safe place in terms of vulnerability to natural disasters. Using the Nathan map, Pennsylvania remains very low in risk at almost every category. Hail, tornadoes, and an increase in heavy weather are what those of us in central PA need to worry about. For two of these, hail and heavy rain, they are not terribly destructive if things are built right and can hold against them. Also, central PA has a very low risk of tornadoes or hail, as it is on the cusp of those charts. The Nathan map does a nice job at highlighting areas, although it could be more specific in terms of the effects of the disasters and more distinct areas of effect.

Currently in Hawaii there is an earthquake that is of medium magnitude. This type of disaster is more frequent than I had thought, mostly because it rarely happens in PA. Central PA is not on a fault line, making it only susceptible to feel the shocks from a large earthquake elsewhere. For Hawaii, this happens every so often so they are prepared for it. The buildings in PA are not as sturdy and therefore if that earthquake happened here it could be very damaging. I wouldn’t say that the disaster would take too many lives, but it would destroy tons of homes, leaving some families without a place to live anymore.

From personal experience, flash floods are the only really natural hazard that I can remember being a problem. A tornado touched down once last year that I remember, but nothing else extreme like that in a long time. A mild earthquake struck the east coast last year also, which Lancaster received a few minor shocks from. reports that Lancaster is below the national average for earthquakes but above the national average for tornado risk. The only natural risk that is prevalent from the site was winter weather, which does not create huge damage. I had not realized that tornadoes were as common as they were in PA, with at one point in 1988, 45 tornados touched down in 3 days (Pennsylvania).

The best way to reduce the risk of these is to better identify when the event is coming as soon as possible. The more time to prepare, the more safe the population can be. The news can help out with this process immensely. The faster the news finds out the faster that everyone else will know. When people know something is coming they wont go outside, they will stock up on food, or they will go to a safe part of the house. The bottom line is the more timely the notice, the more safe people will be.





“Lancaster, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.”™. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.

“Pennsylvania.” Pennsylvania. N.p., 09 September 2013. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.

Urban Planning

My hometown is Lancaster, PA, which is located in central Pennsylvania. Specifically I live in Manheim Township, which is just north of the city of Lancaster. It’s mainly an automobile suburban area until you get into the city. The traffic is mostly all cars, with a few parks in the area to walk around. Bike paths are also common in the parks and extend into suburban developments. Lancaster and the surrounding areas like Manheim Township house over 100,000 people. With all these people there is a lot of traffic in the city both as pedestrians and cars. Being able to call this my hometown is what brings me closer to the place. It’s a city and suburban area that are closely tied together. It does not have the large tall building feel to it but has just as much to see and do. Every first Friday the surrounding areas venture into the city to see live music and have a nice dinner. In that sense the city is very connected to the suburbs.

Copenhagen is not a terribly large city like New York or Tokyo, but it has a decent size. What is amazing about Copenhagen is its transportation like the module talks about. It’s a very clean and sustainable city that Lancaster could look up to as an example for their future in infrastructure. Lancaster has been looking for ways to change its mode of infrastructure more and I think bicycles are the way to do that. A thing as simple as a bike path can go a long way to improve the sustainability of a city. It’s not getting over the hump, but it’s a step closer.

Another way to become more sustainable is to eliminate import pollution and transportation costs. In Chicago, they have started this plan by improving their urban agriculture. Urban agriculture lessens pollution by selling fresh food that most people actually prefer to imported food. There are many more gardens than the one shown in the module in Chicago, and these are a start to improving the cities food. Lancaster, can take a similar approach by turning unused space into a garden or citizens growing products in their small backyards. Roof gardens are even becoming more popular and making places more environmentally sustainable. This would be a large step forward to sustainability.

Social Norm and Food Diagram

As a college student, social norms impact my diet significantly. I often eat fast food, for more than one reason. Like many other college students, I do not have a lot of money saved up to eat well. Due to this I eat the cheapest foods, and walking around campus, a place like McDonalds provides the most food for 5 dollars. The monetary problem has been prominent for centuries, and it limits what people can eat. A salad at a convenient store is about $5, when at McDonalds you can buy two cheeseburgers, fries, and a drink. That kind of availability is what largely keeps people choosing junk food over healthier alternatives. Therefore it has become a social norm that people with less money are eating more fast food than anything else. This is also causing people to eat less natural based foods and more industrial synthesized foods. This in turn has also lead to an obesity problem previously mentioned in nutrition.

Obesity is one of the largest problems in America’s young society. As mentioned in the module, obesity is largely contributed to by industrialized agriculture. The consistency of fast food, especially McDonalds, has played a huge role in this societal problem. The accessibility of fast food has been a sturdy obstacle in overcoming obesity. Fast food keeps its food so cheap due to the cheap ingredients used in their food. It can afford to give away two cheeseburgers for two dollars, unlike a restaurant with real beef. I don’t think we can change the price of fast food, nor do I want to. Instead I would change the cost of healthier food. If that salad I mentioned before cost only two dollars, I would pick that over a cheeseburger most days of the week. Mostly because of the cost of healthier foods, obesity can still be a problem for younger people.


Africa’s Development

Last December on the 14th, at the United Nations meeting in Paris, the African nations secured a developmental victory. The African delegations had recently created the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI). In the past, the African nations had been put aside due to their third world country status. They wanted to be given a chance to prove they can be more developed countries than the rest of the world thinks they can be. The deal they cut was $10 billion to be given to the AREI. This would help establish 300GW of renewable energy for these countries through 2030. The African countries were ecstatic that they were given such a deal, as it is a large step forward in development. These countries in Africa have a much smaller GDP and have less access to energy than us in the US, making this a huge deal for them in the future. Here’s the article:


Continuing to focus on Africa, I found an article about the fastest growing countries in Africa, mostly in the southern half of Africa. This article focuses on the African success before the Paris Conference. The southern half of Africa has greatly increased its GDP. Angola tops the charts in the GDP increases of the past year and is shortly after followed by Congo, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tanzania. The well being of their populations have also improved too, with Angola at the top of that list. These countries are improving with better economies and healthier people, but are still very poor in comparison to the rest of the world. Some countries have also increased their economic value but have lessened their well being. The article is listed on the Economist at:


Both of these articles deal with a whole different world than the one I live in, in the United States at State College. The development of these countries in the past few years has taken leaps and bounds to become what they are today and what they will become in the next few years, but are still on a very low developmental level than what I am used to. I am typing this now on a laptop that I charge up every night while I sleep. These African countries are still struggling with getting energy to turn to a light on. That difference is due to the large difference in development. Both Africa and the US are trying to get more efficient and more renewable energy sources, but the primary difference being that we already have a lot of energy sources while they have as little as none.


Water Tracking and Usage


My hometown is in Lanacster, PA. It’s right against one of the biggest rivers in PA, the Susquehanna. The Susquehanna River treats most of Central PA, and this is where 60% of Lancaster’s water comes from. The Conestoga River is a more local river that mostly only provides water for Lancaster. The Conestoga accounts for the other 40% of the water. All this water that Lancaster uses gets pumped into the city’s two water treatment plants. The water can then be used for sewage or consumption. Sewer water is pumped separately into homes. In these plants the water is purified and tested. The tests on the water are more frequent and extensive than the tests ran for bottled water. After purification the water is pumped into the city and surrounding area with pipes that run into developments and then to houses. All the water runs into the house from a pipe, which includes with a meter that gauges how much water is used by each house a month. After the going through the gauge the water filters off into different parts of the house for use.




Water Use:


Water Consumed: 1 gallon

Showers: 25 gallons

Brushing Teeth: .5 gallons

Shaving: 1 gallon

Toilet Flushing: 10 gallons

Washing Hands: 2.5 gallons

Total: 40 gallons




USGS: 47.36 gallons

CSG Network: 110 (includes laundry) gallons



On a daily basis I use water for drinking, showering, brushing my teeth, washing my hands, going to the bathroom, and for shaving. I would make sure consuming water is my #1 priority as that is what would keep me alive. I’d drink 0.5 gallons of that a day. I would use 1 gallon of water to try and clean my self each day. If it were allowed I’d use 2 gallons of water to shower every other day. The rest of the 0.5 gallons would go towards cooking so I could make proper meals for myself. So that makes up the 2 gallons, and that life would be very rough compared to what I am using now. I would have to go to the bathroom outside, my hands would only be washed when I took a 1-minute shower, and I wouldn’t have much to brush my teeth.

The geography of a town makes an incredible difference to how much water is consumed. First of all, how wealthy the town is makes the largest difference. In places like Mozambique and Haiti, they can’t afford water treatment and mass consumption, even if Haiti is a small island. Also, where the town is compared to a water source matters. The farther they are away, the more expensive it is to get water, which in turn limits water consumption. There are many other geographical reasons but these are the biggest two in my mind.


Ethics of our Lives

  1. Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue ethics vs. action ethics)?
    1. I believe that what you do will define you as an individual, so performing good acts make you a good person in my mind. Whatever you believe in you will both consciously and unconsciously do, making your actions the true ultimatum in defining if you’re good or bad. The line isn’t as clear as good or bad but you get the gist. You can believe you are a good person and talk about being a good person but not following through with what you are saying disproves it all. You can talk all you want and think you are being a good person, but as mentioned with ethics it’s all about what you should do, not about what you should say. One good act speaks over 1,000 good thoughts. Overall the good acts are received more widely and therefore action ethics go farther to prove what kind of person you are.
  2. Does the process by which decisions are made matter more than the outcomes of these decisions (procedural justice vs. distributive justice)?
    1. The process is one of the most fundamental things in making decisions, and determines the decision made. In certain situations you can argue for either way, but overall I lean more towards the process as being more important. The ethics in the process will go a long way in determining the final outcome, which makes it of higher importance. You often hear of people meaning well, but the end product is not what lived up to expectations, and in my mind I would focus on more on what they tried to do in the process rather than the outcome. This goes back to the question before of being a good person. Their actions were intended in good heart, and therefore I believe they are person with a good heart. The actions performed in the process mean the most as they involve the true intentions of the person, even if the end result is not what was ethically okay.
  3. Do the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans (speciesism)?
    1. Other species of animals are a large presence in this world, but do not compare to the dominance of humans. Animals struggle daily because of humans, but humans struggle because of humans just as much. I believe that as a species there is a lot we can improve upon and we should focus on that before we focus on animals. I would rather pay to end hunger in the world that to save another animals life. I’m not saying that I don’t care for animals, I do, it’s just that I do put humans before animals. Most of this is that I can sympathize with humans more than I can with any animal. Animals are a prominent part in my world, but saving humans is more important to me as we are a more dominant species in the world as we all know and as history has shown for centuries.

Human-Environment System Web

        The core Idea behind this web is the human-environment system that is set up here in India. It all starts with the Industrialization of the city, which man interacts with the environment to create fuel and technology. This prosperity brings in the younger population looking for jobs and success, leaving the outside areas poorer and emptier. Due to the lack of money, most people use wood fires to cook, which has many negative effects. Vidya Sagar wanted to make an impact on this human system by providing the poorer areas with fuel for proper stoves. While being environmentally friendly, he was able to make factories that used one of the area’s abundant sources, which was cow dung. By doing this he successfully created a co-dependent system that was economically sustainable and environmentally friendly.

        Both this web and Marten’s web focus on the same ideas that involve fuel and food. The difference in this web aside from physical features is the specifics
Untitled documentof the culture. Marten’s is a more broad diagram while this pertains to only one instance. What can be learned here is that environments and systems are inherently different around the world. There is not general chart for all of them, but many operate in similar ways.

Learning Activity

Hi, my name is Josh Tubay and I’m a freshman here at Penn State. I grew up in Mannheim Township which is in Lancaster, PA, which is about 3 hours away from State College. I’m a big sports fan with soccer being the main sport I follow. I’ve played soccer for a long time and I’ve grown to love it. Right now i’m majoring in Architecture and hope to start my own architecture firm someday. I live now in North Halls, with the best roommate ever, Nick Fudali, which is very close to the Stuckeman family building where I have most of my classes, which make things very convenient. Geography applies a great deal to what I want to later in life as an architect. To design buildings you must know the area you’re building it in very well, and this course will help me learn the basics of those areas. I think it’ll be a cool class.