- In the module, we talked about how human activity can influence/ pose a threat to biodiversity. Think about the people in your hometown. How do they influence biodiversity in a negative or a positive way? What actions pose a threat to biodiversity in your hometown? Are those actions ethical? Write a 250-300 word paragraph.
- In the module, we talked about a case study involving the Amazon Rain Forest. Deforestation here is a major issue. Make a system diagram showing the factors that contribute to tropical deforestation. Be sure to have at least five components.
- It is obvious that biodiversity is a major issue. However, why do you think it is? Do you think biodiversity matters because you simply care about the environment? Or does it matter more because lack of biodiversity can affect us humans? How can you contribute to conservation? If you do not think it is a big issue, why? Write a paragraph of 150-275 words.
The core ideas behind my diagram begin with people realizing how serious climate change really is. Once people realized this, the nation wanted to reduce climate change. Hence, that is why the UNFCCC created the Copenhagen Accord. The United States sought this accord as a beneficial opportunity for them, as well. However, they needed other countries to support it. The problem was many of these countries didn’t agree with the accord. I mainly wanted to illustrate, in my diagram, how the United States targeted these poor, less developed countries with the use of cables, aiding, threats , spying , and finally bribery. It seemed that money was a huge encouragement to get countries to sign the accord. In my diagram, I showed how the United States threatened Ethiopia to sign the accord by saying, “sign the accord or discussion ends now,” the United States promising to commit to Saudi Arabia’s economic desire to move away from petroleum, and how money was promised to Maldives. In addition, I showed how China used spear phishing to obtain information from Todd Stern. I then illustrate the fact that we now have 116 countries associated themselves with the accord and another 26 intend to become associated with it as well. All of these cables were exposed by WikiLeaks in 2010 and as a result trust was lost. Finally, my diagram mentioned that if people continuously reduce the use of greenhouse gases, then this collective action problem can be solved and we can eventually reach climate mitigation.
Coming from a citizen’s standpoint, I think that it was right for the cables to be revealed to the public because we should have the right to know. The way that the United States approached this caused was selfish and resulted in countries to not trust them. Basically, these countries were bribed and threatened,causing them to sign the accord for all the wrong reasons. I feel that is is a perfect example of the ends justifies the means because it’s almost as if the United States said, “Unfortunately, we have to bribe and threaten you less developed countries, so that you can sign our accord.” I do not think that it was a good idea to gain support by bribes and threats because that was not ethical at all. The United States was more concerned about the fact that they would be benefitted from this, without any consideration for other countries. I have learned that climate change is a huge issue and that nations worldwide should work together towards reducing the emission of green house gases to better the world we live in(collective action). If trust is lost (like the US caused to happen), then this issue will never be solved. Also, climate change is a collective action problem, meaning that this is a problem for every country. I think that the United States is better than this. Therefore,I think that instead the United States should have approached this by informing the countries about reducing greenhouse gases and negotiating fairly; I feel that this would have been successful. If we can all successfully come together to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, then climate mitigation can most definitely be obtained.
1. After analyzing the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, I learned that my hometown of Scranton, PA can face natural disasters such as winter storms (zone 1), heavy rain, hail storms (zone 2), wildfires (zone 1), tornados (zone 2), and even tropical cyclones. I never realized that my area is subject to tropical cyclones, since I live no where near the tropics. I had difficulty determining the zones of the map, so I am not sure if I correctly determined them. The reason why I am not sure is because the scale of this map is too large. Also, the colors and the faintness of boundaries of the states and countries make it difficult to examine disasters of a specific region. Thus, I don’t think that this map is well suited to describe hazards of certain areas. I feel that this map is more suited to determining disasters of larger scaled regions as opposed to specific towns.
2. The event that I chose to look into from the RSOE and EDIS dealt with a wildfire in Palau. On March 27, 2016 at 3:30 AM, there was a huge forest fire on Mt. Apo (cause is unknown) that almost spread all the way to Lake Venado. As a result, many climbers were evacuated and officials prohibited campfires, fireworks, burning items, and cooking with wood, logs, and charcoal. Although the risk for wildfires in Scranton is low since the climate isn’t as dry as other places, there still could be a possible outbreak. Scranton and Northeastern PA contains many forests, and many people who live in these areas burn wood/other debris, have bonfires, use fireworks, etc. As for scale, the event impacted more than 100 hectares (about 250 acres). This is pretty small considering Scranton is 16,281.6 acres. Where the fire broke out in Davao del Sur, is about 2,160 acres; thus, in terms of scale, the impacts are much greater where it occurred. However, the impact of this fire would impact Scranton more since we are not used to dealing with wildfires; therefore, many houses would be burned and lives could be lost. Different people in Scranton would have different levels of vulnerability due to where they live. Those who live in wooded areas would be at a higher risk of being impacted than those who live in Downtown Scranton. Human factors that can fret vulnerability/ disproportionate the impact of such disaster would be carelessness when dealing with fire. For example, many people from Scranton love to have bonfires, and they carelessly throw items such as plastic into the fire. On the 4th of July, people here tend to blow off fire works by trees. I think the best way to reduce vulnerability of wildfires in Scranton is to educate people when it comes to any form of fire. Laws preventing wood burning, bonfires, and firecracker use in certain areas can also help.
3. When I searched for natural disasters in Scranton, PA, not many sources came up. According to USA.com, Scranton is at a very low risk for an earthquake (USA.com, 2010). Scranton is at 0 risk for volcanoes, and 77.46 risk for tornados (USA.com, 2010). This made me recall my mother telling me once about how there was actually a tornado near my area, not too long ago. Other extreme events in my area involve thunderstorms, floods, blizzards, cold, hail, winter storms/ heavy snow, drought, and strong winds (USA.com, 2010). From my experience, I recall last winter’s extremely cold weather that was 15 degrees below zero. Also, Elysburg (about an hour away from Scranton), has experienced a lot of floods due to the Susquehanna river overflowing damaging many homes and NEPA’s beloved Knoebel’s Amusemant Park.
- “Scranton, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” – USA.com™. Accessed March 31, 2016. http://www.usa.com/scranton-pa-natural-disasters-extremes.htm.
4. Based off of Module 8, I think that it is important that consider human factors, more specifically governance and education. I think that education is most important in prevention of anything. If people are educated about the causes of natural disasters and what to do if one occurs, then so many lives can be prevented since they know what step to take when it comes to comes to pre-event preparedness, emergency response, and post-event recovery and reconstruction. Large organizations such as FEMA give money to help prevent and aid disasters. However, I believe it is ultimately the public who must collectively act the most because there are more of us than there are of organizations, and we are the ones who live daily in vulnerable areas (such as Scranton). As for what I can do, I can make educate people on what disasters can occur in Scranton and what to do in those situations through social media, flyers, or simple conversations. By doing so, more and more people will be educated and will spread the knowledge throughout the population of Scranton.
My hometown is Dunmore, Pennsylvania. This borough is located in North-Eastern Pennsylvania and in Lackawanna County. Dunmore is most likely an automobile suburb because the transportation mode is cars and not many people walk. There are roads without sidewalks on main streets, and there are sidewalks on side streets. Buses sometimes run through Dunmore, but there are very limited bus stops. Therefore, transportation is difficult if you do not own a car. The population of Dunmore is approximately 13,966. My connection to this borough is that I have lived here for most of my life, and I have mixed feelings about it and this area. For all of you Office fans out there, I live 5 minutes away from Scranton. However, the Dunmore- Scranton area has went downhill over the years, and many people in the area also feel this way. In fact, Scranton has been ranked one of the most miserable cities in the United States. The reason why is because crime has went up, transportation is difficult without a car, poverty increased, and there is not much to do here.
The first city that I will discuss is Boston, Massachusetts and how it is pedestrian oriented. Out of all of the places discussed in the module, Beacon Hill was by far my favorite. I really admire how the people from this part of Boston have the money to buy almost any car that they desire, yet they still choose to walk. This is relevant to Dunmore because here, walking is not that much of a norm. Also, just like I stated in the first paragraph, there is nothing to do in my area. However, Beacon Hill has many places to work, shop, and be entertained, all in walking distance! Not only is this beneficial to resident health, but also this is beneficial to the environment in the sense that less automobile use means less pollution. I think that my town should be more like Beacon Hill, because if walking (or other non-motorized forms of transportation) was a social norm here, then I believe that crime, poverty, and pollution would significantly decrease making the Dunmore-Scranton area more sustainable. Also, I think that Dunmore should become more of a mixed-use area (like Beacon Hill), since this would also encourage walking, lesson environmental damage, and people would be happier.
The second city that I would like to discuss is Rochester, New York and how it is automobile oriented. Out of all the cities in the module, I felt that this one was most like Dunmore. There are many areas in Dunmore (as shown in the picture) that do not have sidewalks, since automobile use is a social norm here. The only difference is Dunmore does have sidewalks, but only in developments/ neighborhoods. Other than that, getting to stores, work, school, and other places of interest requires automobile transportation. This causes an issue with sustainability because since walking is not encouraged, people will obviously choose automobile transportation. Moreover, this can lead to the collective action problem of traffic (due to the large amount of cars on the streets) and pollution from the gases emitted from the exhaust. Places like Dunmore should build more sidewalks to encourage walking as a transportation mode. Not only will this reduce pollution and improve air quality, but this will also be beneficial to people, since they will be exercising more (resident health).
In the United States, people tend to take their meals and food for granted. Based on my experience of seeing my friends and others eating at restaurants or at home, it appears that it is a social norm to not finish your whole meal and then just have it thrown it away. Personally, I do not like to waste food, so whenever I do not finish my meal, I ask for a take out box or I will save the food for later. This does not affect my food choice, but it does for many people. This social norm connects to food choice because people think that it is “okay” to order/cook and not finish any kind of meal (whether it may be a sandwich or a chicken dinner with various sides) and just aimlessly throw away a perfectly good meal. This also connects to food choice because if someone knows they are not going to eat most of a big meal, then they should order/cook something small, so they don’t waste any food.
The main societal issues that this connects to are food waste and environmental issues. People tossing out meals causes environmental issues since the leftover food is being thrown into landfills, where it decomposes and produces gases that are bad for the environment. Also, when people throw away perfectly good meals, they are being altruistic because there people from other countries starving to death and would do anything to have even a fraction of the thrown out meal. Just as the module states, “If we care about distributive justice, then we may choose foods that leave more food available for others.” Wasting food also causes money to be wasted since the food cost money to be put on the table. Thus, in my opinion, I think that the social norm should be that it is “not okay” to toss out the rest of your meal, rather that that the norm is to save the food for later or not order/cook more than you can finish.
Case 1: This case study comes from Colby College, and it takes place in Japan. This is the link to the case study http://personal.colby.edu/personal/t/thtieten/trans-jap.html . This case study focuses on the the possibility that bicycles can be feasible form of transportation in Japan. In the later 1960s, the bus system was not working out for the Japanese citizens (due to factors such as being pricey, inconvenient, and slow), thus they took on bicycling. Bicycling became so abundant that there was a bike pollution issue. The government of Japan realized this biking was in favor so their goal was to discourage automobile usage by raising the ownership fees of an automobile. This relates to ideas discussed in the module because the end uses of bicycles as transportation are not only “being in the places that we want to be,” but saving money, promoting exercise, and less CO2 pollution that would harm the environment.
Case 2: This next case study comes from an Environmental Justice Case study from the University of Michigan, and it takes place on the Marinduque Island in the Philippines. This is the link to this case study http://www.umich.edu/%7Esnre492/Jones/marcopper.htm . This case study focuses on the Marcopper Mining Corporation and how the operations caused various health and environmental problems. Moreover, mining has contaminated the water supply making drinking water scarce and killing fish. This caused people to obtain lung cancer from the “red dust” and become poisoned from the polluted water. Although no solution can diminish the damage, the goal of this case study is to cleanse the environment, somehow make it up to the people affected, and simply guarantee that this will not happen again. This relates to ideas discussed in the module because it shows the downsides of development and environmental justice. The people of the Marinduque Island clearly faced the “environmental bads” of the Marcopper Mining Corporation since toxins were released in the water and the air causing health and environmental problems on their island.
These case studies both connect to the area where I live, Scranton, PA. Just like in both case studies and many areas around the world, my area has pollution problems, too. The first case about bicycle usage oppositely connects to my area because it is not common to ride bikes for transportation. I think that we should learn from the Japanese and encourage more people to ride bikes due to the many benefits such as reducing pollution that would come from automobile use. As for the Marcopper Mining Corporation, this reminds me of an issue that occurred in my nearby hometown, Throop. Not too long ago (1980s), a company named Marjol Battery (a superfund site) buried batteries and battery casings in a residential area. This resulted with the land and water to become toxic with lead and arsenic. This caused local residents to face health issues such as neurological problems and cancer. Many people in the area had to go for lead blood testing (including myself and my family). Just like the case study in the Philippines, the health and environmental affects from the batteries could not be undone.
On February 8, I attempted to live on two gallons of water. I prioritized my two gallons of water in the areas that I felt most important (drinking and hygiene). First, I showered for 2 minutes when I woke up. Throughout the day, I did not flush the toilet until the end of the day, I only had one glass of water ( when I got thirsty I drank soda), I brushed my teeth once before bed, and I didn’t wash the dishes. I did not use water for my hands (I used hand sanitizer instead). At the end of the day, I still ended up using 15.06 gallons of water. I clearly failed this experiment considering the fact that I used my 2 gallons up by 9:00 am because my 2 minute morning shower used up 10 gallons of water. Attempting to live off of 2 gallons of water would be so difficult for me, and the results from my chart in part 1-b shows. Geography is definitely matters to water use because there are areas around the world that have a small supply of water due to the geology/ location of the land (i.e. the area is dry, the water is dirty, etc.) People in areas like this must use environmental governance when it comes to their water use, so they only use water in terms of survival (food and water). We (people who have good sources of water), too, should take environmental governance in our water usage. Many times, people think that a single or individual action such as one person showering less won’t make an impact. However, that one person can influence others to become apart of a collective action, where so much water can be conserved.
1) Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue ethics vs. action ethics)?
The core ideas behind my system diagram were to show the benefits of the biogas generator and the interactions between the social system and the ecosystem. The concept of landscape comes to mind when thinking about social system and the ecosystem of the Indian village. The main issue shown on my diagram was that women cooking had negative effects on the environment (i.e. wood collection caused deforestation) and even negative effects within their own system (i.e. health issues). The concept of biogas and the biogas generator solved those issues by using cow dung as its power source. This eliminated the demand to cut down trees for wood (deforestation) and the need for children to collect the wood. Also, my diagram shows how the women make a profit selling the compost from leftover cow dung. As long as the villagers cook with biogas, this village will most likely leave its resilience state and move onto being stable.
In comparison to Marten’s figure, mine is set up is similar. For example, we both show biogas in the social system and biogas generators in the ecosystem. However, it seems like he focuses on larger concepts (i.e. human population), while I focused on smaller concepts (i.e. women and children). I believe that the reason why there are similarities and differences between my diagram and Marten’s is simply because of perspective. In other words, Marten and I interpreted some aspects similarly, while other aspects he and I interpreted differently. What I think can be learned by comparing the two diagrams is that it is important to have multiple perspectives. The reason why is because by looking at Marten’s diagram, I was able to consider things that I probably would not have thought about prior to the comparison. As a result, I now have a better understanding of the linkages between the social and ecosystems shown in the movie.
Hello everyone! My name is Julianna Cardillo (but people call me Julie or Jules for short). I currently live in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, but up until I was ten years old I lived in a near by town called Throop, Pennsylvania. I am a sophomore at Penn State Worthington Scranton, but I will be transferring to University Park in the fall! My major is Early Childhood Education, so I would like to become a teacher when I graduate (preferably of 1st or 2nd graders). In addition, I would like to specialize in math education by obtaining a Masters Degree. I am taking this course for two reasons: The first reason is obvious; I needed an Economic Geography credit for my major. The second reason is because when I was looking for different courses to satisfy this credit, GEOG 030 caught my attention the most because the topics discussed in this course seemed very interesting to me, since I never knew/learned about the social aspect of Geography. As one to have a major that deals with social science, I felt that this course would be the most beneficial one. Now, some facts about me are I am on my campus’ softball and cheer teams. I am a member of THON and our campus’ Lion Ambassadors, as well. I love meeting and talking to new people, so I am very excited to “meet” all of you!
As I was reading through Module 1, the issue that sparked my interest the most was “Human-Environment Interactions.” I feel that this is well suited to discuss because this is the world we live in, so we should be weary of how we affect it and how it affects us. Moreover, humans are changing the environment everyday (and vice versa). However, when I read through this module, I learned that Paul Crutzen (Nobel Prize- winning scientist) believes that we live in an Anthropocene era, where humans are believed to be dominant over the environment. I can agree with Crutzen because I have noticed over the past decade humans have impacted and dominated the environment more by pollution, deforestation, etc. For example, I live by a small city called Dickson City, where they have had a Texas Roadhouse for many years. However, recently, that Texas Roadhouse was knocked down because it “wasn’t big enough” and rebuilt down the road. In order to build a bigger Texas Roadhouse, trees had to be cleared and the environment was disrupted. That leads me into thinking about ethics, because was it really environmentally ethical to ruin more of the environment to make a bigger Texas Roadhouse? Probably not. Ideas and actions like this are causing our environment to deplete. On the contrary, in this same city exists an abandoned Walmart, and this Walmart is abandoned because it was build too close to a rocky cliff. This resulted in boulders and rocks constantly falling on it. Clearly, the builders of this Walmart did not have much governance when it came to the location of where they wanted to build this Walmart. It is obvious that humans and the environment are constantly affecting each other in many (bad/good) ways. It is important that people consider the environment before they take action in doing something, since the result can be negative. By sustainability, I believe that we and the environment can live in peace without harming each other. Also, by learning about our surroundings and “thinking before we do,” we can avoid from being harmed by the environment or harming the environment.