biodiversity in my town

  1. List and explain what type of biodiversity is most common in your area.
  2. Explain why biodiversity is important.

In the town I grew up in, Lakewood PA, species diversity is by far the most common. The town consists of a small population spread over a large area leaving lots of room for a vast variety of species. Considering the amount of wooded areas, there are many woodland creatures that roam the areas in between human activities. The creatures includes things from skunks, deer, squirrels, bears to grass hoppers and ants, etc. Of course there are many others in Lakewood as well as in other towns too. The town gets is name from the number of lakes in the area allowing for many fish habitats to be present. Although most of the ponds and lakes in the area contain the same types of fish, there are still a number of species that occupy the waters. In addition to animals, there are a number of tree and plant species in the area such berry bushes, flowering plants, harvest products, and different trees. It is always refreshing going to visit Lakewood because I get to see untouched land that is still diverse where human activity has not pushed out all other living beings.

Biodiversity is important for sustainability of all life on Earth. More specifically, biodiversity sustains human life making it all the more worth while protecting. A perfect example is the food chain. Everything that is bigger eats the things that are smaller or weaker but, what about those smaller things? If there are no small things for the larger things to eat then the food chain will slowly begin to crumble all the way to the top. I generally manage to sneak some sort of informative piece about environmental awareness in my other posts but this one in particular focuses on it. Human activity has proven to push out other species where ever they go. Just look at the rain forests. Deforestation used to be dangerously high, still being a high concern today, to facilitate human populations, whether it is wood to build houses or furniture or just destroying the forests so there is room to build a new shopping mall.

Wikileaks Climate Change


Although the Wikileaks article is slightly outdated being published in 2010, the issue is still at hand. Many countries are in collaboration to come up with solutions for greenhouse gases caused by man-made Co2 emissions. Nearly every single country produces greenhouse gases and many at dangerous levels for example, US and China being the biggest. Organizations such as the Copenhagen Accord work together with multiple countries to create agreeable plans that each country is then to carry out in order to combat climate change by reducing emissions. Referring to my diagram, I listed the sequence of events leading up to countries taking action to correct global climate change. Political figures have been aware of the concept of climate change for many years but have not taken action until recently when the effects are actually showing. Populations are steadily increasing in the world which require more resources to facilitate which generally leads to more pollution due to the manufacturing of goods. Countries such as China have so much packed into a  limited amount of space which has lead to the state they are in today with air quality at an all time low. It is important that countries take responsibility for their contribution to the global issue. Support from certain countries still do not comply to reducing emissions. As for other countries, some do not have the financial standing to sufficiently support the cause. In cases such as that it is up to the coalition of other richer countries to take care of the global environment.

I do believe that the State Department cable should have been made public. We all live on this planet and we all have the right to know what steps are being taken to protect it. The United States should definitely work in conjunction with other countries regarding Climate Change to help financially support third world countries who are being affected but cannot financially help towards the cause. This is a world wide issue and should be a world wide topic to work on resolving together regardless of finances; this effects everyone. Many people disregard global warming but scientist have proven many times that our climate is changing. You can tell by the past few years, mild winters in the north while the south gets slammed with snow?; Climate Change. This is something that should not be taken lightly and is a topic that can no longer be avoided. We need to act now and fast before it is to late. The government should be involved but with the knowledge of scientist leading their decisions. Stricter laws should be set forth for factories that produce a large amount of pollution, oil spills should be nonexistent and if an oil spill does occur there should be stricter repercussions for the perpetrators. Climate change is something we need to stop running from and start getting ahead of.

Module 8

Part 1:

North Eastern United States primarily focusing on Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards shows that Scranton, Pennsylvania is in Zone 0 for Earthquakes, and Tropical Cyclones. There are no volcanoes or Tsunamis and/or Storm Surges in the area of Pennsylvania to be concerned about. The only climate impact on page 3 that may be slightly concerning is the increase of heavy rains symbol that is shown slightly above were Pennsylvania would be. This would cause a higher risk of flooding. Personally, I have seen precautions already taken to prevent flooding in low elevation areas. The hailstorms are shown for Zone 2, Extratropical Storms: AKA Winter Storms – Zone 1 and Tornados in Zone 3. I feel like I would disagree with the fact that we are in Zone 3 for tornados. Yes we do have tornados a few times a year but nothing that does significant damage like down in the south or even in the mid-west.  If anything I feel like we should be in a Zone 2. Also, for wildfires Scranton, Pennsylvania is shown in a Zone 1.

Part 2:

Base Data: Terror Attack, April 1st 2016 3:11 Am (UTC).

Geographic Information: Continent- Asia, Country- Turkey, Settlement – Diyarbakir,

Number of affected people / Humanities Loss: Dead person(s) – 4, Injured Person(s) – 14

Scranton, Pennsylvania can experience the same type of disaster. I feel and hope that Scranton wouldn’t be targeted for such a horrible disaster but unfortunately you can never tell these days. Every town in the United States, or even in the world does have a threat of a terrorist attack. I feel like an event like this would be more traumatic in Scranton, PA compared to Diyarbakir because an event like this has never occurred in Scranton. Also I feel like it would be less effective. Diyarbakir has a population of over 930,000 people and Scranton, PA has just over 75,000 people. A city this small I feel like wouldn’t be as big as an event if it were to happen in Scranton.  Scranton has never had such a disaster occur which may lead people to be more vulnerable because they have lower guard. Security in the city would possibly not suspect such a disaster which would leave the town for an open attack.

Part 3:

From my own experience this area is vulnerable to flooding. It is not a common occurrence but every few years this is a heavy amount of rainfall and this area floods. Especially in the spring time. When snow melts and the runoff water has nowhere to go because the ground is still frozen, this is when a heavy amount of flooding occurs. 2006 was the last worst case that I witnessed. Roads were closed due to flooding or were just washed away. People were evacuated from their homes if they lived close to the river or by a dam. Houses were even washed right off of their foundation. In 2006 I witnessed my hometowns pre-event preparedness plan go into action when evacuating people from their homes in the fire trucks and bringing them to the school for shelter.

Part 4:

A Pre-Event Preparedness plan starts with a Warning System. Flood Watch indicates flooding is possible and to monitor radio and television stations for more information. Flash Flood Watch indicates that a flash flood is possible and to be prepared to move to higher ground; monitor radio and television stations for more information. Flood Warning means there is imminent threat of flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Flash Flooding Warning indicates imminent threat and a flash flood will be occurring soon, seek high ground on foot immediately. These are the first steps to take when warning a city about floods. Unfortunately in this area, especially depending on the amount of snow we get in the winter, you cannot control flooding but you can control how you keep your citizens safe.

Scranton PA

I currently live in Scranton Pennsylvania which is roughly located in northeastern PA. The particular area I live in wold be considered an automobile suburb. There are many houses around however, nothing too close as far as shops go. Although cars are not necessary, considering there are places around that sell small groceries or bus stops to take you further, they still beat walking or biking a few miles every time you need to go somewhere. That is the beauty of this area though, if you’re in the mood for a nice stroll down the street, there are still sidewalks and friendly neighbors to walk around with. Originally, I grew up in a much more rural area  more north with a population of around 700. I then moved to Scranton to be close to school moving to a population upwards of 75,000.

The first city I would like to discuss is Copenhagen. I focused a lot on how bicycling took over transportation in the city. Two years ago I took a trip to Copenhagen and witnessed the crazy amount of bicyclists for myself. Of course that was not the reason for going there. Cars were actually seen very seldom and the streets were packed with bikes in all direction on nearly every street. In addition, the week I was there, every person I came across was generally slim and in descent shape, which is no surprise considering everyone rides bicycles everywhere rain or shine. Bringing bicycles to Scranton, or even any city for that matter, would greatly decrease Co2 emissions produced from gasoline vehicles. In addition, it may begin to fight this countries obesity epidemic.

The second city I focused on was Detroit. It was quite amazing seeing the Youtube clip of how much the city has changed over the past 70 years. The video mentioned, it is reverting back to a rural standing opening more and more green zones from abandoned structures. People in Detroit starting using urban farming to utilize the green areas that have been opening up. Around Scranton I have noticed in certain areas there are many abandoned buildings and structures that are dilapidated and lots that are overgrown and unable to be used. If this city were to fund such projects to remove that debris then citizens here could begin to adopt urban farming bring both some farming and money into the city. Not only would hazardous material be removed but, healthy planting would be taking place resulting in healthier diets and cheaper organics.

Food Choice and Social Norms

When I used to live with my parents, there were always fresh food stands around town. Local farmers would always have fresh fruit and vegetables from their season yields resulting in our family eating fresh vegetables on the regular. Now days those stands are no where to be found. Most farms in that area have shut down due to lack of help and or finance. Plus how could local farmers compete with stores such as Walmart that sell the same things plus some for half the price. The fresh food was the norm at the time considering it was readily available and easy to get to. Now one could say, Walmart is the social norm for daily foods because it is so wide-spread and easy to get to.

Although super-stores like Walmart have been putting small businesses and farmers out of business, they are making large farms prosper. These stores sell more items at a time creating a higher demand for foods resulting in farmers mass producing crops in the shortest amount of time possible to maximize profit. This therefore results in more resources used to run production such as fuel, water and food for livestock, fertilizer, pesticides, labor. More fuel use results in an increase of pollution and a continuation of depleting fossil fuels. Fuel alone, if completely depleted will result in severe consequences to the food chain. Livestock will not have food to sustain them resulting in humans having the same issue, lack of food. I think the social norm should be what it is today with super-stores making life easier for everyone but, with more efficient ways of going about production meaning less pollution and use of renewable resources instead of one-time-use.


Climate Financing

1.)Briefing on climate financing

Obi Anyadike wrote an article for IRIN News that sort of gives an update on where the world is with climate change. This is something that effects the entire world and everyone in it not just a specific country or location. The United Nations has put into play efforts to help finance emission reduction projects. Many countries are on board with this plan however, developing countries are having a harder time with this idea. It is one thing to come up with a plan to reduce carbon emissions by rebuilding certain processes and structures but, it is another to have the finance to execute the plan. For example, Anyadike states that Indonesia is struggling to meet funding requirements due to failing efforts to regulate commercial logging to control slash and burn deforestation. Many other countries have this same struggle due to corrupt sale of illegal concessions or the non-enforcement of laws. This article reflects topics covered in previous modules such as climate change and sustainability. Without a sustainable environment, human population will not sustain itself.

2.) Climate Finance: What was actually agreed in Paris?

Smita Nakhooda posted an article on the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) about the last UK negotiations in 2015. Countries are continuously scaling up funding for climate. Banks are investing large amounts of money in the initiative and Nakhooda states that France especially, is making large efforts to adjust to the changing climate by advancing technology in renewable and clean energy and low-emission transport and agriculture. The article states that as part of the negotiations, “at least $100 billion per year will be mobilized from public and private sources to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change by 2020 and a new bigger goal is to be agreed by 2025. Again climate change and environment sustainability is brought up this article but with plans to fix the issue at hand.

3.) Comparison

Both of these articles discuss a topic on a global scale. Considering the magnitude of the topic, it very much so affects all of us no matter the location. Of course location may have different effects than other locations but the fact of the matter still remains that climate change is a global issue. On thing that we can all take away from these two articles is that climate change is real, just look at the weather lately in NEPA, whether its global warm, cooling, or what ever countries around the world have notice that it is time to start taking action while they still can and we can help. Although one person reducing their carbon emissions, by perhaps driving less, is not a big different, if everyone did it then the results would be more large-scale. Examining this topic now is important if we want the Earth to still be inhabitable in the next 100 years by taking care of issues that pop up such as climate change and the effects it brings.

My water supply

I am from a town called Lakewood, PA located in northern Wayne County on the New York border of Hancock, NY. As one may assume, the town is in fact called Lakewood because of the number of lakes and ponds in the area. With that said, there are not very many houses close enough together to justify a public water supply. All houses that I am aware of in this area all have their own well systems. Our house specifically gets water from a personal well system. The well is dug into the ground reaching the water table where a pump sits to send water into the pressurized tanks in the basement. From there the water is send to the faucets on demand. Considering the location, the septic system is also a stand-alone meaning our house is the only one using this system. The water from all drains converge into a holding tank under ground away from the house. From there the solids are separated from the waste water and moved for decomposition where the water is spread over a drain field for the ground to naturally soak up the water.

Daily water usage
Shower 20 gallons
Teeth brushing .5 gallons
Hands/face wash .5 gallons
Dishwashing (hand) 5 gallons
Laundry 30 gallons
Toilet flush 5 gallons
Drinking 1.5 gallons
Total 67.5 Gallons


Basically the same activities and areas of water usage applied in this experiment. The major difference was the priorities. For example, Showers would have to be limited to a quick rinse with a towel changing the water maybe every other day. Teeth brushing could be factored into a gallon or so for drinking water if only a little is used to rinse. Laundry and dish washing, same as showers, a tub where the water is changed once, maybe twice a week. Or if available a river or lake. The toilet flushing could be eliminated if there is access to a proper out house and lastly, the remainder water used for drinking. Drinking water would be the main priority where any access could be used for cleaning and/or bathing. Compared to how I usually use water, there would be no way I could maintain the same life style with such little water. It is very interesting to actually see how much water I use and definitely something I have taken for granted. Geography plays a part in water regulation considering the source has to be available such as rivers, lakes, ponds, or springs. In addition to having the water available, there also has to be a means to access it if that source is underground.

Ethics: Jason C.

  1. Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts?

Being a good person and performing good acts go hand in hand. It does not make sense to do good things but not be a good person. I can understand being a good person and not acting on those deeds just not the other way around. Overall, one would have to be a good person before doing good acts otherwise it may just be random act that the person was unaware of being “good”. In addition, if a person was a “good person” then good acts should come naturally and not categorized as something different. Directly answering this question, I would say it is much more important to be a good person for the same reasons I just mentioned. In contrast, what motivation would someone have to perform good acts while being a nasty person? The thought alone contradicts itself therefore leaving the good person the more important and likely option.


3. Does the process by which decisions are made matter more than the outcomes of these decision?

Yes. Any decision should be weighed by how one gets to that outcome. For example, if you could gain one million dollars but at the cost of your mobility, I would think most if not all people would chose to leave that deal alone. Of course there are decisions in which the process does not involve anything bad at all but, that process should still be considered. Many great things could be accomplished certain ways but perhaps at the cost of terrible consequences. For some people the burden may not change then or affect them in any way but, personally there are certain things that I would not want to associate myself with. I can see this topic being very relevant in politics considering there are many decisions that need to be made daily and thoughts given to questions such as this, does the outcome outweigh the process.


5. Do the pleasures and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans?

When you think about it, what is the difference between humans and other animals? Though process and looks are really the only two major differences without getting into detail. In addition humans and other animals are all living things and no living thing deserves to be put down or valued less than others. I realize some religions have this view but personally for a non-religious view I see a life as a life and not a human life compared to an animals life. To answer the question, yes, the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans. You can clearly tell when an animal is in pain or happy or even bored and if you consider all life equal then why should humans have better lives? Of course animals will not have luxuries like 100,000 cars or huge houses because their thought process does not comprehend such things and frankly, most animals would probably prefer a nice wooded area to live and hunt in opposed to a loud and crowded city.

Module 2


In the diagram I created, I illustrated the relationship between the social system of the Indian village and the ecosystem surrounding them. Using the arrows to help label usage and direction, the illustration shows the demand for fuel and what is affected in the environment in relation as well as a solution. The presence of humans in this particular area has disrupted the natural flow of the environment. For example, the need for fuel caused the villagers to chop down trees and bushes to gather wood to burn which in turn created the problem of deforestation leading to the demand for an alternative fuel leading to animal dung and basically anything that they could burn. It was when biogas technology was created and put into effect using generators that utilized animal dung to create methane that an alternative fuel was found. Methane proved to be that solution of clean fuel which benefited everyone in the end considering the mixture could be made into fertilizer that women sold to farmers to make money for school and the farmers used to grow crops.

Compared to the diagram in the reading, my illustration is rather similar. It would seem I used the same layout that the author used in the reading with the stacked square boxes and arrow lines to signify relationships.

The main difference I see is that I added money into the equation considering money was an issue for the villagers and specifically the women that were looking to send themselves and children to school. The compost was stated to be the money maker in the video that women were able to sell the rich soil to farmers for a profit.

One could say the similarities stem from the fact that the same information was presented to the authors of both diagrams. On the other hand, differences from different thought processes and interpretation of the information.

Need creates demand which pushes motivation to progress an economy. This village is now generating revenue from sales of compost and creating an efficient source of fuel.

Jason Cruz: Getting to know you

My name is Jason Cruz. I currently live in Scranton only about five minutes from Worthington Scranton. I grew up in the tip of northeastern PA in a town called Lakewood. My major is Information Sciences and Technology with a minor in Security Risk Analysis. As if now I am not sure where I would like to go after school, just looking for a decent company that keeps me interested in the IT field. I am taking this course as an elective to satisfy a natural science credit required for general education. I always had a slight interest in parts of history and geography all throughout schooling hence the reason I chose this class. Some fun facts about myself, I am a tire technician at Sam’s Club and in between classes I enjoy playing table tennis competitively.

A topic that interests me is the interaction between social and ecological systems. This is also quite the talked about topic as well considering there is usually some talk of a movement, protest, law, etc. when it comes to the environment and how humans effect it. At the same time nature has its effects on humans when you think about things like natural disasters such as the drought mentioned in the module in California (2012-2014). Even today, California still has wildfires that destroy acres of crops and forests both in which humans use as well as wild animals. The issue lies within the sustainability of both social and ecological systems. It is obvious that the environment would exist and flourish without human interaction however, does the same go in the opposite direction? Is our governance too loosely handled  to the point that human interaction possible prohibits environmental growth?