Module 10- Biodiversity

  1. There are many threats to biodiversity as learned within this module. What are some of them? What is the acronym to remember the threats? Briefly describe each one and answer the questions above with 200-300 words:


As stated in the question, there are many threats to biodiversity today. The largest and most common threats are represented by the acronym, HIPPO. HIPPO stands for Habitat Loss, Invasive Species, Pollution, Human Population, and Overharvesting. The first threat within the acronym is habitat loss. Habitat loss happens when an area in the environment is converted from usable to unusable. As stated within the module, the causes of habitat loss are industrial activities, agriculture, aquaculture, mining, deforestation, and water extraction. Invasive Species are the next concern. When a new animal, plant, or microbe enter a new area, it can affect others within its habitat. If the new species brings in an unfamiliar disease, competition for food, or just disrupt the other species it could potentially kill others. Pollution is next. Chemicals that are immersed into the atmosphere are very deadly for species within the area. The discharge of toxic synthetic chemicals and heavy metals are harmful and lead to extinctions as well. Up next is the human population. Human Population also has an impact. The higher the human population gets, the less resources there are for other species. The last one is overharvesting. Overharvesting includes things like hunting, fishing and gathering. When people over-fish, they could potentially be putting a type of fish at risk of extinction.

2. In the next paragraph, identify something that could be done to prevent biodiversity loss in a specific area. Include a course concept from a previous module and link it to this module’s concept. (200-300 words)


The area I am choosing to talk about is Australia. I would have used my hometown but that would have been a little difficult. The environmental changes in Australia have been going on for thousands of years. Indigenous people have been interacting within Australia’s environment for tens of thousands of years. This has been very harmful to the course of evolution. The concept that I plan to bring into this discussion is the concept of sustainability. If the interaction of indigenous people with the country was harming evolution of some species, then the sustainability of those species was slowly diminishing before they went extinct or left the area. There has also been a large loss of habitat which directly relates to the the HIPPO concept of biodiversity. 75% of rainforests have been lost. Along with the rainforests, 50% of all forests have been lost. Coastal wetlands, temperate woodlands, and several grasslands have all been lost as well. Among these habitats that are being lost, there are several animals and plants that are under major threat. There are extinct, extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, and conservation dependent species within the country of Australia. To prevent some of these things from happening, we can limit the amount of expansion of the human population and let some of the habitats thrive. By grouping the human population together, it will leave for more areas of vegetation and animals to live.

Reference: australianmuseum

Module 9- Jake Hughes

  1. My diagram focuses on the secret cables and bribery that the US used in order to persuade countries to be in favor of the Copenhagen Accord to cut the amount of greenhouse emissions. The Copenhagen accord focuses on each individual country’s plan to cut the amount of emissions. It allows the countries to have their own plan. My diagram starts with climate change. The greenhouse emissions are released into the atmosphere. These emissions are what lead to climate change. Climate change is what led to the creation of the Copenhagen Accord. Since the US has such a large contribution to the amount of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, they were quite in favor of this accord. With the US being so in favor, they were really pushing for other countries to join the accord. If a country was not in favor, they would request a large amount of money from the US. The US then gave in to the bribes. These were not the only tactics of our country however. The US tried to send secret cables to other countries in order to entice them to join. The US actually sent China a cable that was disguised as a file from the National Journal. Whenever the file was opened, the user who planted the corrupt file would have complete control of the computer that opened it. Other countries decided that there was a great deal of money to be made from the US, so they attempted to negotiate. After all the bribery and secret cables, the US ended up compensating many countries to end in a total of 140 countries in favor of the accord.


  1. In module 9, we learned about Climate change and in particular, about the Copenhagen Accord. I feel that climate change is a very serious threat to our world. Like stated within module 9, human and non-human systems are adapting to climate change. Whether it be the amount of water in our oceans or the temperature shifts, something has to be done. The impacts of climate change are bound to cause harm. The concept of climate change also brings up another concept that we have learned about, sustainability. There was a definition within module 3 that stated: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This definition is applicable in this scenario. By limiting the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, future generations will grow up in the new way of doing things and eventually have a lower emission rate as a whole, thus aiding in sustainability. Lastly, I think that the State Department should have made everything public. I don’t feel that climate change issues require our country to bug a file and send it to other countries in order to align them with our views. I think that every country should want to team up together as a whole to lower our greenhouse emission rates. The US should not have gone about it the way that they did. The US should have been a little less discrete. Maybe more countries would have joined us in the accord if we weren’t so sneaky and malicious. The use of secret cables just made countries not trust us. This is why I feel that we as a whole should team up to limit our greenhouse gas emissions and try to end climate change.Untitled drawing

Jake Hughes- Module 8

  1. The event that I plan to write about for this module is about a tornado in the USA on March 31st, 2016. The tornado touched down in the northern part of Alabama. The tornado touched down around 7:07 p.m. on Thursday. Luckily, there were no reports of any damage. The National weather service also issued a few tornado warnings for a few counties near there. After the first tornado in Alabama, another one touched down in the state. It struck Eldridge, Alabama around 8 p.m. There were also no reports of any damage or injuries.

I live in Uniontown, PA. The town is located about an hour south of Pittsburgh. Tornadoes aren’t as big of a threat to PA as they are the south, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t get any. There are about 12 tornadoes on average, per year in Pennsylvania. Yorks County, Adams County, and Lancaster County get the most tornadoes in PA. None of which are close to my hometown, so it is rather unlikely of us getting hit with many tornadoes. My hometown could experience such a disaster though. This scale of natural disaster in Alabama would be a little large for Uniontown. Uniontown’s population is minimal in comparison. A tornado of this size would demolish my whole town. The amount of damage could possibly be double in my hometown. Based on the geography of my hometown, the people living up in the mountains would be affected in a different way in a tornado hit. If everyone knew of the disaster, we could implement a way to get everyone to the upper side of the mountain where they may be less likely to get injure by its effects. The multitude of houses and developments between the mountains would create a funnel for the tornado to rip through.

(reference- )

  1. The disaster that I mentioned in the first paragraph is quite likely to happen in my hometown. The other likely disasters would be flooding and snow storms. In my personal experience, I have been snowed in the house for almost a week. I also got out of school for 2 weeks before. In 1950, Uniontown and the tri-county area received its largest blizzard of all time; leaving 26-28 inches of snow. ( My friends and I can all still remember when there would be major floods from the mountains that would put us all out of school and even shut some stores down.

Resources:  ( )

  1. The natural disasters within the city of Uniontown could be handled a little better, but from the years and years (dating back to 1950 just in what I have wrote alone) of experience we have produced greater reactive and proactive abilities. Uniontown has many salt deposits running up and down the mountains and major roads. Sometimes we will experience several inches of snow over-night and still attend school the next morning. PennDot is primarily the best choice for treating the roads. They are always out clearing our roads during the winters. I could easily volunteer with firemen to clean the roads up a little bit before the school day started. I could even help local businesses with their parking lots to ensure them of opening.

Jake Hughes- Module 7

  1. The city I am choosing is Vancouver. Vancouver is located just above Washington. It is a city within the country of Canada. It is a west coast seaport in British Columbia. It is quite an ethnically diverse city. Within the city of Vancouver, there are all kinds of different neighborhoods. I will focus on downtown for this portion however. The downtown area of Vancouver would be classified as urban downtown. There are about 50,000 people living within downtown Vancouver. The reason I chose Vancouver is because I really want to visit there. Vancouver is so close to the border of Washington. I wanted to know how different it would feel to cross into Canada for a trip. It seems like such a beautiful place. I would absolutely love the outdoor recreational opportunities and the downtown scenery.
  2. The first city I am going to discuss for the next part of the post is Boston. After I read up on Boston, Massachusetts, I was able to get a deeper understanding of how life would be. They referred to an area in Boston named Beacon Hill. It has beautiful streets and is a very wealthy neighborhood. I think if Vancouver were able to decrease the amount of cars used and increase the amount of people walking, that it would increase the sustainability significantly. If Vancouver had beautiful streets to walk on, some people would be more enticed to walk among them and not drive a car. Although, Vancouver is doing rather a good job with transportation. They have 6 train stations and many busses for alternative means of transportation.
  3. The next city I would like to look at is Copenhagen. Copenhagen decided to take the cars out of the main streets. Denmark has opened so many public spaces which allowed for many locals to walk down the streets. People have coffee, ride bikes, and socialize on the streets now. There are far more bikes used for transportation than cars. All the cafes and bars have bikes outside of their establishments. If Vancouver were able to transition to a bike and open-street lifestyle, the businesses would thrive. The amount of cars would be limited, also aiding in the sustainability of the city. The many people employed in sustainable development could facilitate the transition in the city of Vancouver. Giving the people of Vancouver their open spaces back will help with sustainability and also the happiness of the community and local businesses.

Social Norms- Jake Hughes

  1. In my personal experience with food choice, I have seen many people consume food with no regards for their health. The food choice that I am choosing to talk about is the consumption of Chipotle in State College. As we all know, college students in State College love their Chipotle. I have nothing against it! I think the food is pretty good and I enjoy chips and guacamole every now and then. Recently on the West Coast and even more recently on the East Coast, Chipotle has been said to have given E-coli and other harmful bacteria to its customers. I live right near Chipotle in State College so I see everyday how many people still chose to eat there. You would walk past and think there had never even been a food problem at Chipotle. The social norm in this situation would be the college population. College students still get together to consume Chipotle with no regard to the scandal at hand.
  2. While eating unhealthy with other students, you can become unaware of the health risks by focusing more on the taste. The realization of what you are eating is far more important to know. I talk about this social norm for the concern of other students, in hopes that they will recognize what kind things have resulted from eating certain foods. By only worrying about the taste and the social aspect of eating this food, the customer might not understand what is at risk. Not only health problems, but the chance of obesity is on the line when consuming food for the taste and social aspect. I hear from the workers of fast food all the time that the same people come in multiple times a week for the same food. This is extremely unhealthy. Eating fast food or even fast casual can be alright if monitored. Eating fast food a few times a month would be acceptable. The social norm should be family. Family should implement healthy eating habits such as fresh produce and good protein.

The Northern Rockies and New Zealand

  1. The location of the first case study is in the Northern Rocky Mountains. This development comes from Colby College. The main question of this case study is, “can economic incentives be altered to reduce opposition to wolf conservation?” It used to be that large predators were seen as threats to livestock and game. This means that they used to put these animals down after trapping, poisoning, or shooting them. In this module we learned about depleting resources and some great examples of them. Well in this case study, the depleting resource would be the wolves. They were nearly extinct when people used to trap and kill them. The US Fish and Wildlife Service created a recovery plan for the Gray Wolf, which was officially considered endangered in 1973. The development of wolves was drastically decreasing because of the shortened life expectancy of the wolf. After many years the public opinion was strongly in favor of reintroducing the wolf. In 1994 the Interior Department finally approved the plans to bring wolves back. (
  2. The next case study takes place in New Zealand. This case study comes from the Ministry for the Environment. The sustainable development issue in New Zealand is the freshwater quality and freshwater allocation and demand. In New Zealand, freshwater quality is declining in low rural lowland rivers, streams, and groundwater. One-third of New Zealand lakes have high nutrient levels and poor water quality. The development of the population could be affected without addressing this water issue. The knowledge of hydraulic interconnectivity of groundwater and surface water systems is important to acknowledge the concentrations of nutrients and pathogens that are emerging into the water. Development is changing the climate system and biodiversity of New Zealand in a few ways as well. New Zealand has to adapt to the changes in climate and help to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. They have favored the introduction of an Emissions Trading Scheme to help fight the amount of gas emissions. It provides incentive for New Zealanders to reduce their emissions. (
  3. The first case study is quite similar to an issue around where I live. I live in Uniontown, PA. The first paragraph talks about how the wolves were going extinct after many people killing them. They were harming game and livestock. The same thing happens around Uniontown. The development of many animals are endangered. There are many hunters around our area who will shoot at anything they see. They are endangering many species without even knowing it. There are several species of bats, owls, falcons, squirrels and herons. The Bald Eagle is a recovered species in Pennsylvania now. The case in the Northern Rocky’s differs from my hometown being that the hunter and farmers had reasons to kills wolves. The second case study is about greenhouse gas emissions and water depletion in New Zealand. This case study is not as relatable to where I live as the wolves. The water problem is actually not as big of a deal because we recycle our water through a series of rivers in my hometown. Adding chemicals is similar as well. In New Zealand, they had to have mixed chemicals with the nutrient rich water to bring it to a drinkable state. From both of these studies, development can be advanced by through not harming animals other than game and also working on decreasing our greenhouse gas emissions. The place and time of development matter to these instances because as you can see, the water in my hometown and the water in New Zealand are very different in terms of demand and health. Just as the Northern Rocky’s have different endangered species as we do in Uniontown.

Water Tracking and Usage- Jake Hughes

Part 1-a:

The first part of this activity is to describe the water supply chain in my hometown, as it moves from its source to the tap and from the drain to its disposal. I actually had a rather good idea of how the water lines worked because over the summer I worked for the local sewage authority and I learned a lot. Despite the gross sounding job, the on-site job experience was actually amazing. You would be surprised what you don’t know about your water and sewage lines around you. I first contacted my local municipal water company and found out that the name of the company was North Fayette Municipal Water. The water is actually from the Yough dam. I am about an hour south of Pittsburgh and that river, the Yough, is actually one of the three rivers that meet in Pittsburgh. They add chlorine and ammonia to my water. After the water comes to my house from the municipal water, it is then flows to a sewage pump on route 21 that filters it and returns the water back into the river.

Part 1-b:

Water Activity                        Quantity                         Amount of Water Used (Gallons)

Teeth Brushings                        x2                                              4 gallons

Hand/Face Washings               x12                                            12 gallons

Showers (5-min)                        x2                                              50 gallons

Toilet Flushes                           x10                                             30 gallons

Water you drank (8 oz.)              x5                                             .31 gallons

Dishwashing by Hand                 x1                                             13 gallons

Total           109.31 gallons of Water

Part 1-c:

If I were to live in an area where the water was restricted, I would learn very quickly how far a gallon of water goes. In the experiment, the most amount of water I used was in the bathroom. I used around 50 gallons of water in the shower. Two, five-minute showers were a total of 50 gallons. I never would have expected that. I would absolutely provide priorities for things such as showering and washing my hands/face. I could manage to immediately eliminate 30 gallons out of my day. My flushes are high because I drink a lot of water. I would say the experiment on two gallons most definitely failed. I would need water for drinking, washing my hands/face, showers, and washing dishes. There is no chance that I would be able to survive on that. If I had a river near by, I could bathe in there instead of showering. That might save a lot of water, but still might not be enough. This would be less water than in part-b, however. Geography plays a huge role in water use. By understanding the amount of water used in the world, we may be able to address issues that countries have with the absence of water. By examining how we use and even waste water, we can make improvements on our day-by-day water usage.

Three Questions: Jake Hughes

The first question I chose to answer is the question on virtue vs. ethics. Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts? To start this question off I feel like I have to first address that these two go hand-in-hand. If you are a good person and make bad decisions, you are bringing yourself further away from being that good person. If you are a bad person and you make good decisions, you will start to redeem yourself and slowly become a good person. I could never be one to judge whether you are a good person or a bad person, but this would be my logic behind it. With this being said, my answer would have to be ethics. By actually performing the actions themselves, they have a way of diminishing your personal character or lifting it. However, if someone is a really good person and works for several charities, it is not always safe to assume that their actions are good outside of their work. These can be things to consider when distinguishing between virtue and ethics.


The next question I chose to answer is the question on ecocentric ethics vs. anthropocentric ethics. Do ecosystems matter for their own sake, or do they only matter to the extent that they impact humans? Without healthy ecosystems, many plants and animals wouldn’t have the same chance to live and be free like we do. However, ecosystems also benefit us humans and our survival. My answer would fall somewhere in-between for this question. I find both extremely important. For the sake of having an actual answer though, I would have to say that ecocentric ethics is more important. Preserving our environments and ecosystems for future generations to appreciate has long been an opinion of mine. If humans believe they should be able to live and matter for their own sake, I believe animals and ecosystems should be able to as well. Almost every scenario would result in me being for the ecocentric ethics.


The last question I am choosing to answer is the question on selfishness vs. altruism. Is my own life worth more than the lives of others, the same, or less? I would never in a million years consider my life to be of more worth than someone else’s. I believe that everyone’s life and worth is absolutely equivalent. Whether you are the president of the United States or a schoolteacher, you have the same amount of human worth. Each individual places a role in our world. Some people’s roles are a little more important than others, but that doesn’t take from their worth. Just because someone is a janitor at a school does not mean that their worth is any greater or less than someone working for the government. There wouldn’t be a scenario where my answer would change. Even serial killers’ worth would be the same as mine. That doesn’t mean that our values or status is anywhere near each other’s, but I wouldn’t say that someone’s actions would devalue them as a person.

Module 2 Post- Jake Hughes


My core ideas behind my design are fully developed around the ecosystem and the social system within Biogas itself. My chart incorporates wood helping the kids of Biogas with the smoke and the attendance. The ecosystem is benefitted in several ways as well. The decrease in pollution and deforestation decrease will both aid in ecosystem preservation. The methane gas provides families with clean cooking gas and many health benefits through the use of better soil to strengthen the crops and in-turn resulting in healthier animals. The graph shows the stability within Biogas by eliminating the depleting resource of wood. Wood is finite but the human waste to provide the gas will not be. This process of methane creation will provide sustainability within Biogas and increase health factors within the ecosystem and the social system.

Compared to the diagram in Figure 1.5 of the Marten reading, “What is Human Ecology”, my diagram looks similar and different. The similarities include the representation of the social system and the ecosystem alike. My diagram, however, is much more linear and easy to follow than this one is. My diagram flows straight through with the exception of human waste at the end. The model in Figure 1.5 is much more complex. The relationship between the subgroups of the social system and the ecosystem are far more intricate than mine. These similarities and differences are because of the lack of information in the 5-minute video. The tress and shrubs on the hill wouldn’t have been picked up from the small amount of information. The health benefits from my graph and the irrigation would both be things that we could learn from these charts.


Learning Activity: Getting to know you -Jake Hughes

My name is Jake Hughes. I am a 20-year-old Sophomore at Penn State University. I currently live in State College, but I grew up in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Uniontown is about an hour south of Pittsburgh. I am pursuing a career in community recreation and tourism management in the RPTM College. I am interested in learning and expanded my knowledge of Geography through a college level course. My knowledge of Geography comes from my middle school Geography class so I am curious to find out more about Geography in a different setting. I really love to swim and play soccer. I also love movies. I would say my favorite movies are probably the Star Wars films. I am also a huge fan of music and live music.

As I went through Module 1, the issue that interested me the most was the Human impacts on the environment. Whether we know it or not, us humans have a very large impact on the natural environment. By altering the makeup of Earth’s surface and atmosphere we are harming our planet. As it states in module 1, we are also depleting a variety of natural resources, changing the climate, and causing many other species to go extinct. This topic is particularly important to me because I want to learn more about ways that we can preserve our planet for future generations and set them up for a world worth living instead of a planet that is dying before them. If we can understand why and how we are causing these things, then it will be significantly easier to prevent them.