Mod 10 – Kyle Hoke

Identify one or more threats to biodiversity in your home region. Use information learned in this module as well as drawing upon lessons learned in previous modules. Make sure to include how these threats can be avoided or fixed. 150-200 words.


My home region is Northeast Pennsylvania, specifically a region known as The Poconos. In order to identify the biggest threats to biodiversity in the Poconos, the acronym HIPPO will be the of help. Habitat Loss and human population are the biggest threats to my region. The Poconos are growing in population at a rapid rate. People are moving from New York City and the surrounding areas to the Poconos for a “quieter” lifestyle. However, with this brings development, which was also discussed in module 5. Development needs to happen in order to have places for these people to live, as well as large areas of farm or forest taken away for shopping centers and other attractions. This is hurting the local environment on a large scale. In order to combat this threat, local governments can declare areas of forest as parks, not to be tampered with. They can also protect the farms that produce local foods or raise crops important to humans.


Compare and contrast the biodiversity of your region discussed in the last paragraph with that of the Amazon Rainforest discussed in the case. 100-125 words.


            There are many obvious differences between Northeast Pennsylvania and the Amazon Rainforest. My region is much more dry than the Rainforest, and therefore sustains a different kind of biodiversity. There are far less species of trees, plants, and animals in my region. However, this means that the rainforests are much more fragile when it comes to change or disruptions like deforestation. The regions are the same in the fact that population growth is promoting the clearing of land and trees. In the Amazon, poor farmers are clearing land to sell the trees for use as timber and building roads that destroy large areas. In my area, like discussed above, population growth promotes the building of new housing developments which destroys large forest areas where animals live.

WikiLeaks Mod 9 Kyle Hoke

For my diagram, I wanted to start with the main idea of Climate Change since that is the event that is the root cause of this entire process diagram. Climate Change results in a call for action, since it is a problem on a global scale. The 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen was held to discuss collective action, however as the article states, it was a tricky thing to negotiate. This is because it can be massively expensive to change industries and infrastructure to support lower emissions, which shows later in the $30 billion in aid. There was no official agreement, but the Copenhagen Accord was drafted by the US and was the unofficial document for collective action, and that is what I chose to use as my link in the second row. The US then began secretly contacting its allies to persuade them to agree to it, and that combined with $30 billion promised as aid helped. In my diagram I have both of those as links to the fact that 140 Countries ended up agreeing to the accord. WikiLeaks then obtained and released to the public the cables that the United States sent to some countries. The cables revealed negotiations with many countries including Brazil, India, and China. The cables showed that the US even made threats in trying to persuade some nations. The article stated that even countries like Saudi Arabia, where their main economic source is from oil and fossil fuels, were contacted by the US.

I am in favor of WikiLeaks releasing these cables to the public. It is important to us as consumers of energy to know how and why emissions will be regulated. Collective action when it comes to climate change is difficult, but when the entire world must come together to slow it down, the importance outweighs the difficulties. The way the US has been conducting these negotiations brings about an ethical dilemma, like discussed in Module 3. We read that a core questions is asking, “do the ends justify the means?” In this case, I believe they do. The health of our planet and its inhabitants should be the most important thing, and I believe the US has that, among other interests, at the top of their minds. I think this leak will make future negotiations no more difficult, nor easier, than before. I think the only result of this leak will be that countries will be more careful when sending “secret” messages. Less threats will be made, and sketchy dealings will hopefully become a thing of the past. I think what needs to be done now is make sure all negotiations when it comes to climate change need to be made public. In today’s society, it has become harder to keep things secret, like with the newly released Panama Papers. Public negotiations are the best way forward to have people agree to climate change mitigation.wikileaks

Hazards in my Hometown – Kyle Hoke

According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, my hometown of East Stroudsburg in Northeast Pennsylvania is vulnerable to a few different natural hazards. My town is in a moderate risk zone for cyclones, or hurricanes, but like discussed in the module, Hurricane Sandy affected a lot of the northeast. It also appears that my town is in a moderate zone for Tornado frequency. These metrological hazards involve lots of wind, which can be damaging to my town, since there a lot of trees that can fall on houses, cars, or even people. The people that live in the woods would be most at risk, since their homes and possessions are surrounded by trees. The map is tough to read since it shows the whole world. It is difficult to pinpoint how a hazard will affect the exact spot of my hometown


On the interactive map of hazards, I chose to look at Biological Hazard in Tuscany, Italy. It was a meningitis outbreak that occurred on March 5th and left 4 people dead. My hometown can definitely experience this same type of disaster. The risk is relatively high, as there is a pharmaceutical company that creates vaccines for diseases in our town. There is no doubt samples of many diseases in those labs that have the potential to cause an outbreak. This hazard was stated as Tuscany-wide, meaning it was throughout the entire state in Italy. Italy is developed just like Pennsylvania, and also includes a lot of countryside. So like it states in the module we can look at how they dealt with this hazard, and relate it to the scale of Northeast Pennsylvania in the case of a biological hazard. I think the outbreak would cause more deaths due to the population being more dense in my hometown than throughout the state of Tuscany. There are definitely people that could be more affected than others. Those who are wealthy enough to afford good healthcare and hospital stays will be more likely to survive an outbreak. There are also those that may not be wealthy, but live far away from people on farms. They may be able to stay secluded and essentially quarantine themselves from others with a disease.

Module 7 – Kyle Hoke

I am from East Stroudsburg, in Northeast Pennsyvlania. According to the 2010 census, there are 176,567 people living in the Metropolitan area. I would consider my town to be an Automobile Suburb. The module states that these are neighborhoods designed for residents to commute into the city via car, and many residents make the 1 and half hour commute to New York City for work on a daily basis. Only around the college and certain areas downtown are there sidewalks to walk along the streets. Other places like restaurants, stores and businesses, and our mall are in different locations and often difficult to walk to, so the car is the main mode of transportation. The hilly geography is another huge discouraging factor to walking. I was born and raised in East Stroudsburg, so taking a car on even short trips is normal for me. Luckily, even with the mass use of vehicles, the environment is still relatively healthy. The air is clean, and there are many national recreation areas with healthy forests to enjoy.

The first city I’d like to discuss is Curitiba, Brazil. Although it is significantly larger than my town, their model bus system is definitely something East Stroudsburg could look at. East Stroudsburg has a bus system; however, it is not used very often due to lack of knowledge of the system and sporadic stops. Using the Curitiba as inspiration, a massive renovation for the actual bus stops could help immensely. The module states that our minds need to transition too, and since most people from my town don’t use the bus system, renovating the bus stops to be safer, cleaner, and simpler to use than they are now will ease this mental transition. The benefits of using busses to transport people are there, but there need to be incentives to ride the bus like they have in Curitiba.

The second city I’d like to discuss is Copenhagen, and their programs to reduce traffic. For this, I will focus specifically on the downtown borough region of East Stroudsburg, because the rest of the town would be too hilly to promote consistent cycling or walking as transportation. Copenhagen closed a 1 kilometer stretch of road to cars. There are many stretches of road in downtown East Stroudsburg that should be closed to traffic. On these streets are restaurants and shops that often suffer due to the fact that it can be hard to find a parking spot and walk across the busy streets. If these streets were closed and traffic was routed around, people would have more incentives to safely walk around and explore the vibrant downtown region. The downtown borough contains around 11,000 people. Convincing these people that walking or cycling is easier than driving a car would have huge sustainable benefits for the environment.

Kyle Hoke – Food Choices

1. When it comes to the choice of foods that I eat, I draw on my upbringing to see where my habits come from. Growing up, I would spend most days during the summer with my grandmother while my father was at work. My grandmother grew up on a family farm so she was used to eating fresh fruits and vegetables. She made sure my sister and I ate our fair share as well. To this day, eating fresh fruits is better than candy to me. This results in my food choice being very conscious to the freshness of produce I get. The social norm here is a family one. Eating fresh and organic (before “organic” became a trendy word, since it was literally the only option on my grandmother’s farm) was the norm when my grandmother was growing up. I am lucky because she passed on these eating habits to me.

2. One major issue with choosing to eat fresh produce is sustainable consumption. Many of the fruits at grocery stores are mass produced and shipped from other countries, racking up the food miles discussed in the module. I would not consider myself a full on locavore, because often it can be too difficult or expensive to obtain locally grown produce, especially during the harsh winter months here in Pennsylvania. However, when available I prefer local produce from farmer’s markets. Nutrition also plays a huge roll in this choice. The healthy plate reading says over half of the plate should be fruits and vegetables, and I would see I eat more than my fair share of that. There is a countless variety of fruits and vegetables to eat, and many ways to consume even the same vegetable. This keeps things interesting while maintaining the nutritional benefits that provide our basic needs.



Fishing in Norway, Farming in Sri Lanka – Kyle Hoke

In Norway, there is a case examining how to control the problem of over fishing in the 200 mile offshore exclusive zone ( Norwegian diets consist mainly of fish, so the sustainable use of this food resource is necessary for the future. In the past they used a system called “Total Allowable Catch” or TAC to split the catches with Russia. This resulted into a race to fish up to the limit and was an unsustainable practice. The Norwegians attempted to develop a new system. Currently, there is a system called Individual Transferable Quota or ITQ for a specific species of cod. Although it has its issues, this system allowed individual vessels to collect fish up to the limit in the most efficient way for them. This system helps to protect the fish population, which relates to the idea of sustainable development discussed in the lecture. This system allows for the use of resources now, without jeopardizing the future.


In the lecture information, we discussed agricultural development and how that became the foundation for today’s developed societies. In Sri Lanka, the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, and other organizations have come together to teach farmers about best practices ( Pest infestations are a huge problem to Sri Lankan farmers, and many people have had issues with the pesticides being used improperly. Trainers have shown farmers the proper procedures when handling dangerous pesticides. This ranges from choosing the right products, to wearing the right equipment, and even reducing waste. As a result of these lessons about proper use of pesticides, farms have experienced healthier crops at higher outputs, and they are being sold for more money. One farmer reports his income has grown over 1 million rupees which is equal to about $14,500.


The case in Sri Lanka is almost the exact opposite to development where I am from. I am from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. It is in the northeast Pocono region of the state, and right on the border with New Jersey. There, farm land is not being promoted or helped, rather it is being turned in to retail centers. One family farm that has been in the region for almost a century was recently sold to develop an area of retail. This also relates to the Norway case, but instead of fish it is farm animals used for meat. There are no current projects to sustain, grow, or protect animals used for food. This has to do with the development of urban areas. Although my town is an hour and a half away from New York City, those in the five boroughs come to the Poconos to live, thinking it is “the country side.” However, with this increase in population comes the need for more land being used for economic development instead of agriculture.

Water Source and Supply – Kyle Hoke


I am from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. There is not much information on the water supply chain, but there is a little history and info on the borough website for east Stroudsburg. The main source of water is the East Stroudsburg Dam and Reservoir that holds 302 million gallons. There is also the Middle Dam and Reservoir less than a mile downstream from the East Stroudsburg Dam and Reservoir. Just downstream from both of these reservoirs is the East Stroudsburg Water Filtration Plant. It is capable of outputting 2.3 million gallons of treated water per day. In case of a drought, the PA Department of Forests and Waters allowed for the engineering of the Michaels Creek Diversion. This directs water from the close Michaels Creek to the Reservoirs with a swale that follows the land downhill. The Borough is allowed to divert the water only from September 1st to May 30th each year. After being treated the water is piped downhill and in to town. The Borough’s customer base is primarily residential and uses around 1.3 million gallons per day. Any extra water is used to supply neighboring Stroud and Smithfield Townships. All the information can be found here:




Water usage for Sunday February 7th, 2016:

Activity Time (mins) or Times/day Gallons/min Total
Shower 20 5 100
Teeth Brush 4 1 4
Face Washing 1 1 1
Dishwasher 1 9 9
Clothes Washer 1 25 25
Toilet 5 3 15
Drinking 8 (8oz glasses)   0.5
    TOTAL 154.5




The day after I tracked my water usage, I decided to attempt to use just two gallons of water for one day. I knew showering and washing clothes were the biggest sources of my water usage. Drinking is obviously a necessity so I knew I could maybe only cut that down by half. I also knew that I wouldn’t need to use the dishwasher or clothes washer because I had just used them the previous day. My strategy was to skip the shower for the day, and shower the next morning instead, since I had just showered the night before. My only usages for water were to be drinking and hygiene like teeth brushing and hand washing, as well as flushing toilets. Ultimately, after just one flush of a toilet, that is typically more than 2 gallons. Therefore, the experiment was failed. I was able to reduce my water usage to around 15-20 gallons, but it adds up quick. Compared to the day where I did not try to reduce my usage, it is easy to see that people can overuse water, and should be more conscious about what they are using. Geography plays a huge role in this because in places like State College, we have an almost limitless supply of water. It makes it easy to go about your day without thinking about how much water you are actually using. In other places that have restricted resources, it brings to light something a lot of others take advantage of.

Ethics Questions – Kyle Hoke

  1. Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue ethics vs. action ethics)?

I believe it is more important to be a good person. I think that to be labeled a good person, you ultimately have to perform good acts. It is like the reading states, the two are not mutually exclusive. A true ethically good person will most likely take the actions that show their ethical beliefs. However, it is impossible to ask of someone to always perform good actions. A person may sincerely care about the environment, but may not have the means to take actions to help. Therefore, it isn’t fair to judge someone’s ethics by just the actions they take, rather they should be judged based on their virtues and beliefs. If a person’s beliefs of who they are match what is commonly held as what they should be, then that should be enough to be a good person. Also, someone can donate to charity or another action that is seen as ethical, however in reality, they could have stolen that money from their family members. It is an extreme example, but further proof as to why it is more important to be a good person at the core, than to just perform good acts.

  1. Do ecosystems matter for their own sake, or do they only matter to the extent that they impact humans (ecocentric ethics vs. anthropocentric ethics)?

In today’s society, I believe that ecosystems matter for their own sake. I think it is important to understand how they impact humans anthropocentrically, but ultimately ecosystems themselves are more important. The natural ecosystems allow life to prosper, and not just human life. Speciesism is important in this topic, because as the reading states, we already live in a world where speciesism exists, and we humans believe we get special treatment. However, humans depend on wildlife for numerous reasons including food, and these animals depend on the ecosystems that humans may destroy for a perceived benefit. To an extent, anthropocentric is necessary to sustain human life, and a topic from Module 2 can even be discussed along with this topic. The carrying capacity of our planet is possibly being altered by humans cutting down forests to make more room for humans to live or travel through. Ultimately, I believe that a sort of “selective ecocentric” view needs to be taken. As shown in the “Hetch Hetchy Valley” essay by John Muir, lands in protected areas such as National Parks need to be protected. Not only for their natural beauty that can be enjoyed by millions, but so that there is always the underlying idea that nature and the vast, diverse ecosystems come first.

  1. Do the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans (speciesism)?

This is a question that can be quite controversial. At risk of sounding like a monster, I say the pleasure and pain of humans matter more than non-humans. As with all ethically issues, there is no solid line that can be drawn between the two options being discussed. Obviously there are non-human animals that have been domesticated. Cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, and other house pets have found their way into our families on a deep emotional level. The death of a family dog is treated like a lost child or sibling to most, and can be an extremely upsetting event. However, nothing can compare to the emotional pain felt when a loved one or even fellow human is lost or seriously injured. Humans also rely on animals as a food source. Millions of cows and chickens give their lives every day for human consumption (this itself is an issue all on its own). For the most part, this goes unchallenged, and chicken is still one of the most widely eaten foods. For human life to be sustained and continue, the pleasure and pain of us humans is more important.

Kyle Hoke BioGas System


The core idea of my diagram is how a large rural population still using old, harmful fire and wood cooking methods led to the birth of the BioGas system shown in the video, and then the positive effects the system has on the social systems of rural India. The system creates a positive feedback loop, as it causes more performances because of its actions. It creates more time for children to gain an education, a clean cooking environment, and more job opportunities for the women that sell the fertilizer that is composted from the leftover slurry. This seems to be a very sustainable system as well, as it leaves more vegetation for the cows to eat (rather than it being used as a cooking fuel) and produce the waste needed to run the system. It is also a very stable system because there is very little to disturb the underground BioGas system. Compared to the diagram in Figure 1.5, they are the same in the way that the population creates a demand and need for the new technology. They are different because my diagram includes the results of the biogas generators, and Figure 1.5 relates the result of cooking fuel right back to the population. The diagram in Figure 1.5 organizes the nodes in ways that creates larger loops so the process can repeat itself. It is good to compare to see not only how an expert analyzes the system, but to see things that may have been missed. For example, the use of animal dung and plant residues not only helps fuel the biogas generators, but it is used for fertilizer too. Therefore, the more that is used in the generators, the less there is to create fertilizer to create healthy farms, although the resulting slurry from the biogas generator helps to create fertilizer as well.

Kyle Hoke – Getting to Know Me

My name is Kyle Hoke and I am a senior here at Penn State. I am from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, and that is in the northeast region also known as the Poconos. I was born and raised there, so I’m proud to call the Poconos my home. I am majoring in Supply Chain in the Smeal College of Business and I am currently in the process of interviewing with companies for a supply chain management position. I have interned with a company called Sanofi Pasteur, a vaccine company. My interest in this course has a lot to do with sustainability and how geography relates to that. Here at Penn State, I am the President of the Roar Zone, which is the hockey student section. I’ve been involved with the student section since the Pegula Ice Arena opened its doors, and worked with some fellow students to make the Roar Zone an official student organization.

As I stated above, I am interested in the human-environment interaction aspect of the course. Business is trending towards “going green” and sustainability. Businesses make decisions on a daily basis that affect the natural environment. Having the knowledge about how decisions can be made without disrupting ecosystems will be a great advantage as the world uses its resources faster and faster. Sustainability has become a hugely important topic, and as a result many organizations have created entire departments headed by a Chief Sustainability Officer. Also, as a supply chain manager, I could be responsible for many aspects of the supply chain. For example, as a purchasing manager, there are ethical decisions that must be made to minimize the environmental impacts of shipping goods and products around the globe.