Biodiversity Learning Assignment- Module 10

Part 1: The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is active in protecting nature’s hotspots for people and prosperity. Use The map on CEPF website found here: to locate a hotspot. In 100-150 words, explain what hotspot you choose, and what you learned. Also, state if the hotspot has CEPF actively in the hotspot.

Part 2: In 150- 200 words, explain 2 activities that you do that influences biodiversity, (one positive and one negative) and explain how the activity influences biodiversity.

Part 3: Create a system diagram that shows how an activity can positively and negatively influence biodiversity.   

  1. I choose the Mediterranean Basin hotspot. The hotspot is located around the Mediterranean Sea. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is actively in the Mediterranean Basin hotspot. The first thing I learned that The Mediterranean Basin biodiversity hotspot is the second largest hotspot in the world and the largest of the world’s five Mediterranean-climate regions. Also, it is one of the world’s richest hotspots in terms of plant diversity. The Mediterranean is a tourist destination. The tourism industry is affecting the animals and plants. The CEPF has many priorities and strategies to protect the Mediterranean Sea hotspot. One of the main priorities improve the conservation and protection status of the hotspot. Another, priority is to raise awareness of the importance of priority key biodiversity areas, including those that have irreplaceable plant and marine biodiversity.
  2. Many of my daily activities influences biodiversity around my town. One positive active I do daily is I religiously recycle. Recycling make less unneeded garbage go to landfills. Landfills emit gas as the garbage rots and pollutions the environment. The pollution leads to diminishing biodiversity. Furthermore, recycling makes sure plastics and other harmful chemicals do not end up in rivers or oceans. If a bottle is recycled than it can be used again in some way. The negative activity I do daily is burn fire wood for heat. At my family’s camp up in northern pa, the only way to heat the house is with a wood burner stove. The wood burner stove is only need in the winter, or on very cold summer nights. Although cutting wood to heat one house does not seem like it would make a large impact, but it is noticeable where my Grandpa always cuts trees down. Over 50 year of cutting tree near the same spot, the spot is notable from far away.  This is influencing the biodiversity around the camp.  However, my family noticed how cutting down trees were impacting the soil. It was starting to wash down the hill side. In recent years, we as a family have started to plant new trees each year to replace the ones that were cut down for wood. The activity is a negative influence on the biodiversity in the beginning.

3. Module 10_klb475

Climate Diplomacy- Module 9


Module 9 (1)

2. My system diagrams starts with greenhouse gases causing global climate. The need to reduce greenhouse gases leads to the need of the Copenhagen Accord. The United States is a top producer of Greenhouse gases. The United States was extra careful in selecting a plan to reduce greenhouse gases, but as the same time make sure the plan benefits them.  The United States seeks support for the Copenhagen Accord. The WikiLeaks cables revealed how the US manipulated the climate accord, by sending secret cables, spies.   It return the U.S. got a spear phishing attack on the office of the U.S. climate change envoy. This spying across nations lead to the Copenhagen Accord talks failing to lead to a global deal. The deals then continued in Cancun, Mexico. The US started to get as many countries to associate themselves with the accord once again. This lead to smaller countries being promised aid by the richer countries. The smaller countries had very little trust in the large countries to actual provide the aid.  Months later, the US cut aid to the Bolivia and Ecuador. A plan for funding the aid for the changes is need. Overall, 116 countries have associated themselves with the accord. Another 26 say they intend to associate. The plan ultimately fell through since there was a lack of trust between the countries involved. WikiLeaks made the negotiations public, show how The United States were intimidating other countries. The U.S. ethics were deplorable. They lost site of the main reason for the talks, to reduce Greenhouse emits around the globe.

3. The module talked about the collective action on mitigation. In this section I feel that the module hit a key point in why many countries cannot agree on one plan to mitigate climate change. In my opinion, the key point is that there are a difference in values from person to person as well as country to country. In my opinion, the main reason it is so difficult to reach international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emission, because it is very challenging to reduce emission. The module stated many reasons that it is hard to reduce greenhouse has emission. In my opinion, the challenging would be that there are major differences between the positions and views of different countries. The module stated that many smaller countries are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as island countries. The shifts in water and the extreme weather events could wipe out the whole country. These countries are eager to have emissions reduced.  I believe the State Department cables should have been made public from the start. Many people are unaware that this mitigation is currently taking place in the world. This would help people believe that climate change is actually happening. I do not believe the United States should continue conducting their climate change diplomacy in the same fashion.  I believe the United States should be more concerned with trying to get other countries to associate themselves with climate change accord, instead of trying to find a way to benefit from the Climate Change Accord. The United States is one of the top greenhouse gas producers, therefor needs to take a stand to reduce greenhouse emissions. In the module, it stated that many poor countries feel that it is unfair when the rich countries ask them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, when they are not causes the bulk of the emissions. The United States needs to be a leader, and show other countries how to reduce greenhouse emissions without reducing the standard of living.

Vulnerability Reduction- Pittsburgh

My hometown is Pittsburgh, Pa. On the Nathan map document Pittsburgh is in zone 0: MM V or below for earthquakes. Also, Pittsburgh is not in the typical cyclone affected area on the map. Pittsburgh is in the low range for Hail storms, wildfires and Extratropical storms (winter storms).  The climate impact marker indicating increased heavy rains is near Pittsburgh location. Furthermore, Pittsburgh is in Zone 2 for Tornados, according to the map. El Nino patterns give Pittsburgh warmer weather and less storms. It was mentioned in the module, that PA has one of the lowest vulnerabilities in the United States.  The Nathan maps would be more suited for this task if you could zoom in on select cities or parts of the map and keep the resolution. For many of the different categories Pittsburgh seem near two different zones, zooming would help clarify which zone the city was in.

Using the RSOE EDIS, I choose the Biological Hazard in Wisconsin and Michigan. It was reported on March 5, 2016. The biological hazard is level 2 out of 4 levels. The biological hazard is Elizabethkingia meningoseptica (outbreak), a total of 44 people have been infected, and 17 are dead. Elizabethkingia meningoseptica is a bacterium which is normal found in hospitals. Pittsburgh could experience the same type of disaster. I feel that Pittsburgh is very vulnerable to this type of disaster because it home to UMPC hospital network, and many other hospitals in and around the city. The description of the hazard states it is happening in Wisconsin and Michigan, after more research I found that the cases are from many different counties. I believe the Pittsburgh and the surround areas would be a larger scale than the affected area. I believe the impact of the hazard would be worse if it happened in Pittsburgh. There are more people and hospitals in Pittsburgh.  The infection would be able to be transferred more rapidly. According to the module, there are many different levels of vulnerability. For a biological hazard, I believe the human factors would have the most impact on vulnerability, mainly education, age, and governance. In my opinion education and governance would be the best ways to reduce the vulnerability to Pittsburgh. Everyone could educated about Elizabethkingia meningoseptica and the symptoms. This would reduce the transfer rate. Furthermore, policies about hygiene in the hospitals would further reduce the transfer rate.

According to the Nathan’s maps from the first paragraph, Pittsburgh faces heavy rains and possible tornados.  In my 23 years of living in Pittsburgh I have heard about 1 possible tornado actually touching down, which was on top of Mt. Washington. I don’t think there is a high probability of tornados in Pittsburgh, like the Nathan Maps suggest.  On the other hand, heavy rains are normal for Pittsburgh. For those of you who don’t know, Pittsburgh is surrounded by rivers. Flooding is a normal occurrence in some neighborhoods.  After some research into other natural disasters that Pittsburgh could face, I would the website for the Pittsburgh Regional Business Coalition for Homeland Security, which is filled with information and plans for many different disasters.  According to recent history and weather, Pittsburgh has a threat of floods, fires, blizzards, and droughts. (Natural Events 2016)  The article also states Pittsburgh could face cyber-attacks, biological and chemical threats. (Natural Events 2016)

I believe the first act to reduce vulnerability is to raise awareness and educate on the threats Pittsburgh faces. For example, if a flood watch is issued, the public needs to avoid road ways that are susceptible to flooding.  I believe the nightly new or the new papers would be the best people to perform the act of spreading awareness and educating the public on natural hazards in Pittsburgh. I could make sure that my family and I are prepared for any natural hazard Pittsburgh may face. For an example, my family and I have a meeting place in the event of a fire near or in our house. My family’s house is surrounded by woods and brush, which are susceptible to wild fires. The meeting spot is on higher ground away from the woods, and away from my house.


Natural Events.” Pittsburgh Regional Business Coalition for Homeland Security. Last Modified 2016.


Urban Planning for Cities- Module 7

My hometown is Pittsburgh, Pa. Pittsburgh is located in the south-west part of Pennsylvania. In my opinion Pittsburgh fits into the urban downtown category. In the city there is sidewalks to be able to walk from place to place, mostly from parking garages to buildings for work. There is a mixture of different transportation into and out of the city offer, The T (subway), buses, and automobile. Pittsburgh is concerned the 2nd largest city in Pennsylvania, with an estimated population of 306,500 people. The metro area has an estimated population of 2.36 million. There are approximately 5,540 people per square mile (2,140/square kilometer). I am proud to say my hometown is Pittsburgh. The city is known world-wide for sports and steel making. Also, the city is known as the City of Bridges for a world-record 446 bridges. Furthermore, the city is known for its pride.  The people of Pittsburgh will fill the streets for any parade (Christmas, sports or St. Patrick’s Day) without a care for the weather outside.

The first city from the module I think Pittsburgh could learn from is Copenhagen. Copenhagen is Denmark’s capital and cycling is a norm in the city. In Copenhagen, cycling started as a way to calm traffic and has been very successful. Pittsburgh has many bridges and tunnels in and out of the city that cause traffic at peak times. Pittsburgh has many highways that are not pedestrian friendly, or bike friendly.  Currently, Pittsburgh has many places to rent bikes downtown and many different paved trails to ride on. However, many of the trails do not leave the greater downtown area. In Copenhagen there are car-free streets and slow-speed zones into order to make biking or walking safer and a friendly option to get from place to place. I believe making Pittsburgh more bike friendly would help the city become more sustainable.

The second city from the module I think Pittsburgh is similar to is Detroit. Detroit is located in the state of Michigan. The module briefly touched on the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, and gave a link for more information. The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative wants to use urban farming   to promote education, sustainability, and to empower urban communities. The organization is focused on making a large Community center, with an urban garden, retention pond, and many other resources to help the community.  Pittsburgh has a similar non-profit organized called Grow Pittsburgh. Grow Pittsburgh has a similar mission to Michigan Urban Farming Initiative. Both organizations want to educated people about growing their own food. Grow Pittsburgh is focused on family gardens, and less about the community. I believe Pittsburgh could benefit from having a large community center with a garden and other resources in the heart of the city.!projects/c10d6




Social Norms of a College Student

Before moving on my own in State College, it was the social norm at my house to eat healthy and to exercise regularly. However, now that I living on my own, and in college the social norm has changed drastically.  The social norm now is about saving money, and saving time. When starting college everyone heard about the freshman 30, which is a result of the change in social norms. The social norm is to ordering out more, and going out to drinking alcohol.  The social norm is centered around the lifestyle you live. Currently, I know my lifestyle is not the healthiest, but I do try to be conscientious about my choices in food and choice the most nutritional choice.  I know my future self will not want me to continue with this lifestyle. This lifestyle for a prolonged period will lead to health issues.

Just like college students, the American lifestyle has changed to being faster paced. In today’s society is it faster to go out and get food from a restaurant, even if it is not fast food. However, restaurant meals are costly, very high in calories and you can do not know what is actually used their preparation. It is a social norm to overlook nutrition to be able to have more time.    In the module, it talked about how important nutrition is to the body, and that without proper nutrition it could lead to death. In a fast paced lifestyle nutrition is suffering, people are not getting the correct about of water, energy, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.  This is leading to many health problems, the leading health problem is obesity.



Hydropower dam project and El Nino

Case 1: In 1994, the Nam Theun-Hinboun hydropower project was approved for construction. The 210 MW run off river dam on the Theun River in central Laos was the first of many hydropower projects planned for this area. Over 5,000 people in the near 25 villages were forced to resettle in other places. The resettled groups suffered from declining nutritional intake, rising sickness and mortality rates. Furthermore, thousands of people living downstream have been affected poorly by the dam as well. The villagers downstream have been impacted by decline in fish catches, flooding of their vegetable gardens, and fresh water shortages. The rural people of Laos rely mainly on wild fisheries as a major source of income and protein. The module gave many examples of the downside of development. I believe this is another example, many groups voiced their concerns about the project and how it would affect the surrounding areas. This project raised issues of environmental justice. The villagers around the area have been affected poorly by the hydropower dam. Similar hydropower projects have revealed the same problems.

Case 2:

El Niño effects Peru roughly every five to seven years. The major impacts are on farming and fishing industries, which are the back bone of Peru economics. El Niño has been around for thousands of years. During an El Niño year the whole weather system reverses which brings a tropical, rain and low pressure system over Peru. The ocean water in Peru warms up and the fish reproduce in lower number and remain further out to sea. The warmer temperature cause snow to melt in the Andes Mountain which trigger land and mud slides.  During the El Niño year Peruvian economy can loses up to 5% of its total income. Peruvian’s are taking steps to minimize the effects of the El Niño Southern Oscillation. Satellite data can now give warning to when El Niño years will arise. This will let farmers take protective measure and let other people leave their land before it starts to flood. Peru is not a very well developed country. However, they are now taking step to become more developed and be able to sustain their everyday life even in an El Niño year.

My hometown of Pittsburgh is affected by both of these case studies. The two case studies are very different. The first case study about the hydropower dam shows how development can have bad consequences. The second case study shows that with development even in an under developed country is possible with the right tools. I believe Pittsburgh could benefit from a hydropower dam. However, after reading this case study the effects of the dam would need to be researched thoroughly. The location of the dam would be key to where, who and how it affects the surrounding area and people. Pittsburgh is currently having a very odd winter cause by El Niño. The El Niño weather patterns cause Pittsburgh to have a warmer winter. The case study showed how the next El Niño year would be predicted.  Pittsburgh could benefit if an El Niño year was predicted by preparing for a warm winter. For an example, construction projects would be able to be continued throughout winter, cause less layoffs and less overall delays in the project.





Module #4 Katy Bordt

Part 1-A:

The water for my hometown comes from the Allegheny River. Over 70 million gallons are treated every day.  The plant is capable of producing over 100 million gallons of water per day.  After the water is removed from the river it goes through 3 stages. The 3 stage process takes three days full days to complete.  The first stage is clarification to remove silts and clays. The nest stage is filtration, where the water is passed slowly through coal, sand and gravel filters to remove fine particles and microorganism. The next stage is disinfection to treat the water with chlorine to remove a harmful microorganisms. The water is stored at an open-air Highland Reservoir, then retreated before distributed to the public. The water leaves the plant and flows through pipes to get to each house. The sewage pipes come from each house then meet in the street to combine together. The sewer grates are labeled that they lead to the river to deter people from throw trash or other foreign objects into the pipes. The pipes eventually lead back to the Allegheny River.


Part 1-B Water Usage for February 7, 2016

Activity Water Usage (gallons)

Shower (15 minutes)


5 gallons/minute (older shower model) = 75 gallons


Wash Hands (4 times)


1 gallon/minute = 4 gallons


Brush Teeth (3 times)


< 3 gallons (older bath faucet model)


Washing Dishes (14 minutes)


3 gallons/minute = 42 gallons


Washing Laundry


25 gallons




=     149 gallons per day

Part 1-C:

I found it surprising that I use over 100 gallons of a day. I do not wash dishes or do laundry every day. However, my daily actives still add up to 82 gallons. Restricting my water usage to 2 gallons was challenging. I realized since I am renting my apartment, I cannot change any of the faucet to new ones. Therefore, I decided to start cutting down the activity that used the most water, taking a shower. Also, I decided to follow the old saying of “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” to flush my toilet less since going to the bathroom outside is not acceptable in downtown State College. Furthermore, I made sure the water was off while I was brushing my teeth. I decided to start using hand sanitizer instead of washing my hands. My experiment failed, I could not figure out how to shower in under a minute. I believe it would be easier to if I had a fresh water spring outside. The spring could be used for washing cloths and bathing.  Looking back at part 1-b, I realize that in my everyday routine I could be using less water. I could take shorter showers and wash dishes with the sink filled with water instead of letting the water run.  Geography plays a huge rule in water usage. For example geography governs how the used water is disposed of and recycled.  I would be taking an individual action by using less water a daily. However, we as a whole planet need to come up with a collective action to use less water. Furthermore, there needs to be a collective action to help poorer nations have easily accessible water for drinking and cooking.


My Ethics Views- Katy Bordt

Question 4: 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 my opinion, I believe as a culture humans have an anthropocentrism view. Anthropocentrism puts humans at the top of the food chain, so to speak.  Humans are only worried about themselves and how they can use other things for their own gain. I believe ecosystems do matter for their own sake. Ecosystems were here long before we were, however since they do not have a voice we use and abuse them as we see fit.  We as humans are depended on ecosystems to survive, yet we abuse them. I believe if we started to change our views more towards ecocentrism, the ecosystems would be better off in the long run. Ecocentrism puts ecosystems as most important instead of humans. I believe for the world to have sustainability we as human will have to have more ecocentric ethics and less anthropocentric ethics. I believe we need to be cautious of what we do to the ecosystems for our own gain. If the ecosystems are taken away we will not survive.

Question 5: Do the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans (speciesism)?

I believe speciesism is the human way of life, we value our lives and those alike us more than “animals”. Speciesism is when one species is deemed more valuable than another. I believe humans view themselves like a god, they are the only one that matters and will do anything if it helps them.  I do not believe humans are more important because we have reasoning, and other abilities. Research shows more and more animals have these same abilities as human do, such as dolphins and monkeys. Animal Cognition is the study of mental capacities of animals. Furthermore, there are the animals we use to help us in everyday life, such as guide dogs and police dogs. I believe their lives should be worth just as much as our own. I believe if someone was to harm or kill a police dog (K9), they should be charged will killing a police officer in the line of duty. On the other hand, we put down dogs or other animals after they harm us, such as a dog biting a child. I believe rapist, killers, etc should be given the same treatment and be put to death. I believe humans and animals, especially the ones we view as pets should receive the same treatment and we should value their welfare.

Question 6: Is my own life worth more than the lives of others, the same, or less (selfishness vs. altruism)?

I was think of this question when I started watching Z Nation. Z nation is a show about getting a specific person from upper New York to a lab in California to make a vaccine to save the world from a zombie apocalypse.  You can imagine there are many lives lost to save one person along the way. They all believed they were doing the “right” thing and sacrificing their lives to save humanity.  They were sacrificing their lives for more than just one live. This show made me think what I would do, would I pick to save myself, and be selfish or help for as long as I could, and be altruistic. I believe my life in this scenario would be worth less than the person who could potentially save humanity. I believe if there were emotions involved I would not choose myself, just as with a family member, significant other or friend.  On the other hand, I believe I would choose myself if there was nothing known about the other person and no emotions involved.

Module 2: Katy Bordt


In the system diagram above, the green represents the ecosystem and the pink represented the social system. My system diagram show how the landscape was affected by the wood burning stoves and biogas. In module 2, we learned about how landscape is more than just the scenery. The module defines landscape as a “combination of environmental and human phenomena that coexist together in a particular place on Earth’s surface.” The wood burning stove affects the landscape in many ways, such as the need to cut down the trees for fuel. Also, my system diagram focuses on how the life of the village people will be improved because the biogas. The system diagram above and Figure 1.5 are similar because they are modeling the same system. In both diagrams it is shown how useful the biogas are in the villages, for example the compose produces better crops.  The diagrams both focus on the same main points, such as the demand for cooking, the different fuels that can be used, and how the fuels affect the landscape. The main difference between the diagrams is that my system diagram above is more focused on the social system and the effects the biogas have on the village. After studying both diagrams, I believe we can learn how different topics indirectly affect each other. For example, without the use of the diagram I would be hard to see how the biogas affects the economy or education.


Getting to Know You, Module 1

Hello class, my name is Katy Bordt. I am currently living in State College while I am attending PSU. I grew up outside of Pittsburgh. I am pursuing a career in Nuclear Engineering. I am interested in this course because it is extremely different than my engineering classes. Furthermore, I want to know more about the environment and what has to be done to sustain our current environment. This is my first Geography course. I have taken many other general electives in my 5 years at PSU, such as Anthropology and Kinesiology courses. Also,  I love studying different reglions and cultures. I am an animal lover, mostly a dog lover.  I have a rescue dog name Aurora currently, she used to be an Alaskan sled dog. Currently, she is in her glory with the cold weather and snow on the way.

From Module 1, I believe being able to visualize what is happening in a specific place is very important. I believe maps are a very useful tool.  However, after seeing the different tube maps in the module show how differently maps can be distorted.  It shows that maps should not be taken at face value. Also, I believe the most important concept from the first module is human-environment interactions. I believe humans are the making the most impact on today’s environment. I believe that something needs to be changed in the way we as humans abuse the environment. If any classmates have opinions or ideas on what should be changed to help make our environment more sustainable I would love to hear them.