Own Activity Module 10- Katie Greiner

1.Since human activities can either enhance or disturb biodiversity that means that biodiversity ties into human-environment coupled systems. Is your hometown currently trying to protect its biodiversity or threaten it? Explain why or why not. The H.I.P.P.O. Model can help guide this question. (200-300 words).

In my hometown of Harleysville, PA we have actually taken steps to help prevent water pollution and erosion from harming the creek’s ecosystem located in my backyard. This project developed was a called a Riparian Buffer Project in Lower Salford Township. This project was started out of concern for the lack of management of storm water runoff, which was causing water pollution and there was a lack of natural habits and water in the creek. The goal my community and the local water shed had for this riparian buffer was to decrease water pollution, increase the water flow, and create a more natural habit for the biodiversity living in the creek’s ecosystem. The project has been a long-term collect action problem in my community that began in the summer of 1999. It began by the township implementing grass-cutting laws in my neighborhood’s backyards, located along the creek. The next 10 summers after that people from my neighborhood and other members of the community would volunteer to plant trees, shrubs, and other native plants into the buffer zones. Since 1999, there has been less work to do every summer and now the buffer is really beginning to thrive with wildlife, plants, and the water flow has immensely increased. The project was so successful that my township began working on other parts of the creek a few years ago. Because of the success of this project, I can say that my local community has taken collective action to help better the human-environmental interaction in my hometown. In my opinion, this would be an IUCN Protected Area Category 6, Managed Resource Protected Area because it was created for the long-term sustainable use of the humans in my community.

2. Create a system diagram representing how your community is either taking steps to protect or threaten biodiversity.

kmg5849 Module 10

3. What collective action could you and members of your community take to help to create more biodiversity in your hometown? (200-250 words)

In my hometown I think that members of my community can continue to use collective action in order to help create more biodiversity in my hometown by helping to pass and create more and new laws that help to create more biodiversity, such as riparian buffers, in my township. For example, my community has only create a riparian buffer and there a many more streams, creeks, and bodies of water in my local area that would greatly benefit from a riparian buffer. Since 1993, there has been a 23% increase of residential land use according to the township. Residential land development makes up about 43.8% of my community compared to the 15.2% of parks/recreation and the 29.7% that is agriculture/underdeveloped. By using collective action to pass laws that require more natural habitats around these developed areas, such as the laws in effect in my residential neighborhood, it would help to balance out the biodiversity in my local community. By creating natural habitats surrounding neighborhoods, not only would it increase the property value of residential homes, but it also will help to help to provide a better human-environmental coupled system in my area. My community can use collective action by writing letters to members in office, running for government positions, and signing petitions to help to gain support for more balance in the environment.



Katie Greiner Module 9

The core concepts behind my diagram are the problem (fossil fuel emissions), the proposed solution (Copenhagen Accord), and then the means used to create agreed upon political action (Wikileaks Intelligence). The problem of green house gas emissions causing climate change is the core and reasoning behind Wikileaks. Climate change became a global issue that required political action and agreement in the United Nations. The proposed idea for climate change was the Copenhagen Accord. The Copenhagen Accord was a treaty proposal favored by large developed countries and more specifically the Unite States. The United States favored this “global deal” for the purpose of it having the potential to benefit the US and even fix issues for the country. Developing countries, such as China, opposed the accord because it wouldn’t benefit them and had no promise to actually cut enough emissions to actual prevent climate change. With not enough countries onboard, the US had to come up with some persuasion in order to get developing countries to agree to the Copenhagen Accord. This is when cyber warfare and spying by the United States came into play. According to Wikileaks, the United States sent out wiretaps to collect information from the developing countries opposed to the treaty. They US also attempted to hack diplomats’ computers through a code encrypted email that would grant access and control of the diplomats’ computers. This email hack attempt failed fortunately for those diplomats though. Even with the failed hacking attempts, the United States was able to use it power, collected data from the wiretaps, and money to get enough underdeveloped countries to agree to The Copenhagen Accord. This accord then became the UN’s solution to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. Wikileaks is how this information became public about the US using spying, cyber warfare, money, and threats in order to gain support from underdeveloped countries for the Copenhagen Accord.

In my opinion, the State Department cables deserved to be leaked since the United States was using a similar type of spying and warfare. My opinion follows along the lines of if you are going to “dish it” you better be able to “take it.” Even though this made our country look bad, I think that it was a beneficial for the information to be accessible globally. I think this because it was definitely a wake up call for the US. The Wikileaks showed the US that we aren’t invincible and that we can be hacked. It also is good for the American people to have access to this information, because it shows that US citizens cannot hold full trust in our government. Wikileaks also brings up the issue of how the US is conducting political action. The ethics question we should ask is, “Did the US select the Copenhagen Accord because it was the best solution for climate change or for the United States?” By backing a solution to climate change that holds no guarantee of reducing enough fossil fuel emission and being more beneficial for developed countries may be the answer to the question. In my opinion, I think that the US pushed so hard for the accord in order to have the best solution for the US. I think this because of how they went about getting support for the accord. They were able to gain supporters of the Copenhagen Accord by using threats, money, and spies. This in my opinion is unethical and undiplomatic. The United State morally should conduct climate change diplomacy in way that creates solutions to the emissions problem that are the most beneficial to the majority of the world along with the environment. Without thinking about what is best for the environment when dealing with an environmental issue, the US is not creating the best solution for the problem. Since the Copenhagen Accord held no promises of success or change, it was definitely not the environment’s best option. The Wikileaks helped to show how the US government decided to take collective action in a way that was to benefit the US, rather than the world as a whole.kmg5849M9

Katie Greiner Module 8 Natural Hazards

  1. Harleysville, PA: According to The Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, hail storms (zone 3), winter storms (zone 0), and tornadoes (zone 3) are all possible natural hazards that could occur in my hometown, but these hazards are pretty unlikely. This data was difficult to collect because of how hard the map was to read. The map was difficult to read because it included a key with minimal information, small font, and none of the regionals were labeled on the map. If the maps were clearer when you zoomed in, contained labeling, or were more interactive they would be more user friendly. This map would be more helpful if we were researching world, geographic region, or continent’s natural hazards instead.
  2. The emergency event I selected was the Biological Hazard in Florence Italy on March 5th 2016. The biological hazard involved an outbreak of meningococcal meningitis C. This type of disaster could happen in my hometown since it is a biological hazard. This lack of proper education on the importance of vaccination could potentially lead to an outbreak of any type of bacterial or viral disease. Health officials reported a dozen cases and 4 deaths of meningococcal meningitis C. The population of Tuscany is over 3.5 million people and spreads nearly 9,000 miles. Overall, Pennsylvania holds very low vulnerability to natural hazards. The population and size of my hometown and even my county is much smaller than that of Tuscany, by millions of people and thousands of miles. If this disaster were to occur in my hometown, at the same scale, it would be cause a greater impact than in Tuscany. Even though it would have a greater impact, it wouldn’t affect the resilience of my community because majority of the community is educated about vaccinations and have the money and ability to prevent the spread of the disease. The majority of the population in Harleysville, PA ranged from middle class to upper middle class. These categories of people would be less likely to be vulnerable to infection due to already being vaccinated for a disease, such as meningitis. There is some poverty in my community, and the members of this social class would be more likely to contract these diseases due to lack of wealth and education. If an outbreak of disease were to break out among the lower income portions of my community, it is more likely that the disease would be spread amongst the community. To prevent this, education about vaccination, school requirements for vaccinations, and the offering to provide vaccination would greatly help to reduce the spreading of bacterial and viral biological hazards in my hometown.
  3. According to the Emergency Preparedness Guide for the Residents of Montgomery County, which is the county that Harleysville is located in, the different types of possible emergencies are severe weather such as blizzard and winter storms, tornadoes, flash floods, thunderstorms, fires, earthquakes and landslides (Steven Wittmer). The county can also face threats such as biological, chemical, and radiological, and an Influenza pandemic. In my personal experience, my hometown experiences flash floods, winter storms, thunderstorms, fires, and Influenza pandemic hazards the most. In Harleysville, there are a lot of streams and rives that can flood pretty easily. Because of this, I would say flash flooding is probably the most common hazard my community faces yearly. (http://www.pennsburg.us/MontCoEmergency.pdf)
  4. Actions that can be done in my local community in order to reduce vulnerably to natural hazards rely on education, technology, having emergency response crews’ ready, and pre-event preparedness. By having improved technology along with proper pre-event preparedness, my community would be better informed of potential natural hazards as proper technology to alert and prepare people for in case of emergencies. For example, by being able to predict and track weather storms, members of the community will have more warning and information about winter storms. By providing early knowledge of storms, people would be able to purchase the proper supplies to make it through the storm. The best people to preform these actions would be meteorologists and news medias. If meteorologist work with the public news, it is easy for news stories about potential bad weather to spread the message. I can help by making sure my family is prepared for unexpected, but potential natural disasters.

Harleysville, PA- Katie Greiner

  1. I come from a town called Harleysville, Pennsylvania. It is located in Montgomery County, which is a suburb of Philadelphia. Harleysville is an Automobile Suburb because most members of the community rely on cars or public buses for transportation to work, school, local businesses, stores, and restaurants. Automobiles are pretty much a necessity since many businesses and stores are located at a pretty far distance from each other as well as community homes and apartments. Roughly 8,800 people live in my hometown. I personally enjoy living in the area because it is a small suburb and in the town there are stores and businesses a short drive away from my house. I do not think that the town of Harleysville is not designed to make walking easy or desirable though. The sidewalks in the area stop suddenly and the distance from one location to the other can be two or more miles. Even though the town itself relies on automobiles, the town contains family owned farms that grow crops and raise livestock as well.
  2. Copenhagen is a city that my town can look towards for becoming less motorized, by using non-motorized transportation. In Copenhagen, cycling and walking are embedded into the cities culture by designing streets, sidewalks, and roadways to be cycle friendly. The urban design that was placed by government officials and the push to create cycling as a social norm should be a transition that my hometown should make to create a more healthy and sustainable community. My hometown can create this transition because most large neighborhoods are within a five-mile radius of the Main Street, where businesses, shops, and restaurants are located. Through creating a more cycling-friendly environment by adding more complete sidewalks, bike trails, cycle lanes on roadways, and locations to safely park bicycles, my community can help make a transition to a cycling community like that of Copenhagen. This concept would benefit the environment by reducing emissions into the environment while also promoting more healthy lifestyles in the community.
  3. Bogota is another city that is pushing citizens to change the social norm of using automobiles to use other forms of transportation such as walking and cycling. The city hosts weekly Ciclovias, which restricts the use of automobiles on the streets. This weekly requirement forces the citizens to figure out alternative means of transportation at least once a week. This helps to transition the citizens of Bogota into thinking of using alternative means of transportation to get around the city even when it is not a Ciclovia day. Currently, the community members of my hometown are use to driving everywhere, even down the street. If the community used a similar concept, along with making more cycle friendly pathways, members of my community may use alternative means of transportation on a more regular basis. This requirement can help alter thinking by creating new habits and altering social norms.

Produce Social Norm- Katie Greiner

  1. At home, I teach at a childcare center located inside of a church. The church runs an organic garden that is free for the public and church members to use. I am influenced greatly by social norms when I work there because I have access to free, fresh, and locally grown fruits and vegetables. By having this access at my job, I do not have to go out of my way to get produce, nor do I have to purchase produce that has been shipped across the country. When I am at school, I do not have the luxury of walking out the door, picking out what fruits and veggies I want, quickly cleaning them, and then eating them. At school the social norm is similar to most other places, which is to drive to the grocery store and purchase produce that typically has been shipped by trucks, planes, ships, and/or buses.
  2. This social norm of how I eat at school compared to work at home is connected to healthy food choice. When I am working at home, I have access to locally grown pesticide free produce. At school I do not have this option, therefore, I purchase produce from a Supermarket. By purchasing produce from a big-name Supermarket, I am no longer eating local grown produce, but instead produce that has been shipped from all over the country and even the world. By purchasing produce that requires transportation and shipments, I am indirectly contributing to the emission of greenhouse gases into the environment. At home I do not usually leave a carbon footprint that releases pollution into the atmosphere and that is the social norm for my work community. At school, the social norm is to purchase produce that has been shipped and therefore leads to the emission of pollution into the environment.
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Negative Impacts on Human Health in Poor Regions Due to Development

  1. Environmental Justice Case Study: Ecuador’s Huaoraní Indians Fight Against Maxus Energy Corporation’s Plans to Extract Oil on Their Traditional Territory, is a case study collected by Environmental Justice Case Studies by University of Michigan students. This study takes place in the Huaorani Indian territory, located deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon also known as the Oriente. (http://www.umich.edu/%7Esnre492/paul.html) The Ecuadorian government gave permission to the Maxus Energy Corporation to explore oil on the Huaorani’s native land in 1992. The Ecuadorian government is in favor of Maxus because the country depends on the oil resource for nearly half of the country’s income. This concept ties into course content on development because of the environmental justice movement and how it is a global issue targeted in regions that are the poorest and least powerful. The Huaorani tribe does not seek money but, instead these people want their land and streams unharmed by toxic chemicals being released by Maxus. The company has a history of deforestation of rainforests, river pollution, and intimidation or communities in the places they have drilled.
  1. According to International Environmental Justice: Building the Natural Assets of the World’s Poor by Krista Harper and S. Ravi Rajan, a case study on page 6, Fighting for Clean Air in Urban China discusses people in Tianjin and Beijing, China are suffering negatively from development (http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_51-100/WP87.pdf) This case study discusses how pollution is known as the price the citizens have to pay for “China’s economic miracle.” The goal of this development is to supply the people of China with jobs and to increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In module 5, it was discussed how GDP are monetary statistics that can be used a measure for development. Compared to Western Countries, such as the US, China is still not as developed. The “economic miracle” or industrialization of China has also caused extremely dangerous air and water pollution, which largely impacts the poor and children of this country. This ties into course content similarly with Ecuador in the concept of how poor regions geographically and those least powerful are the largest impacted by the pollution.
  2. These two case studies tie into the environmental justice issue of fracking in the State of Pennsylvania. The issue of fracking in Centre County, PA is similar to the other studies because these impacts of development negatively affect human health in these regions by the release of harmful chemicals in the water supplies and it disturbs the land. This map, http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/drilling/ show where natural gas drilling has been conducted in regions that are urban or poor. The geographical region around the Pittsburg Area, shows a connection to an urban area, like Beijing, China, experiencing development that is negative for human health from the biproducts of development. If Pennsylvania would focus more on using wind and solar energy instead of natural gas as a developmental alternative, then human health would be less at risk. In the areas impacted by harmful pollution due to development, all three of these geographic regions have lower socioeconomic status. This further proves that poor and often minority populations are more likely to live closer to facilities that have negative health effects.

Module 4: Katie Greiner

My hometown is a small suburb outside of Philadelphia called Harleysville, PA. In my hometown, my family gets our water from the North Penn Water Authority (NPWA). The water that supplies my house comes from the Deleware River, to the North Branch Neshamity Creek, and into Lake Galena. The water is then taken from Lake Galena and then processed in the Forest Park Water Treatment Plant located in Chalfont, PA. From the Forest Park Water Treatment Plant, the processed water moves into large distribution mains. The water is stored inside of the mains in order to help make sure that there is a constant water supply. From these distribution mains, the water then flows through miles of NPWA water main till it reaches a curb stop. After the curb stop, the water is then transported to a basement cutaway where the water is stored as needed. At the water service connection is where the water gets to my tap at home.

Water Consumption Tracker

  • Teeth Brushing = 3
  • Hand/Face Washing = 2
  • Leg shaving = 1
  • Shower = 1
    • Length = 20 minutes
  • Toilet flushes = 7
  • Water drank (8 oz) = 6 glasses
  • Dishwasher loads = 1
  • Dishwashing by hand = 2
  • Clothes washing = 1

ESTIMATED AMOUNT = 207.36 gallons per day

For the experiment, I wanted to prioritize my use of water for cooking, drinking, and hygiene. I also knew that I would have to use water for toileting and washing dishes, but I tried my best to conserve as much as I could. I used a few strategies to cut down on my water usage, but the first one I started with was toileting. I decided that for the purpose of this experiment, that “if it’s yellow, it’s mellow” would have to be my policy for the day. My roommate was not particularly happy about that, but I knew toileting was one of my biggest wastes of water throughout the day. Another strategy that I used to cut back on water was that I used a drain stopper while I was hand washing dishes. This definitely cut back on my water usage since I usually just let the water run when I’m only cleaning a few dishes. The strategy that I used for showering was that I wanted to cut my showering time at least in half, if not more. The final strategy that I used was using face wipes instead of running water for washing my face in the morning. While showering, I decided not to wash my hair in order to conserve water. I failed miserably at only using 2 gallons of water in one day. I by far used way more than two gallons, but I went from using over 200 gallons to about 50.36 gallons of water in one day. I personally feel that by cutting my water usage by nearly 150 gallons is still something to be proud of, even though it was much higher than 2 gallons. Growing up in America for my entire life I can definitely say that I am spoiled with the amount of water I consume daily. When I went abroad to China for a few weeks, I was able to truly appreciate the water that we have in the United States. It was a huge adjustment to using a toilet that was pretty much a hole in the ground and having to boil my drinking water. This experiment, plus my experiences overseas has really helped me to appreciate where I grew up and how truly blessed I am.

Katie Greiner Module 3: Ethics

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

I believe that it is important for a person to perform good acts versus to be a good person. I think this because it is important to be someone who cares about the environment, but it benefits the actual environment more to perform acts that improve the environment. For example, a person that practices recycling daily is having a physical impact on the environment unlike someone that gives a speech about the benefits of recycling for the environment. In both situations, the people are promoting recycling but the person that is physically practicing the act of recycling is having a larger impact on the physical environment. In a situation when people are seeking to learn about environmental awareness, then virtue ethics is more applicable than action ethics. In this type of situation, people are seeking how to become “good” to the environment in hopes of taking future action. Both virtue ethics and action ethics are related because typically if a person cares about being good, then they will most-likely take action to help practice their beliefs.

3. Does the process by which decision are made matter more than the outcomes of these decisions (procedural justice vs. distributive)

In my opinion, outcomes for the decisions being made matter more than the process by which decisions are being made. This is why I believe that distributive justice is more important that procedural justice, because distributive justice is focused on actions and the circulation of the consequences of those actions. An example of the concept of distributive justice would be the government funded program titled, “Free and Reduced Lunches” in schools around the country. This tax dollar funded lunch program is designed to provide lunch and breakfast for students living at or below the poverty level in public schools. The students that do not meet the requirements for the program are unable to receive any benefits from this program and have to purchase school lunch or are required provide their own lunch because their families earn enough to provide food for them. An example of when procedural justice would be more successful than distributive justice would be a situation involving a town hall wanting to create a place or space in the community that will benefit all human members. At a town hall meeting, it’s important for members of the community to help with making decisions about the future decisions and actions that will be happening in that community. This form of procedural justice affects all members of the community, which means the decision making method should be more democratic as opposed to distributing the consequences of the decisions.

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, ecosystems are matter for their own sake as oppose to the extent that they impact humans. I believe this since ecosystems involve all members of the system, humans, non-humans, and non-living things. For example, TreePeople is a the Greater Los Angeles, CA Area program run by Andy Lipkis that helps to restore local forest ecosystems. The purpose of this project is to help with Los Angeles’ long-term sustainability. TreePeople has the goal of putting the ecosystem first in order to help benefit all aspects of the Greater Los Angeles Area Ecosystem, humans, non-humans, and even air quality. A situation when an anthropocentric view would be more important than an ecocentric view would be in the case of a natural disaster that endangers the lives of a great population. For example, repairing the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina flooding left most of the city underwater killing over 1,000 humans. During the repair of the river valley, the natural ecosystem, after the storm, was altered by shipping in dirt and sand in order to prevent more flooding and damage to the city. This decision of repairing the city was ultimately putting human lives before that of the new, natural environment. This situation of putting humans first was necessary in order to save more lives from being lost to flooding and natural disaster.

Module 2 Activity – Katie Greiner

The system diagram below depicts the relationship between the ecosystem and social system in Karnataka, India after a Biogas Generator was put to use in the town. The diagram demonstrates the impact that the two system perspectives, the human system and environmental system, have on each other. The ecosystem column displays the environmental system while the social system depicts the human system. These two systems create something called a feedback loop, which means that impact to the environmental system has an impact on the human system and vice versa. The benefits of the Biogas Generators has  created a positive impact on both the environmental system and the human system in Karnataka. In the reading, What is Human Ecology?,there is a diagram titled, “Cooking Fuel and the Deforestation in India.” This system diagram is similar to the diagram below in that they both have the same underlying concept of Biogas Generators as a source of cooking fuel. Both diagrams contain information about how Biogas Generators have or will have an impact on both the environmental system and human system in India. Both diagrams also discuss what the  Biogas Generators produce, for example methane gas and compost. Even though both diagrams have similar components, the diagrams still differ. The diagram in What is Human Ecology? human system (social system) focuses more on how the population and the populations needs. The diagram below focuses more on the benefits of the Biogas Generator and how it is improving the quality of life among the social system. In comparing these two diagrams, together they can show us the needs of the human system along with the benefits the Biogas Generators will have on the social system. By separating these diagrams, the reader may not understand why the people in certain regions of India need a Biogas Generator to improve their social system along with their environmental system.


Getting to Know You – Katie Greiner

My name is Katie Greiner. I am senior and an Elementary and Adolescent Education Major with minors in Deafness and Hearing Studies and Special Education at the University Park Campus. I currently live in State College, PA, but I am from a small town outside of Philadelphia Area. After I receive my bachelor’s degree, I want to go to graduate school for Special Education. My goal after graduate school is to work as a Special Education Teacher in an elementary school setting. I am taking this course to fulfill a major requirement. An interesting fact about me is that I love to travel. I have been to Asia and Europe and will be completing my student teaching in New Zealand.

An environment issue discussed in the Module 1 that is important is the concept of ethics. The concept of ethics discussed the ecological costs of humans conducting environmental changes. This issue is important because many humans neglect to think about how much they impact their own environment. Littering is a great example of how individuals can impact their own community by neglecting to throw away their trash properly and harming the ecological system that they live in. Littering can become a great issue in a community and ecological environment, if the problem is not stopped and controlled. There are many other small ways that humans negatively impact the environment on an individual scale, such as not recycling, all the way to a global scale, pollution for example.