Module 10 – Biodiversity

1) In this module, we talked about biodiversity and how humans have been influencing biodiversity for a long time and how it has caused extinctions. So research and describe an animal or two that was a “human caused” extinction and how it became extinct. This prompt should be 150-200 words.

Humans have caused 322 animal extinctions over the past 500 years and about two thirds of those have occurred in the past two hundred years with one of the 322 being the West African Black Rhino. The West African Black Rhino was a subspecies of the black rhino. In 2011, it was declared as extinct and last existed in Cameroon. There was a survey in 2006 done that did not find any living signs of the West African Black Rhino. The West African Black Rhino became extinct because of poaching from humans because of the high demand and price paid for their horn. Another animal that was declared extinct in 2008 was the Caribbean monk seal. It was declared extinct in 2008 after a five year review and search by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service. The Caribbean monk seal was last seen in the early 1950s but have been hunted since the 15th century. The European explorers began arriving in the 15th century and began to hunt the Caribbean monk seal. They were hunted for their fur, meat and oil by fisherman and whalers until they became extinct.

2) In this module, we also talked about biodiversity and The Amazon Rainforest. Describe what is being done to help preserve the Amazon Rainforest and what can you do individually to help preserve the rainforest. This Prompt should be 150 – 200 words.

The Amazon Rainforest was being cut down in order to increase economic growth in Brazil. Within the last ten years, Brazil’s economic growth has continued to expand through an expanding agricultural output. All of this is being done while deforestation is being reduced. Whenever trees are being cut down, the animals of the rainforest are losing their habitats. The processes of restoring entire ecosystems are being restored and trees are being planted. Although this is just a start, without any or very little human pressure, the Amazon rainforest will recover completely in those areas after a couple of years of being left alone. Brazil has set aside more protected areas over the Amazon Rainforest so it can’t be cut down and continues to do that to this day. One thing that will can do as individuals is to not buy anything that is made with wood from the Amazon Rainforest. The demand for the wood will go down and deforestation will halt to an end.

Climate Change

Climate Change

After reading through the article, I have decided to make my diagram about how climate change lead to the creation of the Copenhagen Accord and how is that going to help reduce greenhouse gases and finally lead to climate mitigation. First, the Copenhagen Accord was created by the UNFCC in hopes to grab each countries attention and explain to them the impacts of climate change and what will happen if nothing is done. Some countries support this and some don’t which made the United States take action and look for allies. Along with looking for allies, the United States benefits directly from any support of the Copenhagen Accord. The United States gathers support through various techniques. One technique was providing 30 money dollars to the Maldives to gain their support. Another technique involved threatening Ethiopia to sign the Copenhagen Accord or the discussion is done and United States will stop aiding them in any way possible. Another technique included spying on Todd Stern to gain classified information from him. The final way involved cables which required the United States to support Saudi Arabia and help them move away from a petroleum economy. All of these ways helped to gain the support of 140 countries that have signed or are about to sign the Copenhagen Accord. The article claimed that nearly 80% of carbon dioxide comes from these countries and having their effort will help tremulously. Since all of these countries are working on reducing greenhouse gases and will continue to reduce greenhouse gases. The reduction of greenhouse gases will lead to climate Mitigation.

I think that there needs to be a change and climate change is an important topic. Carbon dioxide needs to decrease and there are going to have to be changes in the world to accomplish that. I agree with what the Copenhagen Accord is about and how it is trying to recognize the impacts that climate change is having and could potentially have in the future. I don’t agree with some of the methods to get support from other countries, but I realize that it is necessary that you have to take certain steps when needed to gain support of other countries. Since the United States is one of the most influential countries, they are going to help lead the way whenever possible. I think that all the countries need to help the people of their country make an individual impact like what was talked about in this module. We have the choice to choose low impact foods and buy carbon offsets and both will help reduce greenhouse gases. As a country, we can come together and put in place more projects to help reduce greenhouse gases. Also, the government can offer more incentives to “go green” to help reduce greenhouse gases by higher tax credits based on what you do on your own. Also, a lot of people in the country don’t know how bad climate change is or just doesn’t care. Being able to tell those people or show them why it’s their business to care will also get more people to help reduce greenhouse gases.

Natural Hazards – Landon Brenize

  1. Being from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and looking at the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, I can identify some of the hazards around the Northeast region. One of the hazards is there is an increase in heavy rain. Having lived in this region my whole life, I can say from personal experience that there is an increase in heavy rain just in the last five years. Another hazard that has increased a little over the last five years and you can see it on the Nathan World Map would be the frequency and intensity of hailstorms. From personal experience, I can say that there always seems to be a couple more hailstorms every year. Overall, the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards is good for getting a sense throughout the world where natural disasters normally happen.
  2. On March 29, 2016 at 3:30 AM, there was a forest/wild fire Ruidoso, New Mexico in the United States. The damage level of the wildfire was small and burned about 175 acres. My hometown could experience a wildfire disaster like this one but it is very unlikely that there are forest fires in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania because it’s not normal very dry like it is in New Mexico. Therefore, it would be harder for a forest fire to natural start and continue to burn 175 acres. The scale of the disaster was described as small, but 175 acres is still a good chuck of land to get burned down. 175 acres would be about the size of our mall and the surrounding area and would worry the people in the area about another one happening again. So if the wildfire burned up our mall and the surrounded area, the people that would be most vulnerable would be the people that worked at the mall and lost their jobs and the people that owned the building and the surrounding buildings. To reduce vulnerability, there would need to be pre-wildfire preparedness and emergency relief to protect people in Lancaster.
  3. One resource I can use to assess the natural hazards my town faces is my own experience for living there for 20 years. I can say that there seems to be more heavy rain and also more hailstorms every year. Another resource I can use is According to, the Lancaster, PA area has an index where it compares natural disasters to the state of Pennsylvania and to the USA. Lancaster has an earthquake index of .55 which is higher than the state average of .17 but lower than the nation average of 1.81. Lancaster also has a tornado index of 168.67 which is higher than both the state average of 109.77 and a national average of 136.45 ( Lancaster faces more tornado hazards than the national average and more earthquakes than the state average.
  4. To reduce vulnerability to natural hazards in Lancaster, there needs to be pre-preparedness and emergency relief. People will be less vulnerable if they know what to do when and natural hazard is coming and what steps need to be taken to keep them safe. If something does happen and they don’t have time to react, it would be a good security knowing that there is emergency relief and you are not alone. The best people to perform these actions so people feel safe would be the mayor and board of directors  to help us out with emergency relief. It is also our job to take the steps to prepare ourselves for natural hazards and to also help people if they feel vulnerable to natural hazards because we would want someone to do the same for us.

Module 7 – Urban living

I live in Manheim Pennsylvania, which is a small town of about five to six thousand people. The town is a part of Lancaster County. The town consists of mostly urban neighborhoods and some automobile suburbs. The very center of town is however, a streetcar suburb. Everyone drives everywhere, there is no public transportation and the only buses are school buses. The community has various events throughout the year where most of the town comes to and enjoys whatever is going on. Some people do ride their bikes around, but for the most part bikes are not used as transportation but more of as a hobby. There are a lot of farms in the area and most of the neighborhoods are surrounded or bordered by farms and their fields. It’s the best of both worlds because it’s the country, but still close enough to do everything in Lancaster and Harrisburg.

In the module, we look at the city Chicago and how big it is and all the people that live there. It is very different from my hometown of Manheim. Manheim is a farming community in a sense, compared to Chicago being a big city. Both areas farm, but do it in different ways. My hometown, all the food is farmed in fields or in gardens behind homes. Chicago is different in the way that is uses urban farming. Growing food is done on the rooftops of people’s homes instead of behind them and that is one thing that Manheim can take away about being more sustainable. Manheim should start to urban farming in the middle of town, and more people can have their own person garden’s right on their rooftops then.

In the module, we talked about Penn State and how the university is trying to become more efficient and one way they are doing that is through “green buildings”. Penn State has implemented the LEED program into some of its buildings like the Stuckeman Family Building on campus. This building is made out of recycled cooper and durable brick. It has different rainwater irrigation systems, intelligent lighting system, and energy efficient windows. The homes in Manheim are average, and I think a lot of peopIe don’t see the opportunity to make homes energy efficient and how that can positively impact the environment. I know that my home and the buildings in Manheim are not energy efficient like this one at Penn State and creating more buildings like the Stuckeman Family Building will only make Manheim more efficient.

Food Choice

Before going to Penn State, I hardly ever ate Chinese food and I never had sushi before. Freshman year, my roommate was Korean and has always eaten sushi and other various types of Korean food which I have never ate before. He influenced me all the time to eat the food that he is use to eating and I was quickly influenced by his societal norm of food. The societal norm for their culture is to always eat rice with every meal. That was something I’ve never done, but was influenced by that societal norm and got rice on many occasions with my meals. In food choice, it discussed that one way you pick your food is because of the environment you are in. I was in an environment where the person I ate meals with every day, ate every meal with rice and therefore I started to eat a lot more rice as well.

One societal issue in the world is hunger; there are a lot of people in the world that don’t know when their next meal is going to be. The choices we make about our food are sometimes based on the environment around us. Rice is a grain and is one of the most consumed staple foods for a lot of people in the world. It can be given to people in need of food and will give people the necessary calories they need. Another societal issue is poor nutrition; people aren’t getting the right nutrition because they are eating the wrong foods or too much of one food. The societal norm of what Asians eat which is rice or noodles, vegetables, and some type of meat will give you a lot of the nutrition you need every choice


Deforestation: Good or Bad?

This information comes from Andrew Pease from Colby College. In Brazil, deforestation is a “local problem with global consequences”.  The increase rate of deforestation raises major concerns for biodiversity loss and global warming.  Because of the Brazilian governmental tax policies and tax incentives, an economic distortion is created that harms the environment by the increasing demand in farm or ranch land. Large corporations quickly claim the land close to roads, but small farmers are being pushed further into the forest in order to farm.  Small farmers are being harmed the most because the low tax rate level transitions into land, which cause the small farmers to go into the forest to unclaimed land. Land and income taxes are the two types of taxes that directly affect deforestation.  Different parts of Brazil employ different programs that promote deforestation. The policies of the Brazilian government have shown to promote deforestation, increase size of land holdings, and hurt small farmers.

This information comes from Katie Weeks from Eco Building according to a Dartmouth College Study. A study was conducted to show if deforestation was a good thing. The study proved to show that more frequent logging or deforestation may actual benefit the environment. At higher attitude areas where the timber productivity is low and where snowfall is more common, it could actually benefit the area if all the trees were cut down because the snow would reflect solar energy off the snow and into the forest around it. The effects of hardwood and softwood forest rotations (tree is planted to tree is harvested) where modeled in the forest. The study argues that albedo should be valued in a manner like carbon to be adequately factored into forest management. The end result of the study was “high-latitude low-productivity forests with minimal carbon sequestration potential and frequent snowfall are more likely to be harvested more frequently.”

Being a hunter from Lancaster PA, forests are vital for animals and provide them with all the resources to survive. Lancaster County is different from Brazil in the way that the government isn’t pushing farmers into the forest. Also, in my area farming is a dying career and hardly anyone wants to become a farmer. The two case studies are different in the way that the first one blames the government for causing deforestation to increase and the second one is explains a study done that is actually shows that logging trees can be a good thing. We can learn from both of these cases, the first thing is to not push farmers into the forest because that will just increase deforestation. The other thing is that if we correctly cut down trees in the right areas, we can actually help out the environment. Geographically, the top of the mountain will help when it snows so timing for the winter is everything that way new trees can grow in the spring.

Water Usage – Landon Brenize

1a. Coming from a small town, my family and I have a well in which we get our water from. The well is tapped into an underground stream and pulls straight from that into our house. Our neighbors around us also have wells and use the same body of water for their houses as well. The water we use to drink that comes out of the faucet, we use to shower with, and to wash our clothes and dishes with comes from our well and is pumped into the house when needed. Whenever we use the water and it goes down the drain, it goes into our sewage tank that is underground outside and every couple of years, we get that sewage tank pumped. The water is then taken to the sewage plant where it can be disinfected and all the bacteria and scum in it is removed. The water is then released back into a stream, and the water cycle will continue.

1b. water usage 2

1c.If I lived in an area where water was restricted and I could only use 2 gallons of water a day, the first thing I would do would be to go to the bathroom outside. That would eliminate completely the water I use to flush the toilet. That would also help me to save water from washing my hands after going to the bathroom. I would rely heavily on the nearby stream for water like being able to bathe, do dishes, and do laundry. If for some reason that didn’t exist or the water source was far away, and I carried the 2 gallons of water back home every day, I would really only use the 2 gallons of water to drink and cook with. The priorities would be to have water to drink and to have water to cook with. Everything else in my graph wouldn’t be a priority so I wouldn’t use water in those areas. Geography matters to water use because the closer and more accessible water is to you, the more you can use it for.


Ethics in a Nutshell

(1) I think that actions speak louder than words. If someone is a good person and don’t perform good or bad acts, no one will know that the person is good. When someone performs good acts, the people around them take note of that. For example, holding a door open for the person behind them I consider a good act. It may be a small act, but it is still a good act. It doesn’t matter the place or period, good acts are outweighed then good people. Now it can depend on the circumstance; if you know someone is a good person and they don’t do a good act like holding the door open for the person behind them, then you immediately think that was rude or mean because you expected them to. If it is a stranger and you never saw them before and they hold the door open for you, you will appreciate that more than if you know they are a good person

(3) I think the thought process by which decisions are made matter more than the outcome behind that, but the outcome of the decision is still very important. If I know someone’s thought process behind doing something and it works out, that’s great. If the decision doesn’t work out as planned, but there was a lot of thought given in the process, it will act as a learning experience for next time. If the thought process behind the decision was bad and the outcome of the decision came out good, that’s just lucky and next time the outcome might not be so lucky. Different periods and places shouldn’t make a difference, but a different circumstance might. For example, if there is a lot of risk involved or it is a life-changing event and your thought process is spot on, but the outcome of the decision is bad. This could mean losing a lot of money, job, or house; the outcome is more important for larger scale situations. In general though, the thought process matters more than the outcomes of the decisions.

(6) My own life I believe is worth the same as the lives of the people around me. Everybody have different circumstances come along where they think for a second that their life is more important than the one next to them. For example, whenever you beat someone or a team in a sporting event, you consider yourself better than them. You may think in the moment that winning the game means that your life is worth more than theirs. I have done that before, but then I come back to reality and realize that our lives are worth the same. Same thing goes in the opposite direction too. If you lose a game for example, you hate yourself or disown yourself, but then later realize that it was just a game and that your lives are worth the same. Other circumstances could be the color or your skin or the shape of your body, but everybody’s lives are worth the same. In reality, there will be situations or occasions where we may think our lives are more important or less important than the people around us, but the ending outcome is that all our lives are worth the same amount.

Biogas Concept Map


My system diagram depicts the important detail of everything that is happening because of the biogas generators. In my diagram, I explain the problem: the people are living in poverty or low income. The cheapest way for them to be able to make food, is by the women and children gathering up firewood by means of cutting trees down. This leads to smoke filled homes which causes infections and irritations to people, but also pollution to the environment. The biogas system solves all the problems and adds more compost which grows more crops which will feed more livestock and give people some jobs. My diagram is similar to Marten’s Diagram in the way that the social system and ecosystem are cause and effect to one another. As the social system grows, the ecosystem must produce more. The farms feed the population and the livestock. Biogras generators gives the population another means of cooking fuel which is better to population and the environment. Our diagrams are different in the way, that mine shows a problem and presents the solution and what happens, compared to Marten’s which is almost a never ending cycle. There are similarities and differences between the two because one is from my point of view and the other is from Marten’s. By comparing these two diagrams, we have learned that biogras generators are a good solution to help people make food instead of using firewood, and it has multiple benefits that will never change.


Getting to Know You

Hello everyone! My name is Landon Brenize and for this semester, I am not actually living in State College. I am a Junior currently still attending Penn State, but for the semester, I am living in Maryland and have an internship working with CohnReznick in D.C. I am originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and I am majoring in Accounting. I plan on going for my CPA after I graduate college. I never actually have taken a Geography class in college before and I was interested in seeing if I would like it and want to pursue more classes or not.

Growing up, my grandpa farmed and my family hunted and there was always food on the table. We impacted the nature and everyone around us. In module one, we talked about globalization and sustainability. Everything we do has some impact on the people around us or on nature. I believe that it is important for there to a good balance between the two in order keep doing what we want without worrying about things disappearing.