Learning Activity- Endangered Species and Biodiversity in your area

Part 1: Describe an animal or plant that has been placed on the endangered species list. Be sure to describe how they were led to be put on the list, and what you would do to get that animal/plant off of the endangered species list. (150-200 words)

Part 2: Describe what kind of biodiversity you hometown consists of. Be sure to include the location of your hometown and the things that make your hometown very or little diverse biologically. (150-200 words)

Part 3: Comment on two other students post comparing and contrasting your post to theirs. Giving valuable feedback to the students post and also leaving a link to your post.


Part 1: For my endangered species I chose the Canadian Lynx. I chose this mammal because I have very little knowledge of the lynx and wanted to gain a further understanding of why they have now become endangered. The Canadian Lynx is likely to be found in the far northern parts of the United States and much of Canada. It is unlikely to be found in areas lower due to its long legs and large feet it is built for hunting and deep snow and also its coat is built to withstand the harsh winters in the northern part of the North American continent. The Lynx has been placed on the endangered species list due to the lack of its natural habitat. The forrest and wooded areas in which the lynx is most likely to be found is greatly decreasing in quantity. Due to timber harvesting and recreational locations being built the lynx are being pushed out of there natural habitats. To fix this issue, I would implement strict deforestation laws that would prevent the harvesting of timber in certain locations that have been designated for the lynx to be able to live comfortably. It is not right that their home is being taken from them, we as humans can not just take the land that is not ours and has been these animals homes for centuries. That is why I believe strict laws preventing the harvesting of timber in certain areas would help to prevent the endangerment of the Canadian Lynx.

Part 2:

My hometown is Perkasie, Pa which is located about an hour north of Philadelphia and 30 mins from the New Jersey boarder. Perkasie has a mixture of small towns and cities to some rural areas. I consider my hometown to be fairly diverse biologically but can sometimes be threatened. We have a large amount of varying plants, and animals as we are located in a farming community but the development of farm land is a growing issue. As the deforestation increases in our surrounding areas we notice the lessening of natural animal in our lands. Luckily in Bucks County we have a preservation society in place that helps to protect farming lands from being purchased from developers to put up more homes in the area. Although this cannot necessarily prevent the development of all of the lands in my area it can at least ensure that my hometown will not be crowded in by new homes and business buildings but will remain at least partially  a farming community. I have grown up in a farming community and would not change it for the world, and will do my best to help preserve this level of biodiversity as best I can in years to come.

Climate Change



2)  The universal problem of Climate Change is a global issue that has a need to be addressed because it is having major negative effects on our world as a whole. To begin my Climate Change Diagram I started with the burning of fossil fuels. Connected to the subject  of Fossil fuels I added another, entitled “Not Sustainable” by this I am referencing to the limited amount of fossil fuels remaining available to us. After the box of Fossil Fuels I next went onto the emission of Green House Gases which is in hand greatly leading to a large negative impact on our atmosphere. This of course is then traveled through to the Climate Change Box. I connected these two boxes especially because greenhouse emissions are directly related to the issue of due to the amount of CO2 being produced and pushed into our atmosphere. From there I finally put in the UN climate change convention. This is a major turning point in the area of climate change, where the Copenhagen Accord was created. From this representatives were able to mitigate for climate change on a global scale. Allow many countries did not want to participate in the accord, the US was able to persuade them using funds to support lesser financially stable countries. By this I mean the US offered aid to countries in need in order to gain support for the Copenhagen Accord. This was a massive step in the correct direction towards a prevention of climate change circumstances.

3) In my opinion I do believe even though it is slightly heavy handed in our manner the way the US was able to almost force the hand of some countries for the Copenhagen Accord it was the right thing to do. I do believe that the methods of withholding aid may have been intense in order to force the hand the topic of climate change is serious and needs to be taken seriously. I personally would have gone along the same path as far as using pressure for the greater good. If we think about the issue on a global scale which obviously it exists every country is responsible for the help to improve the problem. Without help and understanding from the rest of the world we can not make an impact large enough to make a change to the current situation. Although we may have taken into account the opinions of other countries as a valuable resource to improve overall quality of solutions to climate change. Furthermore I am an environmental engineering student who hopes to make a difference in the quality in which we are treating our world. We are only given one world in this lifetime so if we have to force other countries into aiding in the fight to not destroy it, I don’t have a problem with it.


Vulnerability Reaction

  1. My hometown of Perkasie, PA is located about an hour outside of Philadelphia. From looking and studying the map “Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards” it is a little difficult to decipher any exact natural disasters my hometown would face. In that regard however it appears that the area in which my hometown is located is subjected to moderate to low amounts of earthquakes, tornadoes, and wildfires but is more likely to experience larger or more intense amounts of tropical storms, hailstorms, and also extratropical storms (winter storms). One event that occurred in my area was Hurricane Sandy, my area was lucky enough to not have extreme damages from the storm but my family especially lost power for about a week while others also did not regain power for a long while. I have also experienced some very intense snow storms where it made difficult to travel and do daily tasks. Although neither of these cases would I consider a natural disaster.
  2.  The disaster that I chose off of the Emergency and Disaster Information Service is the environment pollution that is occurring in southeastern region of the US. The Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station has been leaking radioactive material in to surrounding protected water. My hometown could experience the same type of disaster because of the location of the “Limerick Nuclear Power Plant” it is possible that if radioactive material were to leak from the machines that my area and waters would be affected due to the fact I am located about 30 mins from there. Due to my towns location we are moderately vulnerable to the potential of leaking radioactive material. My hometown is not large with a population of approximately 8,500 people a disaster of this size would be catastrophic to my town and would potentially danger us for years to come. The disaster currently occurring is located near Miami, Fl and so the city has a much larger population with a more concentrated amount of people in a smaller space so the disaster has potential to be very detrimental to this city as well due to the fact of the amount of people it can reach. In order to decrease vulnerability I feel as though there would have to be a relocation of the power plant to avoid the risk of contact with humans as much as possible. My town is especially vulnerable because we are a farming community in which we rely greatly on the local water ways, a contamination to said water way would effect the farming and hurt the town financially along with biologically.
  3.  As I described earlier my hometown of Perkasie, Pa we have not experienced a large amount of natural disasters which I am thankful for. But I also mentioned earlier that we did encounter a Hurricane Sandy which took a toll on my hometown. Due to the heavy rains and winds we lost many trees, branches, and many roads were washed out and unable to use. The loss of branches and trees caused many power outages and due to the length and magnitude of the hurricane it took about a week for everyone on the grid to regain power after the storm. The storm caused many power outages “more than 1.3 million Pennsylvania electricity customers. The majority of those outages were focused in Philadelphia, its surrounding suburbs and the Lehigh Valley.” (1). It also cause some deaths  according to pennlive.com (2) at least four deaths were caused by Hurricane Sandy in Pa.
  4. In order to decrease vulnerability when it comes to Hurricanes I believe the most beneficial thing to do for my town would be to educated them on the proper precautions of what to do when an event like this one can occur. By this I mean where they should go if a storm is coming and they do not have proper shelter and any actions they can take to protect there homes from damage. The town representatives would be the best people to educate the town or maybe to bring in an educated personal to instruct curious town members before hurricane season approaches. Personally I plan to educate myself on precautions I can take to not run into the same problems and issues I experienced in prior years.


  1. Resources:



Energy and Energy Resources- Alternative Energy, Solar Power, Wind Power

In this article the author describes the various types of alternative energy we can process to replace fossil fuels once they are used up. It discussed energies such as solar, wind, and hydro energy that can be used to support the country in the absence of fossil fuels.

“Alternative Energy.” – Wind, Solar, Hydro and Other Alt Energy Sources for Home Power. Accessed March 25, 2016. http://www.altenergy.org/.


Energy and Energy Resources- Fossil Fuels, Renewable Energy, Pros/Cons

In this article it describes the use of Fossil Fuels in the past years and also the decline of reliable sources of fossil fuels. The article also describes the interest in renewable energies and how as a country we are in need of these. Fossil fuels although a good source of energy currently, the amount fossil fuels left is declining quickly and we need to evaluate our other options as resources of fuel.

“Fossils Fuels vs. Renewable Energy | Ecology Global Network.” Ecology Global Network. 2011. Accessed March 29, 2016. http://www.ecology.com/2011/09/06/fossil-fuels-renewable-energy-resources/.


Sustainable Urban Planning

Part 1:

I live in Bucks County, PA which is located roughly an hour from Philadelphia and about 30 mins from a bridge to New Jersey. Bucks county has an approximate population of 626,976 people living in the county as a whole as of 2010. Within Bucks County I live in the township of Perkasie, PA which has a population of approximately 8,515 people. I live in a more rural part of the township, by that I mean I live on a larger piece of land with fewer neighbors. I would definitely classify my area as a automobile suburb. While you could walk from place to place inside town, for people like me that is difficult to do. I am not in close proximity to the necessity stores that I could walk to if needed. We use cars to get almost anywhere. I like the area within Perkasie I grew up because it was spacious and not crowded like a development, we have fewer neighbors to deal with and when you want to see someone or need something they are only a short drive away.

Part 2:

For my first city I chose Charlottesville, Virginia. I was interested in this town because of the rustic older feel to the town itself. I personally and a bug history buff so I am fascinated by old buildings and the history behind them, which Charlottesville has a lot of. In Perkasie we have a few older buildings that we have been able to restore and keep around which I am grateful for. I also love the old time southern feel of Charlottesville, VA a town that has existed for a while and has prospered with the traditions still intact is very intriguing to me. They have also done important things like creating the Pedestrian Mall in order to create a place reserved for walking and enjoying the town. Perkasie does not have anything like this but we do have many sidewalks that you can roam for the day to gain a new perspective on the town itself.

My second city I chose was the city of Haiti. I chose this because I actually was able to visit there once and saw some of the damage that was caused by their many tragedies that the city has gone through. Although they seem to always rise from the ashes of the terrible hands they are dealt and try to make some good come out of it. Like the old tires that are then used as planters, this is an innovative way for the people of Haiti to use the resources they have to improve on a situation. Perkasie has never been through the tragedies that Haiti has but they do tend to do innovative things in order to brighten the community as a whole. Haiti uses these planters to grow fruits and veggies to support their community, although Perkasie is not primarily urban area it does have buildings in which we could try this method of growing to aid in the community.

Food Choice and Social Norms

Part 1:

Growing up I always had a very busy and large schedule. Whether it be going to school, work when I was older, to the barn to ride horses, or other sporting activities I was always on the go. This led to a lot of my meals going from home cooked at the dinner table to on the go packed up quick or fast food I would grab on my path traveling somewhere. A lot of times this unfortunately ended up to be a burger at the closest fast food place around.  Some negatives effects it had on me is the loss of socialization from sharing meals which was discussed in this module. By me constantly being on the run somewhere I did not always get to sit down and enjoy a meal with others whether it be family or friends. Another negative aspect I learned through a video in this module “The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers” was the major affect that cows are having on our ecosystem and the large amount that we as americans consume. I really shined a light out the effects just one main food source can cause.

Part 2:

In my first paragraph I referred to the consumption of burgers, and also with that I will lump in the use of beef in general and how large of a negative effect beef takes on the environment. It is surprising to me how obesity has become a social norm due to the food consumption Americans have on a daily basis. We do not think much about the fact that there are people that cant get up or move there bodies due to obesity, which is not only caused by fast food but in which they play a large role. Also another social norm that has become more apparent to me after reading this module is the use of GMO’s in food. They are used to make the food taste better to us and make the consumers want it even more. This is related to a topic discussed earlier in the module of the “enjoyment of food”, GMO’s make people enjoy fast food and unhealthy food so much that they are drawn to it more. Along with obesity goes health issue but that is to come from consuming approximately 3 hamburgers a week according the the video mentioned earlier.


Part 3:

Untitled document

Development Case Studies: Madison Halbom

Part 1:http://allafrica.com/stories/201602101757.html

For my case study I chose the article, Ethiopia: Ticking Clock on Ethiopia Drought, this particular case was retrieved from the AllAfrica- Sustainability link found on the webpage. The goals of development for this case study is to survive the drought that they are currently suffering from. This article discusses the outreach of the Ethiopian government to other nations for help and aid in this difficult time. The Ethiopian region is experiencing the worst drought they have had in 50 years. Other countries however have been reluctant to aid the country, who at the end of April will be entering their “hungry season” in which they are likely to face a loss of thousands of individuals. I find that this article relates to the module because it discusses how the wealthier and more developed countries where the environment not effecting so harshly are not coming to aid the “developing” county who is in dire need of their help.

Part 2: http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/rich-poor

For the second case study I chose “Rich/Poor Conflicts” which I was able to find via, beyondintractability.org. In this case study the author discusses the conflict between the richer populations of society and the poorer populations. It discusses how the rich tend to not want to aid the poor in need so they are able to maintain there economic stature and not jeopardize their financial standing in the overall view of the richer society. This relates back to the idea of developed countries and people not aid the developing and growing people. This article refers more to the people themselves but I believe it can be easily applied to the “developed vs developing countries” idea. I also want to relate the idea of “end uses” to this article. I believe this idea is also connected because the idea of the growing and developing people or countries is to prosper which is the main concept behind end uses, to achieve the ultimate purpose of the production process.

Part 3:

I live in an area known as Bucks County, PA. Although it is not the most wealthy area in the country it does have a mixture of prospering populations as well as people in need. The area itself is in no way considered a poor region and on a larger scale would most likely be referred to as a “developed” region. In relation to the first article the county no where near the difficult financial state or need that the Ethiopian government is experiencing, but we are neighbored to the city of Philadelphia who often has areas struggling in times due to weather, lack of work, etc. The Ethiopian region is suffering due to drought conditions and some Philadelphia regions are sometimes suffering due to lack in work and are often not aided by wealthier regions. In relation the case study 2 my region in which I live often do not have large conflicts due to economic standing. Although their are definitely areas in which are not as well off as others the overall economic standing of the region is prosperous. Although when compared to other regions there is conflict in the spreading of wealth amongst residents.

Module 4- Water Tracking and Usage


My hometown is Perkasie, PA which is located about an hour outside of Philadelphia, PA. For some people in this course from Doylestown, PA I am about 15 minutes from them. In Perkasie, partially rural and urban there is a public water system provided by the Borough of Perkasie, this is the way that most people in town, businesses, and schools are supplied with water. The water system in Perkasie draws from small waterways we have running closely to the city also reservoirs that are not to distant from the systems themselves. I however live on a small, rural farm for which my family has a private well system. The community as a whole mostly uses the public water system which means they also are in usage of the public sewer system which takes the water used away from the houses and is processed at a separate location to be put back into the water system and reused by the town again. Personally my house because we have our own well we also have our own sewer system in which our water is recycled and used again.



Use of Water: Number of times daily: Rate of Water Usage: Daily Usage (Gallons):
Shower 1 (10 mins) 3.8 gal/min 38
Cooking 2-3 (30 mins) 1 gal/use 30
Personal Hygiene 2 (1 min. per) 2 gal/min 4
Toilet 3 5 gal/use 15
Cleaning (Dishes, etc.) 1 (2 min. per) 2 gal/min 2
Drinking 4 .5 gal/use 2

Total: 91 Gallons/Day


The areas of water usage for this experiment are all of the above in my chart, showering, cleaning, cooking, hygiene, toilet usage, drinking, and cleaning. To start this experiment I would begin by prioritizing my water usage. I believe that my top priority would have to be consumption, meaning my daily water intake for my body. The next would probably be cooking and hygiene. Although it would be difficult, living with only two gallons of water available, I would need to limit myself on non-necessary daily water luxuries such as daily showers, laundry, cleaning, and even toilet usage. Some strategies I would use in this experiment are using the absolute minimal amount of water for each task and also having a way to catch the water after usage so I could purify it and reuse the available left. I believe that in our society this experiment would unfortunately fail, this is often due to our social “norms”. It is a social norm to shower daily to be presentable for school or work. Also to brush your teeth and keep your home clean, along with using the toilet. Unless someone spends their day not fulfilling the social norms I do not think it is possible to complete this experiment in the current society we live in. This expeiment compared to part B is the other extreme end of being limited on water, as of now which we are not limited and use water as we please. Geography matters relating back to my earlier statement in which I talked about society “norms”, in countries in which the water resource is limited also have different norms then us, potentially changing the amount of water they are required to use on a daily basis to fulfill the social norms.


Module 3: Your Ethics Views

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

I personally believe that it is more important to perform good acts. Although many may claim that it is more important to be a good person I believe that actions speak louder than words. Someone can claim to be a good person but how is that truly proven? Being a good person is proven through the good actions and deeds you perform. I believe that action ethics is the key to being a good person. By performing acts of kindness or helpfulness you are becoming and maintaining being a good person. For example, is someone a good person because they feel bad for a homeless man sleeping on the street but do nothing about it? Or are they a good person when they help the man up, take them to get something to eat, and then help them to improve themselves and their lives. I have a hard time with people that claim to be good people but their actions prove otherwise. Action ethics is what a person should do in a particular situation, a good person has the ethics to think and perform the actions that will benefit others or the environment.

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

Personally I have a great love for animals and find their lives to matter just as much as a human life. But in reading this module I was made to think do I truly believe that? I eat meat from animals and yet humans don’t eat other humans (gross). So this question is hard for me to form a full response because I can not fully say I believe the earlier statement. I feel as though there are many screwed up people on this earth that find pleasure or entertainment out of the torture or abuse of animals, and that sickens me. Lives are lives no matter if they are human or non-human. They are breathing living beings and whose to say that a human life matter more or holds more value than an animal life? They also live on this planet, they aid to the planet and environment just as humans do. I believe that the pleasure and pain of non-humans matter and should be taken into account when individuals make decisions that will affect those non-humans. For example, a dog deserves to live out a happy life and not be thrown into a situation in which they are in harm or not being cared for properly. We have child services that acts on behalf of humans but when it comes to animals more often than not animals are over looked in painful situations.

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

I believe that my life is of the same value as all others. When considering this topic I take into consideration, why should one person’s life ever matter more or less than another? If you think about it humans are all composed of the same chemical compounds so does that make us any different? No, if we are composed of the same make ups then why should anyone be considered less. I realize that many people consider their lives to matter more than say a criminal, drug addict, or maybe terrorist but in their own ways and situations their lives matter to the people surrounding them and there would be an absence when they are gone. Taking into consideration, I lost someone very close to me recently, of course this was heartbreaking to me and I would do anything to get them back but I realize that although they meant the world to me, others have lost someone that meant the same to them. Lives are equal whether it’s me, you, or some random person off the street their lives are no more or less important then my own.

Biogas System- Madison Halbom

Biogas System.mbh

My diagram is focused very much on the sustainability of an environment and how closely coupled the environment and human interaction is with it. When looking at my diagram you can see that the Biogas System is able to function based on the usage of cow feces. Then it is shown that the system from there produces Compost, gas, and clean cooking which are all differently related to the environment and being produced by a human made system. Another concept that my diagram is based off of is the idea of feedback mechanisms. The biogas mechanism is only able to sustain itself through the production of cow feces and cows are only able to maintain life while the villagers have the means to feed and care for them so this creates a positive  feedback loop because by the more feces feces being produced the more money is made and the more cows are bought to produce.

My diagram compared to Marten’s  is similar in the ideas of what is produced and the feedback system ideas but differs in the fact that he was able to separate the social system and the ecosystem into to different areas but still had them connected in major ways. Our diagrams are different because in creating the diagrams I had a specific system that I was working with while he had general concepts. This made mine a little more messy to distinguish which system each box would belong to. What can be learned from the differences is that you are able to classify clearly black and white in some cases but in others a lot of times the ideas and categories tend to be intertwined with one another.

Getting to Know You-Madison Halbom

Hello fellow Geog 030 students!

My name is Madison Halbom, I am a junior studying Environmental Systems Engineering at University Park. I transferred here this school year from the Abington campus. I was born and raised in Perkasie, PA about an hour outside of Philly. I plan on pursuing a job in the field of environmental engineering hopefully working in the area of water treatment. My interest in this course is to learn about the other nations and societies in the world and differences between my culture and theirs. I have only been out of the country to Mexico so I find other countries very interesting and would really love to travel to many places when I get older. Some fun facts about me is that I am a twin, my sisters name is Darby and she goes to Kutztown University located also in PA. I also have an older sister that teaches first grade in a low income area in North Carolina and a brother who is studying Civil Engineering at San Jose State in California.

Now with an introduction to various perspectives of geography, I consider a very interesting topic in the area of geography to be the interactions of the environment on humanity and the effect of humanity on the environment. A concept to consider is Governance, how people are forced to take into consideration the environment and how it may limit there choices. An example of this is the water resources in California, they are very limited, this being the case residents in areas of California needs to consider the risk of wild fires and lack of water in the earth and available to them. Also another concept is how human activities and humanity can exist and prosper without hurting or taking negative effects on the environment is known as the concept of sustainability. When I consider this concept I think of the efforts in rural PA working to preserve farmlands from being bought and developed with town-homes. This is a big issue in my home county of Bucks and we are constantly working to preserve the farmlands as much as possible to we maintain so of the environments integrity while living in the same community.