Natalie Hall M10

Please create a diagram analyzing a specific biodiversity ecosystem and the the effect humans have on it. Then describe your diagram in 150-250 words.

biodiversity HALL

My biodiversity concept map revolves around the rainforest ecosystem and focuses on the negative effects humans can have on it. I began by highlighting some parts of the rainforest: animals, trees, and oxygen. These are a few natural and beneficial aspects of a rainforest biodiversity needed to keep the ecosystem working. Directly under the rainforest I put human interaction, pertaining to the large, detrimental impact. I included habitat destruction, such as deforestation because of the demand for lumber world wide. Habitat destruction also decreases the amount of oxygen supplied by the plants and trees. Also, I included invasive species because they are often introduced by humans and can negatively alter the natural cycle of the ecosystem. Both of these connect to the treat of extinction on an ecosystem. The human intrusion on natural biodiversity’s is not always negative. However, when they are, such as the rainforest, we can severely alter an ecosystem and essentially the world.

Natalie Hall M09

nch5116 diagram My diagram represents the Unites States unethical way to try and decrease the global carbon foot. The Copenhagen Accord relates directly to the huge impact of fossil fuels and our reliance on them. My diagram starts by showing how fossil fuels cause green house gases, thus causing negative climate change. This change needs action, which is where the Copenhagen Accord comes into play. However, the United States lacked the support needed for action to take place. Realizing how dire the issue is and how America could profit off it, the people in charge turned to dirty politics. By bribing, spying, and threatening other countries, USA eventually got 146 countries to sign on and 26 more with the intention of joining. The accord is designed to move decrease countries green house gas rates, and slow the rate of climate change. Although the accord technically intends to help reduce pollution on our earth, the way of gaining support was unethical. America spent absurd amounts of tax-payer money during this process when the information was leaked and the countries demanded money. However, this was done without the knowledge and support of the American people. Also, even though climate change was the intention of the accord, the United States were well aware that if they got this passed the flow of billions of dollars would be redistributed. Thus, becoming a profit for our economy. The leaking of the documents was a nation wide embarrassment and frightening that our government is playing dirty without us knowing.


I think that the United States government is wrong for playing dirty and bribing countries around the world. Even though they needed support quickly and the issue is very important and impacts the whole world, I wonder why the Accord was not supported in the first place. If the rest of the world didn’t think it was a good idea it should have been altered and fixed, not lobbied into existence. However, it happened so I hope that change actually happens. I hope that big fossil fuel companies that drive our economies don’t have secretive information as well, and the whole thing was a way to get money for America. I would love to see the world all coming together to realize the severity of global warming and how quickly it’s approaching. These countries have the power to make positive changes and hopefully that begins to happen. The scams that America was doing shouldn’t have been made public, because they shouldn’t have happened at all. The political integrity that American citizens rely on was let down. Thus, if they were public America and rest of the world would be outraged and it wouldn’t have worked. Although, the accord, or another plan still might not be supported as of now if the bribing wasn’t done, I still morally believe it was wrong. It is scary to see the most powerful people in the world abusing their rights. It makes me think what else they could do, or what else secretive is happening right now that we aren’t aware of.


My hometown is West Chester, Pennsylvania, often times associated with Philadelphia. NATHAN world map of hazards identified my area as zone 3 for hail storms (moderate). Also, zone one for winter storms which is moderate and similar to most of America, and surprisingly zone 2 for tornados. I found this to be relatively high considering I’ve never experienced one, but experienced many snow storms. Being close to the east coast, tropical cyclones may be hazardous to my area as well. I found the map to be very interesting and suited very well for global observation. However, because the map is so widespread, when trying to pin pint my exact area the zones got a little jumbled at times.


I identified a forest fire in Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee that caused medium damage. This could happen to my area id it was caused by humans, or if we are experiencing a drought. However, they are rare in my regions because we tend to get a good amount of rain, and have limited forest space. West Chester is home to around 20,000 residences in the immediate town, and not including students at the University. The Cherokee National Forest is forest, therefore there are no residences in the direct area. If my town were to experience a forest fire close to it it would dramatically increase the disaster rates because of the human damage. People in my town have different levels of vulnerability based on how much foliage surrounds them. You could reduce this factor by destroying all the trees and woods, however that’s really bad. Another way would be to educate the residents on wildfire safety.


I have personally experienced many snow storms, hail storms, and hurricane sandy. I will focus on hurricane sandy because it is rather unique. The category-3 storm hit in late October 2012 and we got off of school for three days. It caused electrical loss, flooding, water damage, construction damage, but luckily no deaths around me. This is not a common problem, but it causes major amounts of damage when it does. Snow and hail storms cause similar damage when they hit at a much smaller scale.


Awareness and preparation are the biggest ways my community could take action in reducing their vulnerability from hazards. The best people to preform these actions would be teachers in school having a more thorough awareness than just the routine weather drills. Also, townships can send out awareness letters or newspaper articles to help residents prepare and be aware. I personally can prepare by stocking up on essential goods, like extra water, canned goods, batteries, and blankets incase of disasters

Natalie Hall Mod 6

I grew up in family where nutrition was often overlooked, and we consumed a lot of unhealthy foods. Since coming to College at University Park I have tried to eat healthier and stay in shape. It is a social norm to stay fit these days, and this has influenced my food choice at college. This consists of trying to eat mostly high protein foods (ex. Grilled chicken), whole wheat, and natural foods (such as veggies). My roommate came to college already a big fitness and nutrition advocate, and I think her devotion encouraged me to consistently try to be fit. However, eating healthier is often less convenient, and harder to find here on campus. I don’t have access to a grocery store so I have to do my best with the food choices provided on campus.

The fitness social norm encouraged me to eat better, however after trying to eat healthier on campus I discovered how much unhealthy food there is compared to healthy and natural items. You can grab a slice of pizza and chips almost all the time, yet I have trouble finding a salad or anything not over processed. This leads to the societal issue of obesity. The agriculture system is pumping out high-calorie foods that are proven to be detrimental to your body and weight. Obesity is a huge issue all around the world, and after making my food choice I am able to witness why it is so prevalent everyday. I think that industrialized agriculture should either be regulated or encouraged to produce healthier foods, so people including myself can have an easier healthier lifestyle.

HAll mod 6 nutrition

Natalie Hall: case studies M05

The study, Navajo-Hopi Struggle, is located at the Big Mountain, Nevada on a Navajo-Hopi reservation. The Peabody Ming Co is trying to expand their mining territory by 13,800 acres into the Big Mountain area, thus relocating the 300 families residing in the area because there is $10 million worth of coal there. This is intruding on the residents and would have a negative effect on the environment. Water supply is at a shortage in the American south-west, and the transportation of the coal will drastically deplete the supply even more. This water shortage will make necessary agriculture and livestock cultivation nearly impossible for the Native American communities. This relates to the module with environmental justice. This is supposed to provide them a right to a clean safe environment, however Native Americans are a minority which statistically puts them at a disadvantage. Also, this relates to sustainable development discussed in the module. Coal is a fossil fuel and not a sustainable energy source. Therefore, If Peabody wins, eventually environment will be damaged just to collect an unrenewable form of energy.


My second case study takes place in Bokoshe, Oklahoma, which is a small town being jeopardized by a coal ash dump site. Making Money Having Fun LLC is responsible for the massive amounts of hazardous powdery coal ash containing large amounts of lead, mercury, and arsenic being dumped in an uncontrolled manor. This toxic waste is causing landscape degradation, water and air pollution in the environment. It is also spreading harmful diseases and radiation to the population. This relates to end uses described in the module, because this is the final destination of the coal ash. However, this is unsafe and harmful the the surrounding area and residents. This also relates to sustainable development. This ash-coal is an unrenewable form of energy that could potentially cause waste overflow and further environmental and heath damages.

Both of the cases are more rural than my hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania (outside of Philadelphia) but PA is the 4th biggest coal energy producing state which directly relates to both articles. My county is especially having environmental justice issues in Chester, a town close to mine. Since the 1980’s Chester has been affected by toxic waste treatment facilities, with affects much like the ones described in the other two articles. Although Chester doesn’t involve coal, the toxic waste is causing water and air pollution, and health problems like low birth rates. The Chester area is predominantly African-American and the issue of environmental racism has been a controversial argument for years, much like the Navajo—Hopi struggle.  Like both articles, the toxic waste treatment plants in Chester are not sustainable developments. From what I learned, in order to make Chester and West Chester more environmentally safe we must find a sustainable energy and waste system. This is a global issue as well because our current reliance on unrenewable energy sources are harmful and diminishing.


Natalie Hall M04

Part 1-a:

I’m from West Chester Pennsylvania, more particularly East Bradford township. Our municipal water company is Aqua America – Pennsylvania. This company serves around 1.2million people around the Philadelphia area, 420,000 water connection, and 12 water treatment facilities. This is a large company which covers a lot of land, therefore I focused on the water treatment facility closest to my home. The Downingtown Municipal Water Authority has a treatment plant on Marsh Creek, a large lake near me. Each day 1.5 million gallons of filtered and purified water water passes through the plant into homes around mine. My house has a personal septic tank which is cleaned out annually, but for the rest of West Chester the sewage is immediately sent to Goose Creek plant. This plant receives around 1.6 million gallons of waste each day.


Part 1-b:

Shower – 80 gallons

Brushing teeth (2x) – .5 gallons

flush (6x)- 30 gallons

Drinking water – .59 gallons

Washing hands (7x)- 7 gallons

Total: 118.09 gallons


Part 1-c: 

To start off the two-gallon water challenge I prioritized drinking water as most important, closely followed by water needed for cooking. However, because I live in Pennsylvania and have a consistent water supply, I could potentially eat out and avoid using water for cooking myself. The other water components are all hygiene related. Brushing teeth, washing hands, flushing, and showering, are all part of my normal daily routine. However, I was able to wait 24 hours to shower and tried to use as little water possible brushing my teeth. I evidently failed the two-water challenge because I live in a dorm, therefore I flush for the sake of others and wash my hands because a lot of people are sick right now. This experiment forced me to consciously realize how much water I use daily, and then how insanely much my community, and the world use each day. Water is the backbone of life, therefore the conservation and sustainability of the earths water is so important, and often overlooked.



Natalie Hall Ethics M03

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

The popular quote, “you are who you are when no ones looking” helped me decide that being a good person is more important than just preforming good acts. Virtue ethics is described as what you should be, and action ethics is described as what you should do. When put this way, it seems like action is better because it implies that you make an active change in the world, compared to just being apart of the world. However, I interpreted that preforming good acts comes with being a good person. I see a good person as someone who’s second nature is to preform good acts, not just when they are being watched or are expected to.

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

I think the outcomes of the decisions matter more than the process by which the decisions are created. The considerations before the decision are still important however, one cannot predict every factor and component of the outcome. Also, once the decision is made it is final, the consequences of what happen have to be dealt with no matter what. The unpredictability of the world causes me to think the outcomes matter more, and to deal with the flow as it happens on a natural course. We as humans can do everything to control each other and the environment, but we will never be able to create a flawless process, so the outcomes are overall more impactful.

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

Morally yes, the pleasure and pain of non-human organisms should matter just as much as you and me. However, through animal testing, zoos, and the destruction of ecosystems, I see that we are not on the same scale. Maybe it is because humans can relate to one another with pain and pleasure, but we cannot experience how a dog, for example, experiences these things. As much as I would like to think other animals feelings of pain and pleasure as much as mine, my inability to connect with non-human species make me believe that my fellow humans matter more.

Natalie Hall biogas diagram _ MO2

Human-environmental system is the core concept shown in the diagram. It shows the interaction between a collection of different components, in this case the society’s need for fuel (firewood) was damaging to both the humans and the environment. The feedback loop in this system was the biogas, which allowed for cleaner and air and slowed deforestation, along with creating a safer, cleaner cooking system, and a business opportunity with the organic compost. Therefore, the added component (biogas) positively affected both the social system and the economy. Figure 1.5 by Gerry Marten is similar to mine because of both of their vertical 2-part set up. I felt this allows the viewer to get a good sense of time and change. They are different because Marten’s diagram is simpler and shows more of the need for the technology. Mine focuses more on the negative to positive transformation the biogas had on both the society and ecosystem. There are similarities and differences because there are different ways to perceive and interpret the ways the two systems interact. I learned that there are lots of components in a human-environment system and how one change can have such a big impact. The comparison between the two diagrams allowed me to see a different perspective on the same system.Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 8.54.08 PM

Natalie Hall: Getting to know you

Hi, I’m Natalie Hall, a freshman studying Art Education and hopefully Environmental Inquiry as well. I am from West Chester, PA which is about 25-30 minutes outside of Philadelphia. I hope to be an art educator, or teach something along the lines of sustainability and conservation of the environment. However, I would like my end career to just be an artist. I took this class because I’ve always had a strong interest on the effect humans have on the environment and hope to learn more about it. I am part of club snowboarding and love art, hence Art Ed. I mostly paint, but am getting into graphic design. I enjoy basically every sport and signed up for way too much at the involvement fair, like they say not to do. Also, I’ve never taken an online course before so this is a little weird.

I found the interstellar scale video mind-blowing. I didn’t realize that just based on the power of 10 we could become so miniscule. Seeing the astronomical scale, I felt reminded of how important it is to take care of our small earth. When shrinking to earths scale, you see that it is not much different; all these small events come together to effect us globally, such as global warming and deforestation. The idea of commodity chains (links collection of goods, to production of goods, to distribution of goods) emphasizes the globalization of human interaction and our effect on the earth. The example for this was deforestation, which is negatively effecting our world because of the mass demand, thus mass destruction of much needed ecosystems. I found it interesting how political our effect on the environment can be.