Relate biodiversity with two concepts from other module from this course in 100-150 words.
Biodiversity relates to the module 9 topic of climate change. Climate change directly affects biodiversity. Because climate change affects ecosystems due to temperature rising, species living within specific ecosystems cannot adapt to these changes and become extinct – thus reducing the biodiversity of that ecosystem. Biodiversity also relates to the topic of sustainability. Biodiversity is a building block of sustainability. The variety of life on Earth is what contributes to the definition of what sustainability is defined as in previous modules: “utilizing species and ecosystems at levels in ways that allow them to go on renewing themselves for all practical purposes indefinitely.” Without biodiversity, ecosystems cease to exist since biodiversity is what allows an ecosystem and species within it to thrive. If ecosystems become endangered or extinct, we cannot utilize them or have a functioning environment for sustainability.
Create a systems diagram for the Amazon Rainforest and briefly explain it.
This is a systems diagram on the decrease of biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest. I chose to focus on the factors that decrease biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest: deforestation, clear cutting, and poor nutrients within the soil. Together, these three factors decrease biodiversity within the Amazon Rainforest since it takes away the home for animals who live in the trees and creates an unsustainable living environment for the fauna present in the Amazon Rainforest. Unfortunately, this is something human activity drives and there should be steps taken to preserve the Rainforest, one of the best biodiversity areas in the world.
In my diagram, I talked about how climate change caused the Copenhagen Accord to happen. The abundance of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and the amount of fossil fuels being burned lead to the Copenhagen climate change summit that was called to solve this problem and stop global warming. At this summit, the Copenhagen Accord was established which favored the United States because it said that countries must pledge to lessen the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere. This caused the United States to seek out allies to help support this accord since the United States is the greatest contributor to climate change. In order to rally support, the United States used manipulative methods such as secret cables, the CIA, and threats/bribes in order to ultimately gain support of 140 countries for the Copenhagen Accord. Ultimately, this was an act of power on the United States rather than an act of trying to preserve the environment. I focused primarily on the Copenhagen Accord to highlight the importance the United State’s contribution to climate change. In my diagram, I began with Co2 emissions since this is the root cause of climate change and the Copenhagen Accord works to bring countries together in order to mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases – primarily the Co2 emitted from burning fossil fuels. The Copenhagen Accord would require specific actions taken by each country in order for each country to cut down on greenhouse gas emission. This affected poorer countries, who did not support the Copenhagen Accord, since these countries did not have the funds to implement a program to reduce their already close to zero emissions. The United States rallied the poor country support through the schemes stated previously.
The cables should have been leaked to the public because everyone has a right to know what happened. The United States should not have acted and conducted the accord in the way that they did. The public deserves to know how the United States acts especially when it comes to concerning issues such as climate change. This behavior upsets people and is not in the public’s interest if it is kept a secret. This was unethical and there was no distributive justice for poorer countries because they did not contribute as much to global warming. They do not have the same technology that can cause as much pollution as the United States can and is therefore unfair to these poorer countries. The United States needs to take individual action and decrease the amount of green house gas emissions that they are producing and not worry so much about other countries as the United States is the leading contributor to greenhouse gases. The United States should implement its own carbon reduction policies along with influences other countries that produce an abundance of carbon to do the same as climate change can only be solved through collective action. All countries need to take action in stopping the problem of climate change, as all countries are contributors even if some more than others. It may be more important that the United States take actions because of the amount of carbon that it produces, but this problem cannot be solved just by individual action of the United States.
1.In my hometown of Niles Michigan, we can experience zone 4 hailstorms, zone 3 tornados, zone 0 earthquakes, and low wildfires. Niles is in the southwest corner of Michigan, which is very close to where a large number of tornados hit every year. It is gets very cold in the winter and hailstorms can happen as shown on the map. In the 12 years that I have lived in this area, we have had many tornado warnings as well as small tornados that have hit nearby as well as hailstorms but neither of these have caused much damage or been very dangerous. This map is a little hard to read as it was challenging to pin point exactly where my hometown was as it was on the border of the different natural disasters and their zones.
2. In Ovalle, Chile, they experienced an earthquake at 2:40 AM on April 1st. This earthquake had a magnitude of 4.5, which caused many things to shake. People inside of their houses could feel shaking as well as pictures, dishes or other objects being thrown off walls or spilled out of cabinets. My hometown can get earthquakes but they are very rare and minor. Therefore it is not at a very big risk of disaster. This earthquake was rated a 4 out of 12 on the Mercalli Scale, which measures the intensity of the earthquake. This earthquake was not very strong and did not cause much damage, but it may cause more if it were to hit my hometown as we do not have earthquakes very often and would not be as prepared. Especially since my hometown is 5 times smaller than Ovalle. Those with bigger homes or more stable homes are less likely to be damaged by an earthquake, while those who do not have as much money and cannot build as nice of homes may be more in danger if an earthquake were to strike.
3. Niles is most likely to experience tornados. As I said in my answer to number 1, I have experienced many tornado warnings and a few tornados near my town but never one too close to cause harm or put me in danger. Tornados are the most extreme natural disaster that my hometown can face but the most popular are thunderstorm winds and hail according to usa.com. Last year, I was trying to drive home from my friend’s house, but because of the high winds and rain, it was highly advised that everyone stay inside and not drive. There have been many situations like this where the high winds and rain could be dangerous if you get stuck in the wrong place and the wrong time.
4. Being prepared can greatly decrease the vulnerability to natural disasters. Many hailstorms and thunderstorms can be predicted in advance and then can allow people to be prepared for them. Sending out emergency alerts in advance will allow people to buy any items they need as well as knowing when to stay off the roads and stay inside a stable building. Tornados on the other hand, can be very hard to predict in advance. However, because they are common in my area, families can stock up in advance. Also, building tornado shelters in the case of a surprise tornado. News reporters could help get the word out if heavy rain storms are approaching. Also, the mayor could help tell people to always be prepared and stocked up in case of these emergencies. Being prepared for natural disasters and being educated on them will allow my hometown to reduce the amount of damage natural disasters cause.
- The Effects of Oil Drilling
My first case study references the Nigerian delta and talks about how the drilling of oil has affected the community there. Shell Nigeria and the Nigerian government have been excessively drilling for oil in this community and the Ogoni people who live there have been directly affected. The drilling of oil has caused the threat of oil spills and also the pollution of air and the Niger River Delta where the tribe does a lot of their fishing. The government of Nigeria is using this oil for the development of the country because they are able to sell it as it holds monetary value. However; by doing this they are endangering the community and affecting its development as the quality of life in this area has decreased. The goals of the Ogoni community are to unite with the government and form some kind of agreement that will help aid the community and the government. As the demand for oil increases, so will the demand for Nigerian oil and this are could be of huge profit for them.
- Poverty in Ecuador
This case study talked about Ecuador and their decreasing rate of poverty. In 2000, about 20% of the population lived in extreme poverty, but only 4% do today! Ecuador has become more economically stable because of the increase in oil prices. In the end, this development helped grow the economy and provide jobs for the some of the poorest people and caused the unemployment rate to decrease. This countries development started from the production of oil. They face many challenges today in maintaining and furthering this development. Their goals are to overcome the decreasing oil prices and advance the progress that they have already made in an economic standpoint. They also want to further reduce poverty. Also, oil will eventually become very scarce and they will have to come up with ways to sustain their economy without the aid of natural resources.
- I currently live in Niles Michigan where oil prices affect everyone’s daily lives. I have always lived in the United States where we import about 20% of our oil. In the two case studies I chose, they both talked about the drilling of oil and the impact that they had on their own community’s. Nigeria and Ecuador have both counted on oil to further their development even though the specific community of Ogoni people in Nigeria saw the bad impact that it could have. The city of Niles was founded on the St. Joseph River, which played an integral part in its development as well as the rich and fertile soil. Farming was a big part of how this community developed. Even though both communities developed in different ways, they both used the land that they were founded on to do this. In Nigeria, the community played a huge role in their development, as they had to come together to protest and make the government aid them. Every community, specifically my hometown, could use this as an example of a way to further their own development.
In my hometown of Niles Michigan, water is pumped from city-owned wells being drawn from aquifers deep in the ground. They pump anywhere between 2 and 4 million gallons of water. This water travels through pipes to the many homes and businesses in the city. Many improvements have been made over the last 5-10 years including the construction of an iron filtration plant and an intermediate water pressure district. There are also five water tanks and wells that have back up generators in case of power outages. All of the wastewater is sent to the Niles Wastewater Treatment Plant, which cleans and then recycles the water.
Shower and Brushing Teeth (10 minutes) – 50 gal
6 Water bottles (16.9 oz) – .8 gal
Flushing toilet (5 times) – 1.6 gal each = 8 gal
Washing hands (3 times) – 1 gal
My daily water usage is 59.8 gal of water.
Living on two gallons of water a day would be extremely hard. As I said in part B, I usually use about 60 gallons of water a day. In order to cut this down to two gallons I had to cut down on my shower use as well as flushing the toilet as these were my two main uses of water. When doing this experiment I decided to allow myself about the same amount of drinking water, as this is essential. I decided not to shower because every minute uses 5 gallons and I was not allowed that much water. I also decided not to flush the toilet throughout the day, which probably didn’t make the other people who use the communal bathroom on my floor too happy. I decided to quickly rinse of my hands and used a very minimal amount of water to brush my teeth. I was able to keep my usage of water under two gallons but it was far from hygienic. From this experiment I learned how unsanitary it is to live on two gallons of water a day and realized how big of an issue water is in other countries. Geography matters to water use as there are some countries that have an abundance of water and overuse it and there are also countries that do not have enough water.
1.Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue ethics vs. action ethics)?
I believe it is more important to be a good person than perform good acts. If someone is truly a good person, they will be inclined to perform good acts. This is part of the reason why they are a good person. Even though being a good person and performing good acts come hand in hand most of the time, some people perform good acts for their own personal gain and not because they are a good person. For instance, someone may volunteer at a food bank or donate to them in order to get a tax break. Also, someone who is truly a good person will put more effort in to their good actions while someone who just performs good acts may not do the as well as they can. Most of the time being a good person encompasses performing good acts and that is the main reason why I believe being a good person is more important.
2. Do the ends justify the means (ends ethics vs. means ethics)?
The ends do not justify the means in most cases. Most of the time, this statement has to do with wrong actions that end with a good outcome in which case the ends do not justify the means. For instance, cheating on a test to get a good grade cannot be justified. Even though the end in this case is good for you, you cannot justify cheating to get there. Also lying on a resume in order to get a better job cannot be justified because even though you are getting a better job, you may not be qualified for it or you may be taking it from someone else who deserves it. However, when the ends are morally good and the means are also good, the ends do justify the means.
6. Is my own life worth more than the lives of others, the same, or less (selfishness vs. altruism)?
I believe that all lives should be treated as the same. Even though we may value our lives and the lives of our family members as more important to us we can not say that they are more important in the whole scheme of things. All human lives are important to society and have been put on this earth for a reason even if it may not seem very good. You should practice altruism and try to help others as much as you can but not to the extent that you are seriously hindering your own well being. Even though I believe that my life is not worth more than others, there are some people that may not deserve to be treated with the same respect such as those who commit crimes for no reason. These people may not be deserving of the same kinds of sacrifices that we make for others but their lives are still valuable and should not just be forgotten.
A systems diagram allows people to see the affects that many things have on the ecosystem as well as the social system. In my diagram I showed how the biogas generator improves overall health of the social system by using cow dung as its main source of generating energy instead of firewood. This allows for more stability throughout the ecosystem, as cow manure is easily accessible to this community. By not using firewood, the biogas generator reduces the amount of time children spend collecting firewood and allows them to focus on school and other activities. The biogas generator also reduces the amount of smoke that has had harmful affects. It is also more eco-friendly as it decreases pollution as well as deforestation. The main focus of my diagram was to show that there is a direct relation between the ecosystem and the social system and that a biogas generator affects both of these. Gerry Marten’s diagram shows how the need for a biogas generator came about as well as what is needed for it to be used. My diagram also showed the problems that led to the need for this new type of energy. My diagram showed more of the environmental effect from burning wood as well as the effects that the smoke and the gathering of wood had on the children. From the combination of both diagrams we can see that there can be a greater impact than one might expect from the introduction of this new generator. Also, we can see from the drawing of diagrams that there is a cycle and a way that all of the actions are related.
My name is Peter Han and I am currently a freshman at Penn State University Park. I live in Niles, Michigan but grew up in Saint Joseph, Michigan. My intended major is mechanical engineering. Within this major, I will be able to look at the way things work and explore many different areas. I am not sure what field of mechanical engineering that I would like to go into yet. I love playing and watching sports especially hockey and football. I passionately support all Detroit professional teams. I decided to take this course because I have been interested in the impact humans make on the earth since a class I took in high school. I also wanted a chance to get away from endless math and physics courses that I have been taking.
Natural hazards have an impact on human activity everyday and were discussed in this module with the introduction of the drought in California. These types of hazards have a major affect on humans living in the area. The topic I am discussing is human-environment interactions. Much of the California’s drought is caused by climate change, which has been shown to be a result of the burning of fossil fuels and release of pollutants into the atmosphere. Humans and the environment affect each other. Because of this drought, California is suffering because their farmers cannot irrigate properly in order to grow produce, which is widely shipped and traded throughout the United States, thus affecting the economy. Humans are also suffering water shortages in California. Climate change caused by humans impacts the environment and wildlife that requires water. These issues can be addressed through sustainability, where humans can work to rebuild the environment and California’s water supply.