- Make a system diagram that explains what happens when a species goes extinct in an ecosystem, and talk about the importance of biodiversity in relation to this in 150-250 words.
Biodiversity is part of what helps an ecosystem thrive. Each organism feeds off of another organism in the system and maintains a balance. Everything within the ecosystem is limited by everything else. Animal populations can only grow so large until they exceed the carrying capacity of that ecosystem. If the system is diverse, an animal may have multiple food choices. The more diverse the system is the more stable the populations would be. It is also very precarious in the sense that if one population declines, and a group is dependent on that population for food, it make that population decline. The system diagram shows this relationship, and then shows the effect on the plant life that the extinct population would feed on. By having a large biodiversity in an area it can help stabilize these populations.
1) My hometown of Sunbury, PA is not in danger of many natural hazards. There are no volcanoes, almost never any tornadoes even though it is listed as a zone 2 area. There are very rarely any earthquakes, and it has a low risk of wildfires. According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, the closest natural hazards are high cyclone and extra-tropical winds, as well as heavy hail storms. The impacts are generally low from these events however. For this specific task the Nathan map is not very well suited because the area of Sunbury, PA is very small compared to the world, and some disasters like local river flooding are not accounted for.
2) On April 4, 2016 there was a confirmed case of Rabies in a raccoon in Watertown, New York. This is a disaster that my hometown is capable of facing because we have a fairly high raccoon population. This is a small disaster on the scale of damages, but it could turn into something much bigger without proper handling. If it spread it could be a biological disaster. If one raccoon had rabies in Sunbury, it would most likely mean a lot of raccoons had it. Raccoons can generally be found wondering alleys of Sunbury, which means it could be a huge disaster for the population. Luckily there were no reported incidents of human contraction from this event, but it is still potentially dangerous. Humans that live along the alleys would be much more vulnerable to this disaster. One of the ways this could be prevented is by controlling the raccoon population or by relocating them individually out of the city.
3) From personal experience, I can attest that my hometown is susceptible to strong winds and rain from hurricanes, and flooding from the susquehanna river. While it is not often, I have seen damages like fallen trees and power outages result from severe hurricane winds. Sunbury is surrounded by mountains, so it is very unlikely that tornadoes or hurricanes would reach the small town, but their strong winds are still able to affect it. Sunbury has been flooded many times, which has caused significant damage. Water levels during the floods rose high above most of the town, so a wall was built that spans the entire length of the city in order to prevent flooding. Sunbury has a unique fiber dam that spans the length of the river. It consists of inflatable fiber tubes that inflate in the spring to create a reservoir. It is lowered in the fall to allow for fish migrations. ( information provided by http://www.cityofsunbury.com/Pages/Community/Sunbury%20History/TheAdamTBowerDam.aspx)
4) One of the main natural hazards is the flooding relative to the Susquehanna River. This has been solved by building a concrete wall along the entire length of Sunbury. Besides this the only natural hazard that Sunbury faces is high winds. High winds are very hard to contain, so there is not much that can be done to prevent their damages. One thing that can be done is to install underground high wind shelters for houses without basements. There is a housing development without basements in Sunbury. The people who live here would be in danger if a tornado or hurricane every did reach the city, so building a shelter to provide safety would be an ideal prevention. The city could hire contractors to build this shelter. I personally can set up an emergency plan including where and when to go to our basement, and what foods and water to store in case of emergency.
I am from a small town called Sunbury, located in central Pennsylvania. Sunbury is about an hour and a half away from State College, and about an hour away from Harrisburg. The downtown area of Sunbury is essentially one street, appropriately called Market Street. Sunbury is a relatively small community of about 10,000 people all within about 2.5 square miles. Since it is so small, a lot of people choose to walk instead of drive, especially during spring and summer months. I have lived there my entire pre-college life, and have a lot of fond memories. I waited a year to get my driver’s license because I didn’t feel the need for it. I was easily able to walk to and from school, or to any of my friends houses. Most people felt the same way and you could easily run in to people you knew while just walking around.
One of the cities discussed in the module that relates to my city is Copenhagen. Both Copenhagen and Sunbury have made significant modifications to the city in order to promote walking and biking. Like Copenhagen, Sunbury has created new and beautiful walkways along the Susquehanna River that extends the entire length of the city, as well as reducing and eliminating lanes of traffic in order to build bike paths. These additions have definitely calmed the traffic in those areas, but not to the extent that Copenhagen has.
Another city that resembles Sunbury is the Jamaica Plain in Boston. The Jamaica Plain is a streetcar suburb, which can also describe most areas of Sunbury. While some people have their own driveways or garages, most people park along the street. The streets in Sunbury are large enough to accomodate this, as well as bike paths, and sidewalks. Even though Sunbury is not very big, it makes good use of its land by having houses close to one and another along very large streets. There is no bus like in the Jamaica Plain though, since most people walk, drive, or bike to where they need to go. It does have trains that travel through the main parts of town however, as well as two train stations.
- One experience I have had in dealing with social norms and food choice was at a seafood buffet in Maryland. I really dislike most types of seafood, but I was with my girlfriend’s family. One of their main goals on this vacation was to eat at this particular restaurant. It was about $30 per person, and they paid for me to enter. After such a high price I felt pressured to at least try a large variety of foods. I did not enjoy any of it, and out of six full plates I wasted about 3/4 of the food. I felt terrible for wasting it, but they assured me that it was fine, because we were at a buffet and people wasted food all the time, and we essentially paid for the food anyway, so it didn’t really matter.
- This leads to a social issue of food waste, which in turn causes environmental issues. The food that I personally wasted, and the food that other people consistently waste leads to an abundance of over-fishing. I was overwhelmed by the high price to try as much food as I could and “get my monies worth” but at the expense of wasting food. Even though I wasn’t paying any additional money, I was paying for it in environmental costs. After my terrible experience I ended up just going to McDonald’s and eating very cheap food, which was essentially wasteful because I had already had so much other food. The social norm should be if you don’t like food, don’t get it instead of trying to “get your monies worth.”
The first case study takes a look at deforestation in Costa Rica. It is provided by undergraduates from Colby College in Maine. It claims that if Costa Rica were to continue its logging operations at the pace their going, they would lose all of the tropical rainforests. Logging in Costa Rica is a viable option because it is readily available and produces high profits. The deforestation creates erosion increases spring runoff and soil destabilization. The deforestation also significantly reduces plant and animal diversity within the rain forests.By cutting the trees, the ecosystem significantly reduces its resilience, which the species are unable to overcome. A third significant loss is the carbon capacity. With significantly less trees and a growing population, Costa Rica will increase greenhouse gas emissions globally, thus changing the climate.
The second case study also takes a look at deforestation. This study shows the effects of deforestation in India, and is provided by the rainforest conservation fund. It details that since the 1940’s, the overabundant rainforest land has been significantly reduced by the growing population. The once forest heavy lands have now become wasteland, leaving about 40% of the country this way. The deforestation has ruined water sheds and coastal agricultural lands. This has also increased poverty in rural areas, and continues to worsen as the population grows.
The two case studies show the impacts of deforestation, which is a foreign problem to rural Pennsylvania. State College is surrounded by an abundance of plant and forest life that is rarely chopped down without proper restorative measures. As the population grows however, so will the need for logging. The mountainous geography most likely prevents any significant deforestation, but the climate change developed from other deforesting nations will have an impact here. Government limitations will hopefully decrease the rate of deforestation however, making the impact minimal. The problems that arise can be seen and avoided if any serious logging were to occur in Pennsylvania however.
My hometown is Sunbury, PA. According to our municipality, the primary source of our water comes from a dam located along Little Shamokin Creek. The dam contains a 3 million gallon reserovoir. This reservoir then uses gravity to feed into a 17 million gallon, and 25 million gallon reservoir. During dry seasons, the Susquehanna River is used as a secondary source. The Susquehanna River is one of the longest and widest rivers in the US, and as such is most likely used as a water source for other cities that lie along its banks. The water from either of these two sources is treated at a filtration plant, and sent through 35 miles of underground pipe to the residences of Sunbury. The transmission and distribution service has nearly 5000 connections that helps to serve a population of nearly ten thousand.
b. Total of about 77 Gallons/day
If I had to make an attempt at living on 2 gallons of water for a single day, I would have to prioritize mater water usage, and in some cases possibly reuse it. Obviously I would have to eliminate the dishwasher, toilet use, and shower from my already existing regime. I would have to use an outdoor latrine in place of the toilet use. Drinking water would be the highest priority, followed by cooking, and then cleaning. I know that I can boil water in order to reuse it for drinking or cleaning purposes, so the only aspects that would matter would be tasks that require me to dispose of the water. These would probably only include cleaning (i.e. brushing my teeth, dishes, or bathing), or consumption where I can’t get it back. In order to make the most of the 2 gallons, I would save all of the cleaning until the end of the day, except for brushing my teeth once in the morning. My water schedule for the day would consist of the following;
- Brush teeth and drink a glass of water (-0.125 gallons, 1.875 remain)
- Pasta for lunch while collecting, and reusing the strained water to boil for distilled water. Leave dishes for end of the day. 2 glasses of water to drink. (-0.5, 1.375 remain)
- Essentially the same concept for dinner (-0.5, 0.875 remain)
- With the remaining water I would clean the dishes, and then give my self a sponge bath. I would brush my teeth, and any remaining water would be used to wash my hair. (-0.875, 0 remain)
This would most likely succeed, and would be possible for everyone regardless of where they live. This experience greatly differ from part 1-b. It requires much more work on my end for the same results, which really comes down to being a luxury. Water use however greatly depends on location. Some western state experience droughts often and need to limit their consumption, while eastern states use it like an infinite resource. Then there are some developing nations who don’t have the luxuries of indoor plumbing, and have to retrieve the water from streams with buckets daily, which essentially turns into the schedule I created.
1) Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue ethics vs. action ethics)?
In order to answer this question, the use of the word “important” needs to be defined. In general, being a good person is more important, because the good acts should come from a naturally good person based on their desire to want to be good. Thus being a good person covers both aspects. However, a bad person may choose to perform good acts based on societal values, while still not being a good person at heart. In this case it may be seen that performing good acts is more important in order to maintain social normativity, or advance the society in general. This bad person may not enjoy doing good acts, and may in fact do them for selfish reasons, such as to give off the appearance of being a good person. Regardless of the reason, the act of bad people performing good deeds, alongside all of the good people who inherently perform good deeds eventually helps maintain and advance society. There are obviously many counter arguments that could be applied here, but in general this is a universal idea that would hold true regardless of time period or place.
2) Do the ends justify the means (ends ethics vs. means ethics)?
For this question I would like to respond with another question. Would going back in time to kill Hitler as a innocent child be okay? You already know that he will start a genocide in the future, but at the time he hasn’t committed any crime. Would killing an innocent child for his future actions, just because you have a time machine (the means) be worth preventing the holocaust (the ends?). What if you were sent back with no knowledge of who he was, and were told that killing this child would help mankind? This question epitomizes the question of “does the ends justify the means.” There are many options to consider with it. Maybe someone else would rise up, and be worse than Hitler, and the ends you aimed for were actually worse than expected. There is no way to definitely know, but you just have to hope that the moral idea of preventing the holocaust is enough of an end to justify killing an innocent child. I personally believe that one must act ethically at all times, including in the means. There are always other options, and most would agree that killing a child is a very unethical action, which means a different way of achieving the end would need to be considered. Throughout history, there have been many arguments where people have made an unethical decision in order to provide an ethical outcome, but I truly believe there is always a right way to handle something, without compromising morals. This of course would differ from culture and time period, because humans develop different morals in different places and times, but for the most part I believe that the ends do not justify unethical means.
6) Is my own life worth more than the lives of others, the same, or less (selfishness vs. altruism)?
Life is completely about the meaning you bestow upon it. Logically that would mean my life is more important than others, because I work hard to give my life meaning to myself. The same goes for the meaning that my friends have to me. Thus based on this tiny scale, yes, my life means more than the life of others to me. On a larger scale, my life probably won’t have a significant affect the advancement of humanity, the same as most of the other 7 billion people currently living, as well as the majority of people who came before or will come after us. At this scale we are comparatively all the same. Thus, life’s individual worth falls to a matter of scale, and does not change relative to time period or place. Due to these aspects, I believe that all lives are actually equal, and to an extent one should be altruistic in order to improve the lives of everyone, but not at any great expense to themselves.
This diagram demonstrates the social and ecosystem effects that the introduction of biogas induces. The arrows indicate how one component interacts with another. For example, biogas produces compost, which can be sold for money, and used for farming. The diagram shows three positive feedback loops (green) and one negative feedback loop (red). One example of a positive feedback loop is that biogas produces compost, which is used on farms, which in turn make more biogas. The negative feedback loop is produced when biogas is introduced. normaly cooking requires wood burning, which requires wood collecting. When biogas is introduced this need for wood burning decreases, which means the need for wood collecting also decreases. Both the wood collecting and burning had adverse affects on schoolwork, time, and health, so the negative feedback loop has a positive effect on the system. When comparing this diagram to figure 1.5 in the Marten reading, it can be noted that there are many differences. This diagram breaks down the social aspects into health, money, time, cooking, and school work, while figure 1.5 uses a broader range of the human population. Figure 1.5 does not clearly show the social benefits such as improvement to health like this figure does, which is something that can be learned by examining both figures. They do use very similar concepts however, which is what makes them similar.
Hello everybody! My name is Sebastian Hollabaugh. I currently live off campus at University Park, PA, but I grew up in Sunbury, PA. I’m currently in my last semester as an Architectural Engineer. I will be working in the Philadelphia area starting in June once I finish up. One of my biggest hobbies is competing in Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64. It is quite different from more its recent iterations, and I enjoy competing at local and national tournaments in it.
As an architectural engineer I think that buildings are very interesting, and geography has arguably the biggest impact on building design. The physical landscape, location, and local environment provide the basis when designing a building. I think an issue that geography is well suited for is mapping climate zones to address specific building mechanical systems. Since climate change is occurring relatively rapidly, maintaining an updated climate map is essential for system selection in relation to buildings. For example, the choice heat or enthalpy recovery is greatly dependent on location, and having a reliable climate map is necessary for making the proper selection.