1. In 125-175 words, describe the importance of biodiversity.
Biodiversity is important to people as well as the environment. It varies depending on location, climate, topography, etc. Humans value it for both ecocentric and anthropocentric reasons. Biodiversity affects all organisms from recreational benefits, medicine, food, and even scientific information. The anthropocentric reasons are ways in which it could be useful for us humans. Besides physical means of biodiversity importance, there are ecocentric reasons in which we value it. Ecocentric reasons is basically what goes further than the typical benefits; they have an intrinsic value. In some instances, one might find comfort in knowing that our biodiversity is protected and conserved for many generations to come. Sometimes simply having the knowledge that the future of biodiversity is secure is simply satisfying enough. There are many benefits to having biodiversity in the environment, ranging from those on the microscopic to the bigger than human levels.
2. In 125-175 words, what are some means that Pennsylvania (or whichever state you live in) could help subdue threats faced against biodiversity?
Even though it is impossible to complete get rid of all the threats facing biodiversity, we can certainly subdue such activities. Pennsylvania has a lot of different organizations to help the biodiversity of many organisms and other species. For example, the PA Fish and Boat Commission take many samples of fish and other aquatic populations. They recognize the abundance of the species and are able to control them by either adding an outside agent to improve or decline the actual numbers. By doing this, each species is able to achieve a sustainable number even after their harvest season. This organization can remove invasive species to help the wanted organisms thrive in our environment. Other means of increasing the biodiversity throughout Pennsylvania can be something as simple as planting a garden to help birds and insects. It all varies, but it will be beneficial for future generations.
3. Draw a system diagram to show the relationship between humans and biodiversity.
I currently reside in Blair County, Pennsylvania just 15 miles north of Altoona. My home is in Tyrone which is right along the Little Juniata River, and the most recent population count was in 2013 where there was a record of 5,412 people in my community. This small town is only 2 square-miles, so the town has an urban feel to it lately with just over 5,000 people residing in that area. Along with the public Elementary school, we have a small Catholic School in town that only teaches up to the 5th grade and then students transfer to the public Middle and (eventually) High school.The Catholic school averages at about 15 students per grade where the average graduating class at Tyrone is around 130 students each year. I live at the northern end of Tyrone, located outside of the town in a more rural setting. I spend a little time in town as I possibly can being that I am not attracted to areas with a high population density.
The first city I would like to recognize is Beakon Hill. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, this town promotes physical exercise through walking, biking, and other means of transport other than the automobile. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, Tyrone is only 2 square-miles; however, people refuse to walk anywhere because of the few hills in the area. The sidewalks, in Tyrone, are hardly able to be traveled on due to their poor condition except for on the main avenue located just off the interstate. If there was a better layout of our town with more sidewalks, playgrounds, outdoor organization, etc., then I feel that the population would be more open-minded to going to their friends house beside a vehicle who is barely a mile away.
One of the cities that seemed to catch my attention was Detroit. The mention of a second Green Revolution through the use of urban farming seemed to be be working rather well in more urban settings such as Detroit, so I figure that using such technique in Tyrone would be great for those of us who actually reside here. A majority of our residents are not in the healthiest states, so using some of our abandoned properties and small yards would help in improving our diets, health, and satisfactory of living such as it is doing in Detroit. We do have a farmers market that comes to town once or twice over the summer, but that does not really impact us in the same way if we were to grow it ourselves where we would have access to these products more than twice a year. Tyrone needs a wake up call in the fact that we cannot sustain ourselves on burgers and pizza.
Part 1-a: The water source for my hometown of Tyrone, Pennsylvania starts out on Sandy Ridge Mountain, where there are limestone springs and a well. This water is run into the filtration system and has a minimal amount of chlorine allowed by the state added. They do not add any other components to the water at this time. From there, it is pumped into a storage tank on Sandy Ridge mountain and goes into the pipeline gravity feed off the mountain into the intersection of 350 and Business Route 220. It feeds the various homes on the way down the mountain and all are metered and documented by pressure control gauges. At the intersection, one pipeline goes north and the other goes south and feeds all residential and businesses. All waste and excess water by drains goes into the Northern Blair County Regional Sewer Authority lines to the sewer plant below Tyrone in the Nealmont area. The waste water is then processed and returned into the Juniata River for further usage.
Activity Amount of Water Used
Brushing Teeth (x2) 2 quarts = 0.5 gallons
Using Toilet (x4) 12 gallons
Hydration (Drinking) 1 gallon
Cooking (x2) 1 gallon
Washing Dishes 4 gallons
Hand Washing (x4) 4 gallons
Laundry (1 load) 7 gallons
Shower (15 minutes) 20 gallons
Total Usage 49.5 gallons
Part 1-c: Living on two gallons of water a day would require me to change my current water usage drastically. First of all, I would not be able to complete my daily activities of washing dishes, doing laundry in the washer, showering, etc. I would need to cut down my water usage to the basic daily needs. I would need to set aside some water strictly for my own hydration. I would also set aside some water for basic sanitation such as brushing teeth and washing my hands. Hygiene is very important for me, so setting aside a small amount of water for that use would be beneficial to maintaining my health. The rest of the water that I would have remaining would go into the use of cooking. My style of cooking takes up quite a high amount of water, so having as much left of my two gallon limit a day would be a great impact. I believe that I could make live successfully on two gallons a water each day; however, it would take me a bit of time to adapt to such little use. In any given area, you will have a certain amount of expected rainfall or water delivered by subterranean surfaces. There is a maximum amount of water given to any geographic area with farming, industry, recreational use cannot exceed what is available in supply. Blatant waste, failure to recycle, and other factors result in a diminishing amount of activities that can be completed with water usage. Such examples include Los Angeles and New York City.
1.Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue ethics vs. action ethics)?
I believe that it is more important to be a good person than it is to perform good acts. Now, others may disagree with me on this; however, good people are the best to be around and involved with. Grant it, performing good acts is a great for the soul, but is it really doing them any good if they are not 100% true of them? I would much rather deal with someone with a good heart who does good deeds than someone who is not true to those around them in the acts they perform. Not being true to yourself gives a fake identity to others viewing you. In my own experiences of working with people, I can vouch that it is much more pleasant and satisfying to work with someone who is a good person inside and out rather than the person who is just there to perform the good act. Performing good acts certainly is a good thing, but it starts from having those good intentions.
5.Do the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans (speciesism)?
Absolutely, yes! Now, I am in no way an animal rights activist who is going to throw these obscure facts in your face that eating animals is wrong (I am an active meat eater, myself); however, just because they are a food source does not mean that animals do not matter as much as we humans. It has been proven in many different experiments over time that animals do have feelings and are able to feel pain, happiness, fear, and many more. It is not fair to think of them lesser than ourselves. If we were being hunted or harvested by a much greater predator, would our pleasure and pain matter as much as that superior species? I am certain that you would believe that our feelings still matter just as much as every living organism around you.
6.Is my own life worth more than the lives of others, the same, or less (selfishness vs. altruism)?
Whenever I was little, I always thought that the world revolved around me (typical bratty child). I also thought that there was always a plan for me throughout my life. I was not until many years down the road where I realized that the lives of others matter just as much as mine. Now, I use to be selfish enough to believe that I was more important than others, and that their lives did not matter nearly as much as my own. It was not until I started volunteering my time in different youth organizations where I noticed that these children are our leaders of tomorrow; they are the ones we should be looking towards and promoting. It would not be fair to think that Little Johnny did not deserve an ice cream cone and I did simply because of the belief that he did not matter as much as I did. Life is not always fair, but that does not mean that the lives of others do not matter.
We learned in Module 2 that population has a detrimental impact on the environment. Each area has a certain carrying capacity, so not everyone in that environment will have access to luxury items or items required for survival. In my diagram, I covered the main concepts from the video provided in this module related to both the social system as well as the ecosystem. When comparing my diagram to that of Figure 1.5 from the “What is Human Ecology?” reading, one can clearly see that Gerry Marten and myself had some similar approaches as well as some differences in our diagrams. I took a more broad approach in my categories, such as “Human Community”, whereas Marten broke it down into “Number of Children”, “Human Population”, and “Need for Labour”; however, each of our diagrams share the same idea as to how the biogas tanks in India are effecting the social system and the ecosystem. Everyone has a different view as to which points in the video were key to the biogas of India, so wee will each have a slightly different diagram of what we see. When comparing my diagram to that of Martens’, one can learn that the biogas has had an impact on the number of jobs, women and children in the population, as well as the markets. One can also see that there are more than just their view on the subject, so there is more than what meets the eye.
Greetings! My name is Samantha Sessamen, and I am a senior at Penn State University Park majoring in Agricultural Science. I was born in New York City, but have been raised in Tyrone, Pennsylvania for the last 14 years of my life. Upon graduating from Penn State this spring, I plan on either going into 4-H Extension Education or applying to achieve my Master’s Degree in Agricultural & Extension Education in order to teach in a high school agricultural science classroom. I am taking this course to fulfill a requirement for my minor of International Agriculture, and geography plays a big role in this field. Geography certainly is not my strong point, so I enrolled in this course to help expand my knowledge sand to gain a better understanding of different geographic perspectives.
As someone who has a deep interest in agricultural education, one aspect that I found interesting while completing Module 01 was with the Natural Sciences and how humans impact the environment. We are becoming a more urbanized society, particularly in the United States, and one of the items we tend to overlook is the impact that we are leaving for future generations to deal with later on. Within the next 50 years, we are expected to reach a population of over 7 billion people. How do we plan on feeding this many people? Certainly, we are losing a lot of natural resources as the years progress. We should figure out some possible solutions before we run out of resources for our children.