Module 10

  1. Name and explain the reasons humans have to value biodiversity. (150 – 200 words)
    1. Humans have anthropocentric and ecocentric reasons to value biodiversity.  Anthropocentric reasons include any reason that show how different lifeforms could be useful to humans.  These ecosystem services could be for medical benefits such as medicine.  The biodiversity could provide us with food.  There may also be the thought that the biodiversity may one day be of benefit for us even if it isn’t at this time.  Ecocentric reasons are other reasons why humans value biodiversity.  Ecocentric reasons include any reasons that go beyond what benefits humans may gain from it.  For example, it may be just for the fact that you know it’s there or that it will be there for future generations.  It doesn’t matter what reasons human place their importance on, whether it’s anthropocentric or ecocentric.  It just matters that humans realize there is a reason to protect and conserve biodiversity.  Knowing what reason is important to a person will make conservation more successful for each individual.
  2. Of the reasons you listed above, state which one you feel is more important and the reason why you feel this way. (100-150 words)
    1. I feel that anthropocentric reasons to value biodiversity is more important that ecocentric reasons.  I think that humans gaining benefits from the biodiversity will be more of an incentive for them to conserve it than just knowing it’s their for them or future generations.  People having their needs fulfilled is the basic survival need of humans.  Having ecosystem services such as food and medicine is of the utmost importance to the human race.  Worrying about losing what is needed for a happy and healthy life would encourage humans to conserve what they have.  Knowing that they might lose what is needed to maintain their life would scare them into conservation more than any other reason.  As we have learned from previous modules, these individual actions are of great importance to sustainability.
  3. Draw a diagram to support your opinion of what biodiversity does for humanity.
    1. Chart

Module 9: Climate Change

chart (please click here to see my diagram; sorry, I couldn’t get it to upload)

1) My diagram shows how the United States negotiated a climate treaty by gathering information from other countries.  Low-carbon models redirects billions of dollars.  The Beijing talks failed to bring about a global deal.  The United States has always been one of the world’s biggest polluter and climate enemy.  The Copenhagen accord could have solved many of the United States problems.  So, the United States needed to get as many countries as possible to go along with the accord.  Money was offered to countries for their support.  There were also other bonuses offered.  Threats were also made to remove some support that countries were already receiving.  The United States used threats to get countries to back the adopting of the Copenhagen accord.  Of course, trust was a big issue.  It wasn’t known if countries would keep their word on what they were promising.  It wasn’t certain that the countries going along with the Copenhagen accord would keep their word to cut emissions.  It also wasn’t certain that the United States would up-hold their promise of the financial and the other aid it promised to these countries for their support.  Also, it couldn’t be guaranteed that the necessary greenhouse gas cuts would be maintained on a global level to avoid dangerous warming.

2) For the purpose of sustainability, governments must do as much as they can to make the public aware of the changes that must be made to protect the earth and its inhabitants.  This must be done on a global scale.  The United States getting involved in this matter on the scale that it has is just what the United States does.  Needing all the countries’ involvement in climate change diplomacy is necessary as each person’s part of the world effects each other person’s part of the world.  I guess the only way to get this done would be to help out financially in the undertaking of projects.  Maybe educating other countries on redirecting their own funds for these corrections would be a possibility but some countries just may not even have the funds to redirect.  Making threats to get things done just doesn’t seem right.  Offering incentives for a countries’ positive actions for climate change diplomacy would be an idea that might keep that country on the right track.  I think it was good that the State Department cables were made public.  The citizens of the United States need to be aware of the actions of the people they put in charge in order to see if change needs to be made.

Module 8: Natural Hazards

1. In module 7 I talked about the city that I was familiar with which was Tamaqua.  Using the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, Tamaqua encounters increased heavy rain, hailstorms, and winter storms.  The increased heavy rain comes about throughout the year.  This always leads to flooding of basements as there is a creek that runs through the town.  Tamaqua falls in the lower end of the zones involving hailstorms and tornados.  A few years back there was a huge hailstorm that consisted of golf ball sized hail.  In the past, Tamaqua was also under a few tornado warnings, but fortunately nothing every came about.  To complete this task, the Nathan map was well suited and made finding the information very easy.  The color coding made this map easier to understand.

2. In Angola, Africa, a biological hazard event was recorded on the “RSOE EDIS” map on February 16, 2016.  This biological hazard event occurred from bacteria and viruses that caused severe fatal diseases.  This allowed 1132 infected people and had 168 deaths.  This can most definitely happen in the city of Tamaqua as diseases can go across the world in the matter days.  Yes, these specific diseases may not actually start up in Tamaqua, but Tamaqua can have its own biological hazard event in seconds.  About 10 miles away from Tamaqua there is a chemical manufacturing plant called Air Products.  They keep this plant very safe in its operations; however, things can always go wrong.  If an event should occur dangerous chemicals would be released into the air and the water supply.  This would affect a large residential area and can spread quickly.

3. From personal experience and past generations, the biggest natural hazards of Tamaqua are caused by the Mother Nature.  There have been so many severe snow storms that have been known to accumulate a couple feet of snow and inches of ice.  At times we have been without power for days.  The heavy summer storms producing heavy rains have also been known to knock out power and cause flooding of streets and basements.  In reference to my mom, the markings on the bridge at the Knoebel’s Amusement Park, and the markings at the Bloomsburg Fair buildings, the flood in the 1970’s called Agnes left flood water levels higher than one would have thought with a lot of damage and a lot of cleanup and repair.

4. The first action in this module to reduce vulnerability to natural hazard in the city of Tamaqua would be pre-event preparedness.  The weather forecasters/news reporters, city officials, and citizens would be the best people to carry out this action.  Of course you would need the weather reports to know what is going to happen, and what is happening.  The city officials would tell you what the plans are for your individual area.  The citizens would have to get their own house and family ready for the natural hazard.  I myself would make sure I had all supplies needed for the emergency, take all the safety steps necessary, and make sure my neighbors are prepared.  Also building resilience is an important part of the pre-event preparedness as you are already prepared before anything happens.  In my opinion I feel that the pre-event preparedness is the most important way to reduce vulnerability.

Pedestrian-Oriented Cities; Module 7

1)    I live in a non-urban area of Barnesville, PA, where unfortunately I can’t walk to any vital places, and there really are no vital places, in my neighborhood.  The closet pedestrian-oriented city around me is Tamaqua.  Tamaqua has approximately seven thousand people.  A few of my aunts, uncles, and cousins are in that count.  I never thought there was anything special about Tamaqua as it’s really small and less pedestrian-oriented than a bigger city.  For how small it is, the town really makes a positive impact on the people who live there.  There are sidewalks with trees, parks, playgrounds, office buildings, doctor offices, dentists, specialists, lawyers, pharmacies, food restaurants, stores, grocery stores, banks, a public swimming pool, library, and post office that all within walking distance.  Yes, a lot of people do not walk to all of these places, but if they do want to cut down on car use there is a public transportation system that will take them across town or even out of it.  Having everything so close in this small town is great and very pedestrian-oriented.

2)      In this module, the city that I found interesting was Copenhagen.  The car-free streets and slow speed zones are a great idea.  It is very people oriented and brings people together to enjoy their city and each other.  I feel that this is relevant to the city of Tamaqua because it is a small town and adopting this idea would bring the community together.  The people of Copenhagen love the advantage of having this special privilege to access all of their favorite places safely which also helps brings a lot of business into the stores.  This could be very beneficial to the stores in Tamaqua.  Also, another thing I loved about Copenhagen was the slower speed limit.  I personally feel that this should be enforced in every town as driving through towns could be very dangerous.  If Tamaqua took after the city of Copenhagen I guarantee it would be safer and more enjoyed by its residents and visitors as a pedestrian-oriented city.

3)     The second city that I found interesting was Bogota, Columbia.  The process of making cycling and physical activity a social norm was a very smart way to help get their people healthier in safe way. If people are already biking, skating boarding, running, and walking trying to have fun and become healthier , why not take a few hours out of one day to make it safer for them?  The way Bogota, Columbia takes each Sunday is amazing and I believe that if Tamaqua did this, the civilians would utilize it and love every second of it.  I personally feel that if Tamaqua and other towns within my area did this, the towns would grow in popularity and become more fun for the towns people.

Module 6- Food Choices and Obesity

1) Throughout my life I always had a really tough schedule that made the consumption of food easier when I could get it quick and on the go.  During high school, I found myself eating more fast food then ever before.  When I was younger my mom would always make health meals at night, but once high school and all the aspects of high school came into play those healthy meals fell drastically.  Everyday, I would leave for school and not get home until late at night.  After school I would go to multiple practices which lead to me going to McDonalds or Burger King in-between just to get some food.  This action quickly became a normal event for me that I didn’t know affected the environment in such a negative way.  The wonderful video of “The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers” does a great way of explaining how dangerous it is by simply consuming three fast food burgers a week.  This fact hit me hard because during my high school experience my friends and I were definitely consuming more than three fast food burgers a week.

2) One main societal issue that comes from eating fast food burgers is obesity.  In the world today it seems that the American life evolves around the fast food market.  This may be due to busy schedules, but mainly because it is easier and cheaper than making a healthy meal.  People today are all about saving money, so why would they want to spend more money when they can purchase a two dollar burger?  This may be easier on their pockets, but definitely not easier on their life, their children, or the environment.  These fast food consumptions are bad for all who eat them as they are made extremely quick which leads to high caloric intake.  Children and adults aren’t as physically active as they should be.  The intake of fast food by children set them up for obesity at a young age.  I believe that the social norm should be teaching younger children how to prepare healthier meals with their family rather than having them eat fast foods which Americans are so use to doing today.


Do you know the true harms of plastic bags and coal burning?

  1. The location of this case study takes place within Ireland and it focuses on solid waste management with plastic bags.  The link to this website is  The goal contained in this development was to help keep the ‘green image’ of Ireland.  The problem that they faced was that too many plastic bags were being left within the environment as litter. To try and solve this, the government made retailers pay for plastic bags which made them charge the customers for them.  With doing this, the customers began to buy and reuse cloth bags each time which lead to a decrease in the litter of plastic bags by about 95%.  This relates to the module in that it is a good solution towards obtaining sustainable development.  The governments reaction in Ireland not only reduced plastic bag litter by 95%, but made the people more involved to change their ways not only in a short-term, but in a long-term manner.
  2. The location of this case study takes place within Japan and neighboring Asia countries.  It focuses on air pollution and acid rain.  The link to this website is  This study focuses on how acid rain negatively affects the world’s environment.  There are laws putting regulations on emissions of hazardous gases from factories and automobiles but the problem is that these laws aren’t being enforced.  Asian countries are big producers of toxins as they use coal burning machines.  These toxins threaten forests, air, water, and people’s health.  Japan has been financing projects for China as well to set up systems to collect data to fix environmental problems across East Asia.  In reading this study, it reminded me of the video within Module 5 that pertained to “how the west dump electronic waste in Africa and India”.  When burning the items, toxins are released just like a coal burning machine.  Yes, the electronic waste is more hazardous, but they both ruin the environment and people’s health.
  3. The location for my comparison is Barnesville, PA, as this is where I live.  I travel the same roads daily and see many plastic bags among the litter on the sides of the road.  Some stores have bins that you can return the plastic bags for recycling while others offer reusable bags for a small fee.  I recently shopped in a store where there were no bags.  These solutions help somewhat with the plastic bag problem but not to the extent of a 95% improvement.  I think the charge for plastic bags would be a great solution in my area.  The second case study showed how coal burning machines affect the environment negatively in contributing to acid rain.  I found this study interesting as I live in the coal region.  I never realized how the toxins released from coal burning had such an adverse reaction.  It is important to examine geographic place and time as different areas are subjected to different situations that affect the environment.  Knowing what influences your area can make you more knowledgeable in your decisions so you can preserve your environment for future generations.

Module 4: Water and Its Usage

Part 1-a

The water source in my hometown, Barnesville, Pennsylvania, is from a well that is 185 feet deep.  A submersible well pump gets the water from the underground water table.  This well pump travels down a tube that is connected via wires from it to my house’s electrical box.  A rope is attached to the pump and is enclosed in the tubing too.  The rope is attached to a metal bar that is down a pit to keep it from falling totally into the water table.  The pump never touches the bottom so only water is pumped up with no dirt.  The pit is covered by a well cap.  There is a small holding tank in my basement.  When I turn on a faucet or flush the toilet, the holding tank gives the water the initial pressure to get the water through the pipes.  The electricity turns the pump on and pushes more water through the pipe and refills the tank.  After the process of using the water, it is then disposed of by going down the drain or toilet bowl with the use of gravity and water pressure.  It then goes through pipes which leads to the township sewer system.

Part 1-b             

                       Amount Used Per Time               Times Per Day             Amount Used

Shower:             5 Gallons Per Minute                        1 at 7mins                     35 Gallons

Teeth Brushing:  1 Gallon Per Minute                         2 at 1/2min                       1 Gallon

Hand Washing:                 1/2 Gallon                           6                                     3 Gallons

Toilet Flush:         3 Gallons Per Flush                          6                                   18 Gallons

Dishwashing by Hand:       8 Gallons                          1                                     8 Gallons

Glasses Drank:          8 oz. Per Glass                          8                                          64 oz.

                                                                                                            Total: 65.5 Gallons

Part 1-c

When living on two gallons of water daily, I consumed one quart and used one quart to brush my teeth and wash my hands and face.  I wiped clean any dishes I could and reused them a few times.  I separated two quarts into two pans to wash and rinse the dishes. I used the other gallon to wash my hair and body.  I continually saved all the used water.  This 1 3/4 gallons of saved, used water was used to flush the toilet.  I used a quart each time, dumping it directly into the bowl so I got seven flushes.  I washed the dishes and took a bath every other day.  On the opposite day, I used the water I allotted for these to wash my clothes.  This experiment was a success but very hard to do considering the water I calculated that I use on a regular daily basis.  Having an ample, clean water supply affects how people use water.  When people have more than they need, they take it for granted and waste more than they realize.

Module 3

  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 perform good acts then to be a good person.  Yes, being a good person is a great quality but just having this quality isn’t enough if you don’t put it to good use.  The world is full of hate and discrimination.  I feel that if more people performed good acts these would decrease.  The world needs people to go outside of their comfort zones and do more good acts.  We need more people to take actions as doing good acts can be viewed as a domino effect.  Once someone sees another person taking action it tends to bring more people to do the same.  Whether it is helping them out or simply making them want to perform a good act towards someone else or even better themselves.  Doing good acts will have so many positive effects that it will definitely change this world and the people in it for the better.

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

I feel that the process by which decisions are made matter more than the outcomes of these decisions.  Thinking of all the possible options before making a decision will lead a person to choose the correct one.  Everyone knows that all decisions have consequences whether they are good or bad.  By using a good decision making process and thinking things through, you can actually have the outcomes be positive ones.  A person can even alter the results of a decision by considering the other alternatives and choosing one that will be more of a benefit.  This will in turn have a different influence on others as well.  If a person realizes how important the decision making process is, they will learn how to think things through and look toward how the consequences of their decisions will effect not only themselves but others as well.  This will enable them to make the proper choices for all.

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

I am a person who put others before myself; therefore, I must say I feel that others’ lives are worth more than my own.  I always put other peoples’ needs before my own.  I have always found myself caring for and going out of my way to help others even though it meant I sacrificed things I needed.  I have already bought others something that I would have liked but found I wouldn’t spend the money on myself and preferred spending it on someone else.  In high school I had my baseball bag stolen with items in it which included not only by baseball things but my wallet and sneakers as well.  I ended up not being worried about what I lost but found that I was worried that the kid who took them did so as he was in need.  I even felt guilty in the fact that I had these “extras” when he didn’t even have the “basics”.

Module 2: Biogas in India


My diagram of India’s biogas generator’s effects show how everything is connected. It shows how one invention can solve so many problems for their people. By having the biogas generator, cooking can be done with no smoke which would improve the quality of the air protecting their health and environment. The children would have more time for their studies as they wouldn’t have to hunt for wood and therefore improving their education. Incomes would increase not only for the manufacturers and sellers of the biogas generators but also for the farmers who would be selling the cow dung and for the women who sell the dirt residue. Both the wood burning and biogas concepts for cooking effect the landscape. In comparing my diagram to that of Figure 1.5 in the Marten reading “What is Human Ecology?”, I find that they are the same in the way they are set up. We both touch on some of the same factors but the Figure 1.5 diagram seems to stay focused on the breakdown of materials needed for fuel for the biogas generator and on the people cooking food. My diagram focuses more on the benefits and effects of the biogas generator on the environment and the people. I feel that the similarities are because we were presented with the same information and there are differences due to our personal interpretation. Figure 1.5 shows us more of the deforestation and mine shows more of the impact on personal lives.

Getting to know me

Hello everyone, my name is Tyler Davies. I am a sophomore here at Penn State. I currently live in Barnesville, PA, where I grew up my whole life. The career I am pursuing is Early Childhood Education which will allow me to teach young children from PreK through grade four. My entire life I had the dream of teaching young children, and I can’t wait to start molding young minds. One of my interests about this course is to learn more about how deforestation affects the climate change. An interesting fact about myself is I just had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder over the winter break. I injured my shoulder a few years ago in high school on the baseball field that no doctor diagnosed. As the years went by, the pain got worse and I decided to get surgery to finally see what was wrong. With this injury it should make this online course very interesting as I can only type with my left hand.

A problem that can be addressed by geography is food shortages in certain parts of the world. By understanding the human impacts on the environment and the environment impacts on humanity, people can preserve better land that will provide more food. Knowing the compounds of the soil, people can make the changes that are necessary to make the ground more fertile. By taking care of the land they will also be taking care of themselves. A good example would be if people made water unpolluted the water would then provide better plants and healthier animals for human consumption. So, when people have a positive impact on the environment the environment in return will have a positive impact on the people.