Module 10, African Human Extinction Event

Current Events:

United Nations Environment Program releases cautionary fact sheet on climate change

From news story released April 21, 2016

Climate: Africa’s Human Existence Is at Severe Risk

In current news today, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) released a statement describing the peril that climate change might cause on the continent of Africa. UNEP announced that the African continent is the most severely affected continent when it comes to the effects of climate change, due to its poor development, natural deficiencies, and rapid climate change. T

The article describes several aspects of the biosphere that would be in danger of creating loss of biodiversity, including human life. Water is a big part of the climate change affects. Climate change affects rainfall which could affect droughts as well as flooding in various parts of Africa. These phenomenon could put drinking water strains on a population that already has a population that is under-nourished. Sea-level changes have also been noted and if they continue could affect coastal areas with large populations and endanger their lives.

According to the fact sheet produced ecosystems are critical in Africa, “contributing significantly to biodiversity and human well-being. Between 25 and 40% of mammal species in national parks in sub-Saharan Africa will become endangered.” This loss of biodiversity could adversely affect the human population by reducing resources and putting a strains on population survival.

The World Bank reported that by 2030 nearly 90million people in African will be exposed to malaria. If this disease or other diseases is combined with the phenomenon above, the African people face imminent danger.


System Diagram

The System Diagram above describes the hypothesized African Human Extinction Event. The source of such an event, is described in detail by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP.) UNEP predicts that current levels of climate change are affecting the African continent the most of any continent and that the African population is the most endangered human population due to climate change.
The Diagram shows climate change as the main source topic at the top. The red boxes above show the main topics, or how we get from A to B. The green boxes are the adversely affected areas of the biosphere, that could lead to a human extinction event on the continent of Africa. The arrows are in yellow to describe caution, as all of the effects shown here, happen to have negative effects.

Module 10 Jonah Kim

In this module you will complete the following:

  1. Look at the Amazon case study and describe its biodiversity, using factors from module 10 describe how the Amazon is biologically diverse in two ways, and not biologically diverse in one way. (150-250 Words) 

    The Amazon is a perfect example of a biologically diverse ecosystem. One way that the Amazon is biologically diverse is its latitude. Because the Amazon is closer to the equator and so for a number of reasons means the Amazon is very diverse. The Amazon is a great example of biodiversity but, it does have it’s flaws. One way that the Amazon is not that biologically diverse is it’s smaller area. Another factor that makes the Amazon biologically diverse is its physically diverse habitats. Just within jungles there is high diversity even in a single tree. ecosystem’s vary from the top of a tree to its base. Each layer of the rainforest receiving different amounts of light, and rain, while other organisms learn to survive without sun and rain. One factor of biodiversity is having a larger area. Because the Amazon is not all that big altogether accounting for only 6% of the Earth’s land surface but making up over 50% of the Earth’s biodiversity.

  2. Look at your hometown and describe its biodiversity or lack of biodiversity, using factors from module 10 describe how your hometown is biologically diverse in two ways.  (150-250 words)

    The Amazon case study starts off by explaining how my home state of Pennsylvania may only have 30-40 species of trees when describing our lack of biodiversity. So obviously Pennsylvania is not the most biodiverse ecosystem. One way my hometown of Lansdale, Pennsylvania is not biodiverse is a lack of a physically diverse habitat. My hometown is very much either residential or farm land. We have a very flat terrain and our weather is pretty uniform. Another way my hometown is not biologically diverse is a lack of longevity in the ecosystem. Solely because of human development, the ecosystem in Lansdale has not experienced a time of peace without human disturbance for as long as I have lived in Lansdale. There is always construction going on with new development’s being built in areas that used to be fields. The constant development of my area could be considered moderate development that really prevents the ecosystem from every building up its diversity.

Module 10

Assignment: Read the information about Costa Rica’s conservation efforts in Module 10.  In one paragraph, discuss what anthropocentric and ecocentric benefitis this could have.  In a second paragraph, talk about how actions like this could be taken to conserve biodiversity in your area or region.

Costa Rica has made a serious investment into their biodiversity by committing to be proactive in their conservation.  25% of its land has been set aside in national park in order to keep at least 80% of its remaining species intact.  Also, Costa Rica ended subsidies that encouraged deforestation.  Anthropocentric benefits include a blossoming tourism industry that has bolstered the economy.  Also, the diversity should keep the region more stable for agriculture. Ecocentric benefits include the protection of more species, cleaner rivers, less soil erosion, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

In the northwest region of PA, there is not much land set aside for natural habitat.  One example of an existing park would be Presque Isle on Lake Erie, which draws in thousands of tourists every year and generates a lot of business for the local economy.  It also protects many native species of plants and animals and preserves a natural piece of the Great Lakes’ shore.  Rampant destruction of natural habitat is not a common occurrence in the area, but there would still be recreational and ecological benefits to more land set aside for natural habitat.  There is an extensive amount of state game lands in the area that do provide some of this, but they are not very accessible even if they are open to the public.  I think it would be beneficial to create more state parks with facilities to make it more attractive for people to visit and enjoy PA wilderness.

Module 10 – Biodiversity Conservation Challenge – Bernstein

Imagine a new piece of land containing a rainforest has been discovered. You, being the scholar that you are, are in charge of its fate. Upon further inspection of this new land you discover a group of natives who are living off its resources. Other countries have taken interest in this new land as well and wish to become trading partners, but you worry about the loss of nature (and the newly found newt species on that land) in all the industrialization. Knowing what you know now about conservation and biodiversity, what is your next step in preserving and growing the land, the people, the newts, and why?

Be sure to include thoughts about the levels of protection, how it will be enforced, ethical issues that may arise, etc. Think of the consequences! – Feel free to include a flow chart or describe the chain of effects (derived from your choices).  


Knowing what I know now, I would most likely try to find a compromise between the people and the land so that both may thrive. The category of protection I would most likely choose for this new land would be Category 2. I find that Category 2, National Parks, is a good compromise between protecting the environment with allowing the people to live their lives accordingly. Other categories such as Category 1 are too limiting of a status for the whole land on human interaction and would not be suitable for a new land trying to grow their economy. The best solution in my opinion would be to have the land be a mix of different levels of protection. The problem with Category 2 protection is that it is hard to enforce. In terms of enforcement, one must look at the ethics as well; anthropocentrism versus ecocentrism. Since I am taking a neutral stance so that both may live together, I will put some of the natives to serve as “Park Rangers” as they would know the land and its inhabitants best. This way, we will be sure to not intrude on the newts but also be able to encourage a growth of economy. By having the natives serve as “mediators” in a sense, a sense of balance could be achieved without having outside forces skew the perceptions. Having foreigners become too involved with regulating the land and its processes has the possibility to lead to a more anthropocentric stance as there would be much more chance to make money off of it with the interested trading countries; having someone who understands the animals as well as they way of the people would be the best way to go, in this sense. Certain sections shall be restricted to an almost similar Category 1 status where no outside contact will be allowed in order to not disturb the natural cycle. Sections left outside Categories 1 and 2 will be open for economy growth and trading purposes. The sections and how they are divided shall be divided according to the natives (as where the newts are located must be taken into account, as well as “sacred” sites to avoid digging up, etc.) so that everyone is content with the new agreement.


Module 10 – Biodiversity

Explain an area of biodiversity hotspot location, using the Conservation International Hotspots Globe Conservation International map located in the Module 10. Summarize in 150-200 words the location, species, geography, threats, and anything else you feel is important about the area. Explain what H.I.P.P.O. stands for and describe each threat. Lastly, describe a threat your hometown can or is facing and connect the threat to the hotspot location you described.

I chose to write about the Mesoamerican forest hotspot. It is third largest hotspot in the world according to the CEPF. It is located in Central America and includes all of the subtropical and tropical ecosystems of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, about a third of Mexico, and two-thirds of Panama Mesoamerica has about 17,000 species of vascular plants and nearly 3,000 are endemic. There are about 1,120 bird species and more than 200 species restricted to the region. The mammals in Mesoamerica has about 440 species and more than 65 of these are endemic. Reptiles in Mesoamerica have about 690 species and nearly 240 are endemic. Some of the endemic species are the quetzal, howler monkey, and about 17,000 plant species. Mesoamerica has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. Between 1980 and 1990, deforestation averaged 1.4 percent annually. It is also estimated that 80 percent of the area’s original habitat has been cleared or severely modified.  El Salvador has less than five percent of its original forest left.

H.I.P.P.O. stands for habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, human population, and overharvesting. Habitat loss is when an area is converted from usable to unusable habitat. Examples of habitat loss can include: industrial activities, agriculture, mining, deforestation, and water extraction. The invasive species threat is when an animal, plant, or microbe moves into a new area. This can have an affect the resident species such as new species can parasitize the residents, compete with them for food, bring diseases, or modify habitats. Pollution is when the discharge of toxic synthetic chemicals and heavy metals into the environment. This has an impact on species and can lead to extinctions. The human population is about 6.8 billion and the increase in the population leads to an increase threat to biodiversity. Overharvesting can be the targeted hunting, gathering, or fishing for a particular species and the harvesting by-catch in ocean fisheries that causes biodiversity loss.

My hometown of Archbald in northeast Pennsylvania, can face the threats of habitat loss and human population. I have seen much greater habitat loss in my area in the past few years. There has been deforestation in a few areas for the timber and for development. Also, construction has begun on two power plants in my area that has left the surrounding area unusable. The human population has also been increasing in this area. There have been many new living places built and being built and an increase of cars and traffic that has led to more pollution. The threats my hometown faces are related to the Mesoamerican forest hotspot threats. The threat both locations face is deforestation and affects both areas similar. The animals in the areas affected have to find somewhere else to go, and in my area, they usually end up in someone’s backyard. This deforestation might make the human lives better, but overall it has a great impact on the areas biodiversity.

Module 10-Maura McGonigal

  1. Research a biodiversity hotspot location and summarize in 150-250 words the biodiversity and sustainability situation in the chosen area.
  2. Consider and describe the biodiversity and sustainability situation in your hometown in 150-250 words.
  3. Compare and contrast the biodiversity and sustainability in the two locations in 150-250 words.


  1. Using the following website I located a biodiversity hotspot in the Horn of Africa, The hotspot is located on the Horn of Africa, and is one of the most depleted hotspots in the world. The Horn of Africa was used extensively for its natural resources for thousands of years and been consumed to the point that only 5% of its original habitat remains intact. The two contributing factors to the destruction of the ecosystem in the Horn of Africa are overgrazing by animals and charcoal harvesting. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all used the region as a source of natural resources. The lack of strong government protection also contributed to the region becoming a biodiversity hot spot. The area contains the threatened species including the antelope, baboon, gazelle, and many reptiles. The Horn of Africa is one of two arid hotspots. This is clear from the 2,750 endemic plant species in the region. The area now has 145,322 square kilometers of protected land.
  2. My hometown is Peters Township in western Pennsylvania. In my hometown we have a variety of nonnative species that have infested the region. The three main insects that have infested the area are Japanese Beetles, Lady Bugs, and Stink Bugs. These insects lack natural predators therefore enabling the species to flourish. One summer, the Japanese beetle infestation was so extreme that they nearly ate our patio peach tree to death. In my hometown, we also face an overpopulation of deer. Since 2000, the population of Peters Township has increased 29.2%. The increase in population leads to an increase in demand for housing. Unfortunately the overpopulation of deer issue continues to get worse seeing as more forestland is cleared and turned into neighborhoods each year. This leads to a large amount of automobile accidents with deer. The remaining deer struggle to survive the winter months due to a lack of low level shrubbery. The deer population is unsustainable and is largely a result of the clearing of woodlands for human housing.
  3. Both the Horn of Africa and my hometown, Peters Township, are currently faced with decreasing biodiversity and sustainability issues. Both region’s issues are partially if not fully a result of human interaction in the environment. While the regions are both facing biodiversity issues, the regions issues are manifesting in different ways. The depletion of the Horn of Africa led to the region becoming an arid environment and thereby threatening grazing species like antelope and gazelle. Peters Township should learn from the Horn of Africa’s experience and realize a similar situation is occurring with the deer in the township. In Peters Township, a decrease in land led to a depletion of food resources for deer. While the current deer population is not threatened, with continued human development, the deer population may become threatened.   Similarly, the Japanese beetle infestation in Peters Township may threaten plant species in the region. The Japanese beetles disrupted the ecosystem in western Pennsylvania because they do not have a natural predator in the region.

Module 10: Biodiversity

  1. In the first paragraph of 175-250 words, in your own opinion describe the level of biodiversity in your hometown. State the factors that contribute to the level of biodiversity.

I live in a city called Seoul located in South Korea. To be more specific, South Korea is located in the East Asia, on the Southern half of the Korean Peninsula. In the country, Seoul is located at the north-west side and is the capital city of South Korea. In my opinion, Seoul would be considered to be in the low level of biodiversity because of several reasons. To begin with, according to to the module, if a continental region of the world receives a lot of sunlight and rainfall and is buffered from extreme disturbance events, it is likely to expect a highly biodiverse in the region. Seoul does have distinct four seasons with sunlight, rain and snow. However, due to global warming and rapid urbanization of the city, the region is mostly covered with man-made buildings and transportation rather than natural environment the world has presented to us. Also, one fact is that Seoul is ranked as the second largest metropolitan area of the world which means the city is overpopulated with urbanized life. What is more, Seoul is located in the center of the country. The region does not have fulfillment of natural nourishment. The area I live is mostly surrounded by modernized buildings, apartments and transportation. However, if we consider the whole country, South Korea would be considered to be at the average level of biodiversity. The country itself, is mostly mountainous with 64% of the land compromised of mountains surrounded by ocean on three sides.


  1. In the second paragraph of 200-250 words, explain the biodiversity threats in your hometown, what caused the threats and suggest a prevention on how to protect the biodiversity.

 As I mentioned above, Seoul is one of the biggest metropolitan area in the world. This explains that the area is covered with majority of man-made kinds instead of natural environments. A major biodiversity threat in the city would be the climate change, habitat loss of animals and plants and the loss of environment in the area. According to the CBD, there are large number of endangered flora and fauna. Approximately 20.4% of wetlands, 15.9% of farmland and 2.1% of forested land have been reduced in size within the last two decades. Not only did it reduce but also created one of the biggest issues in the world, climate change. As we learned in the previous module, climate change is a serious issue that needs to be prevented. However instead of preventing it, we are creating more problems that leads to climate change such as deforestation and loss of environment. Furthermore, the biggest reason of the changes is from rapid urbanization and industrialization. Seoul became one of the biggest metropolitan area in recent years. The rapid urbanization and industrialization has caused the country to deforest the mountains and build high, modernized buildings. In order to prevent the varieties of damages, the city should limit the number of buildings in the area and create campaigns that advertises the growth of trees, grass and flowers. Also, since saving the environment is the key of the prevention, there should be stricter rules of recycling and throwing garbage.



“Republic of Korea – Main Details.” Main Details. Convention on Biological Diversity, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <>.

  1. In another paragraph of 100-150 words, choose one image of endangered or extinct species in your hometown and explain what and how it became endangered or extinct.


This picture illustrates an endangered wild animal called Asiatic Black Bear. This bear is categorized as a first-class endangered wild animal in South Korea and internationally and is considered as a Natural Monument No. 329 in South Korea to protect the species. The Asiatic Black Bear usually could be found in Seoraksan Mountain and in Jirisan Mountain but now it is hard to find as it became endangered by us. Asiatic Black Bear became endangered because of over-hunting and as loss of environment they used to live in.However, in order to prevent its extinction, there is an Asiatic Black Bear restoration program in the country (Jirisan National Park) that stands out to prevent the endangered animal.

Module 10- Julie Cardillo

  1. In the module, we talked about how human activity can influence/ pose a threat to biodiversity. Think about the people in your hometown. How do they influence biodiversity in a negative or a positive way? What actions pose a threat to biodiversity in your hometown? Are those actions ethical? Write a 250-300 word paragraph. 
  2. In the module, we talked about a case study involving the Amazon Rain Forest. Deforestation here is a major issue. Make a system diagram showing the factors that contribute to tropical deforestation. Be sure to have at least five components. 
  3. It is obvious that biodiversity is a major issue. However, why do you think it is? Do you think biodiversity matters because you simply care about the environment? Or does it matter more because lack of biodiversity can affect us humans? How can you contribute to conservation? If you do not think it is a big issue, why? Write a paragraph of 150-275 words.
1. The people in my hometown of Scranton, PA definitely influence biodiversity. I think that the human population in Scranton influences biodiversity more negatively than positively. In my area, people cut down trees (deforestation), pollute the air/water, and simply senselessly killing animals/chopping down trees (overharvesting) . For example, people clear woods all of the time in Scranton to build bigger and “better” restaurants and stores. People here constantly pollute the air i.e. by leaving their parked cars running causing CO2 to pollute the air (contributing to climate change) and dumping waste/ littering in bodies of water such as Lake Scranton. As for killing animals, hunting is a big deal in Pennsylvania in general. I understand that hunting is beneficial because it reduces over-population. But what I see in Scranton a lot is people killing animals for “fun” or chopping down trees for “fun.” All of these actions definitely pose a threat to biodiversity here because if a significant amount of people continue doing so, then it is possible for some species to become extinct/endangered. Moreover, most of these actions are not ethical. When people in Scranton cut down trees for selfish reasons (such as my area rebuilding Texas Roadhouse because it “wasn’t big enough”) they are not being ethical. People leaving their cars running in parking lots is not ethical because not only are they wasting gas, but they are polluting the environment. Littering and dumping waste into Lake Scranton is not ethical because that is also polluting the environment by killing animals (such as fish). Finally, senselessly chopping down trees and killing animals for the “heck of it” is definitely not ethical. If you don’t need to chop down trees (for shelter for example) or kill animals (for food possibly), then you do not need to be doing these things. People in Scranton are only negatively contributing to biodiversity.
2. biodiversity_jlc6217
3. I think that biodiversity is important because every living thing was created and exists for a reason. I do think that it matters for ecocentric reasons because I do care about the existence of other living things. The world is a beautiful place, so why would we want to contribute to losing its diversity? As for thinking if biodiversity matters for anthropocentric reasons, yes I think it does. Us humans need biodiversity to survive. Without plants, for example, we would have no Oxygen to breathe. Just like the module states, “as more species go extinct, it becomes more likely for species to become extinct.” This is true, and this is why we need to learn to live peacefully with the environment (sustainability). Humans and the environment can live in harmony if we reduce some of the selfish actions we perform, like deforestation. Environment lover or not, this is YOUR world, and if biodiversity is lost, then YOU will be affected. We need the environment and the environment needs us, so why knowingly  contribute to losing biodiversity? Personally, I can contribute to conservation of biodiversity by starting small. It’s the little things, like picking up litter, shutting the car engine off, etc. I can also educate people about the consequences of their actions to biodiversity. For example, if I saw a group of teenagers harming an animal, I would explain to them that their actions (although killing a little bird may seem minuscule to them) are contributing to threatening biodiversity. Once people are educated, they will not want to contribute negatively to biodiversity, but positively. Thus, a collective action will be formed.

Russo Development Case Studies – Module 5

Case 1:

A recent initiative combats waste management in Germany, a highly developed commercial country. Due to an increase in the concern of unsustainable development, Germany created an ordinance on packaging in 1991 called the Green Dot System. This ordinance put the responsibility of minimizing waste on the manufacturers by requiring them to recycle or reuse their consumed packaging. The original goals were to recycle 72 percent of glass, tinplate and aluminum packaging waste and 64 percent of paper, plastic and composite packaging. Because companies were initially struggling with this initiative, a non-profit organization called the “Dual System” was created. This organization called for companies to pay for a membership as well as fees per packaging volume. In return, the Dual System would put green dot trademarks on the members’ packaging materials. This way, consumers are reassured the packaging will be recycled. As a result of these efforts, consumption of packaging waste has decreased and the reusing of packaging has gone up. For the green dot system to be successful, every piece of packaging needs to be reused or recycled.


(1) Rousso, A. S. And S. P. Shah, “Packaging Taxes And Recycling Incentives: The German Green Dot Program” National Tax Journal Vol. 47, No. 3 (1994): 689-701.
(2) Chilton, Kenneth, “Making Manufacturers Responsible for Recycling: Passing the Garbage Buck” Solid Waste Association of North America 1995 US/Canadian Fed Solid Waste Management Conference (1995): 17-32.
(3) “Duales System on Firmer Ground in Germany” BioCycle Vol. 35, No. 6 (1994): 61-64.


Case 2:

Landfill Gas from South Korea can be turned into a renewable energy source. The waste sector in South Korea produced 37.6% of the country’s total methane emissions in 2001. Methane also plays a powerful role in climate change because it accounts for 16% of global emissions from humans. While this may seem like a detrimental example of human impact on the environment, it is actually a great opportunity for South Korea to produce a renewable energy source. Landfill gas can be utilized by different measures. The energy can be generated into electricity for the power grid through turbines. It can also be directly applied to offset unsustainable development through on-scene boilers and greenhouses. This would cause reduction in usage of fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, and oil. South Korea is a rapidly developing country that relies on outside sources for 98% of its energy. The goal of implementing landfill gas projects is to make South Korea less dependent on imported energy sources by utilizing landfill methane as a domestic energy source.

Sources: National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the US Department of Energy  Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy


Case 3:

I chose these case studies because I feel I live in a very relatable environment. I am from Douglassville, PA just outside of Reading. I live 15 minutes from the Western Berks Landfill in a developed area just like Germany and South Korea. I always think about how the landfill affects the local biodiversity and environment. The biodiversity of the three geographic environments are pretty similar. The difference is that my area is more rural compared to the regions discussed in both case studies, so their environment is more polluted. I chose to discuss the green dot system in Germany because a large portion of the materials accepted at my local landfill is municipal solid waste. If we implemented a similar policy, the landfill would take longer to develop and my area would be more recycle-friendly. I chose to discuss the initiative of capturing methane gas for energy in South Korea because it demonstrates that humans can have a positive impact on the environment. There is a chance that one day my local landfill can utilize landfill gas projects to produce energy for the area.