Module 8, Hazards!

I live in Los Angeles, CA and according to the Nathan World Map, we face a few natural hazards. The most prominent hazard in the area is living in a Zone 4 Earthquake area. Earthquakes happen regularly in Southern California and I have experienced quite a few, although none have been seriously threatening or damaging, the experience can still be scary. The area is also a Zone ¾ wildfire areas. It is very dry in Southern California, especially with recent drought and in the dry season there are frequent wildfires. Fortunately in an El Nino year, like this year, we experience a wetter season and have seen fewer wildfires. I think the Nathan Map has a fair representation of Los Angeles area hazards.


On the RDOE and EDIS map, I chose an event in Puebla, Mexico near Mexico City. On March 31, 2016 there was a volcanic eruption. Mile high Plumes were went up into the air and environmentalists warned of falling ash. Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention raised the environmental alert level to the second degree out of three, meaning nearby residents should be prepared to evacuate.


This phenomenon would not occur in the Los Angeles area because there are not any volcanic region nearby. The nearest active volcanic field is in Northern California so it would take a massive eruption to affect the Southern California area. Volcanic eruptions in Mexico have caused tremors though and there is a lot of earthquake activity. However, the tectonic plates in Southern California Slide past each other instead of the submersive variety seen at eruption sites, therefore there is no risk of magma eruption.


This volcanic region is very near Mexico City, Mexico, which is a large city and could compare to the large population of Los Angeles. The active volcano is one of the world’s most dangerous. A mass evacuation of a large city like that is a big deal and would affect the Los Angeles Metro area in a similar capacity. Luckily, there are more warning signs for volcanic explosions than there are for Massive Earthquakes, so maybe being near a volcanic region is a safer location than living on a slide past earthquake system. If evacuations in such a large metro area were necessary I think that a similar solution to Hurricane Katrina traffic could be considered, where both sides of the highway are used for outbound traffic and incoming traffic is prohibited. This would be the only feasible way of getting such a large metro area out of the danger zone.

Module 6 – Food for Thought (Taking a Bite Out of Social Food Norms) – Bernstein

My food choices are not typically influenced by social norms, but the social norms do not make it easy either. Being a vegetarian, I am often the “odd one out” when I am out with my friends and even at home sometimes. Typically this is not a big deal as my mother and younger sister are vegetarians too, but we (and other vegetarians/vegans in general) find trouble when it comes time for cookouts in summer. Social norm dictates that everyone eats meat – beit burgers, hotdogs, ribs, steak, etc. – as a way of celebration and “fitting in” (social eating). I suppose in California and other “high-health” states where there is more people living the veggie-lifestyle would not be as odd (there are even pure-veggie restaurants!), but here in Pennsylvania (where pork and sauerkraut is a tradition on New Year’s for almost EVERYONE), and down south in my native state of North Carolina (lots of meat and TONS of gravy), I just have to accept I’m the odd one out.

Two issues that I can connect are obesity/general health and environmental issues. Please note that I am not calling meat-eaters bad or “sway them”- there is nothing wrong with eating meat. Many people who fail to understand vegetable-based lifestyles work tend to look down on them and sometimes will eat even MORE in the process of “showing them up”. Needless to say that there tends to be overeating at cookouts and overeating leads to weight-gain. Too much of one food group is bad as well for one’s health. In order for the meat demand to be met, the livestock are often fed massively unhealthy diets in order to bulk them up; the amount of land used for the livestock’s food alone is astonishing. The pollution to the air and water is alarming as well – the planet is not getting bigger, but the population is so we need efficiency. The “new norm” should be one of eating more balanced diets and spending time focusing on the people with rather than the food itself.


Bicycle Usage in Japan & Marcopper Mining Corporation

Case 1: This case study comes from Colby College, and it takes place in Japan. This is the link to the case study . This case study focuses on the the possibility that bicycles can be feasible form of transportation in Japan. In the later 1960s, the bus system was not working out for the Japanese citizens (due to factors such as being pricey, inconvenient, and slow), thus they took on bicycling. Bicycling became so abundant that there was a bike pollution issue. The government of Japan realized this biking was in favor so their goal was to discourage automobile usage by raising the ownership fees of an automobile. This relates to ideas discussed in the module because the end uses of bicycles as transportation are not only “being in the places that we want to be,” but saving money, promoting exercise, and less CO2 pollution that would harm the environment.

Case 2: This next case study comes from an Environmental Justice Case study from the University of Michigan, and it takes place on the Marinduque Island in the Philippines. This is the link to this case study . This case study focuses on the Marcopper Mining Corporation and how the operations caused various health and environmental problems. Moreover, mining has contaminated the water supply making drinking water scarce and killing fish. This caused people to obtain lung cancer from the “red dust” and become poisoned from the polluted water. Although no solution can diminish the damage, the goal of this case study is to cleanse the environment, somehow make it up to the people affected, and simply guarantee that this will not happen again. This relates to ideas discussed in the module because it shows the downsides of development and environmental justice. The people of the Marinduque Island clearly faced the “environmental bads” of the Marcopper Mining Corporation since toxins were released in the water and the air causing health and environmental problems on their island.

These case studies both connect to the area where I live, Scranton, PA.  Just like in both case studies and many areas around the world, my area has pollution problems, too. The first case about bicycle usage oppositely connects to my area because it is not common to ride bikes for transportation. I think that we should learn from the Japanese and encourage more people to ride bikes due to the many benefits such as reducing pollution that would come from automobile use. As for the Marcopper Mining Corporation, this reminds me of an issue that occurred in my nearby hometown, Throop. Not too long ago (1980s), a company named Marjol Battery (a superfund site) buried batteries and battery casings in a residential area. This resulted with the land and water to become toxic with lead and arsenic. This caused local residents to face health issues such as neurological problems and cancer. Many people in the area had to go for lead blood testing (including myself and my family).  Just like the case study in the Philippines, the health and environmental affects from the batteries could not be undone.