Urban Planning – Julie Cardillo

My hometown is Dunmore, Pennsylvania. This borough is located in North-Eastern Pennsylvania and in Lackawanna County.  Dunmore is most likely an automobile suburb because the transportation mode is cars and not many people walk. There are roads without sidewalks on main streets, and there are sidewalks on side streets. Buses sometimes run through Dunmore, but there are very limited bus stops. Therefore, transportation is difficult if you do not own a car. The population of Dunmore is approximately 13,966. My connection to this borough is that I have lived here for most of my life, and I have mixed feelings about it and this area. For all of you Office fans out there, I live 5 minutes away from Scranton. However, the Dunmore- Scranton area has went downhill over the years, and many people in the area also feel this way. In fact, Scranton has been ranked one of the most miserable cities in the United States. The reason why is because crime has went up, transportation is difficult without a car, poverty increased, and there is not much to do here.

The first city that I will discuss is Boston, Massachusetts and how it is pedestrian oriented. Out of all of the places discussed in the module, Beacon Hill was by far my favorite. I really admire how the people from this part of Boston have the money to buy almost any car that they desire, yet they still choose to walk. This is relevant to Dunmore because here, walking is not that much of a norm. Also, just like I stated in the first paragraph, there is nothing to do in my area. However, Beacon Hill has many places to work, shop, and be entertained, all in walking distance! Not only is this beneficial to resident health, but also this is beneficial to the environment in the sense that less automobile use means less pollution. I think that my town should be more like Beacon Hill, because if walking (or other non-motorized forms of transportation) was a social norm here, then I believe that crime, poverty, and pollution would significantly decrease making the Dunmore-Scranton area more sustainable. Also, I think that Dunmore should become more of a mixed-use area (like Beacon Hill), since this would also encourage walking, lesson environmental damage, and people would be happier.

The second city that I would like to discuss is Rochester, New York and how it is automobile oriented. Out of all the cities in the module, I felt that this one was most like Dunmore. There are many areas in Dunmore (as shown in the picture) that do not have sidewalks, since automobile use is a social norm here. The only difference is Dunmore does have sidewalks, but only in developments/ neighborhoods. Other than that, getting to stores, work, school, and other places of interest requires automobile transportation. This causes an issue with sustainability because since walking is not encouraged, people will obviously choose automobile transportation. Moreover, this can lead to the collective action problem of traffic (due to the large amount of cars on the streets) and pollution from the gases emitted from the exhaust. Places like Dunmore should build more sidewalks to encourage walking as a transportation mode. Not only will this reduce pollution and improve air quality, but this will also be beneficial to people, since they will be exercising more (resident health).

Throwing Away Perfectly Good Meals- Julie Cardillo

In the United States, people tend to take their meals and food for granted. Based on my experience of seeing my friends and others eating at restaurants or at home, it appears that it is a social norm to not finish your whole meal and then just have it thrown it away. Personally, I do not like to waste food, so whenever I do not finish my meal, I ask for a take out box or I will save the food for later. This does not affect my food choice, but it does for many people. This social norm connects to food choice because people think that it is “okay” to order/cook and not finish any kind of meal (whether it may be a sandwich or a chicken dinner with various sides) and just aimlessly throw away a perfectly good meal. This also connects to food choice because if someone knows they are not going to eat most of a big meal, then they should order/cook something small, so they don’t waste any food.

The main societal issues that this connects to are food waste and environmental issues. People tossing out meals causes environmental issues since the leftover food is being thrown into landfills, where it decomposes and produces gases that are bad for the environment. Also, when people throw away perfectly good meals, they are being altruistic because there people from other countries starving to death and would do anything to have even a fraction of the thrown out meal. Just as the module states, “If we care about distributive justice, then we may choose foods that leave more food available for others.” Wasting food also causes money to be wasted since the food cost money to be put on the table. Thus, in my opinion, I think that the social norm should be that it is “not okay” to toss out the rest of your meal, rather that that the norm is to save the food for later or not order/cook more than you can finish.


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 http://personal.colby.edu/personal/t/thtieten/trans-jap.html . 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 http://www.umich.edu/%7Esnre492/Jones/marcopper.htm . 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.


Module 5 Case Study – Global Deforestation – Sebastian Hollabaugh

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.

Source: http://personal.colby.edu/personal/t/thtieten/defor-costa.html

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.

Source: http://www.rainforestconservation.org/rainforest-primer/4-case-studies-in-tropical-deforestation/c-south-and-southeast-asia/1-india/

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.

Syed Amirul – Water Tracking & Usage

1a-My hometown of Seremban, Negeri Sembilan which is located south east of Peninsula Malaysia is managed by Negeri Sembilan Water Company (SAINS). Their main source of water comes from a large, unnamed water catchment area in Pantai District, just half-hour off the state’s capital. The watershed is feed from rain water and rivers from surrounding hills. These water are then channeled through aqueducts to Ngoi Ngoi and Terip River Water Treatment Facilities where there’s dams to control and contain the treatment process. From there, treated water are distributed to 350,000 households through storage tanks. Each districts have around 10-25 of these tanks and sum up to 100 tanks for the whole city. They also utilizes high-powered water pumps to to help with the distributions where gravitational system doesn’t work in certain areas. Finally, households such as my family are provided with clean, quality water via an underground main line that the city and municipal bodies had provided us with. The website of SAINS was pretty simple but I got some of the insights from Google Maps and connect the searches intuitively.

Source: http://www.sainswater.com/index.php/ms-MY/pendidikan-sains/perjalanan-air

1b- For this activity I chose a Monday because that’s my busiest day and calculated an estimate for my water usage for the whole day. Here is my estimation table:

Activity Number of Times Water Used
Shower 15 minutes 30 gallons
Tooth brushing 2 2.5 gallons
Toilet Flush 3 15 gallons
Drinking 5 3 gallons
Cooking 2 3 gallons
Laundry 1 30 gallons
Dishwasher 1 6 gallons
Hand washing 5 5 gallons
  Total 94.5 gallons

1c- The next day I got myself 2 gallons of bottled water for the experiment. First thing in the morning, I took a glass of water for tooth brushing and I skipped shower so I still have plenty of water left. Halfway through the day I have emptied a gallon from going to the toilet and drinking alone. I tried cooking foods that doesn’t require much water but still that and washing the dishes took up a lot of my remaining water. By around 8 p.m., I’ve finished all of 2 gallons of my water. Most of my usage are for drinking and personal hygiene. During the experiment when I had to control every single usage of water, I start to think about the times when I didn’t have to think and realized how much water I’ve wasted before. From the experience, I know take extra attention to reducing my usage by turning off the faucet while brushing my teeth or in between rinsing my dishes. Even though I did not succeed to last a whole day with only two gallons of water, I know have a deeper appreciation towards water, which I have taken for granted my whole life.

Geography certainly plays a vital role on water usage. It takes a lot of human involvement to alter the environment to provide us with the necessary clean water. From reading other blog posts from different geographical backgrounds, it’s prominent that almost everyone with decent water usage comes from highly populated area with proactive governments.

Water Usage – Hollabaugh


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;

  1. Brush teeth and drink a glass of water (-0.125 gallons, 1.875 remain)
  2. 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)
  3. Essentially the same concept for dinner (-0.5, 0.875 remain)
  4. 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.

Daily Water Usage- Julie Cardillo

In order to describe my hometown’s (Dunmore, PA) water supper chain, I consulted my father, who is a worker of the Pennsylvania American Water Company (a subdivision of the American Water System based in Mount Laurel, NJ)! After talking to him, he explained to me that the water comes from the Elmhurst Dam (Moscow, PA), and it feeds into the Lake Scranton Reservoir. Raw (untreated) water is then pumped directly to the Lake Scranton plant where initial pre chemicals are added (powdered-activated carbon, potassium permanganate, chlorine, alum, and lime). During this, the water passes through rapid mixing units, eight clarifiers, and eight filters. After being filtered, water flows through the plant’s clear well and post chemicals are added (chlorine for disinfection, lime for pH adjustment, and poly-phosphate for corrosion control). The water  flows to a storage tank (two 2.5 million gallons), in which gravity flows to major pumping stations by distribution pipes. Finally, the pumping stations pump clean water to the houses in my area through the distribution system. When the water goes down the drain, it goes to into the sewage distribution pipes that leads to the Dunmore- Scranton Sewer Authority. The sewer water then gets treated and then released into the Lackawanna River.
Water Chart

On February 8, I attempted to live on two gallons of water. I prioritized my two gallons of water in the areas that I felt most important (drinking and hygiene). First, I showered for 2 minutes when I woke up. Throughout the day, I did not flush the toilet until the end of the day, I only had one glass of water ( when I got thirsty I drank soda), I brushed my teeth once before bed, and I didn’t wash the dishes. I did not use water for my hands (I used hand sanitizer instead). At the end of the day, I still ended up using 15.06 gallons of water. I clearly failed this experiment considering the fact that I used my 2 gallons up by 9:00 am because my 2 minute morning shower used up 10 gallons of water. Attempting to live off of 2 gallons of water would be so difficult for me, and the results from my chart in part 1-b shows. Geography is definitely matters to water use because there are areas around the world that have a small supply of water due to the geology/ location of the land (i.e. the area is dry, the water is dirty, etc.) People in areas like this must use environmental governance when it comes to their water use, so they only use water in terms of survival (food and water). We (people who have good sources of water), too, should take environmental governance in our water usage. Many times, people think that a single or individual action such as one person showering less won’t make an impact. However, that one person can influence others to become apart of a collective action, where so much water can be conserved.

Biogas Concept Map- India


The provided system diagram that I’ve made is relatively simple to what other students might have and also from Marten’s diagram. What I’d like to show in the diagram were mainly how the biogas technology impacts both the ecosystem and the social system of the part in India which applies the biogas system. This invention produced two major products; methane gas and slurry. Both of these outputs brought various effect to fore-mostly the ecosystem, then affecting the social system as well. The production of methane gas leads to less environmental pollution and also reducing deforestation due to the people having an alternative energy choice for cooking. This in return will benefit the people health-wise and allow the children to go to school instead of gathering fuel. The slurry, on the other hand will help local farmers to fertilize their soil and grow healthier crops. At the same time, the slurry provides a certain group of the population (mainly women) with job opportunity by processing them into fertilizers to sell to farmers. Both the farmers and the women will gain economic profit from this.

For the most part, this diagram is much simpler and straightforward than that of Marten’s. It is similar in a way that both charts are divided into two major divisions- social system and ecosystem. Also, this diagram shows the effect that all outcome from the ecosystem side eventually leads to a healthier ecosystem, which isn’t shown in Marten’s diagram. Comparing the two diagrams, I think we could all learn more from the more complex relationships appearing on Marten’s illustration because he listed along the products and processes that goes along in the exchange of points such as cooking fuel, cut wood or put in biogas generators.

Getting to Know you – Syed Amirul

Salam Sejahtera!

My name is Syed Amirul, I am currently a Senior majoring in Economics (BA). I have now lived in State College, Pennsylvania for four years, but I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (which was why I greeted you in Bahasa Malaysia- it means hello!). I have a keen interest in photography so I might pursue a career in doing commercial photography while helping my family run our business. My interest in this course is to generally learn about the Earth. I’m always interested in learning about the nature ( I took meteorology and astronomy classes) and I think learning geography will help me connect the dots between human and environment interaction and its effects towards one another. One fun fact about me- I can solve a Rubik’s cube in 40 seconds. If anyone could solve it faster, please teach me!

Now that we’ve been introduced to some perspectives in the field of geography, one example that came in mind was an issue that’s becoming a national controversy in my country. In Pahang, the largest state in Peninsula Malaysia, the government are being condemned after active bauxite mining that has turned into a harmful economic activity to the locals of the area. Many reports have address the issue and its negative impact, one coming from Malaysian Society of Marine Sciences chairman Dr Harinder Rai Singh who said the contamination would be fatal to marine life. The coast of Pahang are mostly contaminated and is bound to be ‘dead sea’ within three years. This issue is important to be scrutinized on, mainly on how the human-environment interaction caused these harmful conditions, and how that in turn will affect the lives of humans living in the vicinity of the polluted area.

Biogas Diagram- Julie Cardillo


The core ideas behind my system diagram were to show the benefits of the biogas generator and the interactions between the social system and the ecosystem. The concept of landscape comes to mind when thinking about social system and the ecosystem of the Indian village. The main issue shown on my diagram was that women cooking had negative effects on the environment (i.e. wood collection caused deforestation) and even negative effects within their own system (i.e. health issues). The concept of biogas and the biogas generator solved those issues by using cow dung as its power source. This eliminated the demand to cut down trees for wood (deforestation) and the need for children to collect the wood. Also, my diagram shows how the women make a profit selling the compost from leftover cow dung. As long as the villagers cook with biogas, this village will most likely leave its resilience state and move onto being stable.

In comparison to Marten’s figure, mine is set up is similar. For example, we both show biogas in the social system and biogas generators in the ecosystem. However, it seems like he focuses on larger concepts (i.e. human population), while I focused on smaller concepts (i.e. women and children). I believe that the reason why there are similarities and differences between my diagram and Marten’s is simply because of perspective. In other words, Marten and I interpreted some aspects similarly, while other aspects he and I interpreted differently. What I think can be learned by comparing the two diagrams is that it is important to have multiple perspectives. The reason why is because by looking at Marten’s diagram, I was able to consider things that I probably would not have thought about prior to the comparison. As a result, I now have a better understanding of the linkages between the social and ecosystems shown in the movie.

Module 1 Getting to Know You: Joseph Carlamere

Hello class, my name is Joseph Carlamere; I was born and raised in the southern part of New Jersey in the town of Hammonton. Hammonton is a farming town known for its blueberries and peaches. I currently live in Swedesboro, New Jersey, which is located approximately twenty miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and ten miles from Wilmington, Delaware. Similar to Hammonton, Swedesboro is also a farming town, but it is growing quickly. I am pursuing a degree in Energy and Sustainability Policy with a minor in Energy Financing. I am also thinking about taking a second-degree program in Energy Engineering if it becomes available through the World Campus. This degree will provide me with the knowledge to address complicated issues such as climate change, energy consumption and renewable energy technologies. Through this course I am looking forward to learning more about the natural and social conditions of the Earth. A few additional tidbits about me; I am a Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles fan, and my wife and I enjoy going to the beach on the weekends during the summer.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph I am interested in the third sub-discipline of geography, environment and society. This encompasses the interactions between the human world and the natural world. It is important to study this aspect of geography because our actions have a direct affect on the current and future conditions of the planet. This impact is seen globally in the form of climate change; this is not a theory rather an actual environmental event. The melting of the glacier ice caps, rising sea levels, and unique weather patterns are the evidence, which explains that climate change is in fact taking place. We all have an obligation to leave the planet, our home in better condition than when we found it; unfortunately this has not been the case for previous generations.