Module 5: Development Case Studies

Ecuador’s Huaorani Indians Fight Against Maxus Energy Corporation’s Plans to Extract Oil on Their Traditional Territory, is an Environmental Justice Case Study by University of Michigan students.  It is about how Maxus Energy Corporation has been in a dispute with the Huaorani Indians. Their territory lies in the Ecuadorian Amazon for many years. The Ecuadorian Government allowed Maxus Energy Corporation to explore for oil on the native lands beginning in 1992. Ecuador supports Maxus because it depends on its oil resources for almost half of its income. This case study can relate to many concepts discussed in this lesson. One concept this study highlights is the global issue of environmental justice. The Huaorani only want their land to be healthy and undisturbed, but they are not powerful enough to fight against it. The tribe has to suffer with the negative impacts Maxus Energy brings to the area.


Supporting Local Biodiversity Plans at Sonadih and Arasmeta Cement Plants, is a biodiversity case study from India by Lafarge. Lafarge operates cement plants in the Chhattisgarh state. They promoted biodiversity by designing and implementing and contributing to local biodiversity plans. Lafarge estimated that 70,000 tree saplings were planted as part of the local “Green Chhattisgarh” program in hopes of preserving the unique natural heritage. The study also explains how this company’s actions created a close relationship between the quarry, the local community, local authorities and local businesses. This company recognizes the harm it brings to the ware where they operate, but also helps offset the impact it has in the future. This case study relates to the sustainable development concept discussed in this lesson. This case study shows how this type of developed can be sustainable and also have a positive impact in a unique way.


I live in Archbald, near Scranton, PA. In recent years there has been an increase in development in and around this area. I recent months, there are two proposals to build separate natural gas power plants. These plants will be less than two miles apart and will be near an already operational electric plant. The two case studies can be related to this situation in many ways. The people against these plants are using the same reasons the Huaorani Indians used to stop Maxus Energy. The residents are worried about their properties, their health, and quality of life. On the other hand, the case study in India can be related by the positive impacts the plants will have such as the increase in local school funding and promises to give back to the community. The location of these plants is important because they have access to highways, gas lines, a water source, and power lines. The land they will be built on in their eyes is a perfect fit for their development.

Getting To Know You: M01, GEOG 30


Hello Class! My name is Jordan Dodderer. I am originally from Johnstown, Ohio but have since moved to Los Angeles, CA where I am a professional dancer for television, movies and music artists. It was always a dream of mine to pursue a dance career and the past 7 years have afforded me a great career in the entertainment industry. Another lifelong dream of mine was to receive my college diploma and so, I am pursuing my degree in Political Science through Penn State University World Campus. My pursuit of the degree at this point in time is really just to enhance my knowledge of the world at large and engage in thoughtful discussions in an academic setting. However, I am open to a future career change that is engaged in the political spectrum. I am taking this course in connection with understanding the political nature of human-environment interactions. I am excited to explore this area of study with you all!


The issue of governance resonates strongly with me as a resident of Southern California. The policy decisions made by governance have greatly affected our water resources and lead the region into a major drought in recent years. Many cities have enforced strict regulations on water usage, while others have enforced greater taxes on water consumption. Politically, the state has refused to impose these same regulations on farmers. I find this of particular interest in regards to the social aspect of human environment interactions and governance. Policy makers clearly regard that water is vital to the agriculture industry and keeping the land fertile with unrestricted water usage continues to drain the state water supply even as city residents continue to reduce their consumption effectively. Of course, there are no right and wrong answers to the policy debate, but I this specific example from my own experience came to mind as I read the descriptions of the importance of governance within Geography.

Module 1- Introduction

Hi, I’m Zack.  I just finished my last full semester at State College this past fall; I actually lived in a tent the whole semester on a local dairy farm because it sounded like a good time. Currently, I am living at home in Waterford, PA finishing up two online courses in order to graduate with a Plant Science degree in May. Also, I am working full time this semester.  I grew up on a large farm, and I plan to work in the agriculture industry and get some experience before I take over my family’s farm.  This geography class interests me because reconciling large scale agriculture and sustainability is a personal goal of mine.  Other than that, I’ve been very lucky to travel extensively and I get excited at any opportunity to learn something about the world!

I think a geographical issue that is very important to me is going to be food production.  I am a big proponent of large scale agriculture, but there are many problems that need to be fixed in order for complete sustainability.  Geography will be very relevant do to the varied landscapes and changing climate.  Feeding the world does not mean just producing more food, but creating stable production and distribution to places that actually need the food.


My First Perspective on Sustainability and Global Issues

Hi, Geog 30 Instructors & Classmates!

My name is Laurene (Loreen). I currently live in State College, but I grew up not to far from here in New Columbia, PA. I have lived in a small town in Pennsylvania my whole life. Although, I have had the opportunity to live and study in Peru. I am interested in geography and culture, which is why I enjoy traveling. I hope to explore more countries of Europe and South America soon.

I am graduating this spring with a B.S. in Psychology. I took the business path in psych because I plan to open my own business one day. Until then, my plans for after graduation include interning at a wildlife center and working my way up to a profession in wilderness therapy. In the future, I’d like to pursue a doctorate in naturopathic medicine or environmental psychology.

This course completes a requirement for both of my minors: geography and environment & society. I am interested in sustainability and how the globe utilizes their resources. My geographic perspective is biased towards environment and society but includes human and physical geography. I enjoy learning how humans incorporate sustainable practices into their lifestyles, and I am curious to see how humans will adapt or mitigate environmental changes from global warming in the near future.

Part II: Issues 

Module one addressed global issues. I think many of us do not consider the impacts our individual decisions as a consumer have on wildlife, biodiversity, and other humans globally. Sustainability works to not disrupt ecosystems while benefiting the individual concerning health, financially, etc. Decisions we make to oppose commodities that cause deforestation or pollution for other humans and animals are easily sustainable practices we can make. Individual decisions in consumerism lead to changes in environmental policy. So I ask, what sustainable practices do you incorporate into your lifestyle? I chose not to eat meat. Farm industries not only bring disease to the animal, but they affect the people who live nearest to the business. Ethically, I see a reason, plus I have seen an increase in my health!