Sustainable North Hollywood – Jordan Dodderer

I live in North Hollywood, CA. It is part of Los Angeles County and the massive urban sprawl that surrounds the smaller downtown area. The whole of los angeles is automobile centered. 18.5 million people live in Los Angeles, CA and 130,000 of those citizens live in my neighborhood of North Hollywood. Massive highways surround the specific community that I live in. I am within 5 minutes of 5 major highways. The community I live in also has access to a subway line, busses, and walking paths, but it is no small fact that automobiles rule the urban design landscape. North Hollywood is an artists community. There are acting studios, dance studios, an arts and design school, and many eclectic and eccentric businesses along the main street. I love my community, but the urban landscape leaves a lot to be desired aesthetically.


Copenhagen’s Bicycle culture is an incredibly inspiring program to me. The way they have crafted their streets to give cycle’s the priority in transportation, and made bike travel more convenient and safer for the citizens in their community. Where I live in North Hollywood, there are bike lanes on all of the streets. However, it is often seen as unsafe to be on the road because diving culture is so crazy. I just recently purchased a bicycle for local travel, but it is scary to be on the main roads because drivers are known to change lanes and make severe turns. Many cyclists ride on the sidewalk and in crosswalks to compensate, but then this causes trouble for pedestrians. I would love to see my community embrace bicycle traffic and make local commutes a safer and more efficient practice.
I also took particular inspiration from Michigan’s urban farming. I think the benefits of a community that embraces fresh produce and in turn helps clean up the surrounding urban landscape is the ultimate in urban renewal. In my community of North Hollywood we have large areas of unused land that sit under giant power lines. North Hollywood was a farming community in the 1940’s, but with the massive auto culture and urban sprawl, it got taken over by urban design. I would love to see my community turn these unused and “dirty” areas that are surrounded by chain link fences and trash, and turn them into sprawling farm and that is in turn sold at fair prices to the community. The thought of a grown local farmers market could bring a sense of community and pride as well.

Biogas System Hollabaugh


This diagram demonstrates the social and ecosystem effects that the introduction of biogas induces. The arrows indicate how one component interacts with another. For example, biogas produces compost, which can be sold for money, and used for farming. The diagram shows three positive feedback loops (green) and one negative feedback loop (red). One example of a positive feedback loop is that biogas produces compost, which is used on farms, which in turn make more biogas. The negative feedback loop is produced when biogas is introduced. normaly cooking requires wood burning, which requires wood collecting. When biogas is introduced this need for wood burning decreases, which means the need for wood collecting also decreases. Both the wood collecting and burning had adverse affects on schoolwork, time, and health, so the negative feedback loop has a positive effect on the system. When comparing this diagram to figure 1.5 in the Marten reading, it can be noted that there are many differences. This diagram breaks down the social aspects into health, money, time, cooking, and school work, while figure 1.5 uses a broader range of the human population. Figure 1.5 does not clearly show the social benefits such as improvement to health like this figure does, which is something that can be learned by examining both figures. They do use very similar concepts however, which is what makes them similar.

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: 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.

Getting to Know You, Module 1

Hello class, my name is Katy Bordt. I am currently living in State College while I am attending PSU. I grew up outside of Pittsburgh. I am pursuing a career in Nuclear Engineering. I am interested in this course because it is extremely different than my engineering classes. Furthermore, I want to know more about the environment and what has to be done to sustain our current environment. This is my first Geography course. I have taken many other general electives in my 5 years at PSU, such as Anthropology and Kinesiology courses. Also,  I love studying different reglions and cultures. I am an animal lover, mostly a dog lover.  I have a rescue dog name Aurora currently, she used to be an Alaskan sled dog. Currently, she is in her glory with the cold weather and snow on the way.

From Module 1, I believe being able to visualize what is happening in a specific place is very important. I believe maps are a very useful tool.  However, after seeing the different tube maps in the module show how differently maps can be distorted.  It shows that maps should not be taken at face value. Also, I believe the most important concept from the first module is human-environment interactions. I believe humans are the making the most impact on today’s environment. I believe that something needs to be changed in the way we as humans abuse the environment. If any classmates have opinions or ideas on what should be changed to help make our environment more sustainable I would love to hear them.

Getting to Know You

I am a senior here at Penn State at the Worthington Scranton campus. I live in Archbald which is a small town near Scranton, PA. I also lived there all my life. My major is Information Sciences and Technology: Design and Development with a minor in Security Risk Analysis. I would like to do software developer in my career. I am interested in this course because I want to expand my knowledge of geography with this being my first geography course in my college career. When not doing school work, I maintain and do small jobs around different properties my family owns. I also like to watch television, some of the shows I like are House of Cards on Netflix, and I recently finished season one of Mr. Robot on the USA network.

While reading the first module, the topic that interested me the most was the human-environment interactions section. Today I read an article that stated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in terms of weight in the world’s oceans. This is a startling prediction that was made by the World Economic Forum. This ties into this section with the concept of sustainability. If we do nothing and let this happen, undesirable consequences will occur. Counties have to do more by recycling more plastic, preventing plastic from entering the oceans, and make more environment friendly alternatives. There are simple steps that every day people can do like using a reusable bag when going to the store. Ethics also ties into this by having different people or counties having different priorities or not taking this issue seriously.

Getting to Know Me-Sophia Greene

Hi everyone! My name is Sophia Greene. I am currently a sophomore here at Penn State. I was born in Rochester, New York and lived there until I was about seven years old. After, my family and I moved to Mountaintop, Pennsylvania and that has been home to me ever since. I am studying Pk-4 education and would like to graduate with a master’s degree before I begin my teaching career. I would like to teach either kindergarten or first grade. I am taking this course because it is required for my major. But I am really excited for this class because it will broaden my knowledge on geography and make me more aware of what is happening around me. When I’m not busy with school work, I like to bake, exercise, and spend time with my friends and family.

While reading module one, I became really interested in the human-environment interactions section. When I initially scrolled down on the page, the picture of the Folsom Lake immediately caught my attention. The first picture of the large lake in 2011 compared to the barren, patchy lake in 2014 was upsetting to see. It is scary to think that such a dramatic change could happen in a span of only a few years. The question of whether or not social and ecological systems can coexist cooperatively is pressing. More attention needs to be made to this issue so people can realize that what we do as humans can severely impact our planet.

Module 1 – Getting to Know You – Learning Activity

My name is Katherine Rigotti and I am a junior at the Pennsylvania State University. While attending school, I am located in State College, Pennsylvania. I was born and raised in the suburbs of the greater Philadelphia area in a town called Horsham. I am a biology major with a focus in vertebrate physiology in hopes of attending medical school once I complete my undergraduate degree. Within the medical field I am interested in emergency medicine as well as cardiology. I am very interested in this course as not only a source of “escape” from my heavy science course-load, but also as a way to further educate myself on the world. I have not taken a geography class since middle school and we did not go any more in-depth than labeling countries on a map. This class is especially interesting as it adds human-environmental interactions, including the current drought facing California residents. This is intriguing, as well as applicable, as I have a lot of family in California and I usually go out West two to three times a year. 

One major issue of note from Module 1 is based on social science perspectives and the ways in which social and natural sciences are intertwined. Global Warming would not be considered a “new” idea, relatively speaking – at least in my lifetime, but it is especially important as we approach the presidential election. As an active voter, it is imperative to pay attention to each candidate’s plan to produce change, in terms of sustainability, for the future. Natural science is capable of providing evidence of the ways in which global warming is affecting the Earth, but understanding the social science behind this phenomenon will eventually provide the knowledge and tools required for today’s society to make a change based on the indication of human impact on the environment. Finally, environmental policy is another crucial concept as we draw closer to electing the upcoming presidential candidates. The policies that each candidate plans to enlist will ultimately determine the course of action in place to eradicate this environmental obstacle. Though the implementation of such policies may not seem obvious to everyone, all members of society, regardless of profession, age, race, or gender, will feel the effects of environmental policy. 

Jessica Moritz Module 1

Hi everyone! My name is Jessica Moritz and I am studying at Penn State’s Main Campus.  I grew up four hours away in Southampton, PA, which is about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia.  Currently, I am a senior studying Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies.  I plan on going to graduate school next year for Occupational Therapy; my passion is helping people who need the extra support so I cannot wait to start this soon.  My dad has always been a big traveler so I would tag along.  His favorite places to take me were National Parks, so we saw places like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and so much more.  Since he was so interested in the earth and the surrounding environments, his knowledge and teachings sparked an interest in me.  I decided to take this course to learn more about geography and maybe I will be able to teach my dad something he hasn’t already taught me!

After reading module 1, my attention was drawn to the human-environment interactions.  Every action we take can either positively or negatively affect the world around us.  The concept of sustainability is important, especially in our current century, because we all need to know what actions we can perform that will not affect the environment for future generations.  We do not want the world to become in a drought crisis, like California, or pollute the air for the people who come after us.  It is ethically important for our current population to keep the world as natural as possible without purposefully damaging the land around us.  Geography can address sustainability, which will in return teach our people how to keep our world safe for years to come.