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- 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.

Jordan Dodderer – Climate Change/WikiLeaks


In my system diagram I seek to explain the connection between Climate Change and WikiLeaks and the various input and output sources of those two items. As inputs, to Climate change, I included the burning of fossil fuels, which leads to a build up of CO2 ppm in the atmosphere. This build up of greenhouse gasses leads to climate change. As an output of Climate change, we have the proposed climate accord. The climate accord has various outputs of its own. These are the dealings of the United States government in an attempt to win support, and seek benefits for their own country. These outputs also serve as inputs to our output problem, which is the wikileaks hack. The wikileaks scandal made the US government look bad for their various secret dealings. This scandal served as an output source.

Drawing on this lesson’s core value of understanding the cause and effect of climate change, I think that any sustainability agreements that are reached on a global level are a win for environmentalists. In an environmental setting the accord is a winning output policy. However, as a surveillance state and the issue of public and private security I do not support the actions of the US economy. I think that there is a more altruistic and ethical way of dealing with such problems. The backdoor deals and coercion are a stain on democracy. So while I support the measure and the output policy I do not support the means by which the policy was achieved and hope for better in our future.

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.

Joseph Carlamere: Lesson 7

I live in Swedesboro New Jersey, which is approximately 25 miles from Philadelphia. Philadelphia is rich in history and is the largest city in Pennsylvania, with a population of 1.5 million people. There are different sections of the city, each having a unique type of urban development. Center City, Philadelphia is pedestrian-oriented; meaning there are streetscape amenities, sidewalks with trees, office buildings, residential dwellings, parks, and public interest buildings all within walking distance. There is also an urban downtown section in Philadelphia; people living in this area can access public transportation to travel to work or shopping areas. Then there are people that live outside the inner city that fall within the automobile suburb. People commute daily to work, dine, and visit the attractions of the city. I enjoy visiting Philadelphia, there is always something going on in the historical district, plus the Center for the Arts offers many primetime plays and musicals.

The city that I found interesting in this lesson is Copenhagen. The aggressive urban design focused on “cycling as a social norm” is a tribute to the effectiveness of collective action. The pedestrian-oriented lifestyle in Copenhagen has contributed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the quality of life for Copenhagen’s citizens has improved (Penn State University, 2016). In Philadelphia, you can see some people biking, rollerblading, or skateboarding as a method of transportation, but this type of travel is certainly not the norm. Center City Philadelphia does not have the pedestrian infrastructure to accommodate this type of everyday travel. However, Philadelphia does have a sustainable initiative; there is a “greenworks” project that focuses on repurposing the city, there are also community gardens throughout the city, and there is a tree-planting program that helps decrease air pollution and stormwater runoff ( Staff, 2016).

The second city that I found interesting is Detroit; the urban farming developed on the open lots throughout the city is inspiring. As food prices increase the alternative is growing food for the community that is maintained by the community. This type of sustainable thinking contributes to the reduction of famine, scarcity, and pollution (Penn State University, 2016). Philadelphia has a Food Policy Advisory Council (FPAC) that is responsible for creating policies to improve the life of the residents in the city. Through the FPAC initiative community members and groups, city agencies, and non-profit groups collaborate to provide food to many of families throughout Philadelphia (FPAC Staff, 2015). The best part of an urban garden is it can be created anywhere; rooftops, in pots on a patio, or an open field or lot.


“Sustainable Urban Development and Urban Farming.” Sustainable Urban Development and Urban Farming. Penn State University. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

“Phila.Gov | Office of Sustainability.” Phila.Gov | Office of Sustainability. Staff. Web. 17 Mar. 2016. <>.

“What We Do.” Philadelphia Food Council. FPAC Staff, 2015. Web. 17 Mar. 2016. <>.

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).

Module 7

I live in Peters Township which is a suburb outside of Pittsburgh, PA. I have lived there since 2000. Located in Washington county, PA, Peters Township is a suburb that has been steadily growing over the years. A 2014 estimate states that the population was about 22,800 people ( With access to many main roads that lead right to Pittsburgh, it is a great place for people who work in the city to live and have a family. Peters does not have a lot of sidewalks, so people rarely walk to stores, but their is a trail that people can walk on to get around town. Cars are the main type of transportation and buses are used to take kids to and from school. So Peters Township would be classified as an automobile suburb according to the module. Because of its distance from Pittsburgh, Peters doesn’t have any direct bus routes that lead there. Instead, we can go o neighboring counties where there is a trolley system called the T. The T starts in Pittsburgh and branches out to many suburbs all around the city, allowing people to ride into work instead of taking their cars downtown.

While reading through the module, the streetcar suburbs of Boston’s Jamaica Plain caught my eye. This is very similar to the counties/ other school districts around Peters Township that have stops for the trolley that go into town. This leads to the town being a commuter city and allowing citizens to have easy access to the city. One of the closest T stops near my house is located in Allegheny county and is about a 10 minute drive from my house. By the T stop there are dozens of stores and parking lots that allow people to walk and shop or go downtown. Allegheny county is just like Jamaica Plain because it allows people to shop while they go to work or as they come home at night. Peters Township could take notes from these towns and try to reach a deal with the Port Authority (Company that controls the T) and try to get a T station that is in Peters. This would make it easier for people to commute and allow less car travel. The township could also give residents incentives to ride the trolley to decrease pollution. The more people do it, the less traffic there would be around town.

The second topic that I could compare my town to is the neighborhood from Rochester, NY. Just like this neighborhood, Peters is mostly an automobile suburb. Most places in Peters require a car to get to and this can sometimes be a hassle. My dad likes to talk about how the main places in Peters are set up as little shopping islands, where there are many clusters of stores all over town. They are all separated from each other. Just like the Rochester neighborhood, Peters has barely any sidewalks, so it is rare to see people walking in order to shop. Peters must take notes on how surrounding townships are able to institute sidewalks. One of our rival school districts, Mt. Lebanon, has a great system of sidewalks. If you ever go there, they have everything in walking distance of peoples’ homes. They don’t even have buses for kids to go to school because their sidewalk system works so well. If Peters is able to redevelop and put in more sidewalks or regroup the layout of the stores, we could be a lot more efficient. Peters could always borrow tactics from Curitiba, Brazil’s bus system. This could allow people to ride the bus to the trolley stations to get downtown. That way they wouldn’t have to drive at all, but instead just walk to a close bus station.


J.R. Brown

Urban Planning for Cities- Module 7

My hometown is Pittsburgh, Pa. Pittsburgh is located in the south-west part of Pennsylvania. In my opinion Pittsburgh fits into the urban downtown category. In the city there is sidewalks to be able to walk from place to place, mostly from parking garages to buildings for work. There is a mixture of different transportation into and out of the city offer, The T (subway), buses, and automobile. Pittsburgh is concerned the 2nd largest city in Pennsylvania, with an estimated population of 306,500 people. The metro area has an estimated population of 2.36 million. There are approximately 5,540 people per square mile (2,140/square kilometer). I am proud to say my hometown is Pittsburgh. The city is known world-wide for sports and steel making. Also, the city is known as the City of Bridges for a world-record 446 bridges. Furthermore, the city is known for its pride.  The people of Pittsburgh will fill the streets for any parade (Christmas, sports or St. Patrick’s Day) without a care for the weather outside.

The first city from the module I think Pittsburgh could learn from is Copenhagen. Copenhagen is Denmark’s capital and cycling is a norm in the city. In Copenhagen, cycling started as a way to calm traffic and has been very successful. Pittsburgh has many bridges and tunnels in and out of the city that cause traffic at peak times. Pittsburgh has many highways that are not pedestrian friendly, or bike friendly.  Currently, Pittsburgh has many places to rent bikes downtown and many different paved trails to ride on. However, many of the trails do not leave the greater downtown area. In Copenhagen there are car-free streets and slow-speed zones into order to make biking or walking safer and a friendly option to get from place to place. I believe making Pittsburgh more bike friendly would help the city become more sustainable.

The second city from the module I think Pittsburgh is similar to is Detroit. Detroit is located in the state of Michigan. The module briefly touched on the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, and gave a link for more information. The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative wants to use urban farming   to promote education, sustainability, and to empower urban communities. The organization is focused on making a large Community center, with an urban garden, retention pond, and many other resources to help the community.  Pittsburgh has a similar non-profit organized called Grow Pittsburgh. Grow Pittsburgh has a similar mission to Michigan Urban Farming Initiative. Both organizations want to educated people about growing their own food. Grow Pittsburgh is focused on family gardens, and less about the community. I believe Pittsburgh could benefit from having a large community center with a garden and other resources in the heart of the city.!projects/c10d6




Food choice from Social Norm

Part of a social norm in my country is eating out. Compared to the States where there’s a lot of food chains and indoor restaurant, many of Malaysia’s food are sold on the streets (night markets and stalls) and open air restaurants. One of our favorite is to go to ‘Mamak’, usually run by immigrants from India or Bangladesh. They’re mostly popular for ‘roti canai’, a dough flipped on air with lots of oil involved (much like tossed pizza) and varieties of curries to enjoy it with. We prefer mamak because they are so cheap, they’re more accessible, and never boring. It has become part of our culture; teenagers go to mamak to hang out after soccer game, families go there to enjoy Indian foods, and blue collar workers go for their quick and cheap lunch. Another trademark of mamak is ‘teh tarik’, a super sweet milk tea.

The societal issue that comes with the introduction of mamak restaurants is the public health issue. These restaurants are usually open-air, close to open roads and in between busy buildings. The foods are also cooked in open kitchen, usually by someone without proper hygienic outfits. Food contamination is a big risk to our health, but still many people choose to eat at mamak rather than eating at home. Not just that, teh tarik and other sweet options at mamak has put Malaysia as the most obese country in Asia. We put sugar and fat on everything! Other than that, if mamak becomes more preferred, less and less households will choose to cook, thus decreasing the nutrinional and social value of a home-cooked meal. I belief we should make it a social norm in Malaysia to start planting vegetables or fruit plants again. That way people are encouraged to cook and eat healthier and at the same time teaching the younger generations to appreciate the work that goes into providing food and nutrition.


Comparing Carbon Emission Policies

The first case study I select is the results of implementation of the CAFE standard in the United States. This case study focuses on how successful has the CAFE standard been at cutting down carbon dioxide emitted from automobiles and I found this source on Colby-Sustainable development ( Carbon dioxide is the primary resource of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity, and the U.S. was the largest emitter in 1997. So in 1975, EPCA established the CAFE standards in order to control oil consumption. According to the article, the CAFE standard has substantially increased fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks since 1978, although its momentum was partially inhibited for some time. The standard has unintentionally created perverse market incentives to purchase and create vehicles that are relatively less efficient, and low prices of gasoline permitted individuals to drive fuel inefficient cars without paying the environmental costs. These actions are unsustainable for the society, and it’s also a matter of environmental justice as people are still suffered from global warming.


The second case study I select is about the European Union emissions trading scheme and I found this article on fern, a NGO in Europe (–-eu-emissions-trading-scheme). This article mainly focuses on the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty aims to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. 15 countries in EU are committed to the protocol and they aim at a reduction target of 20% below 1990 levels by 2020. In order to meet the target, they initiate different policies, and the main one is the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EUETS). The EUETS consists of three phases, the first phase was from 2005 to 2007 and the second phase was coincides exactly with the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008~2012). Both of these phases only controlled carbon dioxide (with exceptions) and permits were allocated by Member States in NAPs. The last phase ran from 2013 and will carry on till 2020 and the final target is to reduce emission by 14% below 2005 levels. As both U.S. and members in EU are considered as more developed countries, they have higher standards on air pollution and more detailed plan to regulate carbon emission.


Comparing the two cases with Guangzhou, I would say there are some similarities but the U.S. and EU have better plans and higher standards. Although China is a developing country, Guangzhou is one of the cities in China that has highest GDP. China just announced its international climate pledge (Intended National Determined Contribution, or INDC) in June 2015 with the national goal to peak carbon dioxide emission in 2030 or sooner. Guangzhou would follow the goals set by the country, but there aren’t many policies specifically regulate carbon dioxide emissions. From the case studies, I think one thing we can take away from them is to establish a more specific policy on regulating carbon dioxide emission rather than focusing on the broad term. I believe that the Chinese government is working its way to a more advanced stage in reducing carbon emission.

Fishing in Norway, Farming in Sri Lanka – Kyle Hoke

In Norway, there is a case examining how to control the problem of over fishing in the 200 mile offshore exclusive zone ( Norwegian diets consist mainly of fish, so the sustainable use of this food resource is necessary for the future. In the past they used a system called “Total Allowable Catch” or TAC to split the catches with Russia. This resulted into a race to fish up to the limit and was an unsustainable practice. The Norwegians attempted to develop a new system. Currently, there is a system called Individual Transferable Quota or ITQ for a specific species of cod. Although it has its issues, this system allowed individual vessels to collect fish up to the limit in the most efficient way for them. This system helps to protect the fish population, which relates to the idea of sustainable development discussed in the lecture. This system allows for the use of resources now, without jeopardizing the future.


In the lecture information, we discussed agricultural development and how that became the foundation for today’s developed societies. In Sri Lanka, the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, and other organizations have come together to teach farmers about best practices ( Pest infestations are a huge problem to Sri Lankan farmers, and many people have had issues with the pesticides being used improperly. Trainers have shown farmers the proper procedures when handling dangerous pesticides. This ranges from choosing the right products, to wearing the right equipment, and even reducing waste. As a result of these lessons about proper use of pesticides, farms have experienced healthier crops at higher outputs, and they are being sold for more money. One farmer reports his income has grown over 1 million rupees which is equal to about $14,500.


The case in Sri Lanka is almost the exact opposite to development where I am from. I am from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. It is in the northeast Pocono region of the state, and right on the border with New Jersey. There, farm land is not being promoted or helped, rather it is being turned in to retail centers. One family farm that has been in the region for almost a century was recently sold to develop an area of retail. This also relates to the Norway case, but instead of fish it is farm animals used for meat. There are no current projects to sustain, grow, or protect animals used for food. This has to do with the development of urban areas. Although my town is an hour and a half away from New York City, those in the five boroughs come to the Poconos to live, thinking it is “the country side.” However, with this increase in population comes the need for more land being used for economic development instead of agriculture.

The case study I chose from the provided sources involved hog farms and the environmental consequences and nuisances involved with these operations.  I found this case study from the list compiled from the University of Michigan at  The hog farms in question are located in North Carolina which according to this information is second in the country for hog production.  The goal of the development is to produce hogs conventionally in highly concentrated systems.  Also, the case study mentioned that there was a gap in the agricultural production because tobacco production has fallen off; hog production has filled this gap.  It relates to the development module because these farms are filling the demand for cheap meat sources that a developed country such as the US requires.  The farms seem to be located in rural areas that are less affluent, which also makes environmental justice relevant to the situation.

Also, I found a case study that looked into the treatment of agricultural workers and environmental effects from the farming systems that they work in.  This study was published in Environmental Research Letters, Volume 2, Number 4, and I accessed it online at  These farms are located in the Valley of San Quintin in Mexico, where a large amount of fruits and vegetables are grown for export using migrant workers for labor.  The living conditions are very poor for the agricultural workers, but also they are exposed to many negative environmental effects because of the area they work in.  They are exposed to pesticides, respiratory contaminants, and disease.  These operations are driven by the demand for produce by the US, but there is little regulation in Mexico to ensure safe conditions for the workers and people who live in these areas.

I chose these two agricultural topics because that is large part of the economy in my area in Erie County, PA.  In some ways they are similar because there is environmental consequence to any agriculture.  The hog situation is similar because there are nutrients that end up in the creeks and streams, however it is different because it seems like there is much more regulation here that dictates how concentrated animal operations can use manure. Also, there are not many instances where the burden of agricultural nuisances are placed disproportionately on lower income areas.  There are also seasonal workers for some farms in my area which relates to the migrant workers in San Quintin.  These workers also have potential to be exposed to pesticides and contaminants. The seasonal workers I am familiar with do have access to good housing and utilities unlike the Mexican workers however.  I think what can be learned is that there needs to be some regulation in all of these areas.  When development is only driven by economics, there tend to be injured parties.  With some oversight, community involvement, and good stewardship of resources, it is possible to create more sustainable development.  Geography also plays a role; the situations in case study illustrate very concentrated development, while the agriculture in northwest PA is more spread out and regulated.

Getting to Know You-Madison Halbom

Hello fellow Geog 030 students!

My name is Madison Halbom, I am a junior studying Environmental Systems Engineering at University Park. I transferred here this school year from the Abington campus. I was born and raised in Perkasie, PA about an hour outside of Philly. I plan on pursuing a job in the field of environmental engineering hopefully working in the area of water treatment. My interest in this course is to learn about the other nations and societies in the world and differences between my culture and theirs. I have only been out of the country to Mexico so I find other countries very interesting and would really love to travel to many places when I get older. Some fun facts about me is that I am a twin, my sisters name is Darby and she goes to Kutztown University located also in PA. I also have an older sister that teaches first grade in a low income area in North Carolina and a brother who is studying Civil Engineering at San Jose State in California.

Now with an introduction to various perspectives of geography, I consider a very interesting topic in the area of geography to be the interactions of the environment on humanity and the effect of humanity on the environment. A concept to consider is Governance, how people are forced to take into consideration the environment and how it may limit there choices. An example of this is the water resources in California, they are very limited, this being the case residents in areas of California needs to consider the risk of wild fires and lack of water in the earth and available to them. Also another concept is how human activities and humanity can exist and prosper without hurting or taking negative effects on the environment is known as the concept of sustainability. When I consider this concept I think of the efforts in rural PA working to preserve farmlands from being bought and developed with town-homes. This is a big issue in my home county of Bucks and we are constantly working to preserve the farmlands as much as possible to we maintain so of the environments integrity while living in the same community.

Biogas Diagram: Alex Deebel

When considering the topics from module two, I think about the types of feedback loops and how they are incorporated in my diagram. Examples of positive feedback loops occur when more money leads to more education, which leads to more technology. These are both good things for any social system. Also, more cows produce to more dung, which can be combined with water to make more slurry. The slurry makes more methane gas for cooking, and compost, which can be sold for money. Examples of negative feedback loops occur when the methane gas is used for cooking, which reduces smoke and infection in humans and the environment.


Making methane gas and using it for fuel is much more sustainable than cutting down trees, and wasting time gathering wood. Dung from livestock will always be available, so there will always be a source of energy to cook with. This is very important, especially in developing nations and nations with large populations.


There are several similarities between my diagram and the Marten diagram from the reading. They include population, knowledge/education, and technology on the social systems side, and plants, animals, and water on the ecosystem side. Differences include more detailed breakdowns of what each of those similarities produce. These differences occur because my diagram is about a specific human invention, whereas Marten’s is about the basic interaction. We can learn that each of the interactions listed in Marten’s diagram have many additional parts that make the relationships much more complicated.


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.

Module 2: Biogas in India

My system diagram presented shows the effect how the new and old ways for cooking has on the social system and the surrounding ecosystem. The arrows show the impact on that particular topic. The diagram shows the positive and negative aspects for using each fuel source. The negative impacts shown are related to using sticks for a fuel source by decreasing health and using child labor. The biogas fuel shows the positive impacts on the social system and ecosystem. The biogas fuel eliminated the need for child labor and has less health concerns. Also, the biogas fuel has helped their economy by selling compost that was made from the waste of the biogas food to the local farmers for fertilizer. This diagram also shows the biogas fuel has more resilience over the old fuel by, not having to depend on sticks and child labor.

When comparing my diagram to Figure 1.5 in the “What is Human Ecology?” article, there are similarities and differences. Both diagrams highlight the components of the social system and ecosystem. Also, both have the same general idea of the human-environment system and how they impact each other. Both show the different components of the biogas fuel and uses of its byproducts. The differences of the two diagrams is that in the Marten’s diagram, it uses the overall population, where in mine, I broke it down into the women and the child labor aspects. Comparing the two diagrams showed how there can be different perspectives and interpretations. Both diagrams highlight the main concepts that were discussed during the video.

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.

Getting to know you-Siying Chen

Hi, my name is Siying Chen and I’m a junior student studying environmental resource management at penn state university park. I’m from Guangzhou, China but I came to study abroad in U.S. since 2013, and since I only go home once a year, I basically live here in state college now. Although I haven’t have a clear picture about my future, I would like to do something related to water or waste treatment in the future, but before that I may want to go to study in graduate school. I’m taking this course to fulfill the requirement of my geography minor, and I’m also really interested in sustainability, to me, sustainability is one of the reasons why I choose this major. Outside of school, I like to play guitar and travel, so far I’ve set foot on 10 different countries and I’m hoping to visit South America someday!

In module one, I learnt about human-environment interaction and I think it’s very important. One of the main reasons why people study geography is to fulfill human being’s needs for natural resources. Since natural resources may be exhausted someday, we need to find a sustainable way to fulfill our need and recover the environment at the same time. Thus more and more people become interested in sustainability. As for living in a sustainable way, developed countries such as U.S. do a much better job than developing countries like China, so I hope I can learn some of the sustainable methods that developed countries used and the effects of that, and hopefully one day I can contribute some help in protecting the environment in my own country.

Getting to Know Dorish Nguyen

Hello! My name is Dorish and I am currently a freshman at Penn State University Park with an intended major of aerospace engineering. I was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, where the University of Notre Dame is located. I have lived here my entire life until recently when I decided to make the trek to State College, Pennsylvania in order to be here at Penn State. Currently, I am a part of Phi Sigma Rho sorority and currently serve as fundraising chair. I chose to study aerospace engineering because I truly feel like I can make a difference in the world. I joined this course due to its description for being a “geographic perspective on sustainability and human environment systems,” which I believe fits the interest of what I want to do in aerospace engineering. I am very interested in air and space craft and believe that as an engineer, I can hopefully eventually work for Boeing and develop better aircrafts and combat climate change. Airplanes burn a lot of fossil fuels, thus releasing a lot pollutants into the atmosphere. Therefore, by taking this course I hope to understand the earth better in order to create efficient and less wasteful airplanes one day.

Recently on the news, I have been seeing a lot of articles on Flint, Michigan’s tap water and how it has become toxic to the point of crisis. What happened was that there was a financial emergency in Flint, so the state decided to switch Flint’s water supply line from Lake Huron to the Flint River as a “cost-saving” measure, which turned out to be very corrosive. Geography fits this situation well, because geography does not just entail maps but as I learned, also includes human-environment interactions and politics. The Flint River would not have been so polluted had humans taken care of it, and the government should have implemented environmental policy in order to control the human impact on the Flint River. The topic of human environment interactions poses the question of “how does the natural environment shape, control, and constrain human systems?” The instance of the Flint water crisis sheds light on this question where the health of the Flint River has caused many citizens of Flint to suffer due to the inaccessibility to clean tap water. This situation is an eye-opener to how humans need to become more sustainable in order to have clean water systems so when times come when they need to access a certain water source, that water source is not deemed toxic like in the case of Flint, Michigan.

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.


Getting to Know You: Alex Deebel

Hello, my name is Alex Deebel! I grew up in Hershey, PA, and have lived there since my family moved from Washington D.C. when I was 4 years old. I am a senior majoring in Finance with a minor in International Business. I will be moving to Philadelphia, PA after I graduate this spring to peruse a career in consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). My International Business minor focuses a lot on sustainability and corporate social responsibility, so I thought GEOG 030 would provide a more scientific perspective to the topics. Sustainability is something that every company should be concerned with, as consumers tend to demand better and have higher standards for the businesses in their community. I don’t consider myself to be a sustainability expert by any means, but I enjoy learning about all the innovative ways we can protect the environment while businesses are still able to make a profit.

A topic I think geography is well suited to explore is corporate sustainability. I consider this topic to be very important and time sensitive, and fits well into the category of human impact on the environment. Consumers demanding more responsible actions from corporations is a quickly growing trend around the world. Many people look immediately to major manufacturers with large power plants and harmful chemicals to change their processes and decrease their pollution. While this is a good start, we shouldn’t forget about the major businesses that are not necessarily manufacturing physical goods. The services sector makes up a larger percentage of the economy than goods, so we need to focus our attention on their processes and effects on the environment also. Globalization has caused the demand for US services to significantly increase around the world. Stricter standards of more ethical environmental protection need to be introduced quickly. Examples could include reducing the number of people and/or the amount they travel to clients, or keeping electronic copes of reports instead of printing multiple copies.

Module 1: Getting To Know You – Ben Ceci

Hi everybody! My name is Ben Ceci and I am a 3rd year Landscape Architecture student, minoring in horticulture, at University Park. I was born and raised in Greenwich, CT and hope to use my education to add an architectural branch to my dad’s landscaping / site development business. As a designer of the outdoors, I think that it’s very important to learn about the land, how it functions, and how I can design in the best possible way to preserve the land. With the landscape architecture department focusing on sustainability, it would also be beneficial to learn about how humans are directly affecting the environment and how I can design in a more sustainable way. Although I’m from CT, my whole family consists of die hard Steelers fans and whenever the Steelers have a home game in the playoffs, we rent a bus and 30 – 40 of us buckle up and spend the weekend in Pittsburgh. I love to travel as well so learning about the geography in different areas interests me as well.

A big issue in the world today is the increase in population and how to deal with it. Everyday more and more people are born and more and more farmland is being developed. This is a recipe for failure because eventually there will not be enough resources to feed all of these people. Once the agricultural soils are developed, they are basically destroyed and no longer ideal for farming. This has a lot to do with scale because the population is increasing both locally and worldwide while the farmland is decreasing locally and worldwide as well. It is our generation’s responsibility to plan out development and design sustainably in order to allow the future generations to live in the same way that we do now, if not better.


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

Hello! My name is Maura. I am originally from the South Hills of Pittsburgh. I enjoy riding horses, skiing, hiking, cooking, and traveling. I graduated from Penn State in May 2014 with a degree in forensic science (chemistry option) and minors in chemistry and psychology. I began doing research my junior year and following graduation I accepted a full-time position in the research laboratory.   I am a research assistant in an analytical chemistry lab that focuses on environmental and forensic applications. I live and work full-time at University Park. I am currently applying and interviewing for pharmacy school. My career goals are to become a pharmacist. I am currently taking courses to meet the prerequisites for pharmacy school. I have laboratory experience investigating environmental chemistry impacts on human health. I am excited for this class to display other perspectives on the environment. I hope to have a well-rounded understanding of the environment and how humans effect the environment after completing this course.


The United States of America has been experiencing an energy crisis.   The coal supply is rapidly decreasing and the USA is becoming increasingly dependent on the Middle East for oil. With the diminishing amount of fossil fuels in the USA and the government’s reluctances to rely on the Middle East, the USA has displayed governance. Foreign policy and natural resource constraints have resulted in unconventional shale gas drilling in America. People have expressed great concern about the sustainability of fracking. Many people are worried about the potentially detrimental impacts fracking could have on the environment. A fracking incidence could result in dangerous chemicals leaching into drinking water. This would affect a local scale in which small towns or counties could experience health effects if fracking sites were to contaminate drinking water supplies. Maps of the shale rock basins in the USA visualize the various shale basins present in the bedrock of America. The shale rock stretching across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio is the Marcellus formation.

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.

Anthony Russo Learning Activity: Getting to Know You

Hello everyone, my name is Anthony Russo and I am currently a sophomore at Penn State University Park. I currently live in downtown State College for school and I am from a small town about half an hour outside of Reading called Douglassville. For those not familiar with that area, it is about one and a half hours west of Philadelphia. The major I am currently studying is Security and Risk Analysis with the Intelligence Analysis and Modeling option. With this major I hope to work for either the government or a large corporation in the business sector. I am not very sure which route I want to pursue yet. Geography has always interested me when it came up in lesson plans of former courses. I wanted to learn about the subject more in depth. One fun fact about me is that I like to play golf and have scored a hole-in-one from 169 yards out.

After being introduced to the breadth of perspectives in the field of geography, a major issue that has come to my attention is that of global warming. This issue is important because there is a good chance it is responsible for the changes currently being witnessed on Earth. The influx in temperatures and the melting of the top of the planet are just a few examples. The scale of global warming is not just a small region, but the entire planet. This is very well suited for the subject of geography because a major contributor to this epidemic is human impact on the environment such as carbon monoxide produced from man-made cars. This leads to humans questioning whether we can sustain ourselves with other ecological systems. I would like to explore the ethics of humans and see how much we put ourselves over the ecosystem. What would be different if humans didn’t prioritize themselves over non-human ecological systems?

Getting to know me

I am Brian Peck, a 33 year old, married, father of two awesome boys (8 and ten months). I spent ten and a half years in the United States Marine Corps where I worked as an air traffic controller. I got out to start my own farm and food truck but ended up moving to State College to work at the airport and go to school instead! I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and spent my later growing up years in Dallas, Texas, where I enlisted into the Marine Corps. I am interested in the Agricultural department, I want to own my own farm and store/restaurant/butcher/what ever else I can think of! So I am pursuing knowledge in the Ag field and business management, or something like that! (I really have no idea what I’m doing!) This course meets some requirement of mine and it looks interesting, I really just want to learn a little bit about everything.

I never gave geography much thought until now and realize how much I have used it in the past. From planning operations and site selection for FARP’s (forward arming and refueling points) to reading maps and figuring scale and position for troop movement, utilizing different aspects of geography, perhaps in a skewed fashion but I have used it nonetheless. Watching the video “Powers of Ten” was interesting, and that was made in 77! can you imagine if they re-made that video today? scaling down to the cell in the blade of grass under the picnic blanket? that would be interesting.

I look forward to working through this class this semester, I think it will truly be interesting. Good luck to you all!

Getting to Know Me!

Hello everyone! My name is Julianna Cardillo (but people call me Julie or Jules for short). I currently live in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, but up until I was ten years old I lived in a near by town called Throop, Pennsylvania. I am a sophomore at Penn State Worthington Scranton, but I will be transferring to University Park in the fall! My major is Early Childhood Education, so I would like to become a teacher when I graduate (preferably  of 1st or 2nd graders). In addition, I would like to specialize in math education by obtaining a Masters Degree. I am taking this course for two reasons: The first reason is obvious; I needed an Economic Geography credit for my major. The second reason is because when I was looking for different courses to satisfy this credit, GEOG 030 caught my attention the most because the topics discussed in this course seemed very interesting to me, since I never knew/learned about the social aspect of Geography. As one to have a major that deals with social science, I felt that this course would be the most beneficial one. Now, some facts about me are I am on my campus’ softball and cheer teams. I am a member of THON and our campus’ Lion Ambassadors, as well. I love meeting and talking to new people, so I am very excited to “meet” all of you!

As I was reading through Module 1, the issue that sparked my interest the most was “Human-Environment Interactions.” I feel that this is well suited to discuss because this is the world we live in, so we should be weary of how we affect it and how it affects us. Moreover, humans are changing the environment everyday (and vice versa). However, when I read through this module, I learned that Paul Crutzen (Nobel Prize- winning scientist) believes that we live in an Anthropocene era, where humans are believed to be dominant over the environment. I can agree with Crutzen because I have noticed over the past decade humans have impacted and dominated the environment more by pollution, deforestation, etc. For example, I live by a small city called Dickson City, where they have had a Texas Roadhouse for many years. However, recently, that Texas Roadhouse was knocked down because it “wasn’t big enough” and rebuilt down the road. In order to build a bigger Texas Roadhouse, trees had to be cleared and the environment was disrupted. That leads me into thinking about ethics, because was it really environmentally ethical to ruin more of the environment to make a bigger Texas Roadhouse? Probably not. Ideas and actions like this are causing our environment to deplete. On the contrary, in this same city exists an abandoned Walmart, and this Walmart is abandoned because it was build too close to a rocky cliff. This resulted in boulders and rocks constantly falling on it. Clearly, the builders of this Walmart did not have much governance when it came to the location of where they wanted to build this Walmart. It is obvious that humans and the environment are constantly affecting each other in many (bad/good) ways. It is important that people consider the environment before they take action in doing something, since the result can be negative. By sustainability, I believe that we and the environment can live in peace without harming each other. Also, by learning about our surroundings and “thinking before we do,” we can avoid from being harmed by the environment or harming the environment.

Getting to Know You

Hello! My name is Timothy Granata.  I am a Senior at the Worthington-Scranton Campus of Penn State.  I live in Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania having moved here from Pittston, Pennsylvania about 15 years (roughly) ago.  I am pursuing a degree in Information Sciences and Technology with the Design and Development option.  I would like to be either a database administrator, or software developer in my career.  Somewhat ironically, I currently intern at Benco Dental in Pittston in the Application Development department.  I am interested in this course because I have taken two other geography courses at Penn State as well as some Earth courses and decided that it be of my best interest to continue taking these courses until I graduate in the spring.  Other things I enjoy are cars, video games, computers, and jet skiing.

One issue that I believe to be important to geography is how there is a mutual relationship between how humans impact the environment, and how the environment impacts humans.  I think that it is very important that as humans, we understand the potential consequences of the actions we take that affect our environment.  There are plenty of examples of where these consequences were ignored.  One that comes to mind is the Centralia Coal Mines that are still burning underground to this day.  If we just took the time to better understand how these actions affect our environment, this disaster and many others like it could have been prevented.

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.

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!