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Brendon E

Page history last edited by Brendon E 10 years, 8 months ago


Brendon Esperancilla

Class Period

Period 1

Hobbies and Interests

martial arts, video games, board games

Activities outside of school

North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Junior Ambassador (sounds more impressive than it really is)

Why I am enrolled in AP Environmental Science

It offers extra points toward GPA in high school and offers potential college credit at the cost of a single semester of classwork.

What I hope to get out of this class

Excellent grades (A+), college credit, and a better understanding of Earth/Environmental Science 

Links of Interest


Uploaded Homework Assignment and Class Projects

I could try to upload my group's Phosphorous Quiz with the music here if anyone wants. Please leave a comment below if you do.


Click here to see our group's data for the Shannon Wiener Diversity Index assignment: Group Awesome: Data for vehicle-species 3-7-09



Journal One:   Respond to ONE of the following prompts:


Chapter 2:  Some analysts believe that the world’s remaining hunter-gatherer societies should be given title to the land on which they and their ancestors have lived for centuries and should be left alone by civilization.  They content that we have created protective reserves for endangered species, so why not create protective reserves for cultures?  What do you think?  Explain.


     Hundreds of years ago, there lived a group of humans who at the time and even today were known (notorious, really) for their "culture". They were the Norse (North; Scandanavian); their most familiar incarnation was as the Vikings. Their lands were not particularly fertile or rich in ore or many resources at all. As a result, their culture developed into one of raiding parties to raid and pillage those who had resources, like merchant ships and lavish cities (and peasants). They had advanced shipbuilding technology for their time, and they applied it to their raiding in the iconic form of the Norse Longships. Fine explorers, yes (Leif Eriksson), but they also enjoyed battle, war, and conflict in general. Their warriors, who wore bear sarks (bearskin shirts), were feared as the most fierce and battle-crazed fighters known. Their battle rage and fashion statement (bear sark) inspired the modern word berserk.

     Their very religion stressed the importance of warriorship, as only those who died honorably in battle (or hanged themselves... go figure) were selected by the Valkyrie warrior maidens for an afterlife in Valhalla. The unworthy would spend their afterlives in the goddes Hel's realm (the realm of Hel... sound familiar?). The ones chosen for Valhalla (the Einherjar) would spend all night feasting and drinking alcohol in the god Odin's hall, then go outside in the day and practice war by massacring each other. When night fell again, they would regenerate, return to Odin's hall, and feast some more! They practiced in order to improve their skills for Ragnarok (the end of the world), where they would fight a doomed battle against all manner of fierce, evil creatures. Their battle would ravage and destroy the world and decimate both sides. Supposedly, life would begin anew amidst the empty battlefield.


Does this sound like a culture that should remain in practice today? The legendary culture and mythology of the Norse is sufficiently preserved within museums, literature, textbooks, and video games (pretty good ones).


Journal Two: Respond to ONE of the following prompts:

Chapter 4:  Why could the total amount of animal flesh on the earth never exceed the total amount of plant flesh, even if all animals are vegetarians?


Due to the Laws of Thermodynamics, energy is lost during each energy transformation or transfer, like when one organism consumes another. Organisms use energy to bind raw materials together (monomers) to form the structures of their bodies (polymers). With each ascent up one trophic level, approximately 10% of the previous store of energy is available for activities such as this. Therefore, animals (which reside in trophic levels higher than plants) will never have the same amount of energy to produce the same amount of biomass as plants (which reside in trophic levels lower than animals).


Journal Three: Respond to ONE of the following prompts:


Chapter 8:  Suppose a hurricane blows down most of the trees in a forest.  Timber company officials offer to salvage the fallen trees and plant a tree plantation to reduce the chances of fire and to improve the area’s appearance, with an agreement that they can harvest the trees when they reach maturity and plant another tree farm.  Others argue that the damaged forest should be left alone because hurricanes and other natural events are part of nature and the dead trees will serve as a source of nutrients for natural recovery through ecological succession.  What do you think should be done and why?


I think that the trees should be left to do what dead trees were designed/evolved (whichever you believe in) to do. I would question the practicality of planting a tree plantation on hurricane-prone lands. I would question the veracity of the reasoning that planting trees, which are flammable, would reduce the chances of fire. I would wonder at what point did timber companies care about the appearance of their tree plantations. I would respect and fear nature and thus be loath to defy the force it can muster (hurricane!) in the face of a fragile, synthetic tree plantation. I would prefer that the nutrients decomposed from the trees recycle into the environment for later use as opposed to being turned into something that does not contribute to the environment (toothpick).


Journal Four: Respond to ONE of the following prompts:

Chapter 9:  Suppose because of disease or genetic defects from inbreeding, the wolves on Isle Royal (page 197) die off.  Should we (a) intervene and import new wolves to help control the moose population or, (b) let the moose population grow until it exceeds its carrying capacity and suffers another population crash?  Explain.


Let's think about this for a minute, okay? We should attack (and destroy!) this problem step by step. Let us first consider the purpose of intervening. In the grand scheme of things, is it worth it? Does is benefit us in any way? If so, we can move on to the next step. After considering our two choices, we should ask ourselves why we should be limited to these particular choices. Having opened our minds to other (unmentioned as of yet) ideas, we can then consider the real problem: why are the wolves dying? Once we realize that solving this problem would negate further debate, we can then move on to actually solving the problem and not its effects (ex. curing a disease instead of just reducing symptoms). Some sort of genetic therapy or introduction of resistant genes into the population might be a good cure. ["solution" (a) only delays the inevitable (another wolf wipeout) and introduces the potential problems of non-native species; "solution" (b) is complete inaction, (which sometimes is the best action) which may leave the island at the mercy of the moose and possibly result in a ravaged plant population followed by a loss of upper trophic level life]


Chapter 12:  Congratulations – you have just been put in charge of the world.  Explain the 5 most important features of your population policy.


Governmental control:

People cannot be trusted to reproduce responsibly for the good of the world, another commons tragedy. Only responsible people will control their breeding habits, while irresponsible people will not. The human gene pool will then be flooded with such genes and responsibility could be bred from our genome! China's government is a good example of control.



Enacting controls to discourage disobedience is a good method of prevention. People must live their lives counting on the fact that there will be retribution for transgression. Their desire to avoid the consequences will help minimize the need for said consequences to be implemented. Again, China serves as an example.



Controls must be properly and efficiently (brutally?) enforced. The best way to enforce on such a large scale is through the combined efforts of local enforcement. Each control unit (supression squad, police station, gun turret, etc.) will have responsibility over a much smaller area than the entire global government would; this increases response time and appropriateness of response ("individualized attention" for each unique case).


Human Resources:

In order to effectively enforce these controls, we must have enforcers. The best enforcers are the ones that are too strong or too feared for people to defy, attempt to defy, or even think about defying. Ideally, these enforcers would be able to defend our nation from vile invaders that would attempt to jealously destroy or steal our great utopia. A powerful army would be best suited to this task. Human resources would serve as soldiers, officers, etc.



Oh, you'll like this...


More totalitarianism coming soon!



Journal Five:   Respond to ONE of the following prompts:

Chapter 13:  Some people argue that starving people could get enough food by eating non conventional plants and insects; other point out that most starving people do not know what plants and animals are safe to each and cannot take a chance on experimenting when even the slightest illness could kill them.  If you had no money to grow or buy food, would you collect and eat protein-rich grasshoppers, moths, or other insects?


I would eat grasshoppers, not moths, and maybe other insects.


I believe grasshoppers would be good as they are good sources of protein, and their chitin polymer exoskeletons provide a source of basic carbohydrates (they're crunchy, too). John the Baptist of biblical times was known for living off of "locusts (grasshoppers) and wild honey". There ought to be plenty because locusts swarm. Also, I am not familiar with any kind of poisonous grasshopper.


Moths are rather small and would likely provide insubstantial nutrition. They would be difficult to catch and don't swarm in harvestable quantities like grasshoppers. Plus, they are likely to be dusted with a fine film of powdered poison. Not good...


There are many other insects that serve as food and can serve as food. Ever heard of chocolate covered ants? Their chitinous exoskeletons, like with grasshoppers, are good sugar polymers. Maggots are also notorious delicacies and survival foods. Beetles are nice and meaty. Worms "taste like chicken". I would avoid "exotic-looking" critters, ones overly furry, spiky, or poisonous-looking in any other ways.


Journal Six:   Respond to ONE of the following prompts:


Chapter 17:  Congratulation!  You are in charge of reducing air pollution in your country.  List the 3 most important features of your policy.


1. Education

We citizens require proper, modern, and up-to-date education in order to facilitate the proper management of this country and the making of intelligent (and proper) decisions. Starting with children in school (our system will be modeled after modern public education institutions), each citizen will be taught about Earth Science; as adults, they will be kept well-informed about today's world with regular, impartial updates provided by news outlets and other media (which will be funded by the government to negate the need for unhelpful "sensationalism" used to draw consumers). Government officials and legislators (and the people in general) MUST have education about the systems and processes that run our world in order to make informed and intelligent (and proper!) decisions and laws. In this way, protective laws are more likely to be passes easier. Countries like America are excellent examples... of what can happen when people of any intelligence level regarding Earth Science (even of no intelligence) are permitted to contribute their two-cent views to a country's legislative processes.


2. No gas-/fuel-powered vehicles

We citizens of this country will walk, run, hike, or bike whenever we wish to travel between places. This includes going to school and work, going shopping for goods, and going back home. Our country is quite small (smaller than New York City!), so we have no need of such frivolous nonessentials like your fancy cars, and trucks, and tanks.


3. Diplomacy

We citizens would have a small country (very small, see above). We would have either no military, or a military of such negligible strength it would be the same as not having one (small population, no tanks). We need diplomacy and good, strong relationships with other, more brutish countries (again, like America). This would help mitigate the chance of needing any military and would also provide a useful ally.

More importantly, we must realize that our country is hardly isolated from the other countries. We all share the same ocean, air, and sun, and some share the same water supplies and other resources. Diplomatic relationships would allow our country to voice concerns over the pollution spewed from one country that may affect ours.



I love America, and I love living here. I could have cited many other countries (Cuba), but they are clichéd and would not make someone think and consider as much as something a little closer to home. I voice concerns because I care, but that does not change that this is a fine country in which we (Americans) live that serves as a model for the good guys and a target for the bad. In this sense, America is the superhero of the world!



Journal Seven:   Respond to ONE of the following prompts:

Chapter 21:  Explain why you support or oppose requiring that:

  1. all beverage containers be reusable
  2. all household and businesses sort recyclable materials into separate containers for curbside pick-up
  3. garbage collecting systems implement the pay-as-you-trash approach
  4. consumers pay for plastic or paper bags to encourage the use of reusable shopping bags



a. Support:

Reusable beverage containers help avoid waste in manufacturing new products at premium value when reusing these products conserves money, energy, and resources. Money is trifling compared to the bigger picture: both energy and resources are of finite supply and WILL deplete if not utilized wisely

b. Oppose:

It would not only be grueling for businesses and especially households to do this; it would be wasteful! There are facilities specially designed for sorting materials for recycling. They are best equipped for this task. Not every (hardly any, rather) business or household has high-power electromagnets, fans, conveyor belts, and such for sorting through garbage. Recycling facilities already have the sorting equipment. It costs energy, but the cost may be higher if it were done by just anybody at home or at work. Sloppy or careless job, perhaps? Is it wise to trust just anybody (actually everybody) to do their part?

c. Support:

Garbage collecting and processing/disposal costs both energy and money. Taxes cover these expenses. Why should Mr. and Mrs. Smith pay the same cost to have the garbage from their one bin collected as Mr. Factory (just any factory) pays to have the same for the garbage from his gigantic basement?

d. Support:

It sounds like a tariff, in which the requirement for pay is not intended to earn money but to coerce people to take the cheaper action. I can envision these bags becoming everyday items or even cultural icons. I see them becoming like shopping carts are now. They could be sold at any local grocery store near you! I see no problem with that.


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