Unit 1: Understanding our Environment

Environmental science

Discussion Assignment

1. What environmental concerns in your local area did you learn about?

The main issue in Germany is the continued increase in land taking for settlement and transport. We also see a decrease of ten percent in the fishing success rate compared to the year before.

Germany also has the same global problems like other countries. Climate change and problems with pollution from chemicals and waste (Environment Statistics Country Snapshot, 2013).

2. Did they surprise you? Why or why not?

If I think more and deeper about the problems, it does not surprise me because they always build more and more streets and houses here in Germany. The people from urban regions always want to build their own house and move to a more silent region. Also, we have an increase in population in the last years. An increase in people results in an increased need for buildings and transport. We live in a time of “speed and comfort”. People don’t have enough time, so they always want to reach locations fast. They can reach their location fastest in their own car. An increase in prosperity is also a significant reason.

More streets, better train connections, and the new houses need also a connection to (new) streets.

Greenhouse gas emission is also a problem in our country. Germany is the land of cars. Everyone has a car here. We have a good public transport system, but the people do not use it.

3. What do you think can be done to improve this (these) situation(s), hazard(s), problem(s), or concern(s)?

People need to be motivated to use the public transport system to decrease the emission of greenhouse gasses.

People should be motivated to live in urban regions. Maybe we can do something to make a living in urban regions more attractive. If we have a decrease in traffic and pollution in urban regions the people are more motivated to live there.

I do not think really about the land settlement problem until today, but if I think deeper about it,  it is a real and logical problem. The greenhouse gas emission is a logical consequence of the increase in traffic and land settlement problems.

What other thoughts would you contribute to the topic?

The slower fishing success rate could be related to the increasing reduction in fish stocks. Reduced fish stocks is a problem of global warming and overfishing.


Environment Statistics Country Snapshot. (2013, August). Retrieved November 12, 2016, from http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/envpdf/Country_Snapshots_Aug 2013/Germany.pdf

Sorry, I forgot some facts about topic number 4:

  1. Give two interesting facts that you learned about your country from the Environmental Snapshots page at the UN Statistics Division link.

In 1990 Germany 1.248 Mio. tons of greenhouse gasses produced which constantly decreased until 2012. In 2012 Germany produced 940 tons. Since them, it constantly increases. The forecast for 2013 is about 951 tons of greenhouse gasses (European Environment Agency, 2015).

We have no newer official statistics about the emission of greenhouse gasses.


Countries and regions Germany. 2015. Retrieved November 12, 2016, from http://www.eea.europa.eu/downloads/fe3e9d0cc2ba49219dc25260238fed65/1478512529/germany.pdf

Learning Journal

1. Write a brief introduction of yourself in the Learning Journal.

My name is Michél Picker, living in Germany. At the moment I work as a mobile male nurse, helping old and disabled patients. I care for them at home. I worked in many jobs in a lot of different company’s since I left school.

I have many interests and hobbies. In my free time, I do a little research in the medicine and biology area.

Sometimes I try to make the company in which I work better. I try to make the nursing quality for the patients and employees better with some suggestions for improvements or ideas.

2. Explain why you took this course and what you hope to learn from it.

I took this course because the topic was very interesting to me. It was an intuition that let me chose this course. I think the course help me with my research and let me learn many details about our environment and the science behind this.

3. Please describe, in detail, some of the major environmental issues in your local village/community/town/region/nation. What are they? Why are they an issue? Do you know of any current actions to deal with it?

Our town has a dam in the near, the water quality has decreased in the last years. The pollution has increased and the PH value is abnormal. A farmer has tilted his sewage from his animals in the water. The consequence was an immediate algae bloom.

Independently of the algae bloom, we have a pest of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha)  in the water.  Birds excrete the larvae in the water. A consequence is a bloom of these mussels. The government has not a real solution for that yet. In order to continue to use the beaches for tourism, they place stones at the beach to prevent the mussels from setting on the beach.

This year we have in the forests in our region a blow-up of wild boars. They have an influence in agriculture here. The harvesting machines have often a problem with the animals. They barring them from harvesting the cereals. Also, more and more accidents with animals occur. A reason for that is the change in forestry (Wetzel, 2016).

4. If you were to implement one, a small, simple project in your local area or family in support of the environment, what would it be? Why?

I would test my new water purifying method at which I am currently working. My hometown has a dam in the near.

We have a lot of eukaryotes in the water, sometimes too much. Too many eukaryotes are not good for other species, like carp. The eukaryotes use too much oxygen next to a big surface of the sea. They hinder other lifeforms on photosynthesis.

I think my method could help to improve the water quality and stabilize the ecosystem of the sea. It is just a try.

We can use the collected data for further research in other areas or implement the method in areas which bad water quality.

5. One or two sentences of your own personal reflection on something you learned this week.

I learned, to better understand our environment and to know more about our global environment. Know I better understand the influence that the people have on our environment.


Wetzel, G. (2016, November 11). Wildschweinplage im Oberland von Zeulenroda-Triebes gemeinsam bekämpfen. Retrieved November 12, 2016, from http://www.otz.de/startseite/detail/-/specific/Wildschweinplage-im-Oberland-von-Zeulenroda-Triebes-gemeinsam-bekaempfen-1233811132

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