Unit 8: The Force

Poster promoting clean water in Mexico.
Poster promoting clean water in Mexico.


The poster reads:

“The Water is Toxic!”

“Give Mexico Clean Water”

“The tap water in Mexico does not have to go through water purfication. This is a danger for tourists, visitors, and the citizens because it can be a carrier of diseases. In 2008, 73% of the water in Mexico was contaminated (PNUMA.org, 2010). The best solution is to make water treatment facilities in Mexico. Many species will be affected from this, such as people, dogs, and cats. But many bacteria and pathogens are affected too. For example, cholera was in Mexico in 2013 and extended through Mexico. If we have water treatment facilities in Mexico, this will not be able to happen and cholera will die. Because of this, cholera will not survive into the future.”

The legend, from top to bottom reads:

“Excellent”  “Acceptable”  “Somewhat contaminated”   “Contaminated”  “Highly contaminated”  and  “Presence of toxins”

Phoenix’ Skate Scene


Skateboarding is not accommodated in Downtown Phoenix.


Understanding of Problem.

Skateboarding is a growing hobby with many benefits. Unfortunately, it is not accommodated in Downtown Phoenix.

According to the Phoenix, Arizona city code, skateboarding is prohibited everywhere except designated skateboarding areas (Phoenix Ord. No. G-4224). Click here to view the Phoenix code pertaining skateboarding. Skaters are no longer able to skate in public areas. Although not being able to skate in public areas is a burden, one might think that skaters can still just visit skateparks when they want to skate.


The unfortunate part of this situation is that Downtown Phoenix skaters don’t even have a nearby skatepark. There is not a single skatepark in the Downtown Phoenix area. The closest skatepark to central Phoenix (Central and Washington) is Cesar Chavez skatepark which is about nine miles away (Google Maps, May 2016). The second closest skatepark is Desert West Skatepark, just over nine miles from Central and Washington (Google Maps, May 2016).

Map of skateparks in the Valley of the Sun. Notice the lack of parks in Downtown and Central Phoenix
Map of skateparks in the Valley of the Sun. Notice the lack of parks in Downtown and Central Phoenix. This data has been gathered through ConcreteDisciples.com, skatepark.com, and my own data collection. I also interviewed/surveyed skaters, 91% of which said DTP was not accommodating skaters and needs a skateboard park.

With this being the case, skaters in downtown Phoenix have to plan trips and travel far in order to skate legally. However, not all do this. Many skaters still skate the streets of Downtown Phoenix, putting themselves and others at risk. First of all, skating is disruptive. It makes a lot of noise and can get in the way of passers-by. This isn’t okay in an area where pedestrians are walking down the sidewalk, people are working, and cars are passing. A stray skateboard hitting a passerby is just one example of how street skating can go south. On top of people being injured, local businesses and property owners may suffer from this too. An injury from a skater or passerby on private property could leave the owner responsible.

As if property owners weren’t suffering enough already, their property can be severely damaged by skateboarding. Skating requires inevitable contact with the environment, most of which is damaging. Ledges can be chipped, handrails destroyed, grounds dirtied up, and much more. It’s usually the case that the prettier something is, the better it is to skate.

Not only are outsiders at risk, but skaters are at risk too. By skating on private property, skaters run the risk of being arrested, fined, and maybe even sued. Making criminals of active people following their hobby passionately isn’t fair. Skaters are just doing what they love, but they are non-maliciously breaking the law.

Continue reading Phoenix’ Skate Scene

Unit 7: Big Fights

Getting sunburnt skin is annoying, painful, and can be tedious. We all know that people get sunburned quite often. Something that many people may not realize though is that sunburn can be very dangerous. UV damage can even lead to skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, over 5.4 million cases of some type of skin cancer are reported annually in the US. In 2016 alone, it is expected that approximately 10,130 will die from melanoma – a type of skin cancer – in the United States. [1, 2]

There are many ways to help prevent overexposure to UV radiation. Some examples are wearing UV protective clothing, seeking shaded areas, and – probably the most common – applying sunscreen to exposed skin. However, taking these preventative measures can be tedious; one may not always want to change their clothes or rub sunscreen on their bodies every time they wish to be in the sun. These measures also may not always be an option. People don’t always have access to proper clothing, shade, and sunscreen, so what should they do then? Not be in sunlight? This answer surely isn’t fair and can also be dangerous because we need the sun to produce vitamin D. Without vitamin D synthesis we would not be able to survive.

Continue reading Unit 7: Big Fights

Unit 6 Assessment: The Lab-Grown Kidney

You are a doctor in a hospital with a patient who is also a close friend. The patient is currently unconscious and suffering from acute kidney failure. You have tried multiple times to get a hold of this person’s family but have not been able to. You are also unable to find a will for the patient. This friend is very passionate about her religion, which, amongst other things, doesn’t allow its people to use lab-made organs. Your patient came into the hospital very late, meaning actions must be taken immediately if you plan to save her.

Unfortunately, your friend is in urgent need of a new kidney, and because of your location, all you have access to are lab-grown organs. You have the choice of giving her a lab-grown kidney, meaning almost certain survival, but this would require betraying your friend’s trust. If your friend were to find out, she would feel absolutely betrayed and you could lose an important companion. Additionally, if the church discovered that she had a lab-grown kidney inside her, she would be kicked from the church forever and looked down upon by all her people.

Your only other option is to leave your friend with her own kidney and hope that she heals. However, the chances of survival with this route are extremely slim. If your friend does survive after this option, she and the church will be eternally grateful and loving towards you.

What should you do?

Continue reading Unit 6 Assessment: The Lab-Grown Kidney

Skateboarding in Downtown Phoenix Project


My STF challenge is that skateboarding is not accommodated in Downtown Phoenix. I know this to be true for two reasons. The first is that, according to the City of Phoenix Municipal codes 36-64, “ No motorized skateboard or motorized play vehicle may be operated on any public sidewalk, roadway, or any other part of a highway or on any bikeway, bicycle path or trail, equestrian trail, or shared-use path.” This means that skateboarding is illegal in and/or on any public space. The code continues on to say that skateboarding is also illegal on all lots that aren’t designated skateboarding areas.

One’s first thought may be “why don’t skaters just go to skateparks/designated skateboarding areas?”, which leads right into my second reason. Despite the fact that this seems like an easy solution, it is quite the opposite for many Downtown Phoenix skaters. The closest skatepark to Downtown Phoenix is Cesar Chavez park which is on 39th Avenue and Baseline, approximately 10 miles from Central and Washington.
So, Downtown Phoenix skaters don’t have any designated places to skate and are not allowed to skate in public. This means that they have two options: they can choose not to skate in downtown Phoenix, requiring them to give up what is a way of life for some; or, they can skate illegally. Because there is no better option, many skaters will go with the latter option, thus making criminals of innocent people trying to do what they love.

Why is it that skateboarding is illegal in Phoenix? Well, as hard as it is to say, there are several good reasons. The reason that I’ll start with is that skateboarding can heavily damage property. Many skateboarding tricks require obstacles such as ledges and rails. “Grinding” is when a skater slides along a ledge or rail with the metal axles on the bottom of their skateboard. Grinds can cause ledges and rails to crack, chip, and get worn down in various other ways.
Naturally, property owners do not usually want their property to get damaged, but unfortunately, skateboarding is a massive damage dealer.
Another reason is that skateboarding can be very disruptive. Riding down the street or sidewalk is very noisy by itself, but the sound increases significantly when doing tricks. Just about every trick in the book produces massive amounts of noise. In areas with other people, this can get very annoying and distract from other activities. Skaters may also get in the way of cars, pedestrians, and anything/anyone else passing by. This is not only annoying, but can endanger both skaters and surrounding people, which leads right into the next reason.
Skateboarding can be a very dangerous activity. Skaters may fall and hurt themselves. This is not only bad because skaters can get hurt, but also because the owner of the property in which an injury happens could be held responsible for the skaters actions. This means that skaters may have the option to sue an owner if they hurt themselves on the owner’s property. Passersby may also be injured by skaters. A board could slip out and hit someone walking down the street. Once again, this is bad because someone is being injured and because the property owner may be held responsible or sued for the actions of skaters.

Now that we’ve gotten the laws out of the way, why is it that there aren’t any designated skate spots in Downtown Phoenix? Well, there are a few reasons. Because of the size and density of Downtown Phoenix there aren’t many suitable lots for skateboarding. Many of the vacant lots either have stuff built on them or have plans to be built on. Almost all of the lots that are suitable for skateboarding have very high values because of the fact that they are in a growing metropolitan area, and are thus very expensive. Continue reading Skateboarding in Downtown Phoenix Project

Unit 4 Assessment: Telephone Innovation

The invention of the telephone is something that has had a large hand in making our world today. The first successful telephone call, by a man named Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, was the first step in creating something that is now looked at as a necessity.
Look around and you will notice, whether landline or cellular, almost everybody has a telephone. Telephones affect business, personal matters, and every other relation between humans. They are a direct result of the values of society.
Man has a natural desire for convenience, and telephones are a product of man’s desire for convenience. Telephones allow for multiple people to talk to each other instantaneously, whenever they want. Rather than writing a letter or going to someone directly, people can press a few buttons and then have full conversations from completely different parts of the world.
Imagine how hard it would be for people and businesses to share their expertise, products, services, thoughts, and everything else if telephones hadn’t been invented.

First math component. The information in this photo is purely fictional.
First math component. The information in this photo is purely fictional.

The concept of supply and demand alone has become significantly easier since the invention of telephones. If a business or person needs more supplies or products, they can simply call up the supplier and request more. Then, people can stay updated throughout every step of the process: delivery, shipping, creation, sales, etc. Without the invention of telephones, even your local corner stores would be completely different than what they are today. It may have taken weeks, if not months, for them to get your favorite bag of chips or preferred flavor of ice cream if they had to send a letter or request more in person.
As if finding a landline to call someone wasn’t convenient enough, humans went ahead and made mobile telephones using cellular services. The first mobile phone call was on April 3, 1973 by a man named Martin Cooper. The mobile phone allowed for people to now make calls in even more places! Rather than having to plug a wired telephone into a power source, people can simply pull out their phone in any place that had service and make phone calls. This evolved over time into the cell phones that we know today, one of the ultimate tools of convenience – and a direct reflection of the values of humans. Continue reading Unit 4 Assessment: Telephone Innovation

Sustainable Population Plan

According to surveys from the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the U.S. has been growing exponentially since 1790. After viewing the Census document at Census.gov and crunching the numbers, it is apparent that the population is growing exponentially. In 1790, the population of the U.S. was at a mere 3.9 million people. In 1900, the population grew to 76.2 million people. Then, by 1990, the population of the U.S. was 248.7 million people.

Graph of US population estimate from 1900-2100
Graph of US population estimates from 1900-2000. The equation is f(x) = 80.085(1.13856)^x.

With the US growing at this rate, imagine what the population will be one hundred years from now. If the US follows the same trend, it will have approximately 1.073 billion people in 2100. We probably won’t ever reach this population because we won’t be able to survive with that many people. However, it’s still something to think about.
According to the CDC, approximately 49% of the pregnancies in the US in 2006 were unintended. This number is scary considering the fact that we have the technology and sciences today to prevent unintended pregnancies. One of the problems, though, is that not everyone has access to or knowledge of these pregnancy prevention means. Continue reading Sustainable Population Plan

Plan a Trip Through Arizona

The trip that I have planned through Arizona is one that will take us Northeast for the most part. On this trip, we will be traveling through about six different biomes, all of which are in state!


The first area that I plan to visit is the Sonoran Desert Scrub area. This biome has an elevation below 3,500 feet and covers much of Southern and Central Arizona. This area also receives a lot of rain during both the summer and winter seasons. Although Phoenix is in the Sonoran Desert Scrub area, I would nevertheless like to travel just over an hour outside of the city so that I can see a more natural and not as heavily populated area.

The Sonoran desert scrub biome is home to many communities of life. These communities include:

  • Plants such as saguaros, chollas, mesquites, and ironwood.
  • Animals such as Javelinas, Gila Monsters, and Cactus Wren.


The second stop on the list is the Chaparral biome, just outside of the Sonoran desert scrub biome. The Chaparral is a mountainous area ranging from about 4,000-6,000 feet in elevation and receives 10-17 inches, on average,  of rain annually.

The Chaparral native life includes:

  • Mammals such as mule deer, elk, and cottontail rabbits.
  • Many lizards and snakes.
  • Birds such as scrub jay, canyon wren, and black chinned sparrow.
  • Plants such as mountain mahogany, prickly pear cactus, agave, yucca, and many more.

Continue reading Plan a Trip Through Arizona

Unit 2 Assessment: Sky Island Alliance


Mountain view from worsite
Photo is property of Sky Island Alliance

Sky Island Alliance (SIA) is an organization that focuses on the protection of land, water, and air in southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northwestern Mexico. Their mission is to “Protect and restore land, water, and biodiversity of the Sky Islands.” The Sky Islands are a set of mountain ranges in northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States. The mountain ranges protrude in the middle of flat, empty deserts. Each of the ranges has its very own unique ecosystems. As people continue to spread out, they start modifying parts of the Sky Islands. These modifications include building roads, houses, and having more people in the area altogether. The SIA’s vision is “We envision the Sky Islands as a bi-national place where ecosystems are resilient, nature thrives, and people are deeply connected to its unique natural heritage and inspired to conserve it.” Essentially, SIA wants people to continue visiting the Sky Islands, but without harming them too much. They do this by showing people the beauty of the Sky Islands and teaching of the things that harm the area. If there is harm done, the SIA tries to fix this harm in the healthiest and most effective way possible.

Sky Island Alliance constantly holds volunteer opportunities in Arizona and New Mexico. These events include land restortion, erosion control, replanting plants in dying areas, and many more. They even have an ongoing wildlife monitoring effort in Sonora, Mexico. The goal of this effort was originally to “document the presence of the region’s four feline species: jaguar, ocelot, bobcat and mountain lion, while engaging local landowners in wildlife conservation.”¹ They have since “expanded this effort to include carnivore conservation on a much broader level – [SIA] publish[es] new scientific discoveries resulting from our wildlife monitoring; conduct public outreach on the importance of carnivores to our ecosystem and our quality of life; and advocate for science-informed carnivore management policies.”¹

Group photo of volunteers
Photo is property of Sky Island Alliance

Continue reading Unit 2 Assessment: Sky Island Alliance