Stage one response

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Rachelle Bendele, Brittany Bechhold, Ashlee Balcerzak, Shannon Barnette, Stella Barnes, Linnea Beighley

ENR 3500

Dr. Joe Campbell

February 16, 2016


In this section, we will:

  • Explain the effect that a twist or event has on the stock of each of the seven community capitals (natural, cultural, human, social, political, financial and built capital) in your community (min. 200 words)  

  • How have the water pollution crises affected my community? What forms does this pollution take?

The water pollution crisis has affected the community of Atlantis in many ways. The pollution is in the form of trash and plastics deposited into the Ocean of Aphrodite by tourists visiting the community. Since Atlantis is on the coast, the financial capital generated through the fishing industry has taken a hit as fish and other marine animal population have declined. The pollution has also declined the community’s financial capital in the form of tourism as the coast and beaches are in unusable condition. Atlantis’s political capital is currently at a standstill as the two main political parties of the city are debating for and against grant implication to clean up the ocean and coast. Cultural capital has also been negatively affected because the residents who value and identify with the environment are no longer able to identify with their community when it is in a polluted condition.

Although financial, political, and cultural capitals have decreased, Atlantis plans to increase financial capital by reinventing the market to be focused on sustainability instead of being based solely on profit. Political capital will increase when the citizens collaborate with politicians at the next town meeting on how to use a potential grant to clean up the ocean. Once a decision about a potential grant is reached, human and cultural capital will increase because students and residents will want to attend a university and live in a community that is environmentally consensus.

Not all capitals decreased from Atlantis’s water pollution crisis. Human capital has increased as Atlantis’s University of Poseidon has been encouraging prospective students to pursue a degree in the environmental field in light of the community’s water pollution crisis. To ensure water quality and public health safety, The University of Poseidon will be building a marine laboratory, located near the community’s coast line and on the Ocean of Aphrodite, to education future leaders on environmental importance and awareness. Since the water pollution has the potential to impact communities, the University of Poseidon has plans to expand a satellite campus in the neighboring island community of Bikini Bottom to foster higher education and environmental consensus in a developing community. Built capital will increase in the future because the pollution event has incentivized innovation in design and infrastructure to fix the pollution problem. For example, in the coming months and years, new sustainable buildings will be constructed. Natural capital was initially damaged, but through incentivizing innovation, has increased because community activists have come together to start cleaning the plastics out the ocean. This is turn has increased social capital because connections have been bonded and bridged between community members who are in close relation have reached out to other community members. Together, the community of Atlantis will overcome this obstacle and spiral up.

In this section, we will:

  • discuss how this response relates to past “cumulative causation” effects and your community’s history, goals and actions plan (min. 300 words)

  • What will increased water quality standards mean for my community? How will this impact our community goals and action plans?

Since Atlantis is right next to the ocean, the new water quality standards, determined by the Protection of Environmental Regulation (PER), have had a great impact on the city. The new standard is less than 0.02 parts per billion plastics in the water per cubic meter. This new regulation will allow the city of Atlantis, which is surrounded by water on three sides, to become more conscientious of proper trash dispose. This will help reduce the amount of pollutants in the ocean. The increased water quality standards will effectively support the goals Atlantis has set.

Retaining a high youth demographic in the community is one of our main goals. Many people come to Atlantis as a “visitor” because they attend the University of Poseidon, and then move to other cities. If Atlantis can become more conscious about making their water cleaner and safe, it has the potential to draw more young and environmentally aware people to the city. If we draw young individuals and families to the society, the city of Atlantis would also have the opportunity to see new points of view. Being introduced to many different perspectives can help the city develop and implement new ways to keep the environment clean. In addition to encouraging youth development, cleaning up the Ocean of Aphrodite would create opportunities for jobs. Employing people from the University of Poseidon is another innovative way to encourage the youth to stay in the community.

When the city of Atlantis originally talked about educational goals, building K-12 programs was a focus because it was seen as a way to educate youth about why, for example, the waterways, and other environmental initiatives, should be supported. Recently, in light of the water pollution crisis, the community has decided to reach out to the neighboring town of Bikini Bottom to build a satellite campus for the University of Poseidon. In addition, a new marine laboratory research facility is being development to be on Atlantis’s coast. This new facility and satellite campus will both be connected to the University of Poseidon. The research facility will create after school activities for children, while teaching environmental classes and workshops for the adults in the community. The facility will also hold classes for local educators and university students. Additionally, Atlantis will be building a satellite campus in the local island community of Bikini Bottom to help connect the two communities. Courses and activities offered at the satellite campus would get the children in the area interested ocean ecosystem and could even re-inspire adults to help protect the environment with their families. If the city gets younger children interested in the environment, it will encourage youth to stay in Atlantis to help the environment as a whole.

These outlined initiatives will successfully help with Atlantis’s “cumulative causation.” The city will spiral up by first working on the natural capital and then using it to help the other capitals. The initiatives the community also thought of will assist Bikini Bottom’s “cumulative causation” which will in turn positively contribute to Atlantis’s causation. If Atlantis follows the regulations set by the PER and collaborate to work towards a common goal to reduce water pollution, the people of Atlantis will be the driving force for environmental protection and change.   

In this section, we will:

  • Discuss how the community chose to respond to the scenario, paying specific attention to the details of the response, including (min. 300 words): •

    • Whether the response was coordinated or uncoordinated within the community,

    • How was the response action decision (if any) reached by the community,

    • Who (if any) were responsible for determining how to implement the response,

    • How were different parts of the community represented

  • What will I do about the funding that the national government has set aside to improve water infrastructure? How will this impact our community goals and action plans?

Because Atlantis is a leading city for education and engineering, the majority of the Atlantis citizens responded positively to a possibility of new sanctions and heightened standards to protect water resources. Atlantis sees the heightened water quality standards as a way to bring in more employment opportunities for graduating students as students in particularly responded the most during the water pollution crisis. Another reason the younger citizens responded positively is due to the local push given by the University of Poseidon here in Atlantis. Our great university and strong educational system is to be given thanks for coordinating this largely positive response. The university held talks and presentations from many professors and local environmentalists that were free to the public. Because of these university pushes for advertising for the large educational sessions, the young people (18-32) were able to have this positive uniform response. The various parts of our community (socio economic class, political party, etc.) were all represented at city meetings held in the university. The political parties in Atlantis are showing more of a split due to disagreement on grant and money allocations, but a compromise will soon be reached to ensure the community’s spiraling up success.

The city of Atlantis thrives on being a leader in engineering, architecture, by having the highest technological infrastructure in the world. Atlantis has intentions of applying for funding to continue the city and university’s reputation for top-notch engineering and educational systems. A specific interest of Atlantis is to use this funding for a community-wide electric trolley system. This is the kind of green infrastructure the city is looking to use for the university community to reach the new marine research laboratory. As far as water infrastructure goes, Atlantis would like to see infrastructure used that would limit the amount of waste going into our ocean. This would add to our community goals and push them further into the right direction. Added funding in Atlantis would be especially beneficial for The University of Poseidon. The University’s professors and leading staff are pressing for the city to apply for funding. The university feels that the funding would help in financing the costs towards the new marine research lab. The university also feels that if Atlantis could take in the funding, the city would draw in more young politicians who are interested in this type of work, as a goal of Atlantis is to keep the population ages 18 to 32 booming.

In this section, we will:

  • Speculate (based on course material and outside research) on how the community will “spiral up” or “spiral down” following the scenario and the community’s response (min. 200 words)

  • How do we build this water crisis into our collective story and self-identity? How will we use this as an opportunity to spiral up or spiral down in our community capitals?

The water crisis has impacted our community in negative ways; however, our leadership has taken it as a starting point for great potential growth. Community officials witnessed the economic, political, social, and environmental impacts pollution was having within our community first hand. Residents were beginning to push for change, and luckily their voices were heard. Politicians and policy makers began working to create a more environmentally sustainable community.

With the new funding opportunities, community leaders and residents alike are hopeful that their goals for sustainability and environmental consciousness can be reached. The pollution impact within our community established a body of citizens and politicians, united in the desire to protect and make significant improvements for their health and the environment they love. This bond has created an identity within our community, and the students that attend our university are a driving force.  Pollution impacted our human, financial and political capitals negatively, yet our community responded by initiating programs to rebuild.

Human capital will be spiraling upward with the addition of new marine research laboratory on Atlantis’s coast and satellite campus on the nearby island community of Bikini Bottom. The marine research laboratory will be able to collect water samples, conduct environmental studies, and gauge water quality safety and more for the public. The laboratory will be open to the public, have educational tours, and offer classes to students and educators to empower local communities to initiate sustainable and environmental efforts. With the expansion of the University of Poseidon to undeveloped locations, like Bikini Bottom, Atlantis will be able to reach and support the expansion of higher education. With more educated communities, the potential for solutions can hopefully be found for a future environmental crisis.

Built capital is also on an upward trend, with new community incentives for use of green energy by businesses and homeowners. Many new bike and walking paths are being constructed to create easier access for residents to amenities, including our many parks, in hopes of decreasing use of vehicle created air pollution, soil contamination. This also impacts natural capital as air and water pollution are decreased and health of the community overall is impacted positively.  Additional funding would allow for further expansion of green infrastructure, such as a community-wide electric trolley system, as well as creating programs to clean up the polluted ocean and educate the community.  Social and political capital has increased as well, as many community coalitions have formed to spearhead the pollution crisis on a grassroots level.  These initiatives have allowed community members direct access to political leaders, and their voices are heard.


  • Emery & Flora

  • APA Citation:  Emery, M., & Flora, C. (2006). Spiraling-Up: Mapping Community Transformation with Community Capitals Framework. Community Development, 37(1), 19-35.

    • The CCF (Community Capitals Framework) - just like the NRFC, as mentioned in Emery & Flora, used the CCF as a tool to analyze “the effectiveness of its investments in addressing structural conditions of rural poverty”, the community of Atlantis can and should utilize the framework to determine the effectiveness of investments of capital toward solutions to our pollution problem. It works by identifying the assets of each type of capital, the interactions between the different types, and the resulting impacts across capitals. (Emery & Flora, 20)

  • Stone Lab -

  • APA Citation:  Stone Laboratory, Explore Science and Discover Yourself. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from

    • Ohio State’s “Island Campus” Stone Lab is behind the inspiration for the design and development of our own marine research station in Atlantis. The station will offer courses and workshops to involve students as well as the general public. The goal of the marine laboratory is to educate the community of Atlantis, and potentially the surrounding communities, on the importance of water and environmental conservation.

  • EPA Regulation Information for the Protection of Environmental Regulations -

  • APA Citation:  Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from

    • The EPA was cited to help Atlantis determine the amount of pollution could be tolerable in the Ocean of Aphrodite and considered to not be a danger to the city.

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