CH 2 -environmental history

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8 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 4 μέρες)

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Environmental History

Chapter 2

Early history


Earth has existed
for an estimated
4.6 billion years


Homo sapiens have
been on earth only
about 60,000 years


Until about 12,000
years ago men
were mostly
hunter
-
gatherers.

Major Cultural Changes


Agricultural revolution


Industrial revolution


Information and globalization
revolution

Hunter
-
gatherers


Survived by eating edible wild plants,
fishing, hunting, and scavenging meat
killed by other animals


Lived in small bands


Were nomads


They discovered:


Which plants and animals could be eaten and
used as medicine


Where to find water


How plant availability changed throughout the
year


How game animals migrated

Advanced hunter gatherers


Used more advanced tools
and fire


Contributed to the
extinction of some animals
(saber
-
toothed tiger)


Altered distribution of
plants by carrying seeds


OVERALL IMPACT ON THE
ENVIRONMENT WAS LOW
DUE TO:


Small population


Low resource use/person


Migration allowed
ecosystem to repair itself


Lack of technology

Agricultural revolution


10,000
-
12,000 years ago


Also called Neolithic revolution


Gradual shift from nomads to settling
in agricultural communities


Domesticated animals and cultivated
wild plants

Slash
-
and
-

burn cultivation


Clear forest (mainly in the tropics)


Burn vegetation and underbrush


This adds nutrients to the soil


which is often nutrient poor


Led to Shifting cultivation


3

Harvesting for

2 to 5 years

1

Clearing

and burning

vegetation

2

Planting

4

Allowing

to revegetate

10 to 30 years


Most early farmers practiced
SUSTAINABLE CULTIVATION


Had little impact on the environment
because:


Depended on human muscle power and
crude tools


Low population size and density


Land was available for movement to
other areas

The Industrial Revolution


Began in England


Based on dependence on coal
(nonrenewable fossil fuel) rather than
renewable wood


Invention of the steam engine


Switched from small
-
scale localized
production to large
-
scale production of
machine
-
made goods.


Movement from rural to cities


Often very bad living and working conditions

Resulted in:


Fossil
-
fuel powered farm machinery


New plant
-
breeding techniques
increasing yield per acre


More reliable food supply


Longer life spans


Increase in population size

Information and Globalization
Revolution


Many new technologies


telephone,
computers, tv, etc


Automated data bases


Remote sensing satellites



Positively


Helps us understand
earth, economics, etc.


Allows use of remote
sensing satellites


Enables use to develop
computer models


Can reduce pollution
and environmental
degredation



Negatively:


Information overload


Confusion and a sense
of hopelessness


Increases
environmental
degradation and
decrease in cultural
diversity



History of United States


Tribal Era


Occupied by
indigenous people,
called Indians


now called Native
Americans


Had a fairly low
environmental
impact

Frontier Era (1607
-
1890)


Began with European colonists
settling North America


Had a FRONTEIR ENVIRONMENTAL
WORLDVIEW


The wilderness was there to be
conquered and cleared.


Kill the dangerous animals and Native
Americans

Conservation Era (1870
-
1930)


Concern over resource use; Federal
government’s responsibility to
protect public lands. (Forest Reserve
Act 1891)


Public health initiatives


Environmental restoration projects

Important Figures of the
Conservation Era


Henry David Thoreau


John Muir


Theodore Roosevelt


Alice Hamilton


Franklin Roosevelt

Environmental Era (1960
-
2000)


The
environmental movement


The science of ecology


Spaceship Earth worldview:
caretakers of the planet


1980s:anti
-
environmental movement


1990s: environmental awareness

Important Figures in
Environmental Era


Rachel Carson (Silent Spring 1962)


Richard Nixon: EPA, ESA


Jimmy Carter: DOE, Superfund


Ronald Reagan: anti
-
env
.


Bill Clinton:
env
. concerns a priority


George W. Bush: drilling in ANWAR


Barack

Obama
: few laws,
ok’d

offshore drilling in VA.