Environmental History

video-- history

results of 2004 survey
What environmental issues concern you today?

What can we learn from the past that will be useful to those?
What is environmental history?

Johnny Appleseed
Changes in nature caused by human beings
How nature affects human beings
changing social patterns that affect how we experience and think about nature

strip mining

What would happen if we wrote history from the point of view of nature instead of human beings? (parallel to social history being written from the point of view of poor people.

changes of our ideas about nature

There is a political story--the history of laws and regulations
environmental protest
  • given us more control over nature eg. build dams to prevent floods
  • automobile
    • can get to natural places
    • spreads out human settlement
    • pollution--lead and other poisons, carbon that contributes to global warming, oil spills, noise, acid rain
    • convenience and isolation from the environment
    • using up natural resources--oil, rubber
  • sometimes there is an easy technological fix for a problem, but often not
    • gas used in refrigerators and air conditioners contributed to damage to the ozone layer
    • chemists invented a gas that works better and doesn't harm the ozone layer
    • but other problems can't be solved so easily
  • changes in entertainment--nature deficit disorder
  • how technology changes how we experience nature

Grand Canyon skywalk

let's go a step deeper:
can we divide the world into human beings vs. nature?

This page written and copyright Pamela E. Mack
Hist 124
last updated 8/21/09