NATS 1510 – History of the Environment
Part I – Course Structure and Outline
Discussion Period Attendance and Participation
- I design my courses to summarize and synthesize a large amount of information, thus it is
particularly important that you come to the lectures and do the readings
- Each lecture will be followed by an informal discussion period
- Students who attend discussion period do better in the course
- We will use the discussion periods to address issues raised by the readings, questions
from the lecture, answer pre-prepared questions I have given you the previous week,
discuss items in the news, etc.
- Office hours are Thursday at noon in 304 Bethune.
If you want to record the lecture you are welcome, bring the recorder to the front of the room at
the beginning. If I am absent for any reason during the term I will either post the full lecture
notes (not the summaries) on the website or I will post an audio file of the lecture.
The course website should be checked weekly for information about the class. I will post
handouts, reading materials, links etc. on the site over the course of the term. I will also post
lecture summaries, short form point summaries of the main ideas in the lecture. They will
include names, dates, etc. They will appear at some point before the lecture, anywhere from a
week to the day before. Sometimes when an interesting question has been brought up on email or
in discussion period, I will post it on the website.
I blog on cycling issues and contribute to the forums at IBIKETO. Cycling in the city is of
environmental interest, and I will bring discussions from the blog into the class where
appropriate. The blog is located at: http://cyclinggotham.blogspot.ca/
General Interest Questions
- How many people taking the course as a necessity, how many out of interest?
- Disciplinary breakdown?
- Why this section?
- How many people work in addition to going to school?
- How many drive, how many take TTC?
This is a course on the history of the environment, with certain assumptions in mind:
1. Human beings has been impacting the environment for a long time, environmental
degradation is not a recent phenomenon.
2. The scale of this activity has changed, with population increase and the addition of
industry, science and technology. 3. It is not culturally specific, all cultures, indigenous to modern, have over-consumed in
4. Consumers and consumer demand are a crucial part of what drives modern industrial
society, environmental problems cannot all be laid at the door of “big corporations”
5. Science and technology thus contribute to environmental damage by giving us the ability
to produce on a large scale.
6. Science and technology also produce environmental benefits, science gives us more
knowledge about how we are impacting the environment and sometimes