HGP Midterm 2 Notes
What did Jared Diamond propose?
- Gun, Germs, and Steel, Collapse
- proposed that the physical geography of the world contributed to the
inequalities of today (not cultural or biological superiority)
- major axis in Europe and Asia were East to West and America and Africa
were North to South. The axis made the spread of agriculture and domestic
animals over areas with similar climate
- geographic and environmental characteristics led to the immunity of diseases
in agricultural animals
- geographic luck
What is the world systems theory?
- Division of countries into Core, Semi-periphery and periphery categories.
There is a power hierarchy between core and periphery, core benefits from
exploiting the periphery and the periphery depends on the core.
- The core – Dominant, powerful (military/economy) and wealthy countries.
Fully industrialized (Examples: Canada, USA, Australia)
- Semi Periphery – Newly industrialized countries, new economic and political
power. Stabilizes the world. “Up and coming game changers” (Examples:
- Periphery – Less developed countries, “Left behind” due to unstable gov’t,
poor education, and conflict history. (Examples: Russia, 99% of Africa)
What is the Dependency theory and what led to it?
- The core countries are enriched by the impoverishment and the non-
development of the peripheral countries.
- Colonial history of external rule led to the dependence theory. The colonial
core was pretty much extracted from the periphery and the core got capital,
What are some ways we can measure the well being of society?
- Basic needs, social conditions, gross domestic product, gross national product,
and gross national income.
What are the limitations of GNI
- The differences in religion, class, age, sex are missed and it doesn’t include
social/environmental costs as well as subsistence economy (natural resources
for basic needs such as hunting, gathering)
What are some other measures of countries?
- Genuine Wealth Assessment
- Gross National happiness – the global indicator of progress, measuring both
sustainable economy and social development. What does the Happy Planet Index measure? What data does it use?
- HPI measures what “matters”: the extent to which countries deliver long,
happy sustainable lives for the other people. Green = unhappy, red = unhappy
- It uses global data on life expectancy, well-being and ecological footprint.
What measures doe the UN’s World happiness report take into account?
- GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, freedom from corruption, freedom to
make life choices
What is the anthropocene?
- The concept that considers our age to be geologically significant and that
we’ve made huge geological impacts in the 55000 years we’ve been around
like depleting ozone layers, rising sea levels
What has been the impact of hunters, gatherers?
- Many megafauna (large animal) extinctions around the world have been
linked to human interaction/intervention and climate change
What is the 3 waves theory?
- A theory made in 2012, which stated that early North Americans came to
North America in 3 waves. Majority of natives derived from this first group.
Northern Natives derive ~50% genes from this first wave, Chipewyan ~90%
from the first wave
What’s the pristine myth?
- The belief that the Americas in 1491 were an almost unmarked land
“untrammeled by man” But they weren’t
- Some estimates say that 20-80% or more of non-flooded Amazon forest was
due to the anthropocene’s effects
- “ what the eco-imagery would like to picture as a pristine, untouched primeval
world in fact has been managed by people for millennia” – Denevan
Who are some other people that said the pristine myth was wrong?
- Jennings: “ The belief in pristine wilderness tends to deny the considerable
presence of ancestors of today’s native americans, and the great mortality that
occurred, and which justified the taking of their lands. Colonists proclaimed
that they had mostly entered “empty lands” which is a MYTH
- Martinez: “the main justifications by Europeans for genocide that the land was
not used to its potential by the Natives was FALSE”
- Kearns: “the view that americans merely passed over the land without a trace
demeans the Indians. It makes them seem simply like an animal species and
therefore deprives them of culture.”
Estimates of population at the time people thought the pristine myth was true? - 50-70 million in Americas, 5 million North of the Rio Grande (North
- LOTS OF NATIVES GONE… 80-95% of them
What are geoglyphs and why were they used in the Amazon?
- Stones or earth arranged on a landscape to make a certain pattern or picture.
- Used in the Amazon to deal with the annual floods
So as a result of wiping most of the Natives, what did the Europeans do and what do they
all mean for the environment?
- Exponential population growth
- Bad news for the environment!
What are some philosophical views on the environment?
o Shintoism – Worshipping the trees and paying respect to all plants and
animals, which share life equal to a human.
o Hinduism – Oneness of all beings, positivity towards nature “sacred
o Oneness of life, ethic based on respect for all living things.
o Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism
- Monotheistic Faiths
o Judaism – Torah forbade armies from destroying trees
o Christianity – St. Francis of Assisi the “Patron Saint of Ecology”
o Islam – Qu’ran states “I am setting on the Earth a Steward”, plant trees
What is Anthropocentric?
- A human centered morality. Only humans have intrinsic value while
everything else in the natural world has only instrumental value and
everything exists for us humans to use
What does the Antropocentric view have to do with religion? What did critics say?
- In the book of genesis, God said to have dominion over the fish and the sea
and all the earth
- Critics said that the translation should have been stewardship, and recently
there have been attempts by Christians, Muslims, and Jewish groups to
integrate environmental practices into their faith.
What is being ecocentric? - Also known as deep ecology, the criticism to Anthropocentrism. Everything in
nature has intrinsic value, not just humans. Humans are part of nature and
Egalitarianism is encouraged amongst all humans
What was the Gaia hypothesis?
- Made by James Lovelock, where the Earth is considered to be self-regulating
by the inhabiting organisms through natural selection.
- Not a god substitute though.
What is Shallow Ecology?
- Also known as enlightened Anthropocentric, humans are still a large focus but
the environment should be protected because of the direct and indirect impacts
on humankind. The environment should be protected, but only to a point
where we are protected.
Who were some early conservationists?
- Thoreau – Wrote Walden during rampant deforestation
- Audubon – Ornithologist and painter.
- Roosevelt, John Muir
What happened with the bison extermination?
- Before 1492, there was an estimated 60 million of them. Native Americans
heavily relied on them and hunted them A LOT. The low point was in 1902
where there were an estimated 23 buffaloes left. Now there are up to 400,000.
- The US made a gov’t policy to help get rid of the Natives who relied upon the
What and when were the first national parks in the world created?
- 1872, Yellowstone was the very first one
- 1885, Banff was Canada’s third national park
What did President Roosevelt + John Muir create?
- 5 new national parks, lots of bird sanctuaries, national game refuges,
monuments, and a lot of forests.
What did Rachel Carson’s “silent spring” expose?
- The hazards of DDT and questioning the humanity’s faith in technological
process. She’s also known as the mother of the environmental movement.
What happened in the process of banning DDT?
- President Kennedy ordered the science advisory committee to examine the
issues raised by Carson’s book.
- Debate shifted from if pesticides were dangerous to which ones were more
- 1970s environmental movement was established, OPEC oil embargo (1979 oil
shortage), Cleveland Cuyahoga river caught fire due to pollution What’s the blue marble?
- A photo of the earth from space taken in 1972 from the Apollo 17 spacecraft.
What is cognitive Dissonance?
- two or more conflicting beliefs held by a person that leads to discomfort. The
individual will alter their behavior in order to reduce the discomfort.
How did climate have an impact on national psyche?
- it composed of long term average weather patterns.
- Composed of a system consisting of everything that affected climate and