Environmental Studies September 17.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Environmental Studies
Robert Mc Leman

Environmental Studies September 17/12 Agenda for week 2  Today = classroom lecture  First lab/tutorial meeting this week  No class Wednesday; watch video lecture instead (links on MLS) (also a DVD in library on reserve) nd  Slides from 2 half of last Wednesday’s lecture will be discussed in week 3  Subject this week = environmental history Transitions in human land use  Hunting & gathering -> Agriculture -> industry -> Electronic technology  Global scale/connectivity  Of human socio-economic systems  Of human impacts on environment Myths about hunting/gathering -hunter gatherers  Lead short, brutal lives  Can not produce a surplus of food  Must live a nomadic existence  Have less nourishing diets  Often go hungry  Live in societies are dominated by a few, powerful individuals We know these are myths, simply ask the native peoples of the BC coast Origins of agriculture  Believed to have started 12k BP  People began experimenting with agriculture in at least 4 locales: Middle East (wheat, barely), Far East (rice, millet), Central America Other sources of cultivated plants Animal domestication Benefits of agriculture Transitions in western environmental scholarship th th - Science (4 century CE) -> creationism (17 century CE) -> Enlightenment (19 century) -> Science -> Ecology Western Creation story – Genesis - “in the beginning, god created adam and eve Western environmental scholarship pre-Enlightenment - From fall of Roman Empire to Enlightenment is dominated by the church - Education, literacym enjoyed by the few (landowners, clerics) - Unsurprisingly, natural environment is interpreted ** Enlightenment = when ** Science - Systematic search for testable knowledge about the world around us - Based on observation (not indoctrination) and original thinking & curiosity (not faith) - Was actually practiced by ancient Greeks, Romans, as well as many other non-European ancient & classical societies Example: Theophrastus - Lived 371-287 Ecology - Term coined in 1800’s by German scientist Ernst Haec
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