NATS 1510 – History of the Environment
This course looks at the history of human impact on the environment through the lens of
technology and science. It is posited that technology has magnified our impact on the
environment, both in scale and in scope (e.g. the magnitude of impact and new kinds of impacts
– e.g. new technologies). On one end of the spectrum, science has contributed to creating new
materials (e.g. plastic) that are harmful to the environment, but science is also our primary tool to
determine how we are damaging the environment, and possibly how to fix it. Thus science and
technology both hinder and help the environment. We will look closely at the claim that the
tendency of science and technology to be appropriated by business and government undermines
the ability of environmentalists to enact positive change. The course will consider examples of
human interaction with the environment (so-called anthropogenic impacts) from the earliest of
human civilizations to present day.
Dr. Ian Slater, Rm 304 Bethune College, 416-650-8278, [email protected]
Lecture: Tuesdays 19:00-22:00, Lassonde B
Office Hours: Thursday 12-1or after lecture.
NATS 1510 3.0 - Course Reader
Notes on Submission of Materials and Deadlines
A. If you have question about the course, or an assignment to submit, please do so in class or
during my office hours, Thursday at noon, not by phone or email. I will generally not respond to
either phone messages or emails, however, if I am in my office I will always pick up the phone.
B. Note: if you know you will be missing many classes, please do not register in this course.
C. Deadlines in this class are tight, it is 13 weeks long, so extensions will not be granted, there’s
generally not enough time. You are allowed one week gratis, after that the assignment will not be
accepted.All assignments must be in print form. There will be a drop box outside of room 218
Bethune College to submit the assignments. If you can’t make a due date you must discuss it
with me before the assignment is due.
D.All submissions to the class must have your name, student number, course code and date on
them. Assignments missing these components will be discarded.
1. Reading Summary and Critique (5 pages): 10%
2. Research Note (5 pages): 10%
3. Short Report (8 pages): 20%
4. Biweekly Quizzes (5) - 20% (4% each)
4. Final Exam: 40%
1. The reading summary and critique involves picking one of three readings (Martin, Kirsch or Ogden), summarizing it then critiquing it. 5 pages.
2. The research note involves finding an environmental topic or controversy, then finding sources
relating to that top