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Environmental Studies
ENVS 1000
Peter Timmerman

Ecological Imperialism - Spice Islands are located in the Southeast Asia (Northwest of Australia) where all the spices such as pepper, clove and nutmeg are from - Main single source of spices during the Middle Ages and that one important usage of spices is to preserve food - Spices opened up a new potential market for trade as it was a monopoly - Traders marked up the price of spices for each step along the way as the spices were transported from one location to another (from the islands across Indian Ocean then up Red Sea and so and all the way to Europe) - Spice trade also increases the business interaction and trades between Europe and the Asian countries as merchants and traders like Marco Polo travelled to the East to explore Spice Islands. - Overall, spice trade increases the dynamic of trade by allowing more cultural and business interaction among different continents - Spainiards had the Christian crusade mentality that they had to find against all heretics and unify their country by driving all other tribes out, which turned their country into a war economy as all the banking expertise, Jewish, were expelled - Columbus treated the natives that belonged to the Arawak-Taino Culture with friendliness by assisting to find gold, providing them food in order to turn them into his slaves - He introduced domesticated animals, sheep, cattle, goats and pigs - The introduced species multiplied rapidly, some turned into tools for weapons at war, like horses and dogs, some turned out helping for farming - They also posed threat by spreading infectious disease and because of that humans today are immune from most of the human and animal diseases - Pizarro and Cortez are both similar people who advanced to other land and overthrew the existing empires. For instance Cortez overthrew the Aztec empire while Pizarro overthrew the Inca empire, which both had a huge population of tribute people and warriors - 3 Most important structural results of the New World - 1) essential farming structures remain the same in Central and South America today as the native population were enslaved and organized into large farms to support arriving Spanish immigrants - 2) discover of silver mines in Potsi and north central Mexico provide immense wealth for the th Spanish economy and attracted huge amounts of labour and expansion of population from 16 to 17 century - 3) farming and ranching culture first in Latin America that spreads to North America as there is an ecological spread of pigs, cattle, horses - Sugar and Slave trade arose when Spanish and Portuguese started introducing sugar into the Caribbean and the Northen coast of South America and required huge amount of labour  Black Africans who were immune from infectious diseases such as yellow fever - Europe for instance would trade with West Africa for certain manufactured goods in exchange for slaves - Joint-stock company, in today’s context, would be public company and when a trader had a share of the company, he would receive the dividend on it as goods were shipped to other traders and a trade was completed. - Invention of clothing has become an essential part of our modern world today where cotton materials which used to be a luxury have become so extensively used in our daily life that they are valued differently. Different designs, colors, cutting have created a whole sense of fashion industry in our world - Ecological Imperialism essentially means the clash of ecologies resulted from globalization and economic as well as scientific development. For instance, the extension and influence of spice, sugar, slave, fur trade and other substantial investments in ships, money in banks and so on that drive our world today, whereas in the past, people would just live on their own resources available in the country and trading is simpler by exchanging objects. Rise of the West - Medieval Cosmology Collapse Reading - Easter Island is a test case because the island itself is isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, about 1500 km from the nearest other island - Many studies on Easter Island revolve around one ultimate question that why no one did anything to save the social collapse when the island was under obvious environmental stress. The intense competition of power is more important than fixing the environment. Easter Islanders had no account for the how few trees were left on the island, yet they exploited the resources by building statues to secure prestige and status. We study Easter Island to understand that how possible environmental stress is the central cause of the social collapse of these complex yet vulnerable societies - Intrinsic vulnerabilities of the Easter Island are the physical characteristics of the island: volcanic island, reasonable soil with poor drainage and limited rainfall/other water sources for irrigation, limited species of plants and animals. High reliance on imported food crops such as sweet potatoes allow substantial time for establishing extrinsic vulnerabilities, aka creation of a complex social structure. - Easter Island’s society was organized according to social ranks and family ties and the island was divided into territories ruled by different family clans. The community was tied together by rituals and ceremonies of worshipping ancestral chiefs of each territory and there was fierce competition and power struggle among territories as stone statues were built for these leaders - When resources started to collapse, no one did anything the fix the natural environment. Foreigners like the Europeans brought more diseases and grazing animals to reduce both the population and vegetation. Easter Islanders changed their food diet from heavy starch to food crops like herbs and grass and even humans, they replaced the wood houses with caves and started fighting each other for resources. - The Mayan collapse is different from the Easter Island’s collapse because Mayan’s collapse was mainly due to the geographical factor that drought spreaded from the south to the north and finally cutting out the water supply. The land was incapable in absorbing the population pressure with a limited agricultural base. Easter Island’s collapse was accompanied by increased signs of warfare and conflict between cities and regions and also outmigration - The geographic factor that makes Mayan Empire so vulnerable is the frequent droughts in the area, sometimes extending to periods of ten years or so. Another factor is that the land is vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms in dry seasons from January to May every year. The socio-political factor is the misuse of land resources by Mayans as they farmed on the vulnerable areas like hillsides throughout the region and the society did not respond appropriately in distributing agricultural land to satisfy the growing population. - The d
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