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Environmental Studies
Course Code
ENVS 1000
Peter Timmerman
Study Guide

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Environmental History II – To the Rise of Cities
Sumeria and Egypt which were the cities of middle east that flourished on surpluses had a constant
tension between them and resorted to the idea of the “King of Gods.”
The different views on god : polytheistic (paganism) being someone who sees many gods and this
can be found in many cultures, monotheistic being someone who believes in one god was seen to
be developed in the west. Monotheistic religions are simple and converge into one source –one
power, one god.
Western tradition has a hierarchy of gods –polytheistic view on god. This was carried out initially
by the nomadic, tribal people. Hebrews who would eventually become Israelites.
Researchers believe that hebrews were the first tribal people of Assyrian empire (new name for
the Sumerian empire), because of the similarities seen in the Bible towards the Assyrian empire
itself—survival of a man who takes all animals into a boat and survives etc.
Hebrews eventually settle in the land of Israel and attacked the gods of already existing local
people, Canaanites. Hebrews attempted to place this hierarchical system into a one god system
thus they established Judaism –Christianity which developed from Judiasm, fought against the
pagan gods of Rome and Greece –Islam – Mohammed (prophet) fought against the pagan gods of
the Arabian dessert.
In the Medterranean, the important trading empires were the Crete and Cyprus which mingled the
gods of Egypt and Sumeria with other gods and practices. Ionian philosophers (resided in Ionia ) ,
questioned about the existence of god –Thales : what is the world made of? , Pythagoras- numbers
and geometries ruled the universe. Focused on fundamental physical laws behind the diversity of
natural processes.
These reasons led dominance of West—Judiac , Graeco-Roman tradition in the Mediterranean
region being the most important in Mediterranean regions.
Environmental History III : Towards The Birth of Science And the Abstraction Or Nature
Everything in the Christian religion had its own resting place and the most graded things were
furthest from the earth which is the center of the universe.
Epicycles are subcircles that explain the variance between transparent circles of the universe thus
explaining the movement of planets.
The first modern machine was called the verge escapement which made it possible for people to
measure time ignoring factors as to where was one, what the weather was and what time of the
year it was.
Perspective lead to changes in how maps are drawn. Older maps were centered around Jerusalem,
whereas new maps were drawn according to longitude and latitude.

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Nicholus Coperniucus believed that sun was more important in comparison to earth, whereas
Galileo believed the stars were important. Examining stars under the telescope be reasoned that
Jupiter had moons and the sun had spots. According to Galileo since the sun wasn’t perfect, it may
have been made of the same materials that all the other planets were made of and operated
according to the rules that held the universe together.
St. Francis of Assisi: the first environmentalist?
St.Francis began sorting his faith when he was a teen , which is when he realized that the poverty jesus
lived in and that all Jesus did was live each day like no tomorrow and trust everything will be taken care
of if he had faith in his father.
St Francis was the first Christian saint to study ecology in everyday life.
Francis became interested in Holy poverty and later on became a follower of Lady Poverty—
tradition of a wandering singer. This led him to sing and dance on the streets with many other
followers. Eventually he ended up with a group of followers who believed to share the same
principles as him.
The church developed a set of rules which followed the Franciscan way of life –rules of life.
After his death, the town of Assisi became burdened with large amounts of wealth from
Europeans everywhere. Around the 13th century,, “ the spiritual Franciscans” demanded that
Catholic Church get rid of their wealth. The church therefore was forced to ewview the current
consumption of private property as holy, which escalated growth of banking and merchandising.
Environmental History IV:
First seeds globalization caused the mix of species from different continents and explorers began
to dominate the New World (North and South America).
Columbus mission was due to a desperate demand for spices. The main single source for these
spices were the Spice Islands in Southeast Asia. These spices travelled from the Islands to India
then Egypt , then Italy and then to the rest of Europe.
In the 7th century a merchant named Muhammad founded Islam which later conquered
Mediterranean and other countries that were involved in the trade off of spices.
In the 15th century , the Indian ocean was controlled by the arabs which interrupted spice trade.
Within 30 years the Arab trade system was destroyed and replaced by colonization of Africa.
Columbus enslaved the North American tribes due to the inability of natives to oppose well armed
Millions of diseases were destroying populations causing a 90% decline in a 100 years, which
stimulated slave trade.

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Introduction of sugar plantations escalated slave trade. Slavery was abolished in the 19th century.
Sugar and slave trade were international which caused the arrival of international co-operations.
Banks started giving out loans and started trading currency.
Join-stock companies –when one invested into a company and was rewarded when ship came back
in the port.
The East India Company (spices) and Hudson’s Bay Company (furs) were the only ones supported
by the Royal Family.
Companies were gaining wealth and power which led to the birth of industrial revolution.
Environmental History V (Part 1 and 2) : The Industrial Revolution / Romantic Revolution
Began towards the 17th century in England. This marked the arrival of corporations and large-scale
The symbol of Industrial Revolution is the Steam Engine. It began when the harnessing of the
burning of steam in an engine which could be placed anywhere.
Large Scale factories drew in people from villages and towns to become industrial workers. This
lead to less family time and standardized factory hours were put into play.
Exploitation of natural resources led future generations to face hardships.
The old romantic view consisted of kings, priests, male centered and rule oriented.
In the new world romantic view, God disappeared and turned into watchmaker, making the forces
of authorities incharge.
New Hell is caused by the repressive actions of the Forces of Order. These people are more
liberated since the new cosmology defines the truth to be found away from authority.
Article 5: Why do Societies Collapse?
-Noah’s flood, lost city of atlantis , Mayan cities in the deep jungle , the decline and fall of the
Roman Empire –complex urban societies that disappeared.
-Reasons might include religious (empire is cursed for its sinfulness ) to mysteries –empire’s
population goes to a mysterious decline.
-Easter Island (90sq km, south of the equator and first covered in dense –palm forests)—consists of
vast, staring sculptures of elongated heads with dot the island. There are 900 of these, what
happened to the rest? Why did the people abandon this project?
-Rapa Nui –inhabitants of the Island
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