still under construction...
History of Environmental StudiesEdit
In order to fully understand a subject, you must study the history of the subject. How did it arise, in what type of context, how did the context affect the development of the subject? Thus this course will start with a brief overview of the history of the environment. The following interactive website will give you a nice over view of the history:
That brief overview of the history of the environment shows us that from very early on humans have affected and have been effected by the environment. Right from 1200 AD when civilizations in asia were practicing soil conservation, to the 1800s when John Snow proved that polluted water case diseases, right up to present day, we have been shaping the environment and being shaped by it. But our history with Environmental change goes much further back:
"During the Neolithic Revolution, or "new stone age revolution" which included agricultural advancements, groups of prehistoric humans started domesticating various plants and animals, shifting from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle toward agriculture and pastoralism. The origins of domestication are not known. One theory is that it was mainly due to the end of the Ice Age (i.e. about 9-11,000 years ago), resulting in the extinction of many of prehistoric man's game, such as the wooly mammoth. Due to this decrease in food from hunting, some groups started to turn to agriculture. Some groups could easily plant their seeds in open fields, but others had forests blocking their farming land. Since Neolithic times, slash and burn techniques have been widely used for converting forests into crop fields and pasture. Fire was used before the Neolithic as well, and by hunter-gatherers up to present times. Clearings created by fire were made for many reasons, such as to draw game animals and to promote certain kinds of edible plants such as berries and mushrooms."
We have always been a student of the environment, but by far the person that has influenced our understanding of Environmental Studies would have to be James Love-lock. He was the one who developed the device that showed us that the ozone was shrinking, he was the one that championed the concept of a living planet, and he was the one that noticed that CFCs build up in the atmosphere (but unfortunately did not realize the full significance of this).
A critical aspect of Environmental studies is Ecology. Ecology is the study of living things and their connection to their environment. Understanding this connection is essential to understanding the environment.