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HIST364: Environmental History

Unit 6: Reshaping the Modern Environment   *Industrialization led to the institutionalization of market-powered economic capitalism.  Economies were no longer designed to be self-sustaining.  Industrial economies could only grow if markets were continually generated so that production could be continually expanded.  This process of market expansion and production shaped modern environments.  Market expansion took place in non-industrial societies, which introduced industrialization in order to make profits and extract raw materials.  Once materials were exhausted, new sources had to be found, often at the expense of pre-industrial societies.  The very system of exploitation, production, and consumption came to be the ruling idea that cannot be challenged.  Technology became the new god and capitalism the new religion.

As societies became fully industrialized, every action had profound environmental effects.  In the twentieth century, generation of energy to support production and new populations centered around manufacturing, transportation on a macro level, agribusiness, and commerce, which all proceeded based only on economic need and desire with very little reflection on environmental consequences.  Of course, political necessity rivaled economics as a source of motivation, and the technological wars of the twentieth century had a dramatic impact on the natural world.  This unit will explore the changes wrought by modern faith in the elevation of economics and politics over natural systems.*

Unit 6 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 20.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 6.1: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2: 9 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.2.1: 0.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.2.2: 0.75 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.2.3: 1.25 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.2.4: 1.25 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.2.5: 2.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.2.6: 0.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.2.7: 2 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.2.8: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 6.3: 5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.3.1: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 6.3.2: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 6.3.3: 1.75 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.3.4: 0.75 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.3.5: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.4: 2.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.4.1: 0.25 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.4.2: 1.25 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 6.4.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.5: 0.5 hours

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Identify how twentieth-century societies actively shaped their landscapes. - Explain big technology and environmental change. - Examine the polluting consequences of large-scale energy production. - Define agribusiness and industrial agriculture, and describe the environmental changes these systems demand. - Explore the impact of global commerce and international politics on the world environment.

6.1 Theories of Industrialization   6.1.1 Technology as Religion   - Reading: Bartleby’s version of Henry Adams’ The Education of Henry Adams: “The Virgin and the Dynamo” Link: Bartleby’s version of Henry Adams’ The Education of Henry Adams: “The Virgin and the Dynamo” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read the entire primary source excerpt. 
Although James refers to himself in the third person, this is a
chapter from his autobiography.  In “The Virgin and the Dynamo,”
Adams reflects on the motivational power of technology in building
modern urban civilization as similar to the power of the cult of the
Virgin Mary to inspire the building of medieval cathedrals.  The
dynamo (symbolizing technology) has become the new icon to which
shrines are built and dedicated.  

 Studying this material should take approximately 1 hour.  

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  • Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Guide to Responding to Henry Adams’ The Education of Henry Adams: ‘The Virgin and the Dynamo’” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Guide to Responding to Henry Adams’ The Education of Henry Adams’: The Virgin and the Dynamo’” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above to download the guide for the first reading in sub-subunit 6.1.1, and read through the entire document.  Note: This resource was developed for the Saylor Foundation by Kate Sampsell-Willmann.

    Studying this guide should take approximately 1 hour.

6.1.2 Industrialization and Economic Ethics   - Web Media: iTunes U: University of California, Berkeley: “Capitalism and Its Critics” Link: iTunes U: University of California, Berkeley: “Capitalism and Its Critics” (iTunes)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down to the
lecture titled “Capitalism and Its Critics,” and click on “View in
iTunes” to download the video lecture.  Please watch the entire
iTunes lecture (1:17:26 minutes).  

 Viewing the lecture and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.2 Redefining Landscapes   6.2.1 Transportation   - Reading: American History: Logan Thomas Snyder’s “President Dwight D. Eisenhower and America’s Interstate Highway System” Link: American History: Logan Thomas Snyder’s “President Dwight D. Eisenhower and America’s Interstate Highway System” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire
article.  A significant feature of developed societies is a network
of high quality road systems that permit people to live in places
far from concentrated population centers or far from mass transit
systems.  One yardstick of economic health is the number of new
housing starts recorded each year.  Rather than rehabilitate
traditional population centers, new housing statistics indicate how
much former forest or farmland is being converted to paved surfaces.
 Highways that allow commuting enable developers to push housing
complexes farther afield, diffusing population and inviting
subsequent support development to follow.  This reading provides the
history of the national highway idea.  

 Studying this material should take approximately 30 minutes.  

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  • Reading: University of Kassel: Richard Vahrenkamp’s “Roads Without Cars: The HAFRABA Association and the Autobahn Project 1933-1943 in Germany” Link: University of Kassel: Richard Vahrenkamp’s “Roads Without Cars: The HAFRABA Association and the Autobahn Project 1933-1943 in Germany” (PDF)

    Instructions: Note that this reading is optional.  Please click on the hyperlink for the title to open the PDF.  Please read pages 1-33.

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6.2.2 Industry   - Reading: European Route of Industrial Heritage: “Shaping the Earth: European Theme Route Industrial Landscapes” Link: European Route of Industrial Heritage: “Shaping the Earth: European Theme Route Industrial Landscapes” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire
article.  

 Studying this material should take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Australian Landscape Architects Association: Helen Armstrong’s “Time, Dereliction, and Beauty: An Argument for ‘Landscapes of Contempt’” Link: Australian Landscape Architects Association: Helen Armstrong’s “Time, Dereliction, and Beauty: An Argument for ‘Landscapes of Contempt’” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please scroll to the section on Session Speakers, and click on the title of the paper to open the PDF.  Please read the conference paper in its entirety (12 pages).  Costs related to maintaining a work force has pushed corporations to move their manufacturing operations to developing countries with low-cost labor and political friendliness to environmental degradation.  Whereas industrialization first occurred in Western Europe and the United States, these societies now identify as post-industrial.  Cessation of manufacturing has left abandoned factories and other industrial artifacts in “rust belts” in much of the U.S. and British Commonwealth.  This reading and “Shaping the Earth: European Theme Route Industrial Landscapes” (above, also in sub-subunit 6.2.2) discuss the aesthetics of post-industrial decay.

    Studying this material should take approximately 30 minutes.

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6.2.3 Population Growth   - Reading: Academic Earth: Yale University: Robert Wyman’s “Human and Environmental Impacts” Link: Academic Earth: Yale University: Robert Wyman’s “Human and Environmental Impacts” (Flash)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and watch this video
in its entirety.  In this lecture, Professor Robert Wyman talks
about the environmental impacts of unprecedented population growth
in the current world.  Read the “lecture description” underneath the
video for a synopsis of the lecture.  

 Viewing this video lecture and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.  

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displayed on the webpage above.

6.2.4 Government Regulation   - Reading: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Jack Lewis’ “Looking Backward: A Historical Perspective on Environmental Regulations” Link: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Jack Lewis’ “Looking Backward: A Historical Perspective on Environmental Regulations” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire
webpage.  

 Studying this material should take approximately 15 minutes.  

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displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: World Watch Institute’s “Path to Johannesburg” Link: World Watch Institute’s “Path to Johannesburg” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read the entire linked webpage for a timeline of major efforts made by countries to harness the environmental threats.

    Studying this material should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: United Nations Environment Programme’s “Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment” Link: United Nations Environment Programme’s “Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read the entire linked webpage.  This is a statement that accompanied the first international summit on the environment, held in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972.  Stockholm was the first attempt at global regulation to protect the environment.  Within one hundred years of the Industrial Revolution, the impact of raw material exploitation, burning of fossil fuels, toxic residue from industry, and refinement of minerals had created a potential environmental disaster in industrial societies.

    Studying this resource should take approximately 30 minutes.

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6.2.5 War and the Environment   - Reading: World History Connected: Richard P. Tucker’s “War and the Environment” Link: World History Connected: Richard P. Tucker’s “War and the Environment” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire
article.  In this article, Professor Richard P. Tucker, the author
of *Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward an Environmental History of
War*, traces the world wide history of wars’ ecological consequences
from ancient Roman to the twentieth century.  

 Studying this material should take approximately 1 hour.  

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  • Reading: Lenntech: S.M. Enzler’s “Environmental Effects of War” Lenntech: S.M. Enzler’s “Environmental Effects of War” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire webpage.

    Studying this material should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: National Humanities Center: Dr. Jack Temple Kirby’s “The American Civil War: An Environmental View” Link: National Humanities Center: Dr. Jack Temple Kirby’s “The American Civil War: An Environmental View” (HTML)

    Instructions: Note that this reading is optional.  Please click on the link above, and read the entire article (6 webpages in total).  Make sure to click on “continued” at the bottom of each webpage to move on to the subsequent pages of the reading.  This reading provides a case study of the ecological consequences of human warfare.

    Studying this material should take approximately 1 hour.

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6.2.6 “Big Technology” and Environmental Change: Dams, Canals, and Rivers   - Reading: Center for Columbia River History: Bill Lang’s “Columbia River” Link: Center for Columbia River History: Bill Lang’s “Columbia River” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire
article.  This article by historian and Professor of History at
Portland State University, Bill Lang, discusses how human activity
has dramatically altered the Columbia River system in the
northwestern United States.  400 dams designed for hydroelectric
power generation and irrigation purposes have turned the once mighty
river and its tributaries into a series of manmade lakes.  These
dams have had a severe impact on aquatic life in the river basin. 
For example, the population of Pacific salmon species, which once
filled the river during the spring and fall runs, has declined
precipitously during the past half-century and may never recover.  

 Studying this material should take approximately 15 minutes.  

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  • Web Media: YouTube: University of Washington Press: David Biggs’ “Quagmire: Nation-Building and Nature In The Mekong Delta” Link: YouTube: University of Washington Press: David Biggs’ “Quagmire: Nation-Building and Nature In The Mekong Delta” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please watch this entire video (4:39 minutes).  In this YouTube video, published by the University of Washington Press, author David Biggs explores his book Quagmire: Nation Building in the Mekong Delta.  The Mekong Delta is the area where the Mekong River breaks into distributaries and empties into the Gulf of Thailand.  The subtropical area is largely agricultural and aquacultural and boasts remarkable biodiversity.  Because of a series of wars in Vietnam over the twentieth century and a closed society that reacted to those wars, the Delta has not been developed industrially.  Biggs discusses the relationship between the long U.S. involvement in Vietnam and the impact of nation building in the twenty-first century.

    Viewing this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 15 minutes.

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6.2.7 Energy Production and Air and Water Pollution   - Reading: Pace University’s Power Scorecard: “The Environmental Issues of Electricity Production” and “Electricity Generating Technologies: Where Does our Electricity Come From?” Link: Pace University’s Power Scorecard: “The Environmental Issues of Electricity Production” (HTML) and “Electricity Generating Technologies: Where Does our Electricity Come From?” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the first link above, and select each
link under “Air Impacts” and “Water Impacts,” and read the linked
entries.  Then, click on each link on the second webpage about
electricity-generating technologies, and read these entries.  

 Studying these materials should take approximately 2 hours.  

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displayed on the webpages above.

6.2.8 Globalizing Technologies   - Reading: National Public Radio: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton’s “Gas Flaring Disrupts Life in Oil-Producing Niger Delta” Link: National Public Radio: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton’s “Gas Flaring Disrupts Life in Oil-Producing Niger Delta” (Flash)

 Instructions: Please read the entire webpage, and click on the
“Listen” button to hear the podcast.  In terms of petroleum, Nigeria
is one of the richest countries, but standards of living are very
low.  The extraction of petroleum is the primary concern for the
mostly American and European oil companies that dominate the
industry in Nigeria.  However, most of Nigerian oil is found under
natural gas deposits.  Natural gas is more difficult to extract and
returns profits more slowly than oil, so in a poor country, where
corruption is rife and populations have virtually no power (and
receive little or no economic benefits from oil extraction), instead
of harvesting the natural gas first, oil companies simply burn the
gas off in massive geysers of fire, which launch massive amounts of
greenhouse gasses and particulate matter into the air.  Furthermore,
people live in villages near these burnoffs and report serious
effects from this wanton pollution.  Read and listen to the NPR
broadcast to discover the conditions for people who had the
misfortune to live near a deposit of oil and gas.  

 Reading and listening to the podcast should take approximately 15
minutes.  

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6.3 Modern Agriculture   6.3.1 Food and Food Policy   - Reading: iTunes U: Yale University: The Rudd Report’s “A Discussion with Michael Pollan” Link: iTunes U: Yale University: The Rudd Report’s “A Discussion with Michael Pollan” (iTunes)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down to the
title “A Discussion with Michael Pollan,” and click on “View in
iTunes” to download the lecture.  Please listen to the entire iTunes
lecture.  

 Listening to this lecture and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1 hour.  

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displayed on the webpage above.

6.3.2 Green Revolutions   - Web Media: iTunes U: Yale University: Economics and the Environment: Michael Esty’s “Green to Gold: The Current Environmental Revolutions” Link: iTunes U: Yale University: Economics and the Environment: Michael Esty’s “Green to Gold: The Current Environmental Revolutions” (iTunes)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, find the lecture
titled “Green to Gold: The Current Environmental Revolutions,” and
click on “View in iTunes” to download the lecture.  Please listen to
the entire iTunes lecture.  

 Listening to this lecture and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1 hour.  

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displayed on the webpage above.

6.3.3 Genetically Modified Foods   - Web Media: iTunes U: Santa Fe Institute: On Plants: From Genes to Genomes to Genetically Modified Foods: Nina Federof’s “Genetically Modified Foods: Monsters or Miracles?” Link: iTunes U: Santa Fe Institute: On Plants: From Genes to Genomes to Genetically Modified Foods: Nina Federof’s “Genetically Modified Foods: Monsters or Miracles?” (iTunes)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, find the lecture
titled “Genetically Modified Foods: Monsters or Miracles?” and click
on “View in iTunes” to download the video lecture.  Please watch the
entire linked lecture.  

 Viewing this lecture and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.3.4 Intensive Versus Extensive Land Use   - Reading: Encyclopedia of the Earth: Tobias Plieninger’s “Traditional Land Use and Nature Conservation in Rural Europe” Link: Encyclopedia of the Earth: Tobias Plieninger’s “Traditional Land Use and Nature Conservation in Rural Europe” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the brief
entry.  Extensive agriculture is a system in which land is farmed
with little labor, fertilizer, or capital expenditure in ratio to
the area farmed.  Intensive agriculture is the opposite, where
smaller land areas require much labor, fertilizer, and capital
expenditure.  Intensive farming produces large crop yields, because
fertilizer keeps the soil nutrient rich.  Agribusiness is an
intensive agricultural model.  Extensive land use is best
exemplified by nomadic cultures and horticulturalists.  Lower yields
are expected in extensive land use, because soils are often depleted
and a large area is needed to maintain a small number of people. 
Subsistence farming is extensive.  

 Studying this material should take approximately 45 minutes.  

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6.3.5 Agriculture in the Developing World   - Web Media: The Open University: “World in Transition: Managing Resources” Link: The Open University: “World in Transition: Managing Resources” (HTML and Flash)

 Instructions: Please read the introduction, and then click on the
links for tracks 2–8 under “Tracks in this Podcast.”  On each
webpage, also click on the “Read a transcript of this track”
hyperlink for accompanying text.  
    
 Studying this resource should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
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6.4 Modern Commerce   6.4.1 World Commodities   - Web Media: PBS: The Market Maker: “Inside the Oldest Commodities Exchange” Link: PBS: The Market Maker: “Inside the Oldest Commodities Exchange” (Flash)

 Instructions: Please click play, and watch the brief video (3:48
minutes).  

 Viewing the video and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 15 minutes.  

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displayed on the webpage above.

6.4.2 Trade Networks   - Web Media: iTunes U: Globalization Video, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs: Joseph Stiglitz’ “Fair Trade for All: How Trade Can Promote Development” Link: iTunes U: Globalization Video, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs: Joseph Stiglitz’ “Fair Trade for All: How Trade Can Promote Development” (iTunes)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, find the lecture
titled “Fair Trade for All: How Trade Can Promote Development,” and
click on “View in iTunes” to download the video lecture.  Please
watch the entire linked lecture.  

 Viewing this lecture and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.4.3 Commerce in the Developing World   - Web Media: iTunes U: Open University: “International Development: Microcredit and Migration” Link: iTunes U: Open University: “International Development: Microcredit and Migration” (iTunes)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select “View in
iTunes” to download each episode.  Watch episode 1, 3, 5, 7, 13, 19,
21, 25, and 27.  Alternatively, you may download and read the
transcript for each episode.  Please note that each transcript is
listed below each lecture.  

 Viewing these lectures and reviewing the transcripts should take
approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
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6.5 International Politics and the Environment in the Developing World   - Web Media: iTunes U: The Open University: “Earth in Crisis: Environmental Policy in an International Context” Link: iTunes U: The Open University: “Earth In Crisis: Environmental Policy in an International Context” (iTunes)

 Instructions: Read the introduction, and click on the links for
tracks 2-6, and 13-16.  Watch each podcast for tracks 2-6 and 13-16,
and click on the link to “Read a transcript of this track” on each
webpage to read the accompanying transcript.  

 Listening to the podcasts and reading the transcripts should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.