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HIST364: Environmental History

Unit 7: Threatened Environments – Threatened Societies   At the end of the twentieth century, over one hundred years of unrestrained industrial growth and unlimited consumption of fossil fuels took such a toll on the global environment that failure to notice became no longer possible and no longer politically or economically viable.  Overuse of natural resources and non-regulation of market economies had pushed many species to extinction, had made many environments unlivable, and had impacted human societies.  Large industry impacted large ecosystems, and despite their technology, humans are still a part of ecosystems.  Ecosystem threats will eventually become social threats.  Ultimately, large scale manufacture has had a profound effect on the global environment.  Industrial pollutions inflict communities; public health is under severe threat.  While an expansive population exerts huge pressure on the planet, not only natural resources exhaust, but also the entire climatic system undergoes changes.  Climate change in turn affects the human society by way of abnormal weather patterns that lead to catastrophes.  This unit will explore how a global economy has had a global environmental impact.

Unit 7 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 15.25 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 7.1: 7.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 7.1.1: 0.75 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 7.1.2: 0.75 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 7.1.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 7.1.4: 1.25 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 7.1.5: 1.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 7.1.6: 1.75 hours

☐    Subunit 7.2: 3.75 hours

☐    Subunit 7.3: 4 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 7.3.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 7.3.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 7.3.3: 1 hour

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Identify the consequences of large industry on ecosystems. - Explain the effects of industrial pollution. - Explore how population growth creates environmental change. - Explain the complex ways by which human society affects ecosystems and climate change. 

7.1 Endangered Ecosystems   7.1.1 Water Diversion   - Web Media: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): “Water and Political Conflicts” Link: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): “Water and Political Conflicts” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on each of the 5 sections, examine the
graphic, and read the entire text for each: “The Disappearance of
the Aral Sea;” “Lake Chad: Almost Gone;” “The Mekong River -
Survival for Millions;” “Water - Cooperation or Conflict?;” and
“Transboundary Water Governance - Averting Conflict.”  Water use is
poised to be one of the most contentious political issues.  Minority
rights and demands of the wealthy in the Americas and the Pacific
Basin, conflicting interests of newly created nations in semi-arid
Central Asia, population pressures leading to active desalinization
in the desert Middle East, and world-wide pollution of freshwater
have made protecting water sources a global issue.  The UNEP link
provides a short overview to some of the biggest environmental
issues created by water diversion, the most dramatic of which is the
disappearing Aral Sea.  The Salton Sea in California lies at the
other extreme as a result of a century of large-scale water
diversion.  

 Studying this resource should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
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  • Web Media: YouTube: LiveEarthDotOrg’s “The Aral Sea” Link: YouTube: LiveEarthDotOrg’s “The Aral Sea” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please watch the linked YouTube video in its entirety.

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

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

7.1.2 Over Fishing and Ocean Health   - Reading: University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography: “Ecological Consequences of Overfishing” Link: University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography: “Ecological Consequences of Overfishing” (HTML)

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

 Studying this material should take approximately 45 minutes.  

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

7.1.3 Timber Harvesting and Forest Health   - Reading: Idaho Forest Products Commission: R. Neil Sampson and Lester A. DeCoster’s “Forest Health in the United States” Link: Idaho Forest Products Commission: R. Neil Sampson and Lester A. DeCoster’s “Forest Health in the United States” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read the entire article (8 pages total).  You
will have to click on the “Next Page” hyperlink to access each
subsequent webpage.  Please click on embedded links on page 2 to
read about “Forest Types” and “Broad Trends Affecting Forest
Health.”  This article presents an intense debate over the role of
timber harvesting, especially on publicly-held land, and forest
health.  

 You should dedicate no less than 1 hour and 30 minutes to exploring
this resource.  

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

7.1.4 Industrial Chemicals and the Environment   - Reading: Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal: United Nations’ Safe Planet “Background Statement” Link: Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal: United Nations’ Safe Planet “Background Statement” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and locate the
“Background Statement” in the “Safe Planet” section.  Then, click on
the title to open the PDF.  Please read the statement in its
entirety (18 pages).  

 Studying this material should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “Superfund: Cleaning up the Nation’s Hazardous Wastes Sites” Link: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “Superfund: Cleaning up the Nation’s Hazardous Wastes Sites” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on “Basic Information” and “Contaminated Media, Human Health, and Environmental Effects,” and read the entire linked webpages.  Pollution has always been a result of technology, but before industrialization and population explosion, the global impact of environmental pollution was limited.  Storing hazardous waste – the deadly chemical or radioactive byproduct of complex chemical processes used in manufacturing, healthcare, mining, and energy production – has become an increasingly fractious issue, largely due to illegal dumping of waste in rivers, the oceans, and landfills near human habitation.  This waste dumping has usually been at the expense of politically powerless populations like the poor and minorities.  Finding a safe place to store this waste and eventual need for site maintenance or cleanup is a worldwide problem.

    Studying this material should take approximately 15 minutes.

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

7.1.5 Invasive Species   - Reading: U.S. Department of Agriculture: Michael Livingston and Craig Osteen’s “Integrating Invasive Species Prevention and Control Policies” Link: U.S. Department of Agriculture: Michael Livingston and Craig Osteen’s “Integrating Invasive Species Prevention and Control Policies” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on “Entire Report” to open the PDF. 
Please read the entire report (8 pages).  Ecosystems evolve in an
intricately balanced closed system.  Global trade and travel can
introduce species not native to an ecosystem.  With no natural
predators or other population control, introduced species can take
over an ecosystem, consuming all food and displacing other
species.  

 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: University of California, Riverside’s Center for Invasive Species Research: Mark S. Hoddle’s “Quagga (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) & Zebra (Dreissena polymorpha) Mussels” Link: University of California, Riverside’s Center for Invasive Species Research: Mark S. Hoddle’s “Quagga (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) & Zebra (Dreissena polymorpha) Mussels” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire webpage.  The governments of the U.S. and Canada have been combating an invasion of the Zebra Mussel in the Great Lakes.

    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: Australian Government: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities’ “Feral European Rabbit (Oryctolagus Cuniculus)” Link: Australian Government: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities’ “Feral European Rabbit (Oryctolagus Cuniculus)” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above to access the PDF, and read the entire report (4 pages).

    Studying this material should take approximately 15 minutes.

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

  • Web Media: U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Kudzu” Link: U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Kudzu” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above, watch the brief embedded video, and read the descriptions of Kudzu.  Kudzu, an Asian vine, was intentionally introduced into the U.S. in the late nineteenth century for its ornamental properties and its usefulness in averting soil erosion.  Kudzu thrives in the humid heat of the U.S. South, where there are no natural limits to its ability to grow.  Over 100 years of unrestricted growth of the plant has reshaped the southern landscape.

    Reading and viewing the video should take approximately 15 minutes.

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

7.1.6 Mining and Mineral Production   - Reading: WesJones.com: Erik Reece’s “Death of a Mountain: Radical Strip Mining and the Leveling of Appalachia” Link: WesJones.com: Erik Reece’s “Death of a Mountain: Radical Strip Mining and the Leveling of Appalachia” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire
webpage.  Most electricity on earth is generated by either nuclear
fission or burning coal.  Coal is extracted either through
underground tunnels or through strip mining, where entire mountains
are topped to access the coal seams underneath.  

 Studying this material should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Northern Arizona University: Marylynn Quartaroli’s “Leetso, the Yellow Monster: Uranium Mining on the Colorado Plateau” Link: Northern Arizona University: Marylynn Quartaroli’s “Leetso, the Yellow Monster: Uranium Mining on the Colorado Plateau” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire webpage.  Nuclear fission, be it in bombs or for power, presents issues of safety and waste disposal, but uranium mining has also had its impact, especially on Navajo populations in the American Southwest.

    Studying this material should take approximately 15 minutes.

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

  • Web Media: Environmental Graffiti: Karl Fabricius’ “10 Most Incredible Earth Scars” Link: Environmental Graffiti: Karl Fabricius’ “10 Most Incredible Earth Scars” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please navigate the slide show by using the green buttons next to the title.  A worldwide demand for diamonds as the gemstone of choice has created a uniquely destructive form of mining, the “pipe” mine, where a vertical pipe of diamond matrix is followed into the ground, creating enormous holes in the earth.

    Studying this resource should take less than 30 minutes.

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

7.2 Population and the Environment   7.2.1 The “Population Bomb”   - Reading: Environmental Health News: Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich’s “Return of the Population Bomb” Link: Environmental Health News: Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich’s “Return of the Population Bomb” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire
article.  This article by biologists Paul and Anne Ehrlich evaluates
the social impact of Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book *The Population
Bomb. * In the 1968 work, Ehrlich argues that unchecked world
population growth would lead to epidemic starvation by the 1970s. 
Paul and Anne Ehrlich argue in their 2009 article that the original
book may have overstated the impact that population growth would
have on world food resources, but that population growth still
threatens the health of the environment due to pollution, greenhouse
gas production, and other problems.  The authors argue that
concerted action must be taken to limit population growth and
encourage environmental sustainability.  

 Studying this material should take approximately 30 minutes.  

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

7.2.2 Population, Overpopulation, and Resource Scarcity   - Reading: American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Atlas of Population and Environment: “Part 1: Overview” and “Part 2: Atlas” Link: American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Atlas of Population and Environment: “Part 1: Overview” and “Part 2: Atlas” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read Parts 1 and
2.  To access each section, use the hyperlinks below each part in
the Table of Contents on the left side of the webpage. 
Alternatively, you may navigate by using the arrow buttons at the
bottom of each page.  Population density and population distribution
are two elements of land use and human health.  Urbanization grew
enormously worldwide in the twentieth century, increasing population
density that cause dramatic shifts in land use.  Migrations of
populations are based in both push and pull factors.  When people
choose to migrate from one place or another, usually a combination
of factors is pushing them from their homes – anything from war to
natural disaster to unemployment – and pulling them to a new
place – refuge, services, and jobs.  The *Atlas of Population and
Environment* gives a geographical view of population density and its
environmental impact.  Though some of the statistics in this source
are outdated, it provides a comprehensive overview of the population
pressure and its environmental impacts.  By reading through this
source, you should be able to form a clear idea of the current
population issue.  

 You should dedicate no more than 1 hour and 30 minutes to exploring
this source.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Web Media: iTunes U: University of California, San Francisco (UCTV): Lisa M. Thompson’s “Living with Smoke: Global Health Impact of Air Pollution from Household Cooking Fires” Link: iTunes U: University of California, San Francisco (UCTV): Lisa M. Thompson’s “Living with Smoke: Global Health Impact of Air Pollution from Household Cooking Fires” (iTunes)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll to the lecture titled “Living with Smoke: Global Health Impact of Air Pollution from Household Cooking Fires,” and click on “View in iTunes” to download the video lecture.  Please watch the entire video lecture (1:26:37 minutes).  Lisa Thompson, an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, discusses the surprising health impact of population density in countries where many people do not have access to gas or electric stoves and must rely on open cooking fires in very tight quarters.

    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.

7.3 Ecological Change and Human Society   7.3.1 Pollution and Disease   - Reading: Cornell University’s Chronicle Online: Susan Lang’s “Water, Air, and Soil Pollution Causes 40 Percent of Deaths Worldwide, Cornell Research Survey Finds” Link: Cornell University’s Chronicle Online: Susan Lang’s “Water, Air, and Soil Pollution Causes 40 Percent of Deaths Worldwide, Cornell Research Survey Finds” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the linked
article in its entirety.  

 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: EduGreen: “Health Impacts of Water Pollution” Link: EduGreen: “Health Impacts of Water Pollution” (HTML)

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

7.3.1.1 Environmental Degradation   - Reading: iTunes U: Stanford University: “Environmental Degradation Begets Epidemics: Cholera in Bangladesh” Link: iTunes U: Stanford University: “Environmental Degradation Begets Epidemics: Cholera in Bangladesh” (iTunes)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll to the lecture
titled “Environmental Degradation Begets Epidemics,” and click on
“View in iTunes” to download the video lecture.  Please watch the
entire video lecture.  

 Viewing the video and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 45 minutes.  

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

7.3.1.2 Industrial Pollution   - Reading: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Eckardt C. Beck’s “The Love Canal Tragedy” Link: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Eckardt C. Beck’s “The Love Canal Tragedy” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read the linked essay.  Poor regulation of
dumping of industrial chemicals in the years before the founding of
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and passing of
environmental regulatory legislation led to horrors like those that
befell innocent homeowners in an upstate New York subdivision.  In
the 1970s, an explosion exposed the fact that their development had
been built on a landfill where industrial waste had been dumped in
the 1950s.  The *New York Times* reported, “Twenty five years after
the Hooker Chemical Company stopped using the Love Canal here as an
industrial dump, 82 different compounds, 11 of them suspected
carcinogens, have been percolating upward through the soil, their
drum containers rotting and leaching their contents into the
backyards and basements of 100 homes and a public school built on
the banks of the canal.”  221 families, many of whom are plagued
with cancer and birth defects, had to be relocated.  

 Studying this material should take approximately 15 minutes.  

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

7.3.2 Climate Change   - Reading: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “Climate Change Impacts and Adapting to Change” Link: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “Climate Change Impacts and Adapting to Change” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and in the left frame
under “Impacts and Adaptation,” select the following topics:
“International,” “Health,” “Ecosystems,” and “Society.”  Explore
each webpage on these four topics.  

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

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

7.3.3 Unintended Consequences of Technologies   - Reading: Santa Clara University: Tim Healy’s “The Unanticipated Consequences of Technology” Link: Santa Clara University: Tim Healy’s “The Unanticipated Consequences of Technology” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read the linked essay in its entirety.  

 Studying this material should take approximately 1 hour.  

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