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Environmental History: Learning from the Past. G. Tyler Miller’s Living in the Environment 14 th Edition Chapter 2. Key Concepts. Three Major “Revolutions” in Human Culture. U.S. Environmental History. Tribal and Frontier Era. Early Conservation Era. The Environmental Era.

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Environmental history learning from the past l.jpg
Environmental History: Learning from the Past

G. Tyler Miller’s

Living in the Environment

14th Edition

Chapter 2


Key concepts l.jpg
Key Concepts

  • Three Major “Revolutions”in Human Culture

U.S. Environmental History

  • Tribal and Frontier Era

  • Early Conservation Era

  • The Environmental Era

  • Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic


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Cultural Changes and the Environment: Hunter-Gatherer Culture

  • Hunter-gatherers

  • Nomadic: seasonal movement

  • Usually limited environmental impact


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Cultural Changes and the Environment: The Agricultural Revolution

  • Agriculture

  • Slash and burn/shifting cultivation (See Fig. 2-2 p. 22)

  • Essentially sustainable resource use

  • Increased environmental impact

Refer to Trade-Offs in Fig. 2-3 on p. 23


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Cultural Changes and the Environment: The Industrial-Medical Revolution

  • Industrial Revolution (mid-1700’s)

  • Shift to dependence on non-renewable resources

  • Dramatic increase in environmental impact

Refer to Trade-offs in Fig. 2-4 onp. 23


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Cultural Changes and the Environment: The Information/Globalization Revolution

  • Information Revolution

  • Rate of information increase and speed of communication

  • Globalization

  • Decrease in cultural diversity

Refer to Trade-offs in Fig. 2-5 on p. 24


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Environmental History of the United States: The Tribal and Frontier Eras

  • Tribal Era: Native Americans

  • Native Americans caused some extinctions, but generally were low-impact hunter-gather or agricultural societies

  • Frontier Environmental Worldview: European Settlement (1607-1890)

  • Significant impact as wilderness frontier was “tamed”


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Environmental History of the United States: The Early Conservation Era

  • Period: 1832-1960

  • Concern over resource use

  • Preservation of public lands

  • Public health initiatives

  • Environmental restoration projects


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Important Figures During The Early Conservation Era Conservation Era

  • Henry David Thoreau

  • George Perkins Marsh

  • John Muir

  • Theodore Roosevelt

  • Gifford Pinchot

  • Franklin Roosevelt


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Environmental History of the United States: The Environmental Era

  • Period: 1960-Today

  • The environmental movement

  • The science of ecology

  • Spaceship Earth worldview

  • 1980’s: backlash against environmentalism

  • 1990’s: environmental awareness


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Important Figures During The Environmental Era – Part 1 Environmental Era

  • Rachel Carson: Silent Spring (1962)(See Individuals Matter on p. 27)

  • Richard Nixon: EPA; ESA

  • Jimmy Carter: DOE, Superfund


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Important Figures During The Environmental Era – Part 1 Environmental Era

  • Ronald Reagan

  • Bill Clinton

  • George W. Bush Jr.


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Case Study: Aldo Leopold and His Land Ethic Environmental Era

  • Individuals are interdependent

  • Ethics: respect for land

  • Shift from conqueror to member

  • Problems arise when land viewed as a commodity

  • Preservation of the integrity, stability, and beauty of land is right


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