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History of Environmental Science

History of Environmental Science

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History of Environmental Science

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  1. History of Environmental Science

  2. What is Environmental Science? • Environmental Science – study of the impact of humans on the environment • Interdisciplinary – biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology, engineering, sociology, history, law and policy, ethics, philosophy

  3. All Organisms Change the Land • All organisms are interdependent on other organisms and dependent on the land • All organisms and cultures have changed the land

  4. Hunter-Gatherers • People throughout vast majority of our history were hunter-gatherers • Hunter-gathers - People who obtain their food by hunting, fishing and picking wild plant foods • Mobile society – moved around to follow resources • How would a mobile society affect the land differently than a fixed one? • How might these groups have changed the land?

  5. Agricultural Revolution • 10,000 yrs. ago, people began farm and to domesticate animals & plants • Farming increased the carrying capacity of the earth • Originally, agriculture was shifting cultivation that took advantage of seasonal windows of vegetative production • Shift to settlements lead to changes in the land caused by habitat replacement, fences, division of property and grazing • Changed what we eat: Almost all food we eat is domesticated and different from wild ancestors


  7. Industrialization • Shift in manufacturing from human/animal based to machine (fuel) based • Included shifts from rural to urban • Led to proliferation of roads, trains and other transportation • Expansion of industries on a global scale • Produced significant cash flow for many Americans • People used new-found wealth to purchase more items of convenience • Resulted in huge boom in human population



  10. Advantages Disadvantages Industrial Revolution


  12. Manifest Destiny • Belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent • Occurred concurrently with Industrial Revolution in U.S. • “The American people view its own march across these wilds, draining swamps, turning the course of rivers, peopling solitudes and subduing nature.” • 1832 quote of Alexis de Tocoqueville cited in Sheabecoff 1993 • Affected American attitudes about the land

  13. Government Encouraged Expansion • Many laws were created to encourage settlement of the west • Homestead Act – work the land for 5 years  its yours (1862) • Desert land Act – really cheap land if you irrigate in desert (1877) • Mining Law - prospectors can to stake claim on federal land (1872) • Reclamation Act  – develop west - build irrigation, dams, etc. to settle unmanned areas (1902)

  14. Beginnings of environmentalism

  15. Romanticism/Transcendentalism • Idea that existence of a higher reality in which spiritual truths were reflected in nature • Response to Industrial Revolution and discontent with mechanized, materialistic aspects society • Popular with urban socialites • Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir

  16. Early Conservation Thought • George Perkins Marsh -Environmental Analyst – one of the first to study environmental science • Believed nature was basically stable on its own (equilibrium), but human activity and technology permanently changed the earth • One of the first to use the idea of sustainability

  17. John Muir • Father of environmental movement (late 1800s, early 1900s) • Nature Explorer • Walked to Florida • Lived in Yosemite • Author about nature • Advocate for preservation of wild areas (especially Yosemite) • Co-founded the Sierra Club Start @ 2:53 -6:23

  18. Preservation Vs. Conservation Debate

  19. Preservation • Reserve land that is untouched by humans • Forest Reserve Act – (1891) gave president ability to set aside land (for use) • 1906 – Antiquities Act – (protected Grand Canyon – gave President Authority to set aside protected land (no use) • 1916 – National Park System Created • Preservation with recreation • 1964 – Wilderness Act

  20. Old Growth

  21. 1872 – First National Park • “dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people”

  22. Other Natural Areas had been appreciated, but not preserved

  23. Conservation • Efficient use natural of resources • Including: management of natural resources which include wildlife, water, air, and earth deposits

  24. Gifford Pinchot • First president of the US Forest Service • Opposed of preservation for the sake of wilderness or beauty • Argued capitalism required conservation • Advocated conservation over preservation • Responsible for the creation of lots of public lands • Managed – allow logging, mining, grazing, etc. • Aided by Teddy Roosevelt – also outdoor enthusiast start at 2:10 or 3:23

  25. Preservation Vs. Conservation Debate

  26. Urban Public Health Movement Concern regarding conditions in cities during and after the Industrial Revolution Occurred at the same time as the Wilderness Idea (Muir/Pinchot)

  27. Industrialization Led to Poor Conditions in cities • Air pollution (due to wide-spread use of coal) • In 1873, smog attributed to the deaths of 700+ people in London • Over 4000 died in 1952 • Water pollution (factories built near waterways and waste dumped into them) • Drinking water quality • Poor sanitation • Over-crowding  slums • All lead to wide-spread disease

  28. Increased spread of Disease

  29. Urbanization

  30. Response to Environmental issues in Cities (due to industrialization) • 1908 Alice Hamilton – proved link between health and problems and industry’s heavy metals  • Development of sewer systems (to keep waste separate from drinking water – kind of) • Begin regulation of water filtration and storage • River and Harbors Act1899 – required permit for changing a waterway • Some problems improved with technology • Electricity reduced coal use  less air pollution • Legislation for Housing • Ex - Tenement House Act (1863) • Started to legislate ventilation and waste management • Ex – window for every room • Laws for worker safety

  31. The New Deal

  32. New Deal • 1933-1938 • Policies put forth in response to Great Depression • New Environmental Policies (and jobs)

  33. New Deal1933 Civilian Conservation Corps • Jobs for unmarried young men (to send home to their families) • unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in government land • Planted trees, upgraded parks, built roads in remote areas, etc

  34. New Deal1933 Tennessee Valley Authority • Tenn Valley Hard hit (TN, MS, AL, KY, GA, NC, VA) • Publicly Owned Utilities • Flood control, Power plants, etc • first large regional planning agency of the federal government  • Still active

  35. Dust Bowl • Severe drought combined with years of poor soil practices (in farming) • Extreme loss of top soil • Lead to: • Soil Service (soil conservation methods) • CCC work • Agriculture Adjustment Act

  36. New Deal1938 Agriculture Adjustment Act • restricted agricultural production by paying farmers subsidies not to plant part of their land and to kill off excess livestock • to reduce crop surplus and therefore effectively raise the value of crops

  37. New Deal:1934 Taylor Grazing Act • Regulation of grazing on public lands • Improved conditions of rangeland • Controlled by Bureau of Land Management

  38. The land Ethic

  39. Aldo Leopold • Father of Wildlife Management, Restoration Ecology • Conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast • Started as a forester (with a wise-use/conservation attitude) • 1933 published the first textbook in the field of wildlife management (as professor at the UW) • Family restored an old farm near Baraboo and active in restoring UW Arboretum • A Sand County Almanac – Land Ethic • philosophy that guides your actions when you utilize or make changes to the land • ethic dealing with man's relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it"

  40. Wilderness, New Deal and Land Ethic Video

  41. Land Ethic • "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." • "The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land...[A] land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such."

  42. The Environmental Movement

  43. 1962 Silent Spring by Rachel Carson • documented detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment • focused on birds • Criticized chemical industry • Industry tried to discredit her • Led to the ban of DDT for agricultural use • Launched the environmental movement of the 60s and 70s • Played a big role in making environmentalism a controversial subject (man vs. nature, capitalism vs nature) • Still controversial

  44. Increased Environmental Awareness by the public • Oil spills off of California and England • The Population Bomb by Paul Ehrlich • Brought attention to exponential population growth • Law suits over detrimental environmental conditions • the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment  (1972) • Concerns about nuclear proliferation (spread) • Concern over increased freeway development (that annexed neighborhoods and ecosystems) • Increased political awareness of young people

  45. 1970 - Earth Day • Proposed by Gaylord Nelson (WI Senator and governor) • Response to CA Oil Spill • Started as an environmental teach-in • Brought 20 million Americans out into the spring sunshine for peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform • Day of action which challenges human behavior and provokes policy changes 1 2

  46. Increased awareness led to new Environmental legislation

  47. 1964 Wilderness Act • Defined wilderness (legally) • Set aside wilderness areas without any development • No roads, no buildings

  48. 1969 National Environmental Policy Act • Created EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) • Required environmental impact statements for federally funded construction and other activities (including permits) • Called Environmental Magna Carta (list of liberties)

  49. 1970 Clean Air Act • 1963 (After Silent Spring) Act just called for research • 1970 made into law • EPA develop and enforce regulation regarding air pollution • Regulation about what factories, cars, gas stations, etc can emit • First major environmental law that allowed for civilian suits (lawsuit to enforce a statute) • Catalytic converters and unleaded gas make cars cleaner

  50. 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act • Outlaws hunting, killing, capture, and harassment • First act to call for ecosystem approach to resource management and conservation