At early times of their existence, humans altered the environment and with time their impacts started to increase. Based on the lecture and discussions in class, summarize briefly the tope milestones of major change in the evolution of development processes and its direct impact on the environment. Highlight where we, as humans, did good or bad to the environment and which is the best era/milestone, that we were less harmful to the environment.
Tina C. Adewunmi
I understand that global environment is set of biophysical transformations of land, oceans atmosphere and nature. Both natural procedures can cause human activities such as impact on natural systems over the entire planet. For example the oceans and atmosphere, climate change is real and the changes that arise from local events such as weather changes. Global environmental crisis today is not the same types of changes that occur in many parts of the world, creating cumulatively changes with global implications e.g. deforestation of mountains, massive ocean, seas, glaciers, and atmosphere, rocks etc. because of the impact it has on societies and economics. However, governments donors and police makers need to tackle this challenge and get millions of people throughout the world’s to aim to change this approach crisis. Government should monitor and evaluate the global environmental crisis projects providing us with a unique and comprehensive resource for understanding how to overcome the factors now, before it will hinder our learning, our health including our sights, and our natural ecosystem.
My role as an environmentalist is to take the right action towards saving the earth from major environmental issues. As our president Trump said, nothing like climate change. While in my countries Nigeria, people were dealing with scarcity of water, and energy. If government ignored this crisis, our sphere soil will curb human existence in the near future.
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After the industrial revolution and westward expansion due to immigration in the Americas there were many major cities where large diverse populations lived that worked for the beginning of what today we call corporation’s and mass production. The major cities were places where large amounts of resources were used to create energy to keep production moving forward. The bad thing that mass production in major city’s caused was pollution due to workers coming into major cities on trains that ran on coal and other non renewable energy. I believe the best era that humans were less harmful to the environment is in our current era, because although there is still large amounts of pollution, with new technological advances humans are learning to create less pollution to the environment by creating things that run off solar power and electricity instead of non renewable energy as we have in the past.
Although I think we are far more advanced with technology now to help us be less harmful to the environment, the age of information and technology regarding the environment and its current state as how to sustain it, has not seemed to reach some of our nations supposedly most advanced leaders. My point is that even though we can fly and cars and technology has got better, I still don’t feel the human race hasn’t progressed as much as we should be, why hasn’t the human race progressed as fast as technology has? Yea were going to be staying on the moon…but there still going to be racist, so in the end are we really winning, with these nuclear bombs and nuclear war? What’s really going on? We as a human race have to get over our difference’s when it comes to saving all of our world because its bigger than money and all of us, this class is helping to inform me about what each individual can do to learn about how the environment got to how it is, and how we can change it before its to late for future generations.
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The impact that human and anthropogenic activities have in the environment have caused irreversible consequences. Pollution and major contaminants have come from many of the main eras but one that seems to be the most to blame is the 19th century or the industrial revolution. The major change from hand production to machinery use in the manufacturing of goods created a whole new way and easier way for humans to live. With manufacturing of goods the population was able to have goods easily accessible but with this came serious consequences, since the majority of cities were deteriorated due to the heavy use of machinery ,Steam , ash and other air pollutants created pollution in the clean air. The government was also not regulating the disposal of biohazard waste from factories and companies were hiring children as young as seven years old in their factories. Living conditions deteriorated during this period of time due to the major demand for work at factories that had no acceptable working conditions for children or adults alike. Grim employment and poor living conditions for the less fortunate increased issues not only in the environment but in the way the population lived. This shift from manual labor to machinery use was the main contributor to negative consequences in the environment. The use of steam and coal in manufacturing and in the expansion of main railways caused a shift in the way the population lived. The development of suburbs or areas of housing, communities that were built further away from the main cities caused the serious issue of sprawl.In land use planning sprawl has contributed to the increased VMT(vehicle miles travelled) levels in our generation that was started in he 19th century. The majority of cities due to sprawl were built further away from main and local transportation that demanded a huge increased in the construction of huge highways that brought the demand for automobile use to the Masses and with that the high level of GHGs that have contributed to global warming.
I believe that our generation or our present era is bringing new hope to the masses with a better awareness of environmental issues and that governmental policy will bring new options for the next generations to get control of GHGs issues and bring climate change to a more controlled numbers. I have to be optimistic that my generation and soon to be graduates of environmental science will bring a true change to the environmental policy of the United States.
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Beatriz Smith: Good laying out of history and ending with optimistic note is always positive & encouraging.
Through surveying the history of human relationships with nature, we find that the least harm was done to the environment when humans interfered the least. Although recent years have seen an effort to restore natural landscapes and processes to their previous health, humans’ involvement with the environment has almost entirely been anthropocentric, with little regard for non-human life, or the prolonged viability of the earth. We have consumed and destroyed resources with almost no foresight. In the meantime, though, understanding of the environment has grown and promising methods for ecological planning have been developed, even if they haven’t been widely applied.
In the 18th century, most civilizations refused to tamper too much with the natural world. It was seen as critical to life, since food usually came from local farms and harming those farms would immediately cause famine. The extent of human reconstruction of nature was to enhance beauty in aristocratic estates. Gardens and large landscapes were symbols of status. Human-nature relationships were best in the 18th century and before, with fresh air and water to spare, but inter-human relationships were exploitative and cruel. Although rich European lords and ladies had enormous access to open landscapes, many poor people lived in very unsanitary and overcrowded conditions.
As the industrial revolution transformed the global economy, more people began to live in cities, where there was endless opportunity for paying jobs. Urbanization led to extremely awful living conditions for low-income families, living in crowded neighborhoods with polluted air from the factories that drew them there. There was a new demand for public spaces, with fresh air and no pollution, a safe haven from the noise and stench of the city. Parks also acted as a living space for plants and wildlife that had been displaced by factories, streets, and apartments. They were a strip of the natural world in a concrete, synthetic city, compensating a tiny bit for the destruction of the landscape that “development” requires. Landscape architect and social reformer Frederick Olmsted designed Central Park in NYC during this era. Not only was he working to increase the ecological value of the city, but he wanted to provide a place where low-income families could have access to the same benefits as the New York aristocracy. Beauty, clean air, open space–he believed these should be available to all, freely. He realized quickly, however, that one park couldn’t be enough to provide this to all the inhabitants of the city, so he built a park system, connected by “parkways”. His ideas were an inspiring attempt to mix developed and natural landscapes, to ease the impact of cities and the demands of industrialization.
During the 1920s to the 1970s, ecological planning began to take shape as a field of study, developing into a more holistic approach that integrated human ecology. A typology of parks was devised to describe different sizes and functions of public parks. Influential planners such as Warren Manning and Kevin Lynch developed different techniques for planning, including the overlaying of maps describing different geological features, which eventually became GIS. Even as these developments occurred, though, countries took a step backwards in terms of ecological health. Abandoning parkways in favor of highways, economists celebrated the “progress” of these super-fast, straight, and treeless automobile roads. Although it made many places more accessible, and drew businesses to wherever the highways went, highways were essentially an ugly, environmentally blind replacement for parkways.
The continual overproduction and consumption of industrialized human populations took its toll on the resources available in countries around the world. For the next 10 years, governments began to recognize the ecological dangers and began to implement policies on a national scale to reduce the impact of human activity on natural resources. First Lady Claudia Johnson was instrumental in the U.S., encouraging environmental reform in the interest of preserving the aesthetic value of nature. As national awareness grew around this issue, ecological planning became a privatized practice, engaging professionals who attempted to design with nature, using GIS and the cake system. This movement grew to include “sustainability”, as more people continued to recognize the overgrowth and consumption of humans. Planners attempted to find balance between the three E’s: equity, economy, and ecology.
In the 21st century, planners realized these tenets are not enough. Ecological planning is not only a scientific issue, nor is it only concerned with the sustainability of human populations. The way construction of residential areas is also a social issue, complicating the judgement process and charging ecological planning with moral implications. On a larger scale, the government policies implemented years ago in hopes of curbing environmental crises have largely failed in their efforts. Waste management, climate change, and air and water quality continue to worsen, with only minor changes being made to curb their lasting effects on living conditions across the globe. Now is the time to reduce human impacts on the environment by dedicating more time and resources to responsible, holistic ecological planning. This is the century of environmental “do or die”.
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Lily Harmon: Very well articulate piece with bring in global economy and urbanization in relation to environmental deterioration. Your statement “…the least harm was done to the environment when humans interfered the least…” is also very true. One, however, may argue that some recent actions by humans helped bit, such as declaration of protected areas de-daming rivers and streams, and incorporating parks in the cities are positive interventions by humans. Your statement that the more we interfere the more we mess up has its substance too. And that is why we have a Global Environmental Crisis. It is very true that now is the time to: “…dedicating more time and resources to responsible, holistic ecological planning…”.
Good articulation of the problem. Also important to bring the point of collective action by all human. Your text “….We as a human race have to get over our difference’s when it comes to saving all of our world because its bigger than money and all of us….” is a good way to summarize the solution in facing the environmental crisis.
ENVS – 331: Global Environmental Crisis
January 30, 2018
Weekly Paper 1
When it comes to any successful large scale social operation, everybody knows or hears about the people out in the field taking an action, but many times people over look the subjects behind the scenes who plan, organize, or inspire the entire operation. Both parties are required to maximize the success of the outcome for the goal. Two authors by the names of Steiner & Steinitz write about many significant planners in the history of environmental policy who helped protect, define, inspire, and advance our relationship of the environment.
Steiner’s article focuses more on the historical literature that was written on preserving the environment. He first explains that the written documents provide options for policy and decision making regarding the relationship between humans and the environment.(Steiner 31) He dates back to the year 1864 for the first comprehensible piece of literature by conservationist George Perkins Marsh. Marsh witnessed his fellow citizens disregarding the Mediterranean environment through their careless agricultural practices. and how soon there will be a need for physical restoration.(Steiner 31) This is impressive because many believed that progressive environmental thinkers did not appear until sometime in the 20th century after harmful effects of the industrial revolution. Despite the lack of widespread knowledge at the time, as more and more people began to write about preserving and restoring nature, there would eventually be a fully developed ecological language. This helped create a formality of definitions that would then be used in politics to help create polices and regulations in preserving and restoring the natural environment. The language was further formalized during the Franklin Roosevelt Administration in which he proposed “The New Deal.” With an understanding of the weight of the situation, F.D.R. created many agencies that would regulate much of the natural land, such as the Tennessee Valley Agency (T.V.A.) In addition, he hired ecologist Rexford Guy who developed garden cites, which integrated city planning and agriculture. (Steiner 35)
Literature was not the only mode of environmental planning, Steinitz also account the non-practice forms of environmental restoration. Steinitz introduces a number of significant environmentalist who helped designed, recognize, and protect the environment. One of his first topics discusses how the ancient leaders of eastern continents not only incorporated the material of land in their civilizations, but also the beauty of it, for they believed the condition of their land was a symbol of their culture.(Steinitz 76) He then discusses techniques in which societies factored the environment into societies. For example, the Greeks used foliage in the design of their architecture and John Loudan designed the city of London with alternating rings of town and rural increments (Steinitz 77). He then mentions specific individuals who were in charge or helped the United States in preserving natural environments. These include Gifford Pinchot who managed national parks and formed schools for forestry education and Henry Jackson who passed the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). This revolutionary act required open public participation, landscape preplanning, mitigation of detrimental impacts, and public review of all significant planning actions. (Steinitz 76)
So outside of all action covered in media of ecological conservationist, they are many environmentalist who have worked behind the signs that have accomplished much or set up for future progression with their literature and planning.
Steiner, F., Young, G., & Zube, E. (1988). Ecological Planning: Retrospect and Prospect. Landscape Journal.
Steinitz, C. (2008). Landscape planning, a history of Influential ideas. Journal of Landscape Architecture., 3(1), 74–83.
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The impact of men on nature is universally recognized as alarming and it is intensely threatening, if not for our survival in itself, at least for the quality of our lives. It is the first time in the history of life on earth that a single specie is able to radically influence the fate of all other animals and plants, destroying ecosystems. The roots for this environmental crisis lay precisely in the existence of the mankind. It is thus important to understand the quality of the induced damage throughout our history, for any realistic attempt to change this course of actions to become true. The history of humans altering the natural environment can be divided into six major milestones even if nature always had a significant and aesthetic role in the human race’s existence.
Since its early age, in Europe, the landscape along with gardening was seen an expression of social status and wealth. In my opinion, our footprint during this milestone has been the least harmful. Once we were not occupied with surviving anymore and when the idea of progress entered our cultures, we set the environment aside. The subsequent creating of cities raised many concerns on the quality of life and on the direct impact of the natural world. The creation of cities and industrial technologies has always seen as a sign of progress. However, every step of our “progress” had reverberations on the ecosystem. As economists argue that there is always an opportunity cost that comes with choices, the opportunity cost of our progressive decisions is the damage to the environment. Along with detrimental choices, some important thinkers and activists observed that our actions towards the flora and the fauna had to change. This is the beginning of advocacy and the creation of park systems.
After acknowledging the dreadful conditions in the cities, the Congress confiscated private owned green areas in the city and created small public parks. Another result of advocacy was the realization that these public areas where very small and that they had to design routes to connect these distant parks. Architects came up with the idea of “parkways”, a concept similar to highways but adorned with nature from all the frontiers. Nevertheless, despite the create projects and proposals the selfishness of mankind prevailed again. The creations and maintenance of these parkways would not have been profitable. In this instance it is self-explanatory how we always favoured our own interest towards progress instead of the preservation of what we already had. From this stage, our degradation exponentially increased. The whole concept of Economics is based on the idea of acknowledging that our resources are scarce and that they need to be managed and divided between men.
As the 3Es’ triangle of quest of sustainability shows, in our current system, we cannot achieve the Equality and Social Justice, Environmental Protection, and Economic Development all at same time. As an example, if we were to prioritize, Equality and Environmental Protection an economic development conflict would arise. Therefore, we end up supporting Economic Development and Equality, setting once again Environmental Protection aside. We distanced ourselves so much from the environment that we see ourselves as superior and capable of living without the need of the natural ecosystem.
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Since the dawn of human kind, the world has been in a progressive state of decay directly because of the actions of man. Throughout our history as a species, we have consistently shown extreme growth not just in population but in knowledge and development as seen in the many time periods mankind has experienced. However, never before has the world experienced such a negatively impactful time period as the industrial revolution. Due to the nature of economic progress and development, history has shown that the larger and more advanced our civilization grows, the more we require resources such as minerals and food to support this advancement. These resources are limited on Earth and require excess effort such as mining and deforestation to fuel development. The period during and after the industrial revolution was the time when people were unaware or ignorant to the impact we were causing, and so it was a priority to take as much as we could without thinking of the future impact that these actions would cause. Within the past century, these resources have even caused wars for control over important and key resources such as oil, thus further pushing humanity and our planet to the brink of destruction. It was not until very recently that we as a society have become globally aware of the looming global crisis; however, it will take far more positive progress and environmental development until we reach a sustainable future.
I believe that the period humanity was least impactful on the planet’s global health was the period before the industrial revolution. In this period, people such as those living in Europe began to value landscaping and environmental development for public use. These thinkers often designed homes and public spaces that involved open areas of nature integrated with homes and other infrastructure. This time period also featured far less technological and resource consuming growth that we see in modern times, as people got by while minimally impacting the environment in their communities.
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The Industrial Revolution had a major impact on the environment and people. During the industrial revolution, humans began to mechanise production processes through the use of technology. For instance, in order to support the migration of elites from congested city areas to Suburban areas, the production of machinery for the development of the railway system was favored by those during that era; however, this early form of production transformed people’s idea of progress and the geographical landscape.
Although the development of the railway system enabled the movement of people over a given landscape, I believe this mechanization of production through machinery that is reliant on fossil fuels has negatively altered the ecosystem to a great extent.
While our current era has an increased understanding of how human’s application of technology can influence the quality of life for other people and the environment, we have failed to reach our Sustainable Development Goals. In comparison to the Industrial Revolution, I think the era with the least amount of human-caused impact on the environment was the Pre-Industrial Revolution because humans during that time focused on the beautification and productivity of land. Specifically, gardening and ornamental design of the land in Europe was viewed as a form of innovation in landscape design. Though this altering of land had the least impact, I believe this era was a catalyst in humans’ development of the land which was seen as a form of progress.
In the article, Ecological Planning: Retrospect and Prospect, by Steiner, Steiner introduces the garden city movement described in Ebenezer Howard’s writing which promotes the idea that cities can be ecologically self-sufficient (Steiner, 32). In contrast to landscape architects use of gardening during the Pre-Industrial Revolution, garden cities are to function as a place which contain residences, work, and a permanent agriculture belt (Steiner, 32).
Garden cities have the potential to address many issues associated with conventional farming practices such as the use of pesticides and fossil fuel-reliant machinery. In response to conventional agriculture production processes, humans have focused on localizing food processes. Since garden communities incorporate agriculture into their design they can increase local food production and minimize cities’ overall food miles. I believe that ecological planning that emphasizes characteristics of garden cities can build resilient and self-sufficient communities.
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There were many developmental stages in civilization in the Western world prior to the industrial revolution that led to the neglect of the environment that we see today. Over time, advancements in technology and demands of the population trumped the preservation of nature. Looking across the lens of time, one century had created a catastrophic domino effect that led to the deterioration of the environment.
In the 18th century (a time of a much smaller population) landowners were able to stretch their property for acres creating beautiful designs matching their social status. This type of living was strategically developed for placement around nature and did little to impact the environment, because there was little demand for space. As discussed during the class lecture, the key players during this time were: William Kent, Charles Bridgeman, and Capability Brown- innovative landscape designers of their time. Their art form incorporated nature and was designed to beautify the environment. However, this began to change when towns began to urbanize and the demand for space increased exponentially.
Rome, Paris and London influenced both the United States as well as the rest of Europe. Their technique influenced restructuring of their architectural layout to sustain a higher functioning design- a design that could house large population within a limited amount of space. In late 18th century, the designers to execute this technique were: Burnham, McKim, Olmsted and Moor. Such a design was meant to utilize a large piece of land but only impact a portion of the environment. However, in the 19th century, architects began to see the negative effects of close living quarters such as: crowded streets, and the deterioration of the overall quality of life. In the effort to increase living situations, landowners were forced to give up their private open spaces in order to create public areas. For example, city officials created parkways so that people could walk through nature to get to their destination and rid stress of being in the city.
Therefore, as advancements in transportation (such as trains and public carriages) came about, so did population levels in urban areas. Because of this population boom, city officials began to take more from nature and push back agriculture beyond the outskirts of the city. This was done with the desire to create more living space for the upper class to commute from rural areas. This start in environmental neglect and coupled with urbanization, exploded as officials attempted to accommodate the wants of the cities. Therefore, cities became connected to other cities, and agriculture began to expand as it was pushed further away from civilization. Thus the deteriorating processes that began to impact the environment negatively took hold.
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Humans have always had an impact on the environment, it’s just over time with rapid population growth and advancements in technologies, the scale at which we are alternating it has moved to a global scale. Roughly 10,000 years ago agriculture developed and moved humans primarily from hunter gatherers, which lived in small groups gathering wild plants and hunting wild game, to an agriculture revolution that brought about the domestication of plants and animals. Using methods such as slash and burn techniques to clear forest for farm lands and burning trees to add nutrients to the soil, humans started to expand their impact on the environment around them in attempts to better their quality of life and provide for a growing village.
Being able to grow their own food now, humans could farm to meet their immediate needs and produce surplus crops, which could be stored for later use, or traded for other necessities. Having a surplus of food allowed for a population to grow, and the time and resources needed to advance tools and technologies. Increased resources led to increased trade, which led to the increased expansion of humans across the globe in pursuit of exotic plants, animals and unexploited natural resources.
This continued for thousands of years with humans continually expanding their foot-print on the globe by cultivating, capturing, and consuming resources needed to survive from and support the ever-growing population. Up to this point all of this has been a process of agrarian and handicraft economies, producing what could be made by man with primitive tools and use of animals for long hauls and heavy lifting. But, in the 18th century a revolution would forever change the rate at which man could produce, travel and frankly plunder the earth for resources.
The Industrial Revolution was an economy dominated by industry and machine manufacturing. With new energy sources such as coal and petroleum, the advancements in machines would blossom with steam engines, internal-combustion engines, and electricity. This gave us the power to build tractors to do the work of a hundred farmers, trains to connect us with a safe means of travel to far away places, and telegrams and phones to help spread information far and fast. This also brought machines to factories such as saw mills, or textile factories that could greatly increase production not only from the help of machines, but the organization of work in a factory system.
Though these factories provided jobs and affordable products for costumers, never had the level of production been achievable, or the level of consumption. With an increase in food and products from the help of machines, and the jobs available to work in at factories, brought about another increase in population. This helped with the rise of cities and urban populations, moving off farms and into cities where you could work a job and buy whatever you needed at the market.
With high concentrations of people in cities and the increased demand of factories to meet demand, we start to see human impacts on the environment like the world had not experienced yet.
Though the industrial revolution was truly amazing for it’s innovations that led us to where we are today, we now see that it has come with a cost. Having an energy and transportation sector build off fossil fuels has led to a dramatic growth in greenhouse gases that are not only warming our environment and altering climate, but having adverse health effects on humans from breathing them in. Also, with the ease and rate of increased production, this has turned us into a consumer society with little thought on the resources we are plundering, and more concern on the bottom line of profit from selling the product and the fulfillment a product brings from buying it.
In the world we live in now, with a population that has doubled since the 1970’s, more than ever we need to find a way to live more sustainably. Though it’s not practicable to live the way we did before the industrial revolution, which I believe is the time we had the least harmful effects on our environment, we must start transitioning to more sustainable ways of living to keep up with the demand of our population so we don’t completely turn the world into pulp in the process.
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I believe this prompt is best answered by splitting up human impact on the environment into two areas: pre-industrialization and post-industrialization.
In the pre-industrialized era, environmental impact due to human actions was quite minimal. Production and consumption was entirely based off of manual labor, with almost every product being homemade and handmade, and thus having little impact on the environment. It is clear that this period before coal power utilization was the most environmentally beneficial.
We see the seeds of a globalized economy and environmental indifference (or perhaps, ignorance) sowed with the advent of the Industrial Revolution sweeping across Great Britain in the middle of the 18th century; transforming its textile and transportation industry, while also creating unforeseen global environmental impact. There was a major shift from handmade products and personalized services to machine-powered production that was made possible by Britain’s large natural supply of coal and recent invention of the steam engine. Next, the Industrial Revolution made its way to the United States, which managed to establish itself as a superpower of exports by the early 20th century. The industrial Revolution is perhaps the defining era of current humanity; everything that is in modern existence is tied to this period of rampant production, excessive consumption and environmental abuse.
Although the largely developed countries, such as the United States and Great Britain, have dramatically decreased their roles as large-scale exporters and batterers of the environment, industrialization has shifted to lesser developed countries where means of production are far cheaper and environmental policy is far less stringent.
So, the crisis becomes a global one: how can begin to implement a global policy for environmental impacts that will be enforced?
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Throughout history, the human race has made major advancements within the formations of cities and with the progress of technology and development that we see today. While these advancements have improved lifestyle drastically, there are major downsides that have come with the progression of the human race. The industrial revolution, was a period where major progress in technological advancement and economic liberalization was made but in a result led to major depletion of natural resources. This era was a perfect display of the effects mass increase in human population had on the consumption of natural resources. The switch from wood to coal as a fuel source had direct effects on the environment. The use of chemicals and fuel in factories resulted in increased air and water pollution and an increased use of fossil fuels. The lasting effects of this new technology was off the radar for people during this time. People fed off of this growth within the industrial revolution and began to push the boundaries of cities and factories into the surrounding natural landscapes, which seemed to be deemed useless. This desire to grow and build didn’t end there though. Even today, people have been fighting over oil and other sources of energy that have become a main priority, with the conservation of natural land in total disregard. Even with new knowledge of how these advances in technology and production negatively effect our environment, they seem to be disregarded by most. Deforestation is happening at an alarming due to clearing for agricultural land, roadbuilding, train systems, and urbanization. Along with that, necessity for commodities such as palm oil and soil beans is causing industrial-scale producers to clear forests at an alarming rate. The change from using the environment solely for necessary goods to the overuse and fulfillment of everyday luxuries has caused what can be seen today as the cause of the environmental crisis.
In my book, humanities least impactful period of time was before the industrial era. Land was valued more when used by the public and environmental development was something that was seen as a necessity for survival. Living off the land rather than using the land to fulfill unnecessary luxuries. Nature was integrated into everyday life and a symbiotic relationship was shared between us and the land rather than just consumed in a manner where only we were the one side benefiting. By finding a balance between our technological growth and our consumption of land, or a way where our consumption doesn’t require mass over use of natural land, this environmental crisis could be suppressed. Determining what we absolutely need to take from the land versus what we just want, is a mindset that needs to be revisited before nature has no more to give back.
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The Industrial Revolution is a major change in development processes that has directly affected the environment and could be considered to a certain extent, as the origin of the current global environment crisis. Since then, humans have put an immense pressure on the environment through resource extraction, pollution and most importantly in general, through an attitude that was inconsiderate of the environment and its limits. This attitude has one way or the resulted in capitalism that could be considered as a catalyst of the current G.E.C in that it has promoted commodification and profit at the expense of the environment, and the human condition itself across the globe through the same activity that have resulted in the degradation of the environment (primarily resource extraction and its ramifications that include child labor, poor living and working conditions). Humans have pursued more than they need and the fashion industry can be a simple example with the killing of animals to use their skin as clothes.
As humans, Pre-industrial revolution represents the epoch when we have been less harmful to the environment. “Subsistence” is a word that symbolized that period as humans did not go beyond their need. Farmers were able to grow the crops that they need, share them with their own community and each of them had their own practices that took the limits of the environment into consideration. They were able to combat against natural disasters such as famine and limit its. However, with the Industrial Revolution and the rise of Capitalism again, farmers were forced to move from subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture which required more from the environment and made them more vulnerable. A similar example of such shift is also the transition from parkway to highway due to the accumulation of wealth and the necessary flow of goods that the capitalistic system required.
Moving forward, as John Wesley suggested, there is a need to come up with comprehensive plans, legislation but also rethink our way of living to address this issue. There is a consensus to achieve sustainable development however, there is an obstacle which is to find the balance between Ecology, Equity and Economy. This means more actors are included and more factors must be taken into consideration therefore resulting in compromises and not necessarily the ideal solution.
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Throughout history, man has been the leading cause of the environmental decline being faced today. Humans have changed and impacted the environment in many ways. From hunting animals in prehistory to burning trees and building cities in the modern era, humans have shaped the world into what it is today along with all its environmental crises and ecological problems. The impact of humanity on the environment has been immense. While many of these changes were harmful and bad, some were good and helped support a more positive outlook on the environment.
In the 18th century, humans used the environment as a means of pleasantry and ornate design. Rich folk had lavish gardens designed, made, and maintained. Landscaping and the planting of large hedges grew in popularity as the population started to enjoy taking care of plants and trees. However, this change impacted the environment in the sense that the natural order of these plants growth was replaced and controlled with man-made design and structure from this gardening.
During the Industrial Revolution, the demand of public space and public parks was on the rise. Cities and “modern” man-made structures were slowly deteriorating. Open spaces such as New York’s Central Park were introduced to cities as a means to improve the quality of life for everyone and promote equal access to these types of urban places. With the rise of park sites, parkways or roadways were made to interconnect them. The notion of environmental consciousness was also on the rise with the likes of Gifford Pinchot and John Muir doing their part to promote environmental protection and counter-ubranization. This was a good era in the history of humanity’s impacts to the environment.
In the early 20th century, parks and open spaces started to become more modernized. Parkways turned into highways as cities kept forming and expanding. There was a movement to incorporate parks into the modern world. GIS was introduced, and the National Environmental Policy Act was passed in 1969. While these new advancements seemed eco-friendly, the formation of highways had the opposite effect.
After that point in time, the focus shifted towards cleanup and reform. The United States government started adopting acts to promote environmental-friendliness. Professionals such as landscape artist and architects became more conscious of the environmental impacts their creations had. This was a step forward in becoming more aware of the negative impacts humanity has done to the environment.
In the 80s and 90s, the biggest impact man had on the environment was the formation of the idea of sustainable development. The balance between social equity, environmental awareness, and economical control promoted the ideas of sustainable living and eco-friendliness. This came right in time to help solve the growing global problem. Developing countries started lagging behind in environmental reform as the richer nations were the only ones who could afford these changes. Aside from these events, the notion of “landscape urbanism” and green urban planning was also on the rise. These changes also helped undo the harmful impacts that have already taken place.
Since then, there has been a steady decrease in man’s steps towards achieving a cleaner world. Goals and priorities set up during the formation of sustainable ideas were never met. Instead of improving, a developing lack of environmental awareness pushed these ideas back. Bad habits and lack of care festered. A slight resurgence in sustainable development has combated these recent changes. However, this era in environmental history has been generally negative and harmful.
All-in-all, two of the better eras of man’s environmental impact was during the beginning of ecological planning and during the formation of the idea of sustainable development. While most of these changes impacted the environment in a very negative way, some have countered these effects and helped the protect the environment instead.
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One major milestone that greatly impacted the environment, and started the continued environmental degradation was the industrial revolution. However, even before that people had destroyed native grasses by trekking with wagons across the country, and Native people had been setting the landscape on fire for spiritual practices. Europeans came to America and started to change the land, not only for agriculture but also for aesthetic purposes. Between this period and the industrial revolution was when the population was sustainable by the land that people were living on, one could grow their own food, and have their waste be absorbed the land. When the industrial revolution began, there was no way to go back to this way of life on a large scale. Once the industrial revolution had begun, people started moving in to cities for work. If they weren’t already living in the cities, then they were commuting by train. A combination of more workers in factories and more trains operating lead to poor air quality. With more work and more people moving away from home, there needed to be more homes being built, meaning more land taken away from its natural state and more raw materials taken from nature to build those homes. Having more people in the cities led to more and more trash, polluted water ways, and crowding. Starting in the 1920’s, parks became more and more common, becoming parkways, which then grew to parallel highways. The completion of more advanced roadways was celebrated as a sign of progress, however they allowed for more cars to be on the road with led to increased air pollution. I would say that during the 20’s-70’s was when we were most destructive to the environment, as there wasn’t as much scientific proof of harm, and we doing whatever we could to advance the human race. At the end of the 60’s, NEPA was passed, requiring all major federal environmental actions to have an EIS, which is an Environmental Impact Statement, that states the costs and benefits of doing the proposed actions. 1971-1980, there was an attempted environmental cleanup where more and more professional people got involved, hoping to achieve a more eco friendly way to go about their projects. During 1981-1998, sustainable development became more popular, with the three major ideas being equity, economy, and development. This allowed for people to make progress towards more sustainable planning, but has overall led to issues trying to define exactly what sustainability is. I feel that we are still working hard to achieve a sustainable culture, but I don’t think we will it soon enough to avoid a collapse of all major ecosystems.
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Throughout history, humans have been bad news for the environment. From our earliest ancestors, we as humans were causing harm to the environment, in small and large ways. We have destroyed things from the air quality with pollution, to creating soil degradation with deforestation and by other means. Before the industrial revolution, people needed the land to survive. We build our lives around the land and how we could best use it to our abilities. Key players like Kent and Bridgeman put an emphasis on landscape architecture. This can be seen all over Europe where the land was used not only as something that was useful, but also something that was beautiful and needed to be preserved. With the industrial revolution, more and more people were leaving rural areas and moving to the city where they could find work. This caused the need for more public spaces in the cities to be able to accommodate the mass amounts of people. This is when public parks came into popularity. Places like Central Park were built to provide a public green space that so many were looking for. While this did provide a space for the people, it could not reverse the environmental impacts of all of the people in the city and working in factories that polluted into the air with no regulation. Also at this time became an increase in commuter trains that were used by the upper and elite classes so that they could avoid the congestion of the city and be able to move into the suburbs. Thus, commuting began and so did the massive emissions that come with it. With the movement and spread of people over larger and larger distances, the need for a chain of parks was seen. Parks were now being build all over town and had parkways connecting them, or long strips of road with greenery and nature on both sides. These advancements are what led to the advent of the National Environmental Policy Act and the era of ecological planning. This era was defined by the need to incorporate land and nature into our planning instead of trying to bulldoze through it and building on top. The scientist during this time wanted to take into account habitats and not just crush them. During the environmental clean up era, we began to see the flaws of our ways and saw the need to recover for what was done in the past. During this time the government adapted many reforms in order to try and preserve and save the environment from further harm due to human development. After this we moved into the idea of sustainability and how this looks in the realm of ecological planning. This can be seen with the triangle of environmental sustainability. At each corner lies a virtue; equity, economy and ecology. During this time the goal was to make all three work in equilibrium and this is how we would meet environmental sustainability. In modern times we see that this is not true. Though we see the need for all three, we also see that they cannot inherently work together. Each section of the triangle causes conflicts that we have not yet figured out how to solve. These are the issues we face today. How to develop plans based on the fact that in order to be sustainable, we must make new ideas about what sustainability is.
Through all of this I think the best we did as humans was during the pre industrial revolution phase. During this time we took into account all of the wonderful things that nature does and we aimed to preserve that by building it into our planning. While I do realize this type of planning would not be nearly as logical today, it is still nice to dream of a day where places like Versailles are being built all over the world.
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Since humans’ existence, the impacts on the environment started to increase. This is called Global Environment Crisis (G.E.C.), which means the collapse of the planetary ecosystem led by multiple forms of destruction. For example, degraded water quality, stratospheric ozone depletion, and climate change are the characteristics of G.E.C. This term gain more attention through the six major concepts in the past. There are, pre-industrial revolution, industrial revolution, beginning of ecological planning environmental mitigation, sustainable development and global environmental issues, and post environmental sustainability.
I think in 19th century, during industrial revolution, is the milestone that human start the huge first step on having an idea of creating a society that does not exclude the thought of how and what kind of things effects the environment. Incorporating parks in cities was a good project to succeed on creating equal access to recreational space. With this project, it allows solve the issues of deteriorating housing conditions in the lower class urban areas. Moreover, it improves the quality of life and increase equal access to public spaces. Other than this project, 19th century was also radical with the concept of a park system. Adding parkway to the park system allows high-speed movement between different areas. Replacing the parkways with highway, allows cost reduction. Railway also influences the human movement. Railways support decentralization, which transferred village to be a suburb. These projects have more benefit to human, plus there was not much technology that mitigates the impact to the environment when comparing to today. However, as there were preservation and conservation movements, I think people had more concern and were careful about environmental destruction when creating a human society.
If I have to point out the negative part from the major concept, I would say the movement for sustainability. There are issues such as most countries have relentlessly adopted innovative land use planning practices in response to actual and potential climate change and disaster. The leaders lead the projects. In other words, local people’s voices are not reflected. So there is less chance to improve and maintain the improvement for a long term.
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All have done a great job articulating and summarizing the Eras. Also it seems that we all agree that human messed up during the industrial revolution. Truly good work.
Humans on earth are intelligent and resilient beings that have shown us for the past centuries of what we are capable of creating and showing our truest innovative selves. Along with all this power with intelligence, unfortunately, came destruction.
It is apparent that humans have affected the earth for as long as we can remember. It is also easy to say that humans have taken over lands, destroyed, caused pollution, and caused massed deforestation throughout the earth. While attempting to make this world a more beautiful place, we have created more damage than good. There are many stages in our history where we see the rise of humans creating negative effects to the earth. During the 18th century, we saw more of time of architecture and creating beautiful landscapes. The deterioration was more apparent during the 19th century as there became more of a demand for public parks and more of a push for railways that used heavy machinery of coal and steam, which undoubtedly had negative effects on air pollution. Also, during this time there was not nearly as much regulation over wastes and air pollutants compared to later on in the centuries to come. As this was a time for advancements in human innovation and creations of parks to accommodate more people, it was clear that there were harmful effects being made to the environment. I would definitely say that our current era is the one that will hopefully be less harmful to the environment as there is already such a huge push for reform. Along with that, there are many laws put in place and there will be more in the future preventing harmful acts from happening. Without advancements in technology, we can still have an impact in creating a healthier world. This era is the one that is the most hopeful out of the rest, as we now are more knowledgeable about the issues, it just depends on whether or not we are willing to make the changes effectively.
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Most of modern human history has been spent in the agricultural age. People lived and worked more closely with the land, and resource extraction was on very small scale relative to today. In the subsequent pre-industrial age, many societies came increasingly into the paradigm of seeing the environment as a set of resources to be exploited. Economies became more complex and resource-intensive, and there was abundant trade of environmental commodities. This paved the way for the type of mass resource extraction and urbanization that was fundamental to the full development of the industrial period.
With the advent of the industrial revolution, exploitation of the environment came into full swing. Early industry was extremely resource-intensive and highly polluting. The birth of mass production was built on and further mandated new, aggressive resource extraction methods. Many of the most destructive processes of the present-day global environmental crisis began during this period. One of the most prominent examples is the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels (particularly coal), which has resulted in human-made climate change today. This is also when the modern system of worker exploitation was born, and when public health issues such as extreme pollution arose. Industrialization came at a human cost as well as environmental one.
The advent of railroads and mass transit gave way to a new period. The privileged classes were increasingly able to escape the overpopulated, underserved cities and move outward into suburbs. In terms of land use planning, this was a new era entirely, and with time a sprawling highway system was built to accommodate this new spatial structuring. This had significant effects including loss of open space, pollution, and impacts from environmental engineering.
At around this same time, however, we also start to see the beginnings of conservation in land management. Parks began to become popular in urban areas, and large areas of land were set aside, like Central Park. There was a new movement to preserve nature, led by John Muir, and a growing acknowledgement by thinkers such as Gifford Pinchot that nature must be conserved if it is to be available for continued use. These ideals eventually give birth to the modern, mainstream environmental movement. In the United States, activism that began in the sixties led to landmark environmental legislation in the seventies, which in turn led to the various international accords that are the basis of global environmental management today.
Our environmental history since that time has been complicated. On the one hand, environmental movements and activism have grown and taken on new forms. Entirely new areas of study and policy have arisen that did not exist before. Communities across the globe have come together to make change in both their local and extended environments. At the same time, we have seen unprecedented growth in the rate of destruction and exploitation of our natural resources. The unending expansion of the economy has exacerbated a multitude of environmental problems each to the point of global crisis. Furthermore, the rate at which these crises accelerate is growing exponentially as various tipping points and feedback loops are engaged. By all reasonable measures, we are, globally, in much more dire straits than we were before the environmental movement began.
I would say that humans have been (and are) least destructive when our livelihoods were (are) most in tune with our natural surroundings, such as with subsistence farming and nomadism. The present-day populations that cause the least harm and provide the most stewardship to their local environments are the people living indigenous, nonindustrial lifestyles. Urbanization has always been a turning point for the worse, just as with industrialization. Humans as a whole were least harmful to the environment before these milestones.
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Humans and the natural world will always work together, but it’s always humans that will rely on the natural world. The natural world was here before humans existed and it was thriving, until humans started to build on lands and destroyed biodiversity. The practice of building unnecessary factories, skyscrapers, cars, new technology etc has drastically impacted the environment. This can be understood as the Industrial Revolution, a time in which humans were filled with excitement to see more advancement which would make everyone’s life’s easier except the environment.
The way things are so easily handed to us has motivated humans to care less for the impact in has on the natural world and become hungry for more. I believe it has made us more materialistic individuals and with an urge to be constantly overconsuming. The overconsumption of clothing, food, and other resources is reducing the biodiversity we have. Most of our goods and resources derive from biodiversity as they are transformed into a form in which we can make use of. With that said, the more we overconsume the less biodiversity we will have to help us survive.
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Humans have always had an impact on the environment, but historically those impacts were generally localized and short lived. However, with the Industrial Revolution, human environmental impact became more widespread and longer lasting. As a result, humans began recognizing environmental issues and started planning to counter negative effects of industrialization. Since the Industrial Revolution negative human impact on the environment has increased, but the approaches and methods to deal with environmental issues have also evolved over time to counter negative human environmental impacts.
Humans have been changing their environments for thousands of years. Building of villages, agriculture, and manipulation of water allowed for human populations to grow. Smaller populations and large amounts of resources ment these activities had limited impacts on the environment. Altering the natural environment was primarily concerned with activities such as food production essential to survival. However, beginning in the 1700s, people started altering the environment for philosophical and aesthetic reasons. For example, growing gardens and creating green spaces for human enjoyment and leisure.
With the onset of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, factories, pollution, and resource shortages created the need for humans to combat negative environmental impacts through environmental planning. Academics seeking to protect natural resources for future use and preserve the environment for future generations debated the best methods for accomplishing such goals. Dense urban cities that sprung up surrounding industrial regions were responsible for the creation of urban green spaces such as Central Park. Public parks were meant to act as public spaces that would help to improve the quality of life for citizens of urban areas. Along with parks, the Industrial Revolution began the debate on if it was better to preserve natural green areas or manage natural spaces through conservation. John Muir lead the movement to preserve areas of land to allow them to continue to exist in their natural state. On the other side, Gifford Pinchot argued for human managed green areas. For example, planting a forest in a new area to makeup for urbanization in another area. The two arguments continue to this day, with both practices being adopted around the globe.
Starting around the 1920s, governments began to step in enacting environmental regulation. Ecology played a larger role in planning with impacts on the environment being considered during development. However, it was not until after serious pollution and damage to the environment that the government began to take a much larger role in environmental issues during the 1970s. The U.S. government passed several new ACT’s and created new agencies to reform the system and cleanup the damage that was done. In the 1980s, sustainability became the dominant approach to the environment. In regards to planning, sustainability did not see the environment as having to pick human development over environmental protection, but that environmental processes could be incorporated into human development in a way that could be continually beneficial to both humans and the environment. Geographic Information Systems began to be used during this time to further incorporate all levels of environmental systems into future development.
By the end of the 1990s, sustainability was seen as being insufficient and not capable of correcting damage being done to the environment on its own. The critique of sustainability was the process of planning itself was bad and poor practices could be sustainable. Currently, new approaches to environmental issues are being developed with more emphasis being placed on economic and social impacts of development. Furthermore, environmental issues are being increasingly looked at on a global level with more involvement from international organizations such as the United Nations.
Most people would likely cite the current period as the most important time for looking at environmental issues and human impacts on the environment. Certainly we know more today how human development impacts the environment than we ever have before. Furthermore, more is being done today to combat and plan for negative environmental impacts then has ever been done in the past. However, I believe the most important milestone for humans took place during the Industrial Revolution. The period might have been one of the worse for negative impacts on the environment, but also saw the birth of important movements such as conservation and preservation. Because of rapid growth, pollution, and heavy use of resources during the industrial revolution, people started to think for the first time about protecting the environment and natural resources for future use and generations. Therefore, I think this was an important milestone for the environment as humans shifted their environmental focus to planning for the future.
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Response Paper #1
Although the Industrial Revolution was an incredible milestone in human history and pushed forward the mass development of cities, it is important to note that with this came mass amounts of pollution and the destruction of ecosystems. As our technology advanced our destructiveness towards the environment and complete neglect for the environment around us and its inhabitants continued as well. I think one of the only times in human history that we as humans were not a dangerous to the environment was during the hunting and gathering. During that time or technologies hadn’t really evolved yet.The clip we watched in class made two very important points. The first pertaining to how the more our industries evolved the more harmful we became to the environment. The second point, touched upon our weaponry, and as that evolved again the more destructive we became. With the creation of guns and bombs we have been able to kill in mass quantities.The clip showed this with the use of bombs with fishing and the use of guns with hunting. Now from a consumer standpoint more might sound great. However, with mass production we tend to killing more than we actually need and this creates very negative and dangerous repercussions that we may not see and or feel immediately are still very much present.
Although I recognize the efforts that governments and grassroots organizations have made in the last few decades in order to conserve and protect the environment and ecosystems this does not merit extensive. In fact governments should be doing more.
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Before the advent of the Industrial Revolution, man had very close ties to nature; the environment was crucial to the former’s existence and everything was locally produced and consumed. Much of the land was not developed or altered and urban centers were quite small. Some key players such as William Kent, Charles Bridgemen, and Capability Brown engaged in landscape beautification and production and seriously shaped landscape planning and design.
When the Industrial Revolution began in the 19th century, mass production and manufacturing of goods altered the way of life for all of its citizens. Since free-market capitalism replaced feudalism, there was a need for a larger workforce to enter the factories to relieve the demand by consumers at home and abroad. These factories were built in the cities and so cities grew, and with that bad housing conditions elevated due to a large shift of populations from rural to urban areas within a small amount of time. With the deterioration of the cities to pollution, destitution, and crowded areas, the demand for public parks was heard. Incorporating public parks into the metropolitan area was first started by Olmsted, who created and designed Central Park in New York City. He wished to improve the quality of life for both the bourgeoisie and the working class to have access to leisure activities. Soon the single park turned into a park system by which Olmsted and Vaux asked Congress to withdraw land from the public domain in order to grant it for public park use. With the park system in place, parkways were designed to connect park from park with lots of greenery and more of a scenic experience. However, the commencement of the railroad brought decentralization and encouraged development outside of the city into suburbs where the middle-class would commute from outside to the inner city.
From 1920 to 1970, planners began to incorporate the natural environment and ecology into the landscape planning process. Recognizing the interrelationships between humans and the environment was important to the creation of a typology of parks in which it would be classified as: 1) streets, boulevards 2) city square, commons, public gardens 3) playgrounds 4) large parks 5) great outlying reservations. Another important contribution to the development process was the introduction of Geographic Information System (GIS) by Warren Henry Manning who developed the overlay concept by using a tracing lamp. He collected information about typography, water, soil, landscape, and infrastructure to coordinate a comprehensive multi-layered map. With consumption, pollution, and other externalities from the growth of industry, the need for the government to step in and protect the environment finally materialized with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Passed by U.S Senator Henry Jackson, the act aimed to integrate environmental values into developers’ decision-making process and require that developers look for alternative pathways if the proposition for development would degrade the environment.
Next, from 1971-1980 the era of the environmental cleanup began with the production of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 that protected wilderness lands in the U.S and the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 that called for consideration of environmental, economic, and aesthetic values in developing management plans for coastal areas. Ian McHarg paved the way for land use planners to look at the landscape through the multi-layered cake system and gave each layer an attribute: bedrock geology, groundwater hydrology, the physical geography, the soils, plants, wildlife, and finally micro-, meso-, and macro-climate.
From the era of 1981-1998, sustainable development was the concept that dominated environmental governance. The 3 E’s of equity, economy, and ecology required balance so that the “long-term ability of a system to reproduce” would not be harmed. With the issue of global environmental governance, most countries were behind on effective environmental protection laws and major cleavages between the Global North and Global South pertaining to development were heightened. The Global South saw environmental protection as a hindrance to progress and economic growth and thought it was unfair that the Global North (who had historically emitted the most waste and pollution) was pressuring these sustainable development practices unto them. Furthermore, GIS became sophisticated and efficiently produced by Jack Dangermond where an importance of being aware of all natural processes and flows were being accounted for.
And finally, since 1998 to present, the era of post-environmental sustainability asserts that sustainability alone is insufficient and the balance between the 3 E’s is unrealistic and cannot be reached directly. Many sustainable development and environmental protection goals have failed and unfortunately cause controversy with many countries today.
All in all, the advent of the Industrial Revolution brought a trend of massive pollution that has since been altering the way we view the Earth. Ever since the commencement of measuring CO2 at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii in 1958, the emissions have been growing exponentially. Adverse effects are continuing to show, but on a more positive note, perhaps this awareness and growing scientific literature on climate change and environmental issues will garner enough public support that we actually do something about it. Many of the things in the Steve Cutts Youtube video “Man” are preventable like the prevention of: animal testing, nuclear waste, mass consumption, taxidermy or hunting for sport, deforestation, mass manufacturing of animals, the slaying of animals for their fur or skin, and the pollution of the ocean with plastic garbage. However, these things have systematically been put into place by the economic system that prevails. If only a shift in thought, practice, and belief systems towards the Earth and all its species can be realized, then perhaps I look towards the future. International organizations, nonprofit organizations, and individuals have been fighting long and hard for change and now is the time more than ever to accomplish it.
Tina C. Adewunmi
In early human civilizations, nature uttered much of what we do.
Eventually nature became a product. As our civilization has advanced, we have developed tools to restructure and rearrange the natural environment.
We now live in a time when nature is responding unwell to many of the changes we have made. Therefore we have to readapt our strategy and develop our communities to be built and functioned in a maintainable approach.
The Industrial Revolution was the start of humans having a large scales impact on the environment due to mass production and heavy polluting practices.
Cities began to depreciate due to the heavy pollution. Public demands for parks and natural spaces within cities increased as a result, and soon green spaces began to be incorporated within urban environments.
Combination of land and natural habitat in the planning process which finally
Accept a holistic approach to coordinate and collaborate across disciplines for improved planning (including, landscape).
Ecologically planning out urban spaces has benefited the ecology of urban environments. Developers of parks systems have introduced tools that are very beneficial to planning out green environments.
On the other hand, developing green spaces is a tiny portion of the global environmental crisis and the issue of sustainability. As a whole we still need to do much more to battle the environment outside of developing green spaces. For example, are we creating ‘green’ spaces in the ocean? We tend to want to take care of cities more because we live here, but our actions affect the entire planet, and we should be more responsible for this.
We human beings are in position to have far greater impact on other life which we share the planet. Therefore we have the privilege and responsibility to reflect on other living beings. Once we participate in any social action, including economy. Frequently, our relationships with our planet brings environment comprises for all the living and non-living things around us. Embraces clouds, oceans, plants, farms, and forests. Because of ecological system, our planets purify air and water, cycle nutrient, regulate climate, pollinate pants, and recycle our waste. Ecologic describes a human centered view of our relations with the environment.
Human life is known as a dependent on nature because of a geographical place on earth. We have plenty of natural resources available for our day-to-day requirements. We eat vegetables rice, potato, lentils, and tomatoes grown on the farms. Once the soil becomes contaminated due to extreme fertilization, this may cause big industries to landfill their product by products, wastes or toxins in the ground. While these toxins slowly contaminate the land and water. When this happened it would affect land and water. The water can become unsuitable for safe drinking. While the land become infertile to human life, which depend on nature because it gives us the inappropriate environment for living. While we are racing life. Some people were never skilled about how our existence changes on it, because we have been tolerated out of the biological fundamentals. Life dependent on nature which human survive from fresh oxygen, fresh drinking water, rich air to breathe, healthy environment to leave.
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The disruption of the environment due to human action could be traced back to the moment men were men. The very need to survive is at the root of agriculture, hunting, fishing, etc. However, from my point of view, it is population growth and capitalism that are behind the growing damage to the environment at the hands of human beings.
During the Middle Ages, wealth belonged to a tiny percentage of every nation or empire’s population. The rest of the people lived in miserable conditions or with whatever that was enough to survive and keep working. Exploitation of natural resources didn’t really take place. Neither in the Enlightenment period, where several intellectuals mainly in Europe (William Kent, Charles Bridgeman) and also in North America (Burnham, McKim, Olmsted) started to think about how to achieve productivity and beauty out of the natural environment. In fact, many of the gardening works of art, palaces or massive parks designed and built in this period we still preserve and cherish them worldwide. The Palace of Versailles and the Harewood House, among others, are some of the products of this era. The empowerment of science that characterized the 17th and 18th centuries arrived to the field of nature, making of this period probably the one where men and nature coexisted most harmlessly.
When industrial revolution took place, however, the overpopulation of cities in Europe and the US and the increase of machinery and economies of efficiency and productivity that took over had a direct impact on the overall global environment. Pollution started degrading noticeably the air, water and also the living conditions of the population. The emergence of the capitalist dynamic started showing in every industry at this point. Marx’s concept of exploitation of resources translated in damage to the environment. Besides, the fast advances in transportation (railway, highways…) changed sharply the administration of the land. This is, on the other hand, what drove the concepts of ecological planning or human ecology to loom in the academia. American authors such as Powell, Geddes or Marsh became really popular during the late 19th century in the study of the relationship between people and nature, fostering the implementation of projects during Roosevelt’s administration in many cities across the US where the objective was to improve that relationship, including for example new communities where green spaces surrounded housing. Also, the New Deal administration established the Soil Conservation Act, which applied to 97% of US agricultural land. The National Environmental Policy Act was passed by the government in 1996.
From here on, some endeavors to reconcile both parts were made. One important point in history regarding environmental efforts has to do with the consolidation of the GIS in the 1969, together with the involvement of international organizations such as the United Nations in the struggle, which pushed for the common knowledge of concepts like sustainable development.
In line with this, towards the new century, the global political community started to make public its concern with climate change and global warming, as the civil society all around the world expressed its preoccupation. The famous Millennium Development Goals included ecological objectives, although by 2015 they weren’t really accomplished. The Sustainable Development Goals have also been established, as well as many international treaties which, nevertheless, are not binding over country members. I am one of those who think that many of these endeavors are in most of the cases propaganda of commitment that is actually delaying action. Truly effective measures, such as economic sanctions, aren’t really being implemented. There are a lot of conflicts of interest going on right now which influence environmental actions. As long as the philosophy of money making at any expense is the rule worldwide, effective changes regarding environmental policies would be a second level issue.
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Throughout history, humankind has evolved their techniques in cultivation, reproduction, and consumption of natural resources. Since the 9th millennium BC, they have seen evidence of the domestication of animals and agriculture. As the first civilizations begin to arise around the 4th millennium BC you begin to see the over-consumption of resources. The need to hold and infrastructure to maintain a large group of people peacefully came at a large cost. Creating materials as signs of hierarchy and class instead of just basic consumption needs also added to the beginning of our footprint as an apex predator in the ecosystem. The gathering and organized structure of using natural resources allowed people to migrate to other parts of the world. This expansion and exploration sought out and found new natural resources to be used and traded.
What truly set off a chain of events was the industrial revolution during the 18th century. This is where you see the large footprint that man has and will leave behind. The industrial revolution was led by Great Britain leading with coal and fossil fuels to power steam engines, beginning the pollution of the earth air. Great Britain’s colonies and other trade partners advanced and began to speed up the consumption of natural resources throughout the world. The United States began its Industrial revolution and during this time the first signs of the effects of the depletion of the ozone layer become apparent and studied. By the 20th century, industrialization period ends in Europe and the US and industrialization begins in other parts of the world, for example, China and India. The population of the world also increases dramatically throughout the 20th century having less than 2 billion people in the world at the beginning of the century and ending with just over 6 billion people. Obviously increasing our consumption and industrialization to unimaginable numbers.
Throughout history, though you see how natural disasters actually influence the migration of people throughout the world. Volcanic eruptions in Asia hurt the Roman empire. Eruptions in South America caused famine in Russia. Earthquakes in Japan caused nuclear leakage still occurring. In the past, it almost controlled an aspect of human growth, but now humans have overcome the environment. Within the past 20 years, we have seen the most being done by nation-states to try and hinder our environmental impact. In today’s day and age, the world is actually aware of the impact the environment has on our way of life. Arguably the best we’ve been to this world was the pre-industrial revolution. We were not emitting hazardous gasses and toxins into the air. Was humankind consuming and being wasteful with natural resources, arguably yes. Relative to the time though they had an abundance of resources still available and didn’t have the same footprint that we have seen today post 18th century. Today with a growing population our resources become scarcer as time continues.
Humans have drastically shaped the natural world, particularly after the industrial revolution. I think in the time before the Industrial Revolution, humans had the fewest impacts on the environment. There are a few reasons for this based on the lecture, readings, and other coursework I have taken. According to an article written by Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina, it took humans approximately twelve thousand years just to reach a population of one billion. Less humans on the planet means less environmental impacts.
Pre-Industrial Revolution, humans had agriculture, but crops were grown for personal consumption. Farmland was meant to sustain a family and/or a community. The industrial revolution had a dramatic impact on many how things were processed/created/grown, how quickly this could be sped up, transportation improvements, but all of these advances had more detrimental impacts on the environment.
An increase in the number of factories meant an increase in air pollution. Increases in coal mining meant that not only was the coal being burned causing air pollution, but the mining process itself had (has) impacts on the environment; soil degradation, water pollution, and threats to biodiversity in coal mining areas.
This combination of a growing number of pollutants as well as a rapidly growing world population was the starting point for the rapid expansion of environmental pollution and degradation. Before the Industrial Revolution, population growth was slow. Natural resources weren’t rapidly extracted and used up.
The best era was the time before humans even realized how much power they could wield over nature. Humans have grown more and more distant from nature. Not all, but many people see themselves as either above or apart from the natural world. The time when humans did not try to tame nature and cultivate it to fit our lifestyles was the best time for the environment. Now, we are in a time where we have begun to realize how much human activity has impacted the environment. The way we’ve lived and grown since the Industrial Revolution is no longer sustainable and now the market to build more sustainably and greener is beginning to grow. However, I don’t see global warming/climate change slowing down unless we follow a more rapid shift towards sustainable lifestyles and practices.
– Roser, M. and Ortiz-Ospina, E. (2018) – “World Population Growth”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/world-population-growth’ [Online Resource]
– Steiner, F., Young, G., & Zube, E. (1988). Ecological Planning: Retrospect and Prospect. Landscape Journal.
– Steinitz, C. (2008). Landscape planning, a history of Influential ideas. Journal of Landscape Architecture., 3(1), 74–83.
At early times of their existence, humans altered the environment and with time their impacts started to increase. Based on the lecture and discussions in class, summarize briefly the top milestones of major change in the evolution of development processes and its direct impact on the environment. Highlight where we, as humans, did good or bad to the environment and which is the best era/milestone, that we were less harmful to the environment.
Since the beginning of human existence, human interaction has altered planet earth in both positive and negative ways. Before the 19th century also known as the industrial era, the environment wasn’t over run by large corporations that only cared about capital gain. I think the pre-industrial era was the a time when society was structured around cultural organization and social change. Now since humans have been involved the world has become increasingly more anthropogenic with less focus on humanity. Over time advancements in technology started to play a major role in controlling the world which took precedence over preserving nature. In the 18th century homeowners were able to use the land for growing crops and design their landscape to beautify their personal land, which only had a very small impact on the environment. Europe had a major influence on the US in designing the architecture which eventually turned into a major trend which soon turned into urbanization. Major cities started to design their land more for necessity and design than need. This attracted more people and development began to take off. Soon these cities became holding pins for people, eventually taking away leisurely space and natural land.
Even though the Industrial Revolution improved the quality of life for some, the consequences of the depletion of resources are not worth it. Because of the uprise of fast growing technology, cities have been contributing to mass consumption, producing more electronic waste and causing even more pollution. We as humans have shifted into a very dangerous group of individuals and if we continue to live the way we do, the planet won’t be able to sustain us. There are not enough resources to produce and manufacture goods in the capacity we have been doing in the past century, due to limited resources from harsh acts of mining and deforestation. At this point to make any real changes I believe there needs to be policies put in place for US households and corporations to help lower the nation’s ecological footprint.
Within the lifespan of human interaction with nature, the relationship between the two has become increasingly dominated by humans. During early nomadic life, human life and activity was dictated by the earth’s natural cycles. Humans have long had the ability to alter the geography of earth’s natural landscape, but in the days of early human civilizations, this impact was not nearly large as it became after the industrial revolution.
After the industrial revolution, advancements in technology allowed humans to physically alter natural environments on a very large scale, in combination with an increase in the amount of anthropogenic emissions and pollutants released into the natural environment. Nature essentially became commodified. In the years following the industrial revolution, humans were able to extract resources from the earth at unprecedented rates.
We now live in an era where our planet’s volatile reaction to anthropogenic pollution is becoming more apparent. Not only is the global environmental crisis becoming more dire, but our knowledge of its true extent is ever increasing. It may be the greatest challenge humanity has faced so far. Nature is giving us ample evidence that our collective behavior is causing our home to become uninhabitable. A solution to our crisis can be found if we can react properly, and cease activities which cause a great negative climate impact. Examples of such activities including oil drilling, chemical dumping, and fracking. Instead, we should promote clean energy sources and sustainable initiatives. There will be difficulty in making this transition, but it is a challenge that, we as humans, must be ready to face.