Environmental History Discussion

1. Discuss the following question. Write about 250 words.

Attempting to address environmental concerns across national lines is extremely difficult. Why? Can you think of historical examples of success and failure that suggest models of action for the future?

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2. Make a comment to the following respond. Write about 3-4 sentences.

I really think it is hard to think about the environment internationally since the world (as a whole) is not driven by the economy nature, but the economy of money.  This concept bring in a self (human) interest approach that historically has been a detriment to the Earth (as we have read about in this course). One such recent (1944) event became a catalyst for selfishness.  In Bretton Woods, NH (an area I frequently hike in) World leaders gathered to ensure the economy of the world would be safe for trade and avoid a recurrence of the Great Depression (Steinberg, 272).  U.S. Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau believed world peace and economic harmony rest on robbing the Earth of its resources to ensure “material progress on an earth infinitely blessed with natural riches” (Steinberg, 272). The leaders who met in NH have funded dams, massive road systems, and more at the expense of the environment in pursuit of world security; however pollution became a big factor.  Like a festering wound upon the Earth, pollution oozed its toxins from the cuts upon the land, spreading to all life as the wound opens further, and further.  

In Africa, as part of an “English-inspired” move towards conservation of wildlife and game animals, parks and reserves were created; these places proved most successful in protecting nature in Africa, more so than policy itself (Nash, 355).

All in all, the world needs to come together in a way the stimulates natures economy and see that connection in our own; and not just in terms of natural resources to be used up, but as a sustainable balance of give and take.  Ultimately, we will have to continue to protect certain areas of land so that nature is preserved worldwide, as to maintain ecological integrity on some portion of the landscape. 

As a side note: I enjoyed this class very much.  The readings were very interesting, especially when they referenced areas I live in (MA) or often travel to (NH).  I knew there was a lot of history in my area but really didn’t realize that amount of environmental history it experienced.  But I guess that just proves the point of this course,  human history is environmental history, because our footprint is left everywhere we tread. I only hope others see that humanity is indefinitely intertwined with the earth for better, or worse, so it is our job to work with it instead of against it.

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