The Environmental Impact of Human Exploration

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The Environmental Impact of Human Exploration

Throughout history, there has continually been movement - of peoples and cultures, diseases, and technology. The movement of each type has affected the environment in different ways. The effect of the changing patterns of human movement on the environment is leading to further environmental degradation.

The history of human movement has been one of a shift from a nomadic lifestyle to a more sedentary one with the agricultural revolution. With the agricultural revolution, people gradually abandoned the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, so they were no longer moving around, following the migration patterns of the animals that humans hunted and the seasonal pattern of plants as they became suitable for consumption (Discovery Channel 01.27.04). The industrial revolution brought about a shift from a more pastoral lifestyle to a more urban one, as people moved from the country to the city, but at the same time, trade enabled movement between cities. As people moved, they have also brought with them new ideas and cultures. For example, when the conquistadors came to the Americas, they came in search of gold, but some also came as missionaries, to spread the word of God and convert all of the heathen indigenous peoples to Christianity (Cipolla). Christianity first had to spread throughout Europe and North Africa and it started along the coastal areas, and then spread inland. Spread of Christianity - BYU Instructional Media Center From Europe, Christianity came to the Americas. Spanish Catholic missionaries came to what is now present-day Mexico, Central America, and South America, as evidenced by the spread of the Spanish language. The French came to the New World as trappers and traders. Th...

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...y became more developed and advanced. The development of agricultural technology most likely came about as a result of difficulty in gathering sufficient quantities of foodstuffs. As people migrated, they brought this agricultural technology with them; thus the movement of many technologies mirrors the movement of peoples.

Movement is so important to the rise and fall of societies and linked to patterns of environmental degradation. For this reason, it is important to know and understand why such movement occurs.


Cipolla, Carlo M., "Guns, Sails, and Empires: Technological Innovation and the Early Phases of European Expansion, 1400-1700" Sunflower Univ. Press, 1996.

Diamond, Jared, "Guns, Germs, and Steel" W.W. Norton & Co, 1997

Spread of Christianity - BYU Instructional Media Center From Europe,

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