Approximately 3.5 million years ago our ancestors first learned to walk upright. They were “homo erectus”, and with this innovation of walking upright they began to appreciated some things that we take for granted today like having our hands free, and increased mobility. As humans progressed along their history they earned the distinction of “homo sapiens”. This title was conferred as the brain casing increased in size indicating the developmental process of human thought. Our ability for abstract thought has given us the ability to effect the places where we live. Today we have the distinction of “homo sapiens sapiens”, and we are spectators of the ever more rapid pace of human development. The environment has played a major role in dictating the course human history and the technologies that have been developed. Humans have always struggled with being able to stay alive in many different environments, and we have learned that it only gets easier with an increased ability to live in those environments. The ability to live in our environment improves as our knowledge of that environment increases. With the knowledge that we gain from our experiences we are able to adapt and survive in many different circumstances. And it is around those circumstances that we base our modes of existence. The ability to survive in, coexist with, and in some cases exploit our environment has transformed humans from just another animal to the dominant species on the planet. We have been able to mold and use our environment through the development of different technologies to maximize our own sustenance. Because of the ability to effect the environment in which we live, humans today live in envi...
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...ith the taming of oxen, the invention of the plow, and recently with tractors and other heavy machinery. All of these improvements in technology have had their own effects on the environment, and changed the way that humans live their lives. Some of the technological changes have produced detrimental environmental effects, but some have revolutionized the ease of human existence. For too long we have ignored or been unaware of the effects that we have had on the environment. Since we live in a world that we have helped to create it’s time that we make an effort toward sustainability, and minimize the detrimental effects that we have on our environment.
NPR radio spot with Paul Ehrlich available on Blackboard
Ponting, Clive. A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1991
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