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Part II | HAP - Environmental History > Case Studies > Flashcards

Flashcards in Case Studies Deck (96):

When was Chernobyl, how did it heighten sensitivity to the environment?

26 April 1986 - Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine heightened concern about how nuclear particles travel on the wind, how they go into the soil and affect food, what they mean for the future health of children growing up and how the plants and animals that remain have responded to the traces of nuclear explosions in the environment.


How did Carson describe the environment in Silent Spring?

"the environment”, as Carson put it, a fragile “web of life” subject to contamination, and assault, its “integrity” subject to “disturbance”, become “corrupt” and threatened to be “engulf[ed]”.


George Orwell, 1948

"The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from loudspeakers, but the earth is still going around the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it."


What did 1957 see?

International Geophysical Year of 1957, which encouraged much international collaborative research, particularly on the oceans and polar regions across the icy frontiers of the Cold War


What did the 1965 US Environmental Pollution Committee report?

Restoring the Quality of our Environment: focused on pollution but also embraced public health, potential ecological effects, impacts on soil and water, and even possible climate change driven by carbon dioxide emission.


What was an early attempt at cybernetics?

The 1950s work of Yale Mintz at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) to develop an early General Circulation Model (GCM) of the atmosphere and oceans were characterised in an obituary as “heroic efforts... during which he coordinated an army of student helpers and amateur programmers to feed a prodigious amount of data through paper tape”


Comment on the conference Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth, 1955

Brainchild of William L. Thomas, Carl Sauer, Marston Bates, and Lewis Mumford.

The conference was organised in three parts, covering the past, the present and the future.

The centrepiece was the singular phenomenon: ‘man’.

40% of the attendees came from the earth sciences, 28% from the biological sciences, 12% the social sciences and humanities, and 20% from applied fields such as planning.

Not explicitly “environmental”. The word was not employed much. Activists and intellectuals still regarded themselves as “conservationists”, not “environmentalists”.


What did 1948 see in Russia?

Implementation of Joseph Stalin’s “Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature”: responding to the 1946-47 disaster of drought and subsequent famine that saw half a million deaths. A series of dam and irrigation projects, designed to protect the future of agriculture on the Russian steppes and plains, ultimately wreaked new havoc, including the desiccation of the Aral Sea.


Quote Truman

“The real or exaggerated fear of resource shortages and declining standards of living has in the past involved nations in warfare… Conservation can become a major basis of peace.”


What did Cassandras do in 1923?

 Cassandras had raised fears of oil exhaustion after the surge of demand during the First World War, which had led to the setting aside for the future the protected region of the Naval Petroleum Reserve in Alaska in 1923.


What did Aldo Leopold encourage in terms of history?

‘Think like a mountain’ ie. narrate history from the point of animals, eco-systems and other non-human entities.


Describe changes in George Tindall's history

  • 1984 -> disease as a contributing but relatively minor factor in the colonists’ displacement of natives
  • 2010 -> “By far the most significant aspect of the biological exchange,” they wrote, “was the transmission of infectious diseases from Europe and Africa to the Americas. European colonists and enslaved Africans brought with them deadly pathogens that Native Americans had never experienced…"
  • 1984 ->  Only a few sentences on the dust bowl. “In 1933, widespread drought in the wheat belt reduced production and removed any need to plow up growing wheat.”
  • 2010 -> "a decade-long drought during the 1930s spawned an environmental and human catastrophe known as the dust bowl."


Walker - Animals and the Intimacy of History

What is important about the site of Carneige's death?

  • Carnegie’s mangled body outraged McKean, the Field & Stream journalist, precisely because the young man was “human,” not an “animal” such as a moose or caribou.
  • His anxieties exposed the carefully policed divide between humans, who have long fancied themselves as outside nature, and other animals.


Walker - Animals and the Intimacy of History

How does William McNeill regard humans?

Plagues and Peoples, disease transfer as a kind of predation on humans by microparasites, microscopic meat-eaters that stalk the human herd.

McNeill writes that, “one can properly think of most human lives as caught in a precarious equilibrium between the microparasitism of disease organisms and the macroparasitism of large-bodied predators


Walker - Animals and the Intimacy of History

Detail Joshua Blu Buhs's history of ants.

The Fire Ant Wars argues that fire ants exploited what historians call the “bulldozer revolution” in the American South, following humans as they disturbed the landscape. The ant, because it evolved in the floodplains of South America, thrived in areas of upheaval. Buhs submits that fire ants “exploited this revolution to spread across the region. Thus it was a combination of the ant’s natural history and human action that caused the insect’s irruption.”


Walker - Animals and the Intimacy of History

How does Walker treat dogs?

Obviously, he writes, the “sharing of infection increases with the degree of intimacy that prevails between man and beast.”Man’s best friend, the dog, has bestowed on the human species more (p. 58) infectious microparasites than any other domesticated creature.


Walker - Animals and the Intimacy of History

What happened to Kenton Carneige in 2005?

A geological engineering student, was attacked and killed by four wolves on a trail near a uranium mine in Saskatchewan.


Deserts - Diana K. Davis

Who does Davis contest first wrote about desiccation theory?

Deserts - Diana K. Davis

Theophrastus - earliest thinker to draw a connection between deforestation and decreases in rainfall.


Deserts - Diana K. Davis

How were deserts imagined and treated in the American mindset?

Deserts - Diana K. Davis

  • American deserts were primarily categorized as barren, sterile, savage, and altogether unnatural—as places to be conquered. 
  • Ranching led to serious overgrazing in parts of the West.
  • Led to 1934 Taylor Grazing Act, which regulated grazing.


Deserts - Diana K. Davis

Where does the term 'desert' originate from?

Deserts - Diana K. Davis

Deserts as we know them today, in distribution and extent, were largely formed by the time Greek civilization began to produce writers of geography and history. The word desert itself may be one of the oldest written words, probably originating in the Egyptian hieroglyph “tésert.”


Sara B Pritchard

Evidence technology-induced anxieties

Sara B Pritchard - Toward an Environmental History of Technology

  • Disasters at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and most recently Fukushima Daiichi, but these brief cases point to the complex ways in which ecology and the nuclear age were entangled. 


Connie Y Chiang - Race and Ethnicity

How did blacks overcome their circumscribed access to the white environment?

Connie Y Chiang - Race and Ethnicity

As some African Americans grew more affluent in the 1910s and 1920s, they continued to seek leisure activities in nature. This impulse led to the establishment of all-black resorts, such as Idlewild in Michigan. With private lots for sale, African Americans built both modest and more lavish homes and escaped the cities during the summer to hike, boat, swim, and fish along Lake Idlewild.

  • While Kahrl and others have shown how African Americans tried to made in-roads into recreational activities often understood to be white, they do not fully explain how these pursuits became constructed as white in the first place.


Connie Y Chiang - Race and Ethnicity

How did Chinese immigrants in California see the utility of the environment between 1810 and 1910?

Connie Y Chiang - Race and Ethnicity

Environmental strategies for economic and cultural survival in the face of overt racism. Chinese immigrants saw the cultivation of land as a route to prosperity and stability, and their establishment of permanent rural communities was a testament to their ability to adapt to environmental conditions.


Connie Y Chiang - Race and Ethnicity

What occurred in British Honduras?

Connie Y Chiang - Race and Ethnicity

Masters affirmed slaves’ suitability for forced labor by emphasising their intrinsic connections to nature. For instance, they often equated their slaves to animals—both wild and domesticated—to justify their regime. In the case of British Honduras, a colonial official described a slave who spotted mahogany trees as an “instinctual creature” imprinted with knowledge of the jungle—not a rational human being who found trees through observation and reason.


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How did the river shape human development along the river.

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

Hudson’s Bay Company to transport all its goods in ninety-pound packages. The expenditure of labour in carrying these packages involved numerous acts of calculation, conflict, abuse and cooperation. In these acts a social order became transparent. If all journeys were downstream, if there had been no rapids or falls, then the human relations on the early-nineteenth century river would have been different’


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How did the damming project play out (RE: Emerson or Mumford?)

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

Nature was central to this vision in a classically Emersonian way… a series of giant slack-water ponds, the river’s energy turning turbines: pumps limiting its waters into canals, its bed a highway for barges. Hoover’s “maximum utilisation” seems more fitting than Mumford’s vision of the Neotechnic as a world of ecological balance. 


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How did Mumford react to Giant Power?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

Lewis Mumford - ‘espoused a common energy utopianism’. He made Giant Power into a social theory. He thought that when we switch energy sources, we potentially change the possibilities for our society.’

Mumford explained by Emersonianism had gone wrong. It had depended on the wrong energy source for its machines. Steam engines producing mechanical energy through shafts and belts belonged to what Mumford, following Patrick Geddes, called Paleotechnic. The Paleotechnic depended on coal and iron; it represented an ‘upthrust from barbarism’ that was hardly progress at all. 


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

What did Report 308 Recommend?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

“308 Report” into the Grand Coulee river basin, by John Butler. AKA “The Columbia River and Minor Tributaries”, which recognised in the Columbia the potential for being the ‘greatest system for water power to be found anywhere in the US’. Butler imagined a Columbia eventually “controlled and managed as one system”. Its immense yield of power could make the cost per unit small, although the initial investment for the ten dams the Corps envisioned would ‘exceed that of any other single development of any kind for power that has ever been made’.  Giant Power.


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How did human intervention play out in attempting to manage salmon populations?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

Decline in natural salmon runs forced humans to intervene in spawning process to create more fish. 

Hatcheries - the product- wed technology and biology.

New hatcheries operated without actual knowledge of the life cycle of salmon. 1920 - Bureau of Fisheries - ‘the hatcheries inflicted as much, or more, damage to the salmon runs than they had service of value’


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How was Garrett Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons not applicable to the situation on the Columbia?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

Hardin’s model of the commons is an invention. It never existed on the Columbia. There were rules and restrictions

  • Indians possessed treaty rights (de jure, at least)
  • Gillnetters controlled access to drifts
  • Fix-gear men commandeered space on the river. 


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How was space and race changed by the influx of new populations to the Columbia?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

⁃ New work depended on precise organisation of humans and nature, and this organisation was spatial. Race divided space. 

As the Whites feared the Chinese - denying access to the river, their space was isolated in the canneries.

The Whites saw Indians as anarchic and nuisances - moving them from their (granted) access to the river to margins narrower than before.

  • Gender was also subdivided by the river.
  • Chinese exclusion act 1992 left a shrinking and ageing workforce - replaced with Scandinavian women (daughters and wives of the men on the river)- who inherited the interior space in factories and canneries.


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How did Emersonian logic impact Americans?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

Emerson reconciled nature with the busy, manipulative world of American capitalism. He reconciled utilitarianism with idealism; he reconciled the practical and the spiritual. When humans acted on nature they did not defile it, they purified it. “Art was nature passed through the alembic of man”


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How did Emersonian logic interpret the mechanisation of the river?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

The mechanical was not the antithesis of nature, but its realisation in a new form. Stream was wind in the boiler of the boat, trains imitated pages or swallows darting from town to town. What seemed ugly in isolation became beauty reattached to “the Whole”.


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How did Kipling see the canneries?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

‘the canneries encapsulated a basic spatial division between the mechanical and the natural. Inside, crowding, humanity, death, machines, routinisation; outside, solitude, nature, life, the organic and freedom’ 

Kipling was disturbed by the disconnect between man and nature - prompting him to go fishing with a rod - to match his power against that of the chinook. This was a restoration of the masculine relation with nature. 


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How did canneries impact spatio-temporality on the river?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

 ‘Even partially mechanised canneries so greatly increased the scale of everything - time, space, organisation, and energy - as to make Indian harvest seem distant and irrecognisable… whereas most salmon preserved by Indians usually lasted no more than six months, canned salmon lasted for many years.’


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How did the Columbia facilitate the spread of Malaria?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

Brought up from California by returning Hudson’s Bay Company fur brigades in 1830. Catastrophically rearranged the human geography of the river. The mosquito that carried the disease was rare along the coast and scarce east of the Cascades, but thrived in the Lower columbia - where death rates reached 90%. 


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How did social rituals and gender imbalances arise from salmon fishing in the Columbia?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

As natives assumed the salmon return was not inevitable: Rituals, social practices and stories all recognised the possibility that the fish would fail to appear. They waited for salmon not with faith but anxiety. 

This had historical precedent. When Table Mountain slid into the river ~800 years ago, the population were cut off from salmon runs until the river broke through.

Myths of the river had a recurring motif of when women imprisoned salmon within a pond, to be freed by Coyote - a lecherous and often foolish culture hero. Women are (for reasons unknown) associated with birds, such as the Eagle, whom feasted on the trapped salmon. This created a gender power dynamic which circumscribed the power of women, who were seen as threats to salmon supply. Women were kept away from the streams and distribution centres. Also symbolic ritualism surrounded menstruation - the loss of blood seen as a trope for the need for death to sustain life.


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

Evidence changes in social ritual driven by the nature of the river in David Thompson's oral account

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

‘My reasons or putting ashore and smoking with the Natives, is to make friends with them, against my return, for in descending the current of a large River, we might pass on without much attention to them; but in returning against the current, our progress will be slow and close along the shore, and consequently very much in their power; whereas staying a few hours, and smoking with them, while explaining to them the object of my voyage makes them friendly to us.’


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How did the power of the river inspire how knowledge and art in 18th Century Astoria?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

Indian canoes were the product of efficiency and art - carved from one singular log. Gabriel Franchere, an original Astorian, reported the largest canoes to be 30” long and 5” wide.

Robert Stuart, Astorian, noted: ‘If perfect symmetry, smoothness and proportion constitute beauty, they surpass anything I ever beheld’

‘The clearest mark of the knowledge and skill was when nothing happened, when Indians knew which paths through the river were the most efficient and least demanding of human energy.’


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

How much of the river's energy is expended in 'work'?

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

Only 2% of river energy ‘works’, through erosion, transportation and deposition of matter. 98% of kinetic energy is expended in friction - thus heat dissipation.


Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

Demonstrate the 'phenomenal' power of nature along the Columbia

Richard White - The Organic Machine - 1998

End of Pleistocene saw the collapse of an ice dam holding glacial Lake Missoua, creeating the largest freshwater flood in history. In hours achieved what the Mississippi took 300 years to replicate.


Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

What does Pinker suggest about WWII?

Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

Post–World War II, to suggest that human biology might play any role whatsoever in human culture was seen by many scholars “to endorse racism, sexism, war, greed, genocide, nihilism, reactionary politics, and neglect of children and the disadvantaged.”


Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

What does LeCain suggest about the neomaterialist approach?

Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

  • A neomaterialist approach suggests that humans derive much of what we like to think of as our power, intelligence, and creativity from material things like cattle, silkworms, and copper. Because we now realize that humans are much more deeply embedded in their environments than previously recognized, in many ways the countless material things and processes that surround and permeate us should be understood as constituting who we are. We don’t just use organisms and things. Rather, like the microbiomes in our guts, these and countless other material fellow travelers are the very things that make us.


Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

What impact was artificial light said to have on whites?

Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

  • The inferiority of dark-skinned peoples, they believed, was confirmed by the “darkness” stemming from their lack of artificial illumination. Electric lighting even offered Western racists.
  • Ernest Freeberg notes, many Europeans and Americans believed that “stronger lighting pushed back not only the physical darkness but also a spiritual one.”

  • The rapid adoption of electric lighting by the Japanese, however, presented something of a challenge to the simple equation of bright white lights with bright white people. Having long dismissed all Asian peoples as innately inferior, Americans were forced grudgingly to admit that the Japanese were quickly proving every bit as technologically capable as any westerners


Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

How did the Romans perceive silk?

Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

  • Used modern tech on the Ashio mines. The revived mines output 25% of Japan's copper.
  • Increased ore processing saw tailings (containing sulphur, arsenic, cadmium and lead) into the Watarase. These chemicals were thus distributed on rice fields during flooding. 
  • One of the first ever pollution studies (1892) found Ashio output rendered soil infertile, and damaged silkworm larvae. 


Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

How did the Romans perceive silk?

Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

The people of Rome, newly enriched by the conquest of the rich farming lands of Egypt, indulged themselves in this most marvelous of new materials. Strolling the public streets or wide squares of the Roman Forum, men and women alike luxuriated in its unparalleled ability to drape gently over the human form – a quality that sometimes brought the stormy moral condemnation.

To the Romans, silk’s soft embrace was not just sensual – it was downright sexual. Daring silk-wearing Romans could in effect parade about nearly naked in public. Because of its almost-universal sensual appeal, silk became the driver for the globalization of trade on the central east-west axis of Eurasia some 2,000 years before our own era.

For centuries, the Chinese managed to maintain a virtual monopoly on silk production in the ancient world by carefully keeping the secret to themselves. As a lucrative Eurasian silk trade (over the Silk Road discussed earlier) began to flourish during the Han dynasty, various Chinese rulers issued dire threats to execute anyone who attempted to smuggle silkworms, eggs, or mulberry seeds out of the kingdom. These draconian measures seem to have succeeded for a surprisingly long time, but by the sixth century CE the secret clearly had escaped. According to legend, two Christian monks carried silkworm eggs and mulberry seeds to Constantinople (modern Istanbul) in their hollowed out canes.


Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

What does Lynn White argue?

Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

Medieval historian Lynn White argued in an influential 1967 article, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” this Judeo-Christian tradition contrasted sharply with previously dominant animistic understandings of the human place in the world which understood human power as intimately linked to a vibrant natural world filled with other intelligent beings. White argued that this sharp cleaving of humans from nature in Judeo-Christian thought thus justified the Western exploitation of the environment and brutal treatment of other animals, which were understood to be categorically distinct from the humans for whom the world was made. “Especially in its Western form,” White asserted, Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen.” 


Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

What does Lynn White argue?

Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

Medieval historian Lynn White argued in an influential 1967 article, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” this Judeo-Christian tradition contrasted sharply with previously dominant animistic understandings of the human place in the world which understood human power as intimately linked to a vibrant natural world filled with other intelligent beings. White argued that this sharp cleaving of humans from nature in Judeo-Christian thought thus justified the Western exploitation of the environment and brutal treatment of other animals, which were understood to be categorically distinct from the humans for whom the world was made. “Especially in its Western form,” White asserted, Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen.” 


Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

What does David Noble argue?

Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

The Religion of Technology - some influential Western thinkers believed that this spark of the divine also gave humans the power to recreate their lost Eden through technology.


Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

What is the Extended/Embodied Mind thesis?

Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

The prominent cognitive theorist Andy Clark argues that there is an “unexpected intimacy of brain, body and world,” suggesting that the mind itself “is best understood as the activity of an essentially situated brain: a brain at home in its proper bodily, cultural and environmental niche.”


Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

What is the extended evolutionary synthesis?

Timothy LeCain - The Matter of History (2016)

Living things do not simply evolve to fit into preexisting environments, they argue, but co-construct and coevolve with their environments. Allows, for example, the colour of butterflies or the shape of leaves on a tree to change depending on environmental factors – not just over the course of generations of evolution, but during the developmental lifetime of a single organism


What happened in 1988?

United States hit by high temperatures -> “the Greenhouse Summer”. Giant fires burned in the iconic Yellowstone Park, and NASA scientist James Hansen testified to Congress that “The greenhouse effect … has been detected and is changing our climate now”.


What was the Chipko movement?

The Chipko movement of “tree huggers” from the Himalayan foothills contested the right of loggers to extract timber from their community woods in 1973, by putting their bodies in the way of the loggers, “sticking to” the trees (Chipko means to stick). Such struggles between communal use and commercial extraction have been familiar in Asia and Europe back to medieval times.


What did Adam Smith state in Book II of the Wealth of Nations?

'This produce, how great soever, can never be infinite, but must have certain limits.’


What did the Royal Society state about improvement in the 17th century?

“Where men of great wealth do stoop to husbandry, it multiplieth riches exceedingly”


What was the Spanish empire of the 16th century dependent on, what did this result in?

  • Supply of timber (for navy)
  • State to acquire wood from municipal commons.
  • Spanish citizens resisted, falling back on fueros as a source of legal defence to right to common land.


What mitigated concerns about population growth in the 17th century?

Thirty Years War - 1618-1648 - decimated the German population.


What did James Steuart's Inquiry comment on regarding lordship?

rulers should act so their subjects 'make their several interests lead them to supply one another with their reciprocal wants'


How did Francois Quesnay allude to the body and circulation of currency?

 currency ‘goes equally to the upper and lower parts of the body, just as currency goes in equal amounts to the product recovery and sterile classes’.


What did Adam Smith state about Nature?

‘man is by Nature directed to correct, in some measure, that distribution of things which she herself would otherwise have made’

Nature wanted the 'self-preservation and propagation of the species'


What point did Charles Lyell make about life on earth?

There existed a fixed, finite quantity of life.


What articles of Canon and Roman law respectively justified the conquest of the New World?

Romanus Pontifex and dominus mundi 


What document was read out to the Amerindians before being butchered?



What doctrine did Vitoria recourse to in order to allow unfetterred Spanish access to thew New World?

Ius comunicandi - Spanish had right to move and trade throughout New World. 


What did Governor John Winthrop comment about Small Pox in the US?

‘For the natives they are all neere dead of small poxe, so as the Lord hathe cleared our title to what we possess’ 


What happened to the pig population released into Hispanola in 1492?

Eight were released in 1492. By 1500, their numbers were said to be 'infinitos'


How does Crosby describe Spanish cattle in the Antilles?

"The Spanish cattle took to the meadows and savannahs of the Antilles like Adam and Eve returning to Eden" 


What domesticated crops grew well in Barbados?

Camomile, onions, cabbage, parsley, sage, garlic - at the cost of local plantmatter.


Describe the goat tyranny in St Helena

  • Goats introduced to St Helena in 16th century. By 1582, Tom Cavendish noted that the goats 'were seen up to two hundred together, and sometimes in a flock a mile long'.
  • 1816 - William Beatson - 'to the goat therefore is solely ascribed the total ruin of the forests, an evil which is now sorely felt by every individual on the island'


What did Lauren Hollsten contribute to the debate?

Examines 16th century Caribbean - spec. Barbados, and its transformation from a tobacco colony to a full-scale sugar plantation. 


What did Richard Ligon state in his 'True and Exact History of the Caribbee Islands'?

'I saw by the growth... that it was a strong and lusty plant, and so vigorous, as where it grew, to forbid all Weeds to grow very neer it; so thirstily it suck'd the earth for nourishment, to maintain its own health and gallantry'


What happened to sugar consumption in Britain between 1663 and 1699?



When was Barbados considered spent?

Colonel Modiford - 1865

Richard Blome suggested moving to Jamaica, 'capable of receiving those great numbers of people that are forced to desert the Caribbee Islands; their plantations being worn out'


How much firewood did it take to refine 100m3 of sugar cane?

4000 hectares of woodland.


What did Whistler comment on the mills in 1654?

'the mill they now use destroy so many horses that it beggars the planters'


What did Jose Navarro comment on Portugese resource exchange?

the Portuguese 'continuously destroy and annihilate her natural productions'


How did Vandelli describe the Portuguese management of Brazilian forests?

'once the forests are burned, they are cultivated for two or three years, while the fertility produced by the ashes lasts, until the diminished fertility makes them abandon the plots in order to burn new sections of the forest. Thus they continue destroying the forests along the rivers'


What trees produce gutta-percha?

Isonandra Gutta, Taban, Dichopsis Oblongifolium (native to Far East)


What did the West Ham Gutta Percha Company claim about Gutta Percha?

'almost every species of toy is made from this gum; the furniture, the decorations... the lining for our water cisterns. It is used for pipes, alike for the conveyance of water and sound'


What discovery was made in 1847?

Werner von Siemens discovered Gutta Percha to be the most effective electrical insulator.


When did GP trees go extinct in Asia?

Singapore - 1857

Malacca - 1875

Perak - 1884


How much GP-covered telegraph cabling was laid by 1907?

200,000 nautical miles. With trees outputting 312g latex per tree, this would take 88,000,000 trees. 


How did resource exchange benefit Muhammad Ali?

Egypt, 19th century. State bought at low prices and sold at high - funding industrialisation, construction of canals, barrages, railways and port facilities.


What did Poivre's and Hale's theory of desiccation lead to?

Concessions Regulations of 1723 - setting limits of deforestation in Mauritis.


What could be seen by 1770?

British involvement in Bengal was premised in terms of responsibiltiy to 'assess and respond to growing evidence of artifical influences on rainfall'


What did Orville Platt declare in Congress, 1983?

Americans 'are the most advanced and powerful on earth'


Why did McKinley state about acquiring the Philippines?

'there was nothing left for us to do but take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and Christianise them'


What did Frederick Cooper claim about empire-states?

Long arms but weak fingers.


What could be said of environmental changes in Africa?

Imperial conquest only lasted 70 years, and environmental impact was less decisive than assumed.


What was the capacity of the Chinese Navy in the 15th century, why did it disappear?

Zheng He's ships were 120m long, and capable of circumnavigation. China had 3,500 in a 'treasure fleet' which reached Africa before Columbus found the New World. The Ming dynasty shut it down, fearful of losing control over foreign trade.


McNeill - Mosquito Empires

  • Caribbean. African slaves brought with them Anopheles and Aedes strains of Mosquito - carrying Yellow Fever and Malaria. 
  • Thrived in plantations where natural predators were removed + still water permitted reproduction
  • Natives survived, Europeans died. This defended the colony of Spain from invasion (French, Guiana, 1673 = Deadly), but also put power in hands of natives.
  • Revolutions in 19th century were aided by mosquitos - Europeans could not launch successful military campaigns.


What did Matt Ridley suggest?

Western concepts of Malthusian population development and environmentalism found their home in the authoritarian state of China, embodied in the One Child Policy. 


What did a Blueprint for Survival, 1972, sound like to Ridley?

A Blueprint for Survival reads today like a rant by an embarrassingly extreme member of both Ukip and Greenpeace. It demands that governments “declare their commitment to ending population growth; this commitment should also include an end to immigration”. Song Jian was struck that the book recommended reducing Britain’s population from 56 million to 30 million. “I was extremely excited about these documents,” he later wrote.


What was the Blueprint for Survival, 1972?

  • A Blueprint for Survival was an influential environmentalist text that drew attention to the urgency and magnitude of environmental problems.
  • First published as a special edition of The Ecologist in January 1972, it was later published in book form and went on to sell over 750,000 copies.
  • The Blueprint was signed by over thirty of the leading scientists of the day—including Sir Julian Huxley, Sir Frank Fraser Darling, Sir Peter Medawar, and Sir Peter Scott—but was written by Edward Goldsmith and Robert Allen, who argued for a radically restructured society in order to prevent what the authors referred to as “the breakdown of society and the irreversible disruption of the life-support systems on this planet”


What did Blueprint for Survival recommend?

  • It recommended that people live in small, decentralised and largely de-industrialised communities. Some of the reasons given for this were that:
    • it is too difficult to enforce moral behaviour in a large community
    • agricultural and business practices are more likely to be ecologically sound in smaller communities
    • people feel more fulfilled in smaller communities
    • reducing an area's population reduces the environmental impact


What is important to note about the Annales?

  • Febvre - Geographical Introduction to History - environment provides the backdrop to history
  • Braudel - 3 temporalities - geographical time - extremely slow change; socio-economic change - change within lifetime; political - rapid change. Environment still a backdrop
  • Ladurie - Environment in dialogue with humans - humans shape environment and environment shapes humans. Times of Feast, Times of Famine.

Group stands accused of writing history without names.