Prof Kobus du Pisani & Prof Johann Tempelhoff




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HUMAN INTERACTION WITH THE ENVIRONMENT

STUDY GUIDE FOR

HIST 311 E

*HIST311E*

FACULTY OF ARTS
(Potchefstroom)
VAAL TRIANGLE FACULTY
(Vanderbijlpark)




Study guide compiled by:
Prof Kobus du Pisani &
Prof Johann Tempelhoff



Translated 2010.

*Page layout by Elsabé Botha, graphikos.

Printing arrangements and distribution by Department Logistics (Distribution Centre).

Printed by The Platinum Press (018) 299 4226.

Copyright  2010 edition. Date of revision 2012.

North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher.

MODULE CONTENTS

Introduction v

study material v

The responsibilities of the student v

Module outcomes vi

How to study vi

Study process icons used in this guide vii

Action words used in this guide viii

Evaluation x

Format of the examination paper x

Module plan xi

Warning against plagiarism xiii

1 What is environmental history? 1

1.1 What is environmental history? 2

1.2 The value of environmental history 5

1.3 THE RISE OF ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY 6

2 Humans and their environment in pre-industrial societies 11

2.1 Aspects of nature and humans 12

2.2 The assault on the environment by pre-industrial societies 13

The impact on nature of hunting and gathering during the Stone Age 13

The agricultural revolution and the environment 18

Other environment-changing processes: mining, development of civilisation and urbanisation 21

2.3 Awareness of environmental issues and actions in the interest of the environment 24

Early views on environmental degradation and conservation 24

The ancient Greek and Roman civilisations 25

A Medieval saint: St Francis of Assisi 26

3 The impact of industrialisation on the human-environment interaction 31

3.1 The impact of industrialisation on human–environment interaction in the 18th and 19th centuries 32

The Industrial Revolution 32

Ecological impacts of industrialisation 34

Fossil fuel as main source of energy 36

Urbanisation accelerates 38

Pollution issues 40

The culture of mass consumption 41

Spread of the results of industrialisation 43

3.2 Growing awareness of environmental issues in Europe, America and the colonies 45

Increase in knowledge about the environment 45

Environmental thought in the colonial context 46

Important schools of thought regarding the environment in Europe and America 49

4 The environmental crisis as a global issue in the 20th century 61

4.1 The assault on the environment 62

The population time bomb 63

Economic growth, increasing wealth and higher levels of energy consumption 70

Primary contemporary environmental problems 72

4.2 Awareness of environmental problems 73

Rise of the green movement 73

Ecologism as ideology 76

Iconic writings 83

Who should bear the blame for the environmental crisis? 87

Sustainable development 92

Popular culture and the environment 95

4.3 Action in the interest of the environment 97

ENGOs place environmental problems on the agenda 99

Development of green politics 101

The UN, UNEP, Agenda 21 and environmental conventions 104

5 African dimensions of environmental history 119

5.1 The use/abuse of Africa’s natural resources 120

5.1.1 Game, hunting and national parks 121

5.1.2 Trees, forestry and deforestation 128

5.1.3 Desertification in Africa 133

5.2 Environmental management in South Africa since 1970 138

6 Self-study: History of water 151

6.1 Humans and water in the South African context 152

6.2 Hydrological culture: Technology for irrigation and water supply 153

6.3 Water supply and sanitation 153

6.4 Evaluation 155

Introduction

We perceive yesterday through today's eyes because we have no alternative. Despite the fantasies of science fiction it is not yet possible for a human being to physically go back into the past. Therefore we have to interpret the past from the perspective of the present. Today's issues influence our views of the past and often determine which aspects of the past are investigated. Precisely for this reason environmental history has made big strides. Environmental sustainability is a major global issue facing human society. It is only logical that historians will be trying to trace the roots of the environmental crisis. Environmental history is a relatively new branch of the science of history and is proceeding along untrodden paths. This course unit will introduce undergraduate students to environmental history as a young but promising field of scientific investigation, and in addition also to aspects of the theory and method of history.

The lecturer will inform you about the work schedule for the semester, contact sessions, consulting hours, evaluation, etc.

You are most welcome to discuss any matter related to this module with your lecturer. Please make an appointment by phone or during lecture time.

study material

Environmental history is a young discipline. Consequently, no affordable and suitable textbooks are as yet available for undergraduate students. Therefore, use will be made of three types of study material as basic texts for the study units and their subsections. The relevant study material will be highlighted in each subsection.

  • Reserved books: A number of books have been reserved for students in the library. These sources will be indicated in the relevant subsections of the study guide.

  • Reading collection: Reading material consisting of shorter texts (mainly extracts from books and articles in periodicals) will be included in the reading collection at the end of the study guide.

  • Electronic sources: The website addresses of Internet sources are provided. Students should consult these sources at home or make use of the multimedia facilities of the library.

Apart from those mentioned in the study guide, there are many additional sources, some of which are available in the university libraries. Students will receive credit for additional reading. The better you are prepared for the contact sessions, the more value you will derive from the module.

The responsibilities of the student

Self-discipline is the key to successful study. Students have to take responsibility for gaining knowledge and insight. This study guide and the lectures only provide key information on the specific topics and serve as a framework for further self-study.

You are responsible for:

  • working through the study guide, answering all the self-evaluation questions and preparing for the class discussion topics. The discussion topics and the questions in the study guide provide the basis for class tests and semester tests as well as for the semester examination;

  • completing the exercises and assignments that will count towards your semester mark and to submit them on the dates indicated;

  • writing down the main points of the essay-type questions set at the end of each study unit by supplementing the information provided during class and in the study guide with notes from the study material and additional sources;

  • posing questions in class or contacting the lecturer if you need clarification regarding any aspect of the work; AND

  • visiting this module’s eFundi site regularly to read announcements and get access to the work schedule, assignments and class notes (Potchefstroom students).

Module outcomes

As far as the undergraduate History modules are concerned, the main aim is to develop the student’s insight into the nature of history and to inculcate a scientific approach to the discipline.

After completing HIST 311 you should have the knowledge and insight to do the following:

1. Know what Environmental History is and where it differs from other (sub)disciplines and where it overlaps with them;

2. Demonstrate insight into the historical development of the interaction between people and their environment from prehistorical times to the present;

3. Provide evidence of a thorough knowledge of selected themes within Environmental History;

4. Maintain a scientific approach to History, which would include a critical approach to historical texts and an awareness and appreciation of different views. You will have to be able to form your own opinions about controversial issues and to motivate them;

5. Demonstrate your knowledge in accordance with the scientific requirements of History as a discipline;

6. Apply scientific techniques and methods to do research for an essay on a historical subject and to present it in written form as well as orally; and

7. Obtain knowledge of the methodological and theoretical aspects of History, as well as the ability to apply this knowledge practically.

How to study

In your study of HIST 311 you should:

  • carefully study the outcomes at all levels and, more particularly, the learning outcomes;

  • obtain a general overview of the course content (module plan);

  • obtain an overview of the contents of each study unit;

  • read the study material carefully, in accordance with the instructions given in the study guide, and make sure you understand what you are reading;

  • execute all the learning activities (exercises) set in each study section of the study guide;

  • prepare thoroughly for all group meetings (discussions) according to the time schedule, to ensure that you are able to take part in the group discussions;

  • complete the self-evaluation tests and mark them according to the instructions and answers given;

  • submit fully completed assignments according to the time schedule;

  • select the sections of the study material that are relevant to every examination question provided at the end of each study unit, as well as the main points of each paragraph in the section concerned, and compile a framework/summary that can be used when you are studying that specific matter.

Study process icons used in this guide





Test your knowledge and insight. Make sure that you are able to answer all the questions in this study material before you proceed.





Read the prescribed material.





Individual exercise





Outcomes



Important information



Answers/solutions. Given after a self-evaluation exercise to provide information about possible answers regarding the activity completed.





Groupwork/exercise





Content: subsections of the study unit





Additional reading material in the reading collection at the end of the study unit





It will take you approximately X hours to complete this study unit successfully.





Introductory remarks





Revision





General overview







Action words used in this guide

The following action words have been included in the interest of clarity regarding what is expected from students/learners. Please study them carefully. When you come across these action words in outcomes, learning activities, self-evaluation and examination questions, you can refer back to the explanations to determine how you should understand them to comply with the requirements.

  • Analyse

Determine parts or elements of a concept. [Example: Analyse the causes of desertification.]

  • Comment on

Briefly state your opinion regarding a matter.

  • Compare

Indicate the similarities (things that are the same) as well as the differences between objectives, ideas and views. When you compare two or more objectives, you have to do it systematically by dealing with one aspect at a time. It is always better to do it in your own words. [Example: Compare the impact of human and environmental factors on desertification.]

  • Criticise

Indicate whether you agree or disagree with a certain statement or view. Then describe what you agree/disagree with and supply reasons for your view. [Example: Write a critical commentary on the view regarding the “rolling desert”.]

  • Debate

Take an investigative stance and present a formal argument.

  • Declare

Highlight or outline a matter so that it is easier to understand.

  • Define

Provide the accurate meaning of a concept. [Example: Define the concept of environmental awareness.]

  • Demonstrate

Include examples and discuss them. You have to provide evidence that you understand how a process works or how a concept is actually applied. [Example: Provide a written demonstration of the application of internal criticism in History.]

  • Describe

Outline the nature of something; give an account of the characteristics of something; explain how it works. No opinion or argument is required. [Example: Describe the rise of green politics.]

  • Discuss

Comment on something in your own words. It often requires two views or two different possibilities to be contrasted with each other. [Example: Discuss the human impact on desertification.]

  • Essay

A comprehensive description of a subject is required. [Example: Write an essay on the value of interdisciplinary research for the environmental historian.]

  • Evaluate

Determine the significance of something by discussing it comprehensively. [Example: Evaluate the impact of population growth on the rise of environmental awareness since the 1960s.]

  • Example

A practical illustration of a concept is required. [Example: Give an example of deforestation in the African context.]

  • Explain

Clarify or give reasons for a statement or pronouncement regarding a matter, usually in your own words. You have to prove that you understand the content. It might be useful to make use of illustrations or examples. [Example: Explain the application of external criticism by the historian.]

  • Identify

Name the most important aspects or characteristics of a phenomenon. [Example: Identify the main causes of dryland degradation.]

  • Indicate

Point out, introduce, briefly present a matter.

  • List

Simply provide a list of names, facts or items required. A certain category or order may be emphasised [required]. A discussion or explanation is not required. [Example: List ten characteristics of the agricultural communities of the Stone Age.]

  • Motivate

Give an explanation of the reasons for your propositions or views. You have to try to convince the reader of your view. [Example: Write an essay on your own philosophical view of History. Motivate your answer.]

  • Name

Name briefly, without giving any details. [Example: Name three NGOs in the field of environmental monitoring.]

  • Say

Provide the required information without discussing it. [Example: Say what the three key activities are of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in the field of nature conservation.]

  • Sketch

Emphasise the most important characteristics, structures or general principles of a subject without including the less important details. It entails slightly more detail than in the case of “naming”, “listing” or “determining information”. [Example: Sketch the main characteristics of the Convention to Combat Desertification.]

  • Summarise

Provide a structured overview of the key (most important) aspects of a subject. Always use your own words. [Example: Give a summary of the origins of environmental awareness in the era of colonial expansion as described by Richard H. Grove in Green Imperialism.]

Evaluation

Your participation mark (PM) will be calculated as the average of the marks achieved in the assignments within each study unit, the class and semester tests, as well as the dissertation that you will present in written form as well as orally. The minimum requirement for admission to the examination is a participation mark of 40%. The average of your participation mark and your examination mark will be calculated to determine your final mark (FM). To pass HIST 311 an examination mark of at least 40% and a final mark of at least 50% will be required. A final mark of at least 75% is required to pass with distinction.

Format of the examination paper

One three-hour examination of 300 marks will be taken. Students usually have to answer three questions. Each question in the examination paper will be based on the learning outcomes, will count out of 100 and will consist of a longer essay-type question or a combination of shorter paragraph-type questions.

Module plan

The course unit consists of the following study units and subdivisions. Specific outcomes are indicated in the study guide for each study unit.

Study unit 1 What is environmental history?

1.1 What is environmental history?

1.2 The value of environmental history

1.3 The rise of environmental history

Study unit 2 Humans and their environment in pre-industrial societies

2.1 Aspects of nature and humans

2.2 The assault on the environment by pre-industrial societies

The impact on nature of hunting and gathering during the Stone Age

The agricultural revolution and the environment

Other environment-changing processes: mining, development of civilisation and urbanisation

2.3 Awareness of environmental issues and actions in the interest of the environment

Early views on environmental degradation and conservation

The ancient Greek and Roman civilisations

A Medieval saint: St Francis of Assisi

Study unit 3 The impact of industrialisation on the human-environment interaction

3.1 The impact of industrialisation on human–environment interaction in the 18th and 19th centuries

The Industrial Revolution

Ecological impacts of industrialisation

Fossil fuel as main source of energy

Urbanisation accelerates

Pollution issues

The culture of mass consumption

Spread of the results of industrialisation

3.2 Growing awareness of environmental issues in Europe, America and the colonies

Increase in knowledge about the environment

Environmental thought in the colonial context

Important schools of thought regarding the environment in Europe and America

Study unit 4 The environmental crisis as a global issue in the 20th century

4.1 The assault on the environment

The population time bomb

Economic growth, increasing wealth and higher levels of energy consumption

Primary contemporary environmental problems

4.2 Awareness of environmental problems

Rise of the green movement

Ecologism as ideology

Iconic writings

Who should bear the blame for the environmental crisis?

Sustainable development

Popular culture and the environment

4.3 Action in the interest of the environment

ENGOs place environmental problems on the agenda

Development of green politics

The UN, UNEP, Agenda 21 and environmental conventions

Study unit 5 African dimensions of environmental history

5.1 The use/abuse of Africa’s natural resources

5.1.1 Game, hunting and national parks

5.1.2 Trees, forestry and deforestation

5.1.3 Desertification in Africa

5.2 Environmental management in South Africa since 1970

Study unit 6 Self-study: History of water

6.1 Humans and water in the South African context

6.2 Hydrological culture: Technology for irrigation and water supply

6.3 Water supply and sanitation

64 Evaluation


Warning against plagiarism



ASSIGNMENTS ARE INDIVIDUAL TASKS AND NOT GROUP ACTIVITIES. (UNLESS EXPLICITLY INDICATED AS GROUP ACTIVITIES)

Copying of text from other learners or from other sources (for instance the study guide, prescribed material or directly from the internet) is not allowed – only brief quotations are allowed and then only if indicated as such.

You should reformulate existing text and use your own words to explain what you have read. It is not acceptable to retype existing text and just acknowledge the source in a footnote – you should be able to relate the idea or concept, without repeating the original author to the letter.

The aim of the assignments is not the reproduction of existing material, but to ascertain whether you have the ability to integrate existing texts, add your own interpretation and/or critique of the texts and offer a creative solution to existing problems.

Be warned: students who submit copied text will obtain a mark of zero for the assignment and disciplinary steps may be taken by the Faculty and/or University. It is also unacceptable to do somebody else’s work, to lend your work to them or to make your work available to them to copy – be careful and do not make your work available to anyone!


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