Environmental History Timeline EHT
EHT is a developing exploration of advancements, setbacks, insights, and ongoing changes in environmental conditions and human attitudes and decisions in regard to changing natural systems through time. This stream of brief explorations, milestones, is presented in brief posts titled, Environmental History Timeline followed by the date of the milestone event. The posts could just as well be titled Conservation History Timeline or Human Impacts Timeline. I am not rigidly bound by any guiding principle other than exploration of changing natural systems under the influence of growing human populations and the impacts of advancing technologies and growing demands for improved standards of living. Changes on the ground and shifting attitudes towards natural systems are equally notable.
GeoEcology, and to a lesser extent, EHT, is Midwest-centric because I live in and explore the Midwest more than elsewhere, but I explore impacts at greater scales, to global scale impacts and in deep time. Eventually, this timeline will reach back in time to the dawn of Homo sapiens in North America by exploring the earliest reported evidence of human impacts beginning at least 13,000 BP.
Why EHT? I am an advocate for conservation of biological diversity. Historical context is essential for understanding the magnitude of past human impacts and accelerating modern impacts that are diminishing biological diversity today. Timelines and factual histories are least popular, today. Nevertheless, I learned from the pattern of learning and the shifting attitudes of students in my Advanced Placement Environmental Science course, a stint at an academically advanced international school, that critical-thinking skills grow through connections to greater context in space and time. These essential skills flounder when disconnected from the threads of historical reality and are made parochial and personal by educational negligence or, all to often, subtle miss-direction by modern messaging repeated and repeated by special interests. Absent historical perspective, we become subject to ruling or habitual doctrines and simplistic persuasions, the enemies of critical-thinking. The ongoing struggle to maintain intact natural systems that will carry biological diversity and human societies into the future will only become more strenuous as more of us follow the passions of personal interests so often in opposition to greater good.
All problem-solving and decision-making improves when decision-makers, young or not so young, are wrapped in the fabric of history or at least feel individual tugs of historical threads. EHT posts are not history in true depth, but I try to convey connections, to connect my readers to a few threads of relevant history. Nevertheless, beware that I am not a historian. There will be errors of my own making. I hope you will point them out, with references.
Presently I have posted just a few more than a dozen EHT milestones. These are not presented in chronological order. You can search them by selecting Environmental History Timeline or by selecting entries from the tag cloud along our right margin. Please comment as you wish as you read EHT posts. Allow me to learn from you, whether you offer avocational interest or professional critic. I have just begun, stay tuned.