Environmental History

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Each of these essay questions are similar in structure, but entirely different in terms of interpretation and analysis. Your answers must be supported as widely by evidence from across our semester as possible—start to finish—from the Light of the Stars and the Kelp Highway to the Gas Crisis and Climate Change.The length of your essay should not exceed five pages, double spaced, and most will be between three and four pages long.  No footnotes or bibliography are needed. We all read the same material and all I require is that you identify either the author or the chapter you are using so that I can refer to it if needed.Absolutely NO sharing of information with one another is allowed. I will be able to spot similar answers in a heartbeat. . All of these questions below are a final exam question. 

 1.    One fallacy of Environmental thinking is that the available resources of a region ultimately determines how the humans there live, work, think and survive. This is called Environmental Determinism.  Using at least three separate examples across time periods, show how the resources of a particular place may have influenced the way in which human beings behaved, but did not entirely determine that behavior. 

2.    Cultural biases are not part of human nature (we are not born with an innate taste for caviar), but cultural values inescapably shape our thinking about the world and ourselves. Consider how people in different parts of the United States, used the non-human world in their diets, in their homes and communities, for work and recreation—even codifying those uses into law. Using at least three separate examples from our readings, demonstrate how people, within their cultural bubbles, have constrained themselves and one other in their relationship to the non-human world. 

3.    Value is a tricky concept. How do we place values on the world around us? Is it simply market price? Board feet? Product volume? Or are there other values that people have placed on the many different elements of the world we rely on? And who determined those values? What supported that comparative price or commodification?  Find at least three examples of value (or economy if you like) that have influenced the trade, sale, transportation, investment cost or prestige of a resource. What was the ultimate result? 

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