PEH 2 - Leslie Hughes Personal Environmental History HIST...

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Leslie Hughes Personal Environmental History HIST 3327-001 Dr. C. Melendy 4-27-09
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The world that we are currently living in is a collective combination of past events that have come together to form the present. We all have a personal history; one aspect of that history is our environmental history, which is shaped by our family history, location, economic/social status, and gender. A comprehensive look at these aspects can help someone to form their own environmental history, and understanding of what is ethically right in regards to the environment. My personal environmental history is a combination of suburban understanding of “nature” from my mother’s side and southern agricultural and Native American perspectives from my fathers side, these aspects have shaped my ethical outlook and thinking about the environment. I believe that my personal environmental history is what makes me so passionate about environmental conservation, and it has been the driving force behind what I want to do for the rest of my life. I will first take a look at my maternal grandparents and how their lives shaped my history. My mother’s mother and father immigrated to the United States from Germany, during World War II. Their ethnicity and class played a large role in how they viewed and used the environment. My maternal grandparents lived in the suburbs my grandfather was a fireman and my grandmother a stay at home Mom. They very much lived the “American Dream” at that time. So their view of the environment was that of the time and place, it was an assumed idea of nature that manicured lawns with no weeds or bugs were natural. Recreation happened in parks with unnatural amenities like pools, jungle gyms, and barbecue pits. Their whole understanding of the environment was centered on man made, constraints of nature. These ideas were inherited by my mother, 2
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and she interpreted them in her environmental history and passes aspects of these ideas down to me. The environmental history of my paternal grandparents is a very different one. My grandfather is ¼ Comanche, so from my paternal side I have a large Native American influence in my history. My paternal grandparents are from Quanah Texas, which is a very small, rural agricultural city on the edge of where the Red River meets the Panhandle, right on the Texas/Oklahoma border. My grandfather grew up in Quanah which is where our family farm is, we still currently have 5,000 head of cattle there like we did over a 100 years ago, and we also raise cotton on our land every year. The farming and ranching history of my family is influenced by the ideas of Westward expansion, the West was theirs for the taking, to transform the landscape into a viable entity to produce cotton and harness cattle for economic gain. Quanah is not really a
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2010 for the course HIST 3327 taught by Professor Hart during the Spring '09 term at Texas Tech.

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PEH 2 - Leslie Hughes Personal Environmental History HIST...

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