Final Exam Environmental History

Final Exam Environmental History - 1 Silent spring a...

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1. Silent spring a. written by Rachel Carson and published in 1962 b. highlighted the affects humans can have on nature by using pesticides such as ddt c. she compared modern chemicals with the unprecedented power to alter nature with the effects of nuclear materials, both of these things can upset ecologies in subtle, long-last, and ultimately, permanent ways. This really hit home with Americans because they were well aware of how radiation and nuclear fall out had long lasting affects on humans and nature. d. The name of the books comes from how the pesticides effect birds, and if the pesticides were continued to be used they could wipeout many forms of nature that we know and love. e. Although Carson was criticized for her work and was quoted as being a “frustrated spinster, hysterical female, bunny lover, and likely communist” , the impact of her book was unprecedented. The environmental movement with a focus on ecology was launched, and ten years after the publishing of silent spring DDT was banned. 2. Evolution of the septic tank a. 1940s-1950s: public health officials raised concern about faulty designs as advocates of consumer-protection and public health i. failures/problems concerning septic tanks: 1. too much rain 2. type of soil 3. have to empty soil drudge ever so often ii. professionals start to speak out about sanitary conditions; Federal Housing Administration (FHA), sanitation engineers, city planners, and progressive homebuilders become involved b. 1960s: public concern over groundwater i. concern about the impact on groundwater 1. (this was happening in the wake of widely publicized industrial chemical contaminations) 2. frothy drinking water ii. The Federal Agency takes action 1. Department of Housing and Urban Development and government subsides for sewer construction c. 1970s: septic tank problem part of vast environmental crisis i. Federal agencies take action 1. Federal Water Pollution Control Act a. Research exposed problems caused by septic tank pollution d. The % of new homes with septic tanks fell sharply since the late 1940s but the absolute number increased decade by decade..Why? i. Building industry 1. Lowered production costs while passing maintenance costs to consumer ii. Home buyers
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1. Concerns centered on short term needs a. Buying the “dream” – owning a septic tank b. Sound investment- they could be built/put almost anywhere 3. Two pitfalls of modern environmentalism a. Working nature ultimately leads to the destruction of nature i. Many modern environmentalists point to the fact that working with nature, such as logging or building large dams, destroy the nature itself. But, what they do not consider is that by working with nature you learn things about it that you would never learn if you didn’t work with it. Richard White cited a perfect example of this.
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