US Environmental History

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US Environmental History
Humanities Course
Course CodeENHS
Years Of Operation1999
Sites OfferedBTH, CHS
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (1999):

The history of the environment in the United States is one of destruction, development, conservation, and controversy. A growing area of specialty for historians is environmental history, the study of the relationship between a growing nation and its environment. This course offers students an introduction to this exciting field.

While the main focus of the class is on the second half of American history, students begin by studying the first contact between Europeans and the indigenous populations of North America. Next they examine the Industrial Revolution, Westward Expansion, and the growth of cities, which brought changes in technology and factory production that created both societal benefits and environmental nightmares. Students also consider instances when society's plans for further development building on a flood plain or along a fault line, for example were thwarted by the power of nature. In exploring how people responded to environmental issues, students give special attention to the transformation of the Progressive Era's conservation movement into the more political environmental movement of today. From the early mines of Appalachia and California to Love Canal and Three Mile Island, students gain not only a better understanding of US history, but also a stronger appreciation of how many issues pertaining to the environment in the past shaped the ones we face today.