Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Global History of the Last 500 Years

Last week in my Global Environmental History class I was asked to simply explain the global history in the last 500 years. I didn't have to use citations or make it too complicated and it had to be done in a page or less. Well, ok thats a huge span of time in a short space of writing BUT I didn't have to use citations (which never happens in my world) so I took a bit of a creative writing point of view on it. My professor said I exemplified ironic domination. :) Let me know what you think in the comments. I find the relationship between humans and the environment complex and fascinating.

(Summer 2012, D took this at his Field Camp, Central Idaho)

            "The defining story of the globe is best told through stories that weave tales of man defending the land, ridding of animals, and taking in the spirit which surrounds them. The public takes these stories and creates vivid pictures of a harmonious relationship between man and nature. Heroes, villains, and victims are portrayed in our tales. These tales shape our view of the history that we, the human race, have implemented on this earth. We often separate the history in before and after. There is the before, when there was no white man, and after, when they came and terrorized the land.
In the last 500 years, it is said humans came, conquered and took what they wanted. They maximized their resources to have a life that was considered “the good life” and did not think about the consequences for future generations. But, one has to consider who “they” are. Many feel the need to subject “they” to the white man, but like natural disasters, there is no prejudice from the human race on who does and doesn’t take the resources. While stories tell the horror of the white man, as he brought in a corrupt trade, disease, and devastation of natural resources, there is the other side of the story. The side where all man played a role on changing the earth, as they seeped and impacted in what many consider the natural environment. All men adventured into new lands, and little by little, changed how the earth looked and how humans today see it.
So one would think that this is the end of the story, that man figured out how to use the land with future generations in mind, how to modify agriculture to feed the masses, but there is a slight problem. Man, as much to their dismay, will always be subjected to the whims of nature. Our earth lets us use the land, lets us live on it, until it decides that there is a need for change. Natural disasters are the earth’s way of telling humans, through most of history, that man shouldn’t get too comfortable for there is always something hidden around the corner. "

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