• Cultural • Int’l Development • Demography/ migration • Political • Urban / economic
Course Structure: • Lecture and Recitation • No Textbook, Content Sources:
• Lecture Notes on website: recap of key concepts, facts, and arguments (no substitute for your own notes) • Readings: Specific content areas linked to lectures, two sources: – Articles – Web reports (links on syllabus)
• Recitations: discussion, expansion and exercises
Academic/Research Geography Environment and Society
Tools and Techniques
• Human and Political ecology • Human dimensions of global change • Natural resources • Natural hazards
• GIS-cartography • Remote sensing • Spatial and inferential statistics
• http://www.colorado.edu/geography/class_homep ages/geog_2412_f09/ • What's New? • Syllabus (with links to readings) • Lecture Notes • Recitation Exercises • Teaching Assistants and Recitations • Sample First Exam Questions • Sample Second Exam Questions • Study guide and sample FINAL EXAM questions • Further Reading, Background, Links, etc.
• Recitations: small group discussion/exercises, led by a TA, 6 written exercises (print from class website). Attendance, exercises, and participation in discussion count toward recitation grade. (50% of final grade) • Exams: Three “quizzes” during class and at final time” Dec. 18. 1:30 pm. 40 minute multiple choice, matching, and true-false computer-graded exams. (50% of final grade) • 10% grade increments with +/-, may be “curved” after first and second quizzes
What’s going on in this photo? Where taken? When taken?
•Descriptive vs. prescriptive concepts
Nature–Society Models: Ways of Thinking about the Relationship
• Anthropological exceptionalism: the paradigm we’ll use in this class; obvious on its face, best descriptive view. – Technology, language, awareness, etc.
[What about beavers, dolphins, dogs? Discuss in recitation: are we Part of or Apart from nature?]
Environmental Determinism and Natural Limits models •Determinism: Environmental factors determine cultural characteristics and fates ---- from early Greek scholars to 20th Century American and European Geographers.
Fredrich Ratzel: Anthropogeographie
Natural Limits, or “Limits to Growth” ---a Neo-environmental Determinism (1960s---) Mostly biologists, especially Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb 1968.
(1882 & 1891)
Ellen Churchill Semple: Influences of Geographic Environment (1911)
The Malthusian Dilemma (Thomas Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, 1798): pop tends to grow faster than resource output. Ehrlich: a crash is inevitable.
But also in the 1960s and 70s………
“Tragedy of the Commons” (Garrett Hardin, 1968): too many people will degrade the global commons, bringing down even those who were below local carrying capacity.
Techno-Optimism, or “Cornucopian” views
• Dominion models / Techno-optimism: humans have dominated and can / should shape nature--a “techno-optimistic” or “cornucopian” view: technology and human ingenuity trumps limits Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource, 1981: “Resources are becoming cheaper and more abundant, not scarcer, and over the longer term the environment and the human condition grow steadily better, not worse.”
(James P. Hogan.com)
Interaction models: human, cultural and political ecology: nature offers options, people transform nature, and economic systems adapt to limits and changes. Precautionary models / Sustainable Development / Sustainability: humans should develop; meet needs and desires, but must recognize limits and mitigate environmental problems.
Global Warming as ultimate threat: Maybe there is plenty of fossil fuel (carbon) still in the earth, and the problem is we might use too much of it?
Who does this conceptualizing? • Collective, institutionalized, and personal “models” • Academics: economists, sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, natural scientists, etc. • Interest groups, advocates, policy analysts, writers, commentators, clerics, etc. • Every individual • Why? Intellectual pursuit; beliefs; advocacy; persuasion; politics; greed; etc.
And now, for the first our three themes
Three Themes 1: Perception of the Environment, and of Our Role in It. 2: The Human Transformation of the Earth. 3: Interacting with the Environment as Resource and as Hazard
Theme 1: Perception of the Environment, and of Our Role in It. • How do we perceive nature? – Analytical: process, events; cause/effect – Affective: good/bad, healthy/unhealthy, threat/resource, etc.
• How do we see our role? good/bad, part of, or apart from; steward/improver, destroyer; transformer.
Principles: Individual Perception • Mental images of environment formed through: – Experience / information
• Affected by limits on information and cognitive information processing • Observed through: self-reporting, surveys, overt behavior
Problems with Env. Perceptions • Often wrong!!!! • Selective and flavored by attitudes and beliefs---cognitive dissonance (disagreement between information received and beliefs or values) • Deformed by cognitive limits • Damiel Kahneman, Paul Slovic, Amos Tversky – – – –
See patterns in randomness Attribute cause/effect with little justification Base perceptions on short windows of observation Fix or “anchor” perceptions on notable events and take them as exemplars of whole genres (one hurricane or wildfire used on what to expect from future cases)
• How do we measure WRONG??? • Scientific monitoring (climate records, wildlife behavior and demography studies, soil erosion calculations, all the rest of env. science) • There are different “Ways of seeing” nature---here’s an example from wildlife studies in which the researcher compares the perceptions of hunters and ranchers to park officials and wildlife biologists in the emotionally-charged issue of elk and wolves in Yellowstone Nat’l Park (and does it with a catchy phrase): “The politics of barstool biology: Environmental knowledge and power in greater Northern Yellowstone” Geoforum 27 (2006): 185-199. Paul Robbins , Department of Geography and Regional Development, Harvill Building, 437A, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, United States
• See Kahneman’s Nobel Prize lecture (2002): nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/2002/kahnemann-lecture.pdf
Census counts, Elk, YNP Northern Range Robbins compared responses to a survey among hunters and outfitters, who “know” elk through their actually hunting as well as through their advocacy for keeping elk numbers high and keeping land available for public hunting, vs. wildlife managers who “know” elk thru studies of population and impacts of things like drought and wolves. The phrase “barstool” biology is the managers’ informal term for the criticism offered (sometimes in the bar in Gardiner, MT where they all see each other) by hunters of the managers’ census counts, and other scientific ways of measuring and managing the elk herd.
• Historical beliefs about environment, env. change and the impact of humans • Evaluation and Explanations for change • Turn to more negative assessments of change • Attitudes in recent times--environmentalism
Lowenthal • He fixes the roots of modern awareness of human transformation (degradation) of environment in mid-19th century observations by naturalists and others. • But they do go back further, in most ancient religious traditions environmental events were divinely ordained, but linked to (brought on by) human foibles and behaviors (the biblical flood; Luther: Adam’s fall caused decay of nature—the loss of Eden).