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GEOG 1972 Week 1 Notes

by: jared.stein Notetaker

GEOG 1972 Week 1 Notes geog 1972

jared.stein Notetaker

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These are my notes for Week 1 (lecture 1) for GEOG 1972 Sections 100 & 200 with Prof. William Travis
Environment-Society Geography
Professor Travis
Class Notes
Environment, Society, Environment-Society, geography




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by jared.stein Notetaker on Thursday September 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to geog 1972 at University of Colorado at Boulder taught by Professor Travis in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 32 views. For similar materials see Environment-Society Geography in Geography at University of Colorado at Boulder.


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Date Created: 09/08/16
08/23/16 Lecture 1: Chapter 1 I. The Book A. Key Terms 1. Anthropocene: A term applied to our current era where humans exert enormous influence on environments all around Earth, but where control of these environments and their enormously complex ecologies is elusive. 2. Political Ecology: An approach to environmental issues that unites issues of ecology with a broadly defined political economy perspective. 3. Reconciliation Ecology: A science of imagining, creating, and sustaining habitats, productive environments, and biodiversity in places used, traveled, and inhabited by humans. 4. Rewilding: A practice of conservation where ecological functions and evolutionary processes, which are thought to have existed in past ecosystems or before human influence, are deliberately restored or created. a. Often involves the reintroduction of large predators to ecosystems after they were killed off by people (ex: Wolves to Yellowstone) II. Main Tracks of Academic Geography A. Physical B. Human C. Environment and Society D. Geographical/Geospatial Information Science III. Academic/Research Geography A. Physical 1. Climatology 2. Geomorphology 3. Biogeography B. Human 1. Cultural 2. International Development 3. Demography/Migration 4. Political 5. Urban/Economic C. Environment and Society 1. Human and Political Ecology 2. Human Dimensions of Global Change 3. Natural Resources (i.e. water) 4. Natural hazards D. Geo-spatial Science 1. GIS-cartography 2. Remote sensing 3. Spatial and inferential statistics IV. Course Structure A. Major Themes 1. People’s perception of the environment and the human role in it, and ways that we “construct” nature 2. Human transformation of earth systems 3. The environment as resource and as hazard 4. Political Ecology: Interactions of political and economic structures and environment B. Major Themes Cont. 1. Focus on the society side of the equation: both on individual behavior (perception and choices) and on social structures (economic and political systems) 2. Diagnostic rather than prescriptive (but, as you textbook authors say, you can be the judge of that). How is nature given value and allocated by: markets, commons institutions, do markets allocate nature? 3. Problem and question oriented: What rate and magnitude of transformation is too fast or too much for the earth to remain supportive of human and ecological systems? • Why do we tend to over-harvest some resources like fisheries even when the science can set a sustainable yield? • How effective are different instruments for managing environmental systems (markets, treaties, traditional practices)? • How are environmental hazards and risks spread across society? • Can increased wealth and development reduce environmental degradation? C. The environment as social construct, and perception of our role in it. 1. We define things: • Wilderness, resource, hazard, and also attribute often-human qualities to them (e.g., green forests are “healthy”; wolves “compete” with us for game species). 2. Principle: • Perceptions arise from culture, experience, psychological factors, and the political-economic system we inhabit, affecting how we make environmental choices and policy, and define nature. D. The Human Transformation of the Earth: 1. A long history, with accelerating effects; purposeful and inadvertent, often with unintended consequences and only recently seen as globally disruptive. 2. Principle: • Pervasive of earth systems, some claim now the “Anthropocene” in which human signal insinuated into all natural systems, and dominates some. E. Socio-ecological systems: the environment as resource and as hazard 1. Resources Principles: • Nature provides “resources”, natural capital that social systems transform into goods and services. We try to manage for maximized sustained yield, certain quality, and reliability in environmental goods and services. 2. Hazards Principles: • Some aspects of natural systems are experienced as hazards, not resources, cause loss of life and of value. We try to assess the risk, and reduce loss and damage by increased control of natural systems with technology (e.g., dams, levees, nuclear power) or by reducing vulnerability of human systems (warning systems, disaster relief and recovery, land use change). F. Political ecology: Interactions of political and economic structures and environment. Our systems of political economy both create environmental and social problems in striving for resources and reducing hazards, and struggle to manage environmental problems that cross-jurisdictions, costs certain segments of society more than others, and comport with political notions of equity, justice and responsibility. G. Through all this we deal with: 1. Complexity 2. Uncertainty 3. Unintended Outcomes 4. Conflicting Ecological and Political Paradigms V. Transformations, compared to “natural” baselines A. Natural 1. Usually a time in the past: - Pre-industrial, pre-historic, pre-settlement B. Background 1. Background radiation, trace chemicals, etc. (also implies “natural”) C. Reference Site 1. Usually a less perturbed or “natural” area D. Target 1. Desired condition; restoration target (i.e. Ecosystem restoration 2. Cost v. Benefit; Threshold of some impacts (i.e. health) E. All baselines are problematic! Lots of impacts: 1. Purposeful: Changes made with the goal of that change to accomplish a social goal (i.e. clear forest for farmland) 2. Inadvertent: Results of the purposeful change that were not explicitly sought (may be positive or negative)


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