Environment and Geography — Physical and Human

Alanna &Kimi

Environment and Geography- Physical and Human


This theme examines the role of environment, geography, and climate in both containing and shaping human actions. Students should analyze the interaction between the environment and Americans in their efforts to survive and thrive. Students should also explore efforts to interpret, preserve, manage or exploit natural and man-made environments, as well as the historical contests within which interactions with the environment have taken place.


Sierra Club

A club founded by John Muir in 1892 that was dedicated to preserving the wildness of the western landscape. This showed an American view held by many, called the preservationists, who believed that the mass migration west under the belief of manifest destiny was destroying our environment and believed that they should fight to keep in untainted by human interference.


Hetch Hetchy Valley Controversy (1913)

A controversy between the federal government and the preservationists over whether the Hetch Hetchy valley should be used as a water supply or should be left alone as a natural wonder. This showed a beginning of a rift between the federal government and environmentalists because the federal government has, throughout the last few decades especially, seen the environment mainly as a resource to help humans and increase the quality of life, whereas environmentalists have seen is as something to be protected and appreciated.


Tennessee Valley Authority (1933)

One of the New Deal programs passed in the first hundred days of FDR’s presidency, the TVA called for many dams to be built to control flooding, and create cheap sustainable energy for sections of 7 states near the Tennessee River Valley.  This was an attempt of the American government to manage some environmental dangers, as well as harness the water power to light and heat their houses instead of using coal, working closer with nature rather than against it.


National Industrial Recovery Act (1933)

Another New Deal legislation that pumped money into the economy to stimulate the job market, it also put in place safety codes and more communication in workplace, and fostered a healthier state of competition. This had a negative impact on the environment due to the fact that the increase of work factories were carrying out in attempts to stimulate the economy was also increasing the amount of coal emissions by those factories.


Civilian Conservation Corps (1939)

Yet another New Deal Legislation that paid young people to do mostly outdoor work in attempts to stimulate the economy and the job market. The work that they did positively impacted the environment because they were put to work building national parks, reforesting areas, and working with soil conservation.


Silent Spring (1962)

A book written by Rachel Carson that exposed the dangers of chemical pesticides such as DDT. This led to greater American awareness of the negative impact they had on their environment and arguably started the modern environmental movement to preserve nature. This came as a result of the increasingly chemical and synthetic approach to agriculture, a reflection of the chemical advancements gleaned from the Second World War.


Environmental Protection Agency (1970)

An agency signed into existence by President Richard Nixon, the EPA was dedicated to supporting the environmentalists, and educating the public about preserving the environment. This showed federal support of trying to preserve the environment not just exploiting it, as the federal government had been doing since the industrial revolution.


First Earth Day (1970)

A day (April 22) dedicated to celebrating the earth and teaching about preserving it. It has taught and raised awareness about reserving the earth and the fact that our resources are limited and we need to be smart about using them.


Exxon Valdez (1989)

This incident involved a massive spill of oil into the Prince William Sound, it created a lot of damage in the wildlife on the shoreline. While this was disastrous it raised awareness to the environmental concerns of oil drilling and transportations and led to more regulations about how oil and other harmful substances could be transported.


Kyoto Treaty (2001)

An international treaty created in 1997 set to come into effect in 2005 that was not signed by Bush in 2001 on the basis that it was too costly. This treaty would have limited the amount of environmental emissions worldwide but it showed that preserving the environment is not easy or cheap, especially if most of your country’s income depends upon factories and industry that contributes to the world wide environmental issue.