Many researchers in the environmental sciences argue that human activities on the planet have created a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. Arguments abound about what date should demarcate the onset of the Anthropocene – the rise in global consumption of goods and resources since the 1950s, the Industrial Revolution in 1800, or perhaps the origins of agriculture thousands of years ago. The goal of this class is to explore this topic. How long have humans been impacting the planet? What kinds of changes can we see from human activities on the global biosphere? And most importantly, what have we done and what can we do in the future to mitigate ecological degradation, biodiversity loss, massive extinctions, and climate change? This course will approach these questions anthropologically through an appreciation of how different cultures and peoples interact with their environments. We will thereby gain a deep understanding through both time and space of the varied relationships that humans have had with the plants, animals, and material resources found on their landscapes.
Professor Jerry Jacka
See the University Catalog for specifics, recommendations, and prerequisites.