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Science and the Environment (1900-present)

rotating gif.gifFor the history of the Scientific Revolution, including Bacon, Copernicus Galileo and others, see World History I.33

Apple II, one of first personal computers.
Apple II, one of first personal computers.

I. Researchers made rapid advances in science that spread throughout the world, assisted by the development of new technology

A. New modes of communication and transportation virtually eliminated the problem of geographic distance.

-new technology such as phone, computers, TV

-Trains, cars, planes, boats,
became faster, more reliable, and less reliant on humans

book.pngSee Influential Literature Page for the novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret

  • This page includes biographical information the French filmmaker Georges Melies

B. New scientific paradigms transformed human understanding of the world.

Photo by Spudgun67
Photo by Spudgun67

[Teach one illustrative example of new scientific paradigms, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: The theory of relativity, Quantum mechanics, The Big Bang theory, Psychology]

See Special Topic Page on Einstein's Theory of Relativity

Female_Rose.pngWomen in Science presents the biographies and accomplishments of Caroline Herschel, Mary Anning, Rosalind Franklin and numerous other women scienttists

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 4.39.15 PM.pngSee Influential Biography Page on Rosalind Franklin

C. The Green Revolution produced food for the earth's growing population as it spread chemically and genetically enhanced forms of agriculture.
The 2011 DBQ asked students to "analyze the causes and consequences of the Green Revolution in the period from 1945 to the present"
rotating gif.gifSee Special Topic Pages on A Visit to the Doomsday Vault and the Irish Potato Famine and Other Great Famines in History

D. Medical innovations increased the ability of humans to survive.

Dr. William Glenn invented the heart procedure in 1954 in an attempt to treat babies whose oxygen flow was cut off at the heart, a phenomenon known as "blue baby", due to the blue appearance from the lack of oxygen.He and Dr. Sewell went on to invent the artificial heart following World War II.

E. Energy technologies including the use of oil and nuclear power raised productivity and increased the production of material goods.

A Brief History of the Computer has a collection of photographs from Time Magazine.
  • Science was often misunderstood and as a result, academic disciplines in this area became highly specialized and professionalized. This in turn created a new social class that excluded "outsiders" and amateurs in the field.
  • Social Anthropology was one advance that caused humans to reconsider their relationships to each other.
    • Sociobiology had the same affect. It created the idea that evolutionary necessities determined the differences between societies. It was believed that genes limited freedom to equalize differences in society because some were naturally inferior to others. This was the basis for many institutions, including slavery.

II. As the global population expanded at an unprecedented rate, humans fundamentally changed their relationship with the environment.

Polio vaccination of a child in the early 1900s.

A. Humans exploited and competed over the earth's finite resources more intensely than ever before in human history.
Humans became dependent on resources such as fossil fuels and coal.
Trees, water and land also exploited and not replenished fast enough.

B. Global warming was a major consequence of the release of greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the atmosphere.
With the increase in industry and transportation, the five major Climate change pollutants have drastically increased. (H2O,CO2,Methane, CFC, NOx)

C. Pollution threatened the world's supply of water and clean air. Deforestation and desertification were continuing consequences of the human impact on the environment. Rates of extinction of other species accelerated sharply.

III. Disease, scientific innovations, and conflict led to demographic shifts.

Human understanding of disease drastically improved in the late 19th century, resulting in vaccinations for "modern plagues" such as typhoid and smallpox. This, along with improvements in hygiene and public sanitation increased the average human lifespan from 31 to 49 years. Along with an accompanying decline in death rates, this increase in life expectancy resulted in one of the highest population growth rates in human history.

Women wearing surgical masks during the influenza epidemic, Brisbane, 1919
Women wearing surgical masks during the influenza epidemic, Brisbane, 1919

A. Diseases associated with poverty persisted, while other diseases emerged as new epidemics and threats to human survival. In addition, changing lifestyles and increased longevity led to higher incidence of certain diseases.

[Teach one illustrative example of diseases associated with poverty, either from the list below or an example of your choice: Malaria,Tuberculosis, Cholera]

[Teach one illustrative example of emergent epidemic diseases, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: The 1918 influenza pandemic, Ebola, HIV/AIDS]

[Teach one illustrative example of diseases associated with changing lifestyles, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: Diabetes, Heart disease, Alzheimer's disease]

B. More effective forms of birth control gave women greater control over fertility and transformed sexual practices.

Female_Rose.pngSee United States History II.27 for information on Margaret Sanger, the birth control pill, and reproductive rights for women

C. Improved military technology and new tactics led to increased levels of wartime casualties.

[Teach one illustrative example of improved military technology, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: Tanks, Airplanes, The atomic bomb]
[Teach one illustrative example of new tactics, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: Trench warfare, Firebombing]
  • [Teach one illustrative example of wartime casualties, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: Nanjing, Dresden, Hiroshima]