ESPM 160




Study Guide






Assignment #1

Personal Environmental History

Our lives and present environments are products of history. Our parents and grandparents grew up in very different environments from those of today. Some of us have descended from people native to the Americas for many generations, but most of us are descendants of immigrants, whether first, second, or even ninth generation. These past generations have used and shaped their environments, often with very different goals and values than ours. In beginning our study of environmental history it is helpful to think about our families' past environments and their meaning for us today.

Write an essay of 1-2 single-spaced typed pages reflecting on your personal environmental history. In formulating your response, consider the following: Going back to your grandparents, parents, and your own generations, characterize the environments in which they and you have lived. Where were they located? What natural resources sustained your families and their communities? To what extent were those environments "natural" or human-made, native or exotic (that is, transformed by European or other non-native species)? How have your families helped to transform their environments? Does your own ethnic and class heritage or gender play a role in the way you and your family have related to and valued the environment? How did the relationships your grandparents and parents had with their environments differ from the ones you have had in the past and wish to have in the future?