GEOG 430
Human Use of the Environment

McNeill "Land Use and Agriculture"

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We begin this week with McNeill's chapter on land use and agriculture (this reading is located in the Week 5 module in Canvas). McNeill characterizes the twentieth century as a time when societies, economies, and ecosystems were transformed by changes in agricultural practices and technologies. It's particularly important that we carry this perspective with us as we investigate the agroecosystems that we have created during the past century, and upon which we all depend.

As you read and reflect, consider these questions:

  • Which places and people have benefitted most from the Green Revolution and the mechanization of agriculture?
  • Did the changes in agriculture during the twentieth century make humanity more, or less, resilient?
  • If you could eliminate one agricultural technology from the twentieth century in order to improve environmental conditions, which would it be?
  • If you could eliminate one agricultural technology from the twentieth century in order to improve social equity, which would it be?