Pierre Desrochers

GGR 499 – Special Topics in Human Geography: The Origins of Modern Environmental Thought

Instructor: Pierre DesrochersPhone: (905) 828-5206
Office: SE 3273 (UTM-Geography)E-mail: pierre.desrochers@utoronto.ca

This reading seminar will survey the origins of modern environmental (with an emphasis on environmentalist) thought, with a particular focus on the most influential works of the immediate post World War II and early 1960s period.

The course has three main objectives:

  • To provide some historical perspective on the birth of the modern environmentalist movement;
  • To familiarize students with some long running themes in environmental thought;
  • To provide students with some basic academic writing skills.

Four books and some additional readings will be covered during the seminar:

– De Steiguer, J. Edward. 2006. The Origins of Modern Environmental Thought, The University of Arizona Press.
– Rubin, Charles T. 1994. The Green Crusade. Rethinking the Roots of Environmentalism. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Two of the following books
– Osborn, Fairfield. 1948. Our Plundered Planet, Little, Brown and Company.
– Vogt, William. 1948. Road to Survival, William Sloane Associates, Inc.
– Leopold, Aldo. 1949. A Sand County Almanach, Oxford University Press.
– Carson, Rachel. 1962. Silent Spring, Fawcett Publications.
– Ehrlich, Paul. 1968. The Population Bomb, Ballantine Books.

Two of the following articles…
– Pearce, David. 2002. “An Intellectual History of Environmental Economics.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 27: 57-81.
– Røpke, Inge. 2004. “The Early History of Modern Ecological Economics.” Ecological Economics 50: 293-314.
– DeGregori, Thomas R. 1987. “Resources are Not, They Become: An Institutional Theory.” Journal of Economic Issues 21 (3): 1241-1263.
– Coase, Ronald. 1960. “The Problem of Social Costs.” Journal of Law and Economics 3: 1-44.
– Anderson, Terry L. 1982. “The New Resource Economics: Old Ideas and New Applications.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics,
64 (5): 928-934.

…or a selection of readings from this book
– Simon, Julian L. 1998. The Economics of Population: Classic Writings. Transaction Publishers.

[Update – articles I would now add to the list:
– Colten, Craig E. 2011. “Environmental Historical Geography: A Review.” In Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), UNESCO.
– McNeill, John R. 2010. “The State of the Field of Environmental History.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 35: 345-374.]

The final grade will be based on two assignments. An oral examination (20%) and a term paper (80%) that will develop one or a few themes covered in the readings.