social change in the revolution

Q1: 11 /15 good overall

Q2: 7 /10 note also need to move raw materials as well as goods – what was the social change in the revolution and how did transportation revolution support this?

Q3:  19/25

some good points – see notes

Consider also that Scale, one of the main tools/themes of the course, should discuss temporal as well as spatial impacts.

Q4:  15 /15 good!

Q5:   30/35 good some notes for you in submission

GEOG 1191 Assignment4

Question One

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution describes a time of significant technological innovations that took place between the 18th and 19th centuries. Its main characteristic was a movement away from a mostly rural and agriculturally dependent society to an urban and industrial one. The Industrial Revolution mostly took part in America and Europe. Before the Revolution started in Britain during the late years of the 1700s, people engaging in manufacturing often carried out this activity within their homes. They used tools that required the use of the hand. Industrialization created the opportunity for people to move to powered machines. People also had the chance to build more factories and engage in mass production.

Industries dealing in iron and textile and the presence of the steam engine played essential roles in ensuring the continued development of the Industrial Revolution.  For instance, it was during the 1700s that a series of events led to the invention of what was referred to as the spinning jenny, the machine that provided individuals with the opportunity to produce various spools of threads at the same time. This period had improvements in areas such as banking, communication as well as transportation. There was an increase in the variety and the volume of goods manufactured in factors and an improvement in living conditions for many people.  However, for the vast majority, the industrial revolution represented a time of a lack of unemployment as well as terrible living and working conditions especially for those who were poor.

Green Revolution

The Green Revolution refers to a time when the world’s agricultural productivity increased significantly as a result of new types of innovations.  It occurred between the middle and late years of the 20th century bringing about changes that profoundly influenced agriculture. In this period, new forms of chemical fertilizers, as well as synthetic pesticides and herbicides, developed. Chemical fertilizers created the opportunity for farmers to provide their crops with additional nutrients and subsequently increase their yields. On the other hand, the synthetic pesticides and herbicides helped these farmers to control weeds and kill insects while preventing diseases thereby enhancing the level of productivity.

This period also saw the cultivation of high yielding crops introduced with the intention of producing more yields for the farmer. During this time, a method described as multiple cropping was adopted with the aim of increasing the levels of productivity. Using this method, farmers were able to use their field for growing more than one crop throughout the year thereby allowing the farmer to grow something regardless of the time of the year. These new farming strategies were applied all over the world and when brought together helped to enhance the overall outcomes of the Green Revolution.

Tragedy of the Commons

The Tragedy of the Commons describes an economic challenge where every person attempts to gain the most considerable advantage from a specific resource. As the demand for this resource goes beyond the supply, every person who uses an extra unit of the resource directly hurts other people who are unable to enjoy its advantages. As a whole, the specific resource is something that should be readily available to everyone. The tragedy of commons takes place when people fail to take into consideration the society’s well being and instead think about their own needs. One example of the tragedy of the commons occurs in the Gulf of Mexico which reflects the dangers of wasted resources. The Mississippi River, which runs into this gulf, is one of the most fertile rivers in the world drawing in large numbers of farmers. These farmers ended up dumping chemical fertilizers and herbicides into the river as well as its tributaries. The rain that came from the winter months pushed the chemicals and nutrients from these fertilizers downstream and into the Gulf of Mexico. This process ended with the creation of a dead zone that would not allow the sustaining of any form of life. This dead zone developed as a result of the over farming carried out around this area because of a focus on getting high yields.


Desertification refers to the process where land found in areas that are arid, sub-humid and semi-arid areas as a result of factors that range from human activities to changes in climate. Desertification often occurs when land that was of a particular type turns into a desert because of various changes. A significant issue that a growing number of countries are dealing with is the presence of substantial sections of land going through this process.  Overgrazing, climate change, increasing urbanization and natural disasters are all thought to be reasons for desertification. The process often impacts on groundwater reserves, topsoil, surface runoff as well as human beings, plants and animals. Desertification also poses a significant risk to the environment. It makes it difficult for people to engage in farming thereby increasing hunger levels and creating the potential for flooding. The scarcity of water in drylands impacts negatively on the production of crops and wood which ecosystems provide to the society


Biodiversity refers to the differences between living organisms existing in a wide range of sources. Biodiversity is the basis of any ecosystem that human beings have a link to. In some instances, biodiversity is thought to be an essential feature of such areas as nature preserves, national parks or wild lands. However, biodiversity can also refer to managed systems including farms, plantations, and urban parks. In spite of the various tools and sources of data, biodiversity continues to pose a challenge when it comes to quantifying. Ideally, to examine the trends and conditions present in biodiversity, it is essential to investigate the organisms that exist within specific ecosystems over a wide range of space and time. In biodiversity, each species regardless of its size plays a critical role within the ecosystem. Numerous animal and plant species depend on one another for what the other offers. The diversity in the species helps to develop sustainability for each of the life forms. Biodiversity that is solid and health can often recover well regardless of the disaster it faces.

Question Two

A transport revolution was an inevitable accompaniment to the Industrial Revolution because technological innovations in both the iron and textile industries ensured the production of goods was not only faster but cheaper. The expansion of the Industrial Revolution created a significant demand for products that in turn brought about changes to the transportation sector.  Boards of trustees took over the maintenance of roads and introduced tools.  Changes also occurred in water transportation as more canals were developed to provide the chance for transportation of large barges.

Eventually, railways became more important than roads and canals because factories began to use steam engines to transport more loads. The use of these railways was cheaper and quicker than the canal or roads. Moreover, the transported goods were less likely to be damaged using the steam engine which means they could reach a more significant area.  Railways impacted profoundly on communication as it enabled travelers to interact more with each other. These individuals could move more easily from one area to another while a significant number of towns slowly developed along these railways.

Question Three

The contemporary effects of agriculture are more prominent in scale than was witnessed in early agriculture. Beyond the Industrial Revolution, urbanization and agriculture did not have a significant impact on the environment since the productivity levels of the practices implemented during this time were slow (Evenson & Pingali, 2010). As productivity went up, additional resources were needed from the natural world to sustain these particular demands. The population went up necessitating the need for more food which had a significant impact on the environment. In particular, this high demand meant more people cleared more natural land to develop urban cities (Christiansen, Demery & Kuhlm, 2011). It resulted in less space for other organisms. There was more pollution in the now developing areas which pushed other organisms to move out of their habitats because of reduced air, water, and nutrients resources.  For instance, increasing levels of air pollution prevent efficient development and growth within areas that were newly urbanized (Evenson & Pingali, 2010). This situation led to the death of local vegetation and the migration of animals into what seemed like safer areas.

Overpopulation in these regions led to a decline in the environmental quality since these regions had to adapt to deal with increased overcrowding (Paarlberg, 2010).  Adaptation was not always possible because the rate of change within the natural environment is slow in comparison to the urbanization rate which occurred in the past. Pollution of water bodies was even worse as the lack of regulation witnessed in the years after the Industrial Revolution meant toxic chemicals were slowly making their way into the ponds and rivers that the different ecosystems drew their nutrients from (Dobrovolski et al., 2011). Organisms and regions that relied on these ecosystems were unable to adapt to the fast rate of change. In the early days of the agricultural and urban evolution, the presence of animals such as cows, horses, and pigs meant that people were able to focus on developing the society as opposed to getting food. It is challenging to examine developments in agriculture without concentrating on slavery (Kastner et al., 2012). The presence of enslaved individuals was a reflection of how agriculture impacted negatively on society.

Slavery not only harmed many human lives and cultures but also impacted negatively on industrial growth. The focus placed on the growth of tobacco, rice, and cotton meant that there was less emphasis on developing education, human rights and industry in a society that was relatively modern (Sayer & Cassman, 2013). In the years leading up to the middle of the 20th century, agriculture was a significant part of the American and European regions that the absence of industrialization and education impacted negatively on these individuals’ ability to catch up with the rest of the modernized society(Lambin & Meyfroidt, 2010). In the American South, there was such a deep reliance on the use of agriculture and slaves that it heavily impacted on this region’s ability to modernize. In the contemporary environment, farmers faced more pressure to produce higher yields to adequately feed the growing populations (Scheffers et al., 2012). However, this emphasis led to the wrong use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers as well as inadequate tillage and use of plant hormones. Farmers also began to use methods such as planting without using rotations, the inappropriate use of animals waste and stubble burning all of which impacted on the effectiveness of agriculture and showcased the growing impacts of urbanization (Gibson et al., 2011). The fertilizer, which was first invented with the aim of making improvements to plants, led to environmental pollution because of excessive use.

Contemporary society is now dealing with increased instances of contaminated ground and drinking water which has had a negative impact on organisms living in the water. When this polluted water is used elsewhere, it can negatively affect the overall balance of the environment (Perfecto & Vandermeer, 2010). The use of irrigation in agriculture in the early days enabled farmers to acquire high yields and improved the quality of food produced especially in regions that were semi-arid. Over time, farmers began to wrongly use irrigation which has led to numerous environmental problems (Phalan et al., 2011). Rising groundwater, as well as the salinity of the soil and additives placed on fertilizers, go deeper into the ground because of irrigation. These aspects brought together lead to soil erosion creating harm that has impacted on many living organisms existing in today’s environment (Cassman, van Wart & Grassini, 2010). At the same time, excessive irrigation has meant that today’s farmers are dealing with a higher likelihood of desertification impacting on land use.

Question Four

People often choose to support local ranchers and farmers because of assumptions about taste and nutrition. Unlike goods sourced from abroad that might have to travel long distances, local products do not have to go far to reach the customer.  This situation means that the consumer has access to the ripest and freshest produce. When the vegetable or fruit is provided the necessary time to ripen, it develops fully and manages to retain both its minerals and vitamins (Ladner, 2011). These products have a deeper flavor than imported goods which translates to more nutritional content. Locally grown produce is also fresh because most farmers harvest within about 30 hours before delivery to the nearest store. These fruits and vegetables have therefore had a long time to ripen while still on the farm and are ready to consume upon delivery as opposed to imported goods (Whitney & Rolfe, 2018).  Produce that is imported has likely been picked, processed before time and spent a considerable amount of time traveling.

Many people prefer to purchase local goods because it ensures that money continues to circulate within the local economy. At the same time, most people believe that buying locally grown produce encourages the development of a sense of community. When one purchases locally grown produce, it means they are helping family farms and ranchers that engaged in raising the food (Ladner, 2011). Having an active link to one’s sources of food is a critical part of enjoying one’s meals. Therefore, buying local goods often means that people are not only able to develop their local economy but also enhances the sense of attachment to one’s community.

Question Five

Restoring the Sheldon Lake State Park wetland

The restoration of this particular wetland would focus on exposing the wetlands which had existed before but had been taken over by agricultural activities. Over the last several years, the surface of this wetland has changed to the extent that there are little natural features. The soils are now mixed to a hard clay pan  Coastal Watershed Program, 2012). One strategy to restore the wetland would be to construct ditches through the wetlands to encourage irrigation and push the flow of water. Another would be to manually pull out any undesired weeds or plants either mechanically or manually. In most instances, plant species present in the area surrounding the wetland might have been transported far from their natural habitats leading to a decline of the native vegetation(Reyers et al., 2012). Controlling these weeds can help with reintroducing plants that grew in the wetlands before its destruction. Most of the wetlands in Sheldon Lake State Park have been taken over by farmers for agricultural use. They can be restored by encouraging the farmers to stop planting crops, asking them to fill in drainage ditches and remove any structures meant to control floods. It would also be helpful to reduce pollution of water going into the wetland as a way to restore its quality(Quijas et al., 2012). In this regard, farmers operating around the Park could be given incentives that would motivate them to plant vegetation in lands that are vulnerable to erosion. They could receive payments every year as long as they remain within the program(Stefanik & Mitsch, 2012). These strategies could help in restoring significant sections of wetland and the reappearance of wetland vegetation.

Impacts of Restoring the Sheldon Lake State Park wetland

  1. Leaving the Area as it is

One direct advantage that might come from leaving the area in its present state is the potential it presents to increase the water levels flowing into the park. Clearing the forest could improve the water going into the wetland catchments because forests often reduce the amount of water that goes into groundwater, wetlands, and rivers. The increase in the amount of water can have a significant impact by enhancing the depth and pressure of water resulting in new wetlands(Quijas et al., 2012). A disadvantage is the increased likelihood of erosion and the transport of sediments to the wetland area further closing it up and making it hard for any vegetation to grow in this area. Another disadvantage is a distinct decline in the number of visitors as a result of the absence of the wetlands(Stefanik & Mitsch, 2012).  Continued agricultural activities will likely lead to the death of more living species in the state park. The toxicity caused by the hardened clay might lead to the death of animals and birds in the state park’s ecosystem. The continued destruction of the wetland could also pose a problem when it comes to flood control as well as cleansing of the water within the park(Reyers et al., 2012). If the issue of the lack of water flow is not dealt with, the Sheldon Lake Park might soon lead to its drying up.

  1. Direct and Indirect Impacts of Restoring the Ecosystem

The most significant advantage that will emerge from restoring this particular wetland is the role it will play in enhancing the biodiversity of the state park. Opening up the wetland will ensure that more plants, birds, and animals are drawn to the area thereby expanding its ecosystem (Texas Coastal Watershed Program, 2012).  However, the process of restoring the wetland might force farmers to adopt more expensive ways of carrying out their activities(Stefanik & Mitsch, 2012). This inconvenience might lead to resistance to the continued restoration of the wetland as the farmers will demand more time to seek alternative ways to engage in their farming and draw it away from the park.

How I would determine an Appropriate Successional Stage

Each period of ecological succession could take place either in decades, for instance after the occurrence of a wildfire or millions of years. The process of succession is often determined by conditions on the site, the interactions between the different species or factors such as the weather conditions and the seeds present at the time the disturbance is taking place(Cassman et al., 2010). In this case, the most appropriate way to determine the right stage to apply in the restoration project is to carry out an analysis of the age of the area that is expected to go through the restoration.