Transformation of the Biosphere: Urbanization and Agriculture
Once humans gained control over their food supplies, they were no longer limited by their environment's natural productivity. What costs have come along with this tremendous benefit?
More About This Resource...
This five-page presentation, available online as a printable PDF, discusses how urbanization and agriculture threaten the Earth's biodiversity.
- It begins with an overview of how humans have moved from hunter-gatherers to farmers and how commercial agriculture is one of the major threats to our planet's biodiversity.
- It then has four maps, covering a 280-year span (1700, 1850, 1950, 1980), that show the amount of land planted with crops (in millions of hectares), the percentage change since the previous map, and the rise in city populations.
- The maps make it clear how exponentially large our use of land has become.
Less than 1 period
Supplement a study of biodiversity or ecology with an activity drawn from this online presentation.
- Share the information in the introductory slide with the class.
- Send them to the online presentation, or distribute printed copies of it for them to review.
- Have students research the growth of commercial agriculture in their state (or a nearby state for non-farming regions) over the past 100 years.
- Using their research findings, have students prepare two comparison maps (one now, one 100 years ago).