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ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Assignment 1 : International Relations

Aryaman Mandhana 2011B1PS765P

A B S T R A C T Its a moral question about whether we have the right to exterminate species. Sir David Attenborough (Wildlife Broadcaster & Naturalist), in BBC interview The control of nature is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man. Late Rachel Carson (Marine Biologist & Conservationist), in her book, Silent Spring Living wild species are like a library of books still unread. Our heedless destruction of them is akin to burning the library without ever having read its books. John Dingell (American Politician), in his book, Balancing on the Brink of Extinction: The Endangered Species Act and Lessons for the Future

I, Aryaman Mandhana, have decided the topic Ecological Impacts of the industrial revolution & the need for Conservation today as it scares me to think of what the future holds for mankind. We have crossed all limits and forgotten that we are only a drop in the ocean. Four human activities: overharvesting of plants & animals, introduction of alien species, destruction of habitat, islandisation and pollution; have brought the threat of extinction for ourselves as race. Even if we bring a catastrophic end to all present life, life will not cease to exist on earth. Earth is very resilient and will be here, and maybe after a million years, it will again be beautiful as it once was before mankind started destroying it. Only we
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will not be here. We are not actually bringing the end of life closer, we are only reaching out to the restart button of the Gods. What a beautiful system, Karma.

1. NEED FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE

1.1 The Sixth mass extinction: the pressing threat. Earth is on the verge of the sixth mass extinction. A mass extinction is an event, naturally occurring or otherwise, resulting in extinction of almost all species living species. Such an event has been known by geological studies, to have taken place five times since the formation of Earth (4.5 billion years ago). Previously, each time the cause was naturally occurring. For example, meteor crash that wiped out dinosaurs from the face of earth and allowed us Humans to evolve, the most recent and better known mass extinction. Ironically and unprecedentedly, the
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current threat of mass extinction is due to the activity of one species: humans. I will try to explain these activities and take the industrial revolution as an example to illustrate these problems. Mass extinction due to naturally occurring reasons has been known to take place over a period of time (the 5th mass extinction which wiped out dinosaurs took place over 66 million years). But the 6th mass extinction could even take place in a day, due to maybe nuclear world war 3? Or maybe due to less drastic reasons, it would take more time, maybe thousands of years. But it is going to happen; it may even be too late to stop it. The only thing we can do is try to bring back the sustainable balance of nature. 1.2 Sensitive & wise use of technology. Now that we understand the pressing need for conservation, I would also like to shed some light on other aspects. A major question that arises, are we supposed to stop doing business, stop becoming more technologically advanced, stop progress? The answer is no. We must always try to

Conservation Biology: A Primer for South Asia Bawa K.S., Primack R.B., Oommen. M.A. (2011) Conservation Biology for All Sodhi N.S. and Ehrlich P.R. (2010) Conservation Biology: Foundations, Concepts, nd Applications (2 Ed) Dyke F.V. (2008)

improve, technologically and otherwise. It is human nature, to control, to conquer. Technology is not to blame for the current state of our planet. It is the use of this technology which has created the current situation. 1.3 Earth is not abundant in resources & land. But we can only take so much from nature. When man first went to space, we realized that Earth, is not abundant in resources and land as it seems to be. There will be a time when we will have no more land to build houses, to cultivate food. We need to keep a balance, take only as much as we need from nature. This does not mean stopping progress. If we constraint ourselves to a limit where it is viable for nature to replenish and sustain itself and simultaneously provide for us, we can innovate more. Therein lays the challenge to todays innovators, to innovate within these constraints. 1.4 Intrinsic value of nature. Man only sees nature as a resource. What about the intrinsic value that nature holds? It is the mother, of all life forms. The attitude that most humans carry towards nature is disrespectful and will eventually be taken care of by nature. We must be scared; we must thank and respect our land for what it gives us. Once beautiful and biologically diverse Earth is witnessing destruction of its bio-diversity at an alarming rate, and will be converted to a barren cyber land as illustrated in sciencefiction movies like The Matrix. 1.5 What is the need for bio-diversity? Earth is a system. If there are no other species but humans, we will ultimately die as we cannot survive without food, shelter, clothing all of which comes from either plants or animals. Natural processes dependent on bio-diversity keep the planet healthy and full of life, thus making it a better place for us to live.

2. THE PROBLEMS
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H. sapiens (the adjective sapiens is Latin for "wise" or "intelligent") arrived on the face of the earth around 200,000 years ago as nonefficient hunters, yet to conquer the wild and flourish as a race. Since then, we have never stopped evolving ourselves as not only better hunters, but better scientists, better farmers, and so on. Today we have the efficiency of killing species at a higher rate than they can reproduce at, and hence we are, one by one, making species extinct. Four major human activities are responsible for bringing us closer to the sixth mass extinction event in Earths history. These are briefly explained in the following sections. 2.1 Destruction of Habitat in Europe. Agriculture first started around 10,000 BC, enabling man to become independent of the ecosystem by growing food for itself. Now, it was possible to sustain large populations. Since then, human population never stopped growing, till date. Ever since the Industrial Revolution in Europe, which took place between 1760 and 1840, humans have becoming extremely efficient and capable of sustaining very huge populations. This can be easily verified by looking at the human world population growth curve:

U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 http://www.census.gov/popula tion/international/ Wikipedia Foundation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Po pulation_growth State of the Planet: Documentary by David Attenborough

Advent of agriculture the Industrial Revolution, and more recently, scientific and medical advances have led to significant rise in population growth. Human population is growing exponentially higher with scientific and medical advances.

2.1.1 Agricultural Revolution. One of the important events that led to the agricultural revolution, was the invention of mechanical seed drill by Jethro Tull in 1708, permitting large scale planting in rows, for easier cultivation between the rows. At the time, seeds were distributed into furrows ('drilling') by hand. Tull had noticed that traditional heavy sowing densities were not very efficient, so he instructed his staff to drill at very precise, low densities. By 1701, his frustration with their lack of cooperation prompted him to invent a machine to do the work for him. He designed his drill with a rotating cylinder. Grooves were cut into the cylinder to allow seed to pass from the hopper above to a funnel below. They were then directed into a channel dug by a plough at the front of the machine, then immediately covered by a harrow attached to the rear. This limited the wastage of seeding and made the crop easier to weed. Crop yield increased, which meant that enough food was available for people living in the cities. In Britain, wheat yields increased by about 25% between 1700 and 1800. Food prices fell, thus further fuelling the Industrial Revolution as people had more money to spend on consumer goods. Healthier Population meant decline in death rate, thus increase in population rate. In the 18th century, the world human population doubled from 5 million to 10 million. Such a spurt in population led to increased need for food, housing and other consumer goods. Thus, forests were cleared, to make land available for agriculture, and for timber to build houses. Clearing of forests is nothing but destruction of habitat of thousands of species that make up a bio-diverse forest. Agriculture not only directly effects the plant species that were cleared to make land available for cultivation, but also animal species that were directly dependent on the plants for their survival. Numerous examples can be cited.
References Overton, Mark; Agricultural Revolution in England, Cambridge University Press; 1996; p. 77 Wikipedia Foundation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bri tish_Agricultural_Revolution

2.1.2 Advent of charcoal as fuel. Pre 1709, wood had been the main source of energy in Britain, used for fuel in homes and small industries. But as the demand for energy increased, coal, which has 3 times more power than wood, started being used as fuel. Britain fortunately had plenty of coal mines to extract coal from. In 1700, five-sixths of the world's coal was mined in Britain. Digging of coals from mines requires clearing of all the forest cover
References The Character of the Industrial Revolution in England, Wrigley EA Wikipedia Foundation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co al#Early_uses_as_fuel

above the deposits. 2 .1.3 Deforestation: Destruction of Habitat. Increased agriculture & usage of coal as fuel were the primary causes of deforestation in 18th century England. Deforestation is destruction of habitat and has adverse effects on bio-diversity. Such large-scale, longterm ecological destruction has totally transformed the Scottish Highlands, and now only around 1% of British native pinewoods remain, while many other habitats have been degraded or lost. All of Europes woodlands have been influenced by humans in some way and the ecological effects have been complex and varied. Some ways in which deforestation does this have been summarized in the following paragraphs. Even if an entire forest is not cleared, but only a part of it is to use for cultivation, it creates a boundary in between the natural habitat i.e. the forest. This effect is called islandisation and can have many adverse effects on the biodiversity of that ecosystem. Now, it could be treated as two different islands or patches, rather than one ecosystem. This is a threat to many species in many different ways. One example is the silver spotted skipper (butterfly) found in England. Due to islandisation, this species becomes isolated to the land it is residing in. It cannot move to another land as there would be a human induced barrier between its natural habitat, thus making it very difficult for the butterfly to go into

another region. This makes mating difficult, and if there is a disease in that area, those species cannot escape to a new region. Another example is the Ant Bird, which depends on military ants for food. It follows military ants wherever they go, but if the military ants run out of insects to eat in a particular island of habitat, they shall simply cross over to a new land, but unfortunately these birds cannot do the same as they are psychologically used to dark shadowy areas of the forest. Thus are forced to stay back and eventually die of starvation. Not only has woodland cover been lost, but overgrazing in the remnants has also selected out the most palatable species, especially aspen, holly, rowan and juniper, which in turn affects the specialist species that depend on them. Native woodland remnants are therefore less diverse than they would otherwise be.

2.2 Ecological impacts of colonization. As the Industrial Revolution increased yields by making industries in Europe more efficient, there arose a need to find newer, bigger markets to supply. Hence, Britain and many other European nations like Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, all started colonizing markets and eventually entire countries across the world. Many people like traders, managers, government officials from these European countries were stationed lifelong at the colonies to conduct and control trade. For example, The British East India Company in India. 2.2.1 Introduction of Foreign Species to colonies & vice-versa. With foreigners, came foreign species too. Their domestic pets, for example. Even vice-versa, taking exotic species from the colonies back to Europe happened. If an exotic species is introduced into a land of native species, it could possibly have many advantages over the native species, as it has not undergone the ecological process of co-evolution with the rest of the
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References Bio-diversity & its Conservation in India Sharad Singh Negi Cheetah Conservation Fund (CFC) resources

ecosystem like the native species has. This means that it could maybe not have a predator to keep its population under control. Or maybe it is simply faster than the native species and hence is able to thrive better on the same land. It is directly or indirectly competing with the native species for resources and land. Disease brought by exotic species, against which the native species may not have immunity is another reason for loss in bio diversity of native species. 2.2.2 Excessive hunting. Colonization was more than just international business. It carried with it a perverted attitude of superiority and racism. This can be clearly seen by the activities of the British in India like the hunting of tigers for sick pleasure and human slavery. During the British rule in India, animals like cheetah, lion and tiger reached the threshold of extinction due to excessive hunting, either for pleasure or for their skins/leather. 2.2.3 Examples. Many examples can be cited where due to introduction of exotic species, native species have ceased to exist and there has been great loss in biodiversity in those areas. The best example is the island of Hawaii. As mentioned previously, the environmental impacts of human activities can be best observed on islands. More than 90% of the native species of plants and animals have been replaced by exotic species brought from Europe by the British and Spanish in the 18th century. Another famous example is of the Dodo bird, which was found only on the island of Mauritius, became extinct due to excessive hunting and introduction of pigs, which were brought to Mauritius by Europeans to eat. Pigs ate Dodo eggs, thus these two extinction. Let us take up the example of extinction of Cheetah due to hunting by the British in India into more detail. Due to the decrease in Cheetah population, the deer population increases. This leads to overgrazing of grasslands, which otherwise could have been used for grazing cattle. reasons together drove the Dodo to

Less area for cattle to graze directly effects agricultural yield. Sure, cheetah may eat livestock and cause loss, but cheetah has equal right to search for prey as we humans do. If livestock is managed and maintained properly, this loss too can be easily minimized, as is being done in Botswana. We cannot take everything for ourselves and leave nothing for others. Eco-tourism can also be a potential reason to save Cheetah. 2.3 Pollution. Pollution is a major human activity contributing to the sixth mass extinction event. Pollution refers to air pollution, by any gas that is not present in the air at its natural amount. We will specifically discuss carbon dioxide as it is the leading air pollutant, especially by industries. 2.3.1 Global Warming. Global warming refers to an increase in average temperature of the Earth due to increase in the carbon dioxide gas levels in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, or CO2 traps the sunlight and thus warms Earth. It is essential to maintain the temperature suitable for life on Earth. In the past, due to naturally occurring events, the level of CO2 has fluctuated to both extremes, thus causing mass extinctions. Global warming poses a threat as many species will not be able to survive in an elevated temperature. Also, it could result in melting of caps and thus loss of land, floods in the polar regions. Remains of large mammals have been found deep in the North Sea above Europe, thus indicating that this sea was once land. 2.3.2 London: The Big Smoke. London was infamous for its combinations of smoke and fog, combined in the word smog, and therefore earned the nickname the Big Smoke. All major cities suffered from smoke pollution and Edinburghs nickname, Auld Reekie refers partly to the sanitary situation of the town as well as to smoke pollution. The effects of air pollution brought
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cities to a halt, disrupting traffic but more dangerously also causing death rates to rise. During a week of smog in 1873 killed over 700 people in London. However, the largest air pollution disaster in Britain was the Great London Smog of December 1952 which killed approximately 4,000 people. Due to increasing industrialization in the 18th century & 19th century England, there was a string of Parliamentary Acts in the mid-19th century designed to do something about the polluting effects of industries and domestic smoke. Following the Great London Smog legislation was introduced and the first Clean Air Act was passed in 1956 which moved power stations and heavy industry to more rural sites. The reduction of domestic and industrial coal burning and the use of smokeless coals has led to a
References http://www.frbsf.org/economic -research/files/crafts.pdf

reduction in the levels of emission of sulphur dioxide, one of the main contributors to acid rain, the emissions falling between 1970 and 1994 by 60 % in British cities. Similar developments can be observed in many industrialised countries. 2.3.3 The impact of the Steam Engine. The industrial use of steam power started with Thomas Savery in 1698. He constructed and patented in London the first engine. It was not a success as it could lift water up from very limited height and was prone to boiler explosions thus rendering it unsafe for use. The first successful and safe steam engine was made by Thomas Newcomen in 1712. A total of 1,454 engines had been made by 1800, spread across Europe. In 1775, James Watt made his steam engine which was very successful commercially as it could be used to directly drive the rotary machinery of a factory or a mill, a feature missing in Newcomens steam engines.

References http://www1.umassd.edu/ir/re sources/britishindustries/grow thofbritishrailwaynetwork1830 1900.pdf John Langton and R. J. Morris, eds., Atlas of Industrializing Britain, 17801914, New York: Methuen & Co., 1986, p. 77 John Langton and R. J. Morris, Atlas of Industrializing Britain, 1780-1914, New York: Methuen & Co., 1986, p. 79.

As you can see, the development of steam engines greatly boosted the Industrial Revolution, especially in transportation: railway & ships. Steam engines used coal to make iron, which was further used in making machines, build bridges, railroads and ships.

Construction of the rail network in Britain

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Steam engines built in Britain by 1800. The advent of the steam locomotive and railroad also saw the start of major pollution caused by big business, which is all too often seen today. Polluted rivers and smoke-filled air began to dominate cities, which in turn created poor living and working conditions that gave rise to socialism. The most direct pollution problem created by the locomotive was the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. It gave way to poor air quality and poor living conditions. Additionally, the steam locomotive supported businesses and industries where pollution was an accepted and normal thing. This led to poor working and living conditions, which are present today.

3. ANALYSIS & CONCLUSION As can be clearly understood from looking at the statistics on environment depletion from the Industrial Revolution, industrialization has majorly impacted bio-diversity and poses us with a threat of extinction. The following are the conclusions and respective analysis I have drawn from this research: 3.1 Technology needs to shake hands with Conservation Only if every piece of technology built by mankind could be refined keeping in mind conservation and the environment, the balance of nature could be sustained. Using technology is not what is causing these problems, it is the excessive use and unaware use of technology.

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3.2 Technology must not be used without knowledge of use Many farmers for example, would argue that they know very well how to cultivate, if some conservationist tried to tell them the correct way of using some equipment. This is not an ego battle that the conservationist is trying to play. The conservationist may not know how to cultivate as well as the farmers do, and the conservationist never hints at that. But fact is that technology has been misused by humans out of greed or lack of knowledge and this has in fact as we have seen from our study of the Industrial Revolution, brought about many complex and varied impacts on the environment. 3.3 Harmonious standardizing I strongly believe that the farmer, the technologist, the conservationist and the government should harmoniously come together to form a platform that ensures standardized practices across the world. Just as the farmer probably knows farming better than the conservationist so does the conservationist know the environment better than the farmer. It is not a matter of who knows more or who is important. That is the essence of conservation: nature is more important. This not only applies to the field of agriculture, for every field of human activity, most importantly industries. New innovations need to come up under ecological constraints. This is missing today. When technology is made, the environment is rarely thought about. Only later, does it come into the picture if something wrong happens. If ecological constraints are known to technologists, they shall from the beginning open themselves to a different line of thought. This can only be achieved via harmonious standardizing and coming together of conservationists, technologists, users, and the government.