Environmental History of Latin America

Humans have inhabited the Americas for at least 15,000 years, and not without considerable effect on what many call the natural environment, yet it is only in the last 500 years or so – following the arrival of Europeans, Africans, and Asians – that the most drastic human-caused changes have occurred in this hemisphere. This course examines core themes in Latin America’s environmental history, including deforestation, mining, monoculture, epidemic disease, water control, the disappearance of glaciers, and the rise of conservationism. What does the environmental history of the last five centuries tell us as nearly half a billion Latin Americans face a warmer, less-forested, and more urban future?