Module 2

 United States History and Expansion

Tensions Between U.S. Conquest of North America and Environmental Sustainability

Tensions In Sustainability Forum Series, Center for Ethics, Emory University

Module Goals

This module focuses on the environmental impact of society in the United States through three development periods: colonization, westward expansion, and suburban sprawl. To this end, the following overarching goals have been identified for this module.

  • Participants understand how Americans’ current patterns of using and relating to the environment have developed over time.
  • Participants are equipped with tools to imagine an alternate way of structuring society with minimal environmental impacts.

Preparation

To prepare for this module kindly take some time to familiarize yourself with this guide. It is recommended that you spend some time researching general information about colonization, westward expansion, and suburban sprawl. You should have a basic understanding of these movements and be equipped to answer questions that might arise during this discussion.

  • Print copies of the Envisioning an Alternate Future Handout found in the Teaching Materials section of this module. Try to ensure that each participant has a copy.

Time

Preparation time should be about 2 hours. The implementation of the module will take 1 hour. Throughout the guide suggested times are provided for sections and sub-sections to assist the facilitator with time management.

Module Outline

  • Development Movements:
    • Colonization – Overview, Motivating Factors, Environmental Impacts
    •  Westward Expansion – Overview, Motivating Factors, Environmental Impacts
    •  Suburban Sprawl – Overview, Motivating Factors, Environmental Impacts
  • Tying it Together: How are the movements connected?
  • Next Steps: Tools to build an alternate future

Learning Outcomes

After the module, participants should:
  • Be familiar with ecological, economic, cultural, political, and religious dynamics of U.S. development through three development movements – colonization, westward expansion, and suburban sprawl.
  • Be equipped to analyze the environmental impacts of each of these movements as they pertain to the land’s ability to provide environmental services for people.
  • Understand how the history of the US’s relationship with the land informs citizens’ and residents’ current world-views and practices.
  • Be aware of new models of social organization that reflect environmental responsibility.

Materials Needed

  • Writing implements
  • Whiteboard or large flip chart on which to use writing implements
  • Copies of Envisioning an Alternate Future Handout for each participant

Download Module 2 here: CREATE_Forum.Module2