Thursday, January 18, 2007

Industrial Revolution_A

Industrial Revolution: step forward or step in the wrong direction?

As we have discussed in class, historians relate the Industrial Revolution to that of the Neolithic Revolution (when humans became an agrarian community versus nomadic). There is no doubt that because of the Industrial Revolution we have benefited from its many inventions, advancements and improvements. Without it, our lives as we know it would be non-existent. Still, history shows that the ancient Romans (before the fall of Rome) were a very advanced society and had invented many processes and materials to make life easier and more secure. Unfortunately, these methods were lost or forgotten with the fall of the Roman Empire. Considering global warming, do you believe that the Industrial Revolution, specifically the discovery of coal and other fossil fuels, was a necessary step forward or a “misstep” in the advancement of modern man? Explain your answer.

26 comments:

jpowell said...

Considering a basic study in Geology and Natural Resources, I do believe that at the time of discovery it was very necessary to use resources such as coal and fossil fuels. Without such access, the rapid development of the Industrial Revolution would not have been nearly as successful. We have now reached a time the use of these natural products creates a high risk of danger to the planet. We are fortunate that physical geographers and research has and will hopefully continue to find and provide alternative sources of fuel for production purposes. But I do believe that it was necessary for the use of these natural resources in order to insure the rapid success of the Industrial Revolution.

Mallory said...

I think it is indisputable that the Industrial Revolution was a major step forward for that time period. Who could have foreseen the repercussions we are dealing with today? Consequences (such as global warming) were unheard of at that time, and therefore, no one could have predicted its' occurence. The fact of the matter is, the Industrial Revolution would not have been possible without the usage of fossil fuels, etc; and without the Industrial Revolution, the US and other powerful countries would be nowhere NEAR the economical status they are now. So despite unfortunate consequences, the Industrial Revolution was, without a doubt, a step in the right direction.

Megandrees said...

I agree with Mallory that the Industrial Revolution was a step in the right direction. Now is the time to reverse the wrongs that have been done. I think that we face a massive challenge of changing the way that we treat the environment without loosing productivity and profit. As we make these changes we need to consider that our environment is worth more than profit. As consumers we can buy things that are environmentally friendly. This option might cost more, but it sends a message with dollars that a change is needed.

RCRecker said...

I also agree That the Industrial Revolution was very important to the next step. A way to make life easier for that time. Now we have to live with the consequenc from the past dealing with global warming.This is not be a bad thing. People are already replaceing gas and other fuels with more economical/environmatal safe fuel. This is own next step foward just like it was their next step forwad to use coal and fossil fuel. Times change and we have to change a creat new things with the time.

G.Fickle said...

I feel that the use of fossil fuels was definately a step in the right direction. It is the main reason of why we are were we are with our technical advances. No one foresaw the dangers or consequences of using them, and once they did, what were they supposed to do. Our world revolved around them. Who knows, maybe in fifty years we will discover the use of the internet, cell phones, and other wireless devices cause ozone depletion. Would we suddely stop blogging?

algrun2 said...

The Industrial Revoultion was definately a step forward for modern society, even despite it's negative repercussions presented to us. If the discovery of fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum had been nonexistant or delayed, the way in which modern man operates would be in light of a whole different spectrum. Through acquired time and gained knowledge, we have come to realize that these resources are limited and that they are damaging to our evnivronment. Thus, this gives us even more reason to find a way to fix the problem and find alternatives. We not only need to fix what has been done, but seek prevention for the future.

Brad said...

The discovery of coal and other fossil fuels, was a natural step forward in the Industrial Revolution. Hind sight being clear it was also a blind step forward in reguards to the environmental effects that would later be felt due to the use of fossil fuels. One never truly can see the effects of their actions in the imediate, it is only through reflection one can get a sense of the lasting effects of the action at hand. For instance praticipants in the Neolithic Revolution had no idea that farming would become mechanized and done on such a scale that the soil would become depleted of neutrients and erosion as well as other environmental effects would be faced because of what was started by them. Their hope as well as the hope of the people in the Industrial Revolution was to make the world as well as their lives better. Now with the benifits of the weatlth and technology that was emassed in the Industrial Revolution it is up to us to repair the residual environmental effects. I for one could not imagine my life without the benifits of the Industrial Revolution and do not mind doing my part to repair the environmental damage done by the fossil fuels and other polution attributed to the Industrial Revolution.

kelsdietz said...

I believe the Industrial Revolution was a step in the right direction, because just as you said our lives would be nowhere near how they are today. And while the use of fossil fuels have created issues like global warming. Think of all the advancements we have made in medicines and technology, to name a few, that is now saving and improving life. While the problems during the Industrial Revoultion were not forseen, now we may have the means to begin to fix the problems because of the advancements made then.

spees said...

The Industrial Revolution was not only a step in the right direction, but it was a strong step in the right direction. Although many of the extravagancies it afforded us were unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, there were many opportunities it created which were important to the survival of human life. Transportation was greatly improved, which spurred our communication to increase, and a huge advance in the medical field occured because of large economical gains created in the Industrial Revolution. If we had not have used fossil fuels such as coal and oil to further the Revolution, trains couldn't have run as strong and our many machines such as cars and airplanes wouldn't have gone that far either. We needed these fossil fuels to speed up the progess of technology and we can continue to use these fuels while we search for a more efficient alternative. Even though, global warming may have been an unfortunate consequence of the Industrial Revolution, it doesn't negate all the positive that came from it.

brittney said...

The Industrial Revolution was, indeed, a step in the right direction. Without it, who knows where we’d be today. Sure maybe we wouldn’t be struggling with the rapid depletion of the fossil fuels on which we strongly rely, but chances are we’d be without something else on which we have become dependent…the computer. This is just one example of the many leaps that have been made in technology since and because of the Industrial Revolution. It is for this reason that this becomes a touchy debate.

As someone mentioned above, there is no way that, if someone were to tell us that the internet was slowly destroying the earth as we know it, that we would immediately cease using it. The fact is that we quickly become dependent on technology, regardless of what it is doing to our environment. That is just what we do. Yes, it may be arguably irresponsible, but it is truth all the same. Our dependence on fossil fuels brought such an abrupt change in production and in lifestyle in general. We were blind sighted by all the advances that were being made and either neglected to or had know way to predict what would one day happen…what is happening now.

We can’t go back in time and take better care of our earth, of our resources, so the way I see it, we start now, being responsible and creative beings that find a way to solve it. We have all the technology we could possibly need to do so, so why do we just be a little more grateful of where we’ve come and start working to make a difference?

Joyce T said...

To say that we should not have began using fossil fuels but instead waited to find a less harmful, more efficient source of energy is like saying a cure for cancer should be found without first trying experimental treatments. Using fossil fuels is just one more step to finding a sufficient source of energy. A perfect solution cannot be found without first making mistakes and learning from them.
The use of fossil fuels is not the only advancement of the Industrial Revolution that has caused problems in the future. The Industrial Revolution has led the way to many medical advancements causing the average lifespan to raise. Now, because people are living longer, overpopulation has caused many problems for the earth. So, if by saying that the Industrial Revolution was a step in the wrong direction because it has lead to global warming, would you also say that the Industrial Revolution had a negative effect because it has lead to overpopulation? I would hope that no one would view an increase in lifespan as a negative thing though it has had a negative impact. Therefore, I would think that the Industrial Revolution would not be viewed as a destructive movement though it has caused some problems.

brittanyg0321 said...

I agree with most everyone on that the Industrial Revolution was a huge step in the right direction. No one could know that global warming would be the effect of using fossil fuels in such excess. Now that we have the tools to determine the problem and in some ways, to fix it, we should start to do so in a much bigger effort. But our lives wouldn't be the same without the Industrial Revolution and the benefits. So maybe we can fix what damage it did.

Mary Margaret said...

As everyone has already said of course the Industrial Revolution would not have been as successful without fossil fuels but I was thinking about what if we would have used other solutions like the Romans would it really matter? Well who wouldn't want to have the best resources possible and be able to make them fast but we definitely could still living fine if we had made advancements without fossil fuels. I am not saying they weren't a step foreward because lets be honest of course they were but it was not neccessary for them to live. Many people today are living without those resources just not as comfortably as we are. Global warming is becoming a problem and a lot to do with it has to do with the industrial revolution but as Mallory said they probably did not know of it back then. If they would have known about global warming do you think that it would have happened the same way? I think it probably would have because as typical humans we always want more and will do anything to get more(especially faster) no matter if it will affect the world in the future. Also if they knew about it they would either A-not believe it or B- do what a lot of us do now that hear about it but still do not care or do anything about it.

Audrey said...
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Audrey said...
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Audrey said...

Perhaps utilizing fossil fuels was a ‘misstep’. Sure it was the most logical and easy solution to the western world’s need for technology, but no one can look back and declare, with all certainty, that it was the only way. Perhaps something better might have been developed. As we have learned the Industrial Revolution was a time of great innovation. We were well aware of wind and water power. We were even aware of hydrogen gas. If we had never had the option of Fossil Fuels, would it have been possible for us to improve upon those existing energy sources? Inevitably, we opted to invest in the very profitable fossil fuels. Although it may have been the best option at the time, we became lazy. We failed to innovate something new and better. The excessive use of fossil fuels during the Industrial Revolution displays a common designer dilemma. We became so caught up in the idea of more that we failed to realize our shortcomings. The light and the warmth emitted by fossil fuels blinded us. Even in the nineteenth century, there were ominous environmental clues that foreshadowed the destruction of our environment. Look at the work of the English painter William Turner. How is it possible that we could have ignored this problem for so long? Also, is it possible for us to ever let go of the fuel industries? Alternative energies are now too expensive for the common man. New technologies are always expensive and without some tangible reward it is doubtful that many will be compelled to invest in more expensive forms of energy. Or could it be that modern society now willing to sacrifice in order to save our planet, or are we still blinded by the light?

emily said...

During the 19th century a variety of technological, social, and economic changes occurred. Some of which including the invention of the steam engine and gas lighting. And although these technological advances were used irresponsibly, meaning without regard to the environment, they were not a “misstep” due to the fact that these inventions changed society by opening a wide range of design possibilities. For example the advancement of life expectancy, the increase of the economy, etc. It was a step forward and fortunately, the environment is now a consideration in the design process.

edperr2 said...

The discovery of fossil fuels was not a step in any direction. To say we've benefited from the discovery of something presumes we were in a state of being which was less than okay before the discovery.

The fact of the matter is, since the invention of bartering with paper money the over consumption of resources has occurred merely to supplement governments and individuals, of whom discovered the product, with wealth. The discovery of fossil fuels and coal was meant to allow certain people to obtain desired pleasures while in disregard to future.

Granted, the discovery has lead to many things that I enjoy everyday. But, have I benefited? I will never know, seeing as how I can't imagine the joy of merely growing goods, trading goods, and only worrying about what god to pray to, to ensure my harvest dies okay.

estee said...

Well, I'm not quite sure whether I think the advancements of the Industrial Revolution were the best choices for the world as we know it today. I'm very greatful for all the technology we live with that make my life much more comfortable but I also feel that life has become too easy in a sense...so comfortable that we would rather destroy Mother Earth than learn how to live more simply. Furthermore, I feel it's difficult to say whether the Industrial Revolution was the right turn because I can't imagine life any other way but what it is.

sally9787 said...

I agree when people say that the discovery of fossil fuels and the Industrial Revolution was a step in the right direction. It is the way that we have chosen to use these resources that I do not agree with. Of course our lives would be totally different without the discovery of all coal and other fuels, and even though they do endanger our planet, it makes life much more efficient and easy. The way we use these resources is what is really hurting us. We use coal and fossil fuels so much and so fast that we are not only running out, but polluting the earth as we do it. However, every day something new is learned and discovered. During the Industrial Revolution these resources were found, so I have no doubt that other resources will be found to replace those to make our lives even more efficient. So overall, the Industrial Revolution was definitely a stepping stone and allows us to continue on from what started then.

Jennifer Litsey said...

The discoveries made in the Industrial Revolution were obviously very useful for the US at the time, considering we are still using these same things today. But I feel like we have come a long way since the time when these things were all first discovered, and since we now know for sure that these things are hurting our environment, (an environment that we can obviously never get back or fix for that matter) I think that surely we could come up with an alternative. But to say that it was a "misstep" is a little far, because you have to try something in order to see if it works, and it has worked, but once we established the problem, we should have approached it. I'm not saying that we should stop using these things all together just because we found a kink, but I definitely think that the problem should be approached more aggressively.

kinseyjanzen said...

I believe that despite the negative repercussions, the Industrial Revolution was a step in the right direction. It was the need for improvement that drove the use of fossil fuels during this time, and without that use, the economy and wellbeing of several countries (the Britain and the United States)would not be like that of today. It literally drove the world to what it is today. Because we now know that fossil fuels damage the environment, we are able to discover and improve upon healthier and more eco-friendly techniques that provide the same results. Without the Industrial Revolution, we might not have been able to develop these environmentally friendlier methods. Therefore, the Industrial Revolution was definitely a step in the right direction.

Jennifer Litsey said...

The discoveries made in the Industrial Revolution were obviously very useful for the US at the time, considering we are still using these same things today. But I feel like we have come a long way since the time when these things were all first discovered, and since we now know for sure that these things are hurting our environment, (an environment that we can obviously never get back or fix for that matter) I think that surely we could come up with an alternative. But to say that it was a "misstep" is a little far, because you have to try something in order to see if it works, and it has worked, but once we established the problem, we should have approached it. I'm not saying that we should stop using these things all together just because we found a kink, but I definitely think that the problem should be approached more aggressively.

Becca Cole said...

To a certain degree I do believe that the Industrial Revolution, especially the discovery of fossil fuels, was a necessary step forward for mankind. Other than the obvious reasons fossil fuels has helped us advance, there are many other benefits fossil fuels have given us. One of the main benefits, which was talked about in class, is mass- production. Then mass production lead to making medical products, health benefits, labor laws, employment opportunities, more leisure time, and just an over all better quality of life. Due to many of these our life span has increased an average of twenty years. But there are many negative after-effects from fossil fuels that could not have been predicted. As global warming being a major negative effect, fossil fuels also irritate the lungs causing respiratory illness and cardiac problems. I believe that humans sometimes need to take a step back before they can move forward, and now that we live in this age of technology we can use our advancements to fix these problems so we can move forward.

Jonathan Fox said...

Fossil fuels? Are humans not any smarter than burning their own earth for fuel? Sure, we needed something to jumpstart the industrial revolution, but it was greed that kept us from developing alternate resources. We found a cheap, easy form of fuel to run our massive machies and as long as those machines were making their owners rich, there was no need to change. In my opinion, if the machines of the industrial revolution ran on babies, the factory owners would have warehouses full of pregnant women popping out babies by the hour. Don't get me wrong, I like my gas guzzling SUV because it helps me jump curbs and drive through mud, but enough is enough. Even in the days of the industrial revolution, there were plenty of practices that could have been put in place to preserve those precious natural resources. The great thing now is, developing new forms of energy is becoming an industrial revolution of it's own, things really do go in circles don't they? Greed and ignorance have created great things in our world, but unfortunately it also create massive problems that new greedy, ignorant people will find a solution and then exploit that as well. That's my rant for the day, God bless blogging!

Prof. Megan Shaw said...
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