The Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point in Earth’s ecology and humans’ relationship with their environment. As the Industrial Revolution dramatically changed every aspect of human life and lifestyles … from human development, health and life longevity, to social improvements … its human impact on natural resources, public health, energy usage and sanitation would not begin to register in the world’s psyche until the early 1960s, some 200 years after its beginnings.
It wasn’t that the Industrial Revolution became a stalwart juggernaut overnight. It started in the mid-1700s in Great Britain when machinery began to replace manual labor and fossil fuels replaced wind, water, and wood primarily for the manufacture of textiles and the development of iron making processes. The full impact of the Industrial Revolution would not begin to be realized until about 100 years later in the 1800s when the use of machines to replace human labor spread throughout Europe, North America and the rest of the world. This transformation is referred to as the industrialization of the world… processes that gave rise to sweeping increases in production capacity and would affect all basic human needs including food production, medicine, housing, and clothing. Not only did society develop the ability to have more things quicker, it would be able to develop better things. These industrialization processes continue today.
The most prolific evidence of the Industrial Revolution’s impact on the modern world can be seen in the worldwide human population growth. Modern humans have been around for about 2.2 million years. By the dawn of the first millennium AD, estimates place the total world human population at between 150 – 200 million, and 300 million in the year 1,000 (a little less than the population of the United States today). The world human population growth rate would be about .1 per cent (.001) per year for the next seven to eight...