American Paradise (07:14)
Scientists have deemed the current era Anthropocene; America is the world’s foremost economic power, but the evolution between man’s interaction with nature is more concentrated there than anywhere else. On seven volcanic islands off the California coast, known as the Channel Islands, archaeologists have discovered the earliest dated human remains on the continent.
Ecology on the Channel Islands (03:38)
The marine ecosystem surrounding the Channel Islands houses giant seaweed and kelp, which can grow to over forty meters in length. The indigenous people utilized the food store provided by the islands without threatening the natural equilibrium of the forests and coastlines.
Evolution of the Channel Islands (05:53)
The Channel Islands housed an abundant wildlife population, and was far enough off the coast for no predators to threaten the lives of animals; John Erlandson states the islands would have been two to three times larger than today and filled with natural resources. The islands were once linked by marshes; Todd Braje discusses how an environment and landscape changes when men migrate there.
Results of Human Migration (04:38)
Curator Paul Collins of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History describes and displays the terrestrial fossils discovered on the Channel Islands; archaeologists have discovered a distinct species of puffin and an extinct flightless goose called a Chendytes. Native Americans frequently hunted the Chendytes which ultimately resulted in its extinction.
Natural Resource Conservation (09:35)
The Chumash tribe is thought to have discovered the islands as the ice age came to an end and the sea levels rose; this tribe was made up of hunter-gatherers, but they lived in well-developed towns and villages. Archaeologist John Erlandson explains humans are unconcerned with conservation of resources during times of abundance.
Spanish Colonialism (05:55)
Upon the arrival of the first Portuguese ship to the islands in 1542, Christian missionaries began building the first Spanish missions on the North American continent; Franciscan priest Junipero Serra represent brutal change and bloody colonization of this part of America. Steve Newcomb talks about how Spanish names were imposed on everything and the fertile soil was plowed for the first time.
Elimination of the Chumash Tribe (03:53)
The Spanish missionaries prospered for almost forty years along the coast of southern California in Native American territory; Braje discusses the history of humanities interaction with the environment. The Channel Islands were completely stripped of their inhabitants, and the Chumash joined the Spanish but were subjected to sickness and forced labor.
Ecological Downfall (05:19)
The arrival of the Europeans marked a brutal turning point for the Chumash people of the Channel Islands, and the islands themselves underwent a dramatic ecological transformation; ocean scientists Gary Davis discusses how human domination was forced upon land and seascapes. The maritime resources were the first to be pillaged by the settlers.
Credits: Restoring Paradise (05:04)
Credits: Restoring Paradise
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