Man and Nature

Front Cover
University of Washington Press, 1965 - Nature - 472 pages
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InMan and Nature, first published in 1864, polymath scholar and diplomat George Perkins Marsh challenged the general belief that human impact on nature was generally benign or negligible and charged that ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean had brought about their own collapse by their abuse of the environment. By deforesting their hillsides and eroding their soils, they had destroyed the natural fertility that sustained their well-being. Marsh offered his compatriots in the United States a stern warning that the young American republic might repeat these errors of the ancient world if it failed to end its own destructive waste of natural resources. Marsh's ominous warnings inspired conservation and reform. In linking culture with nature, science with history,Man and Naturewas the most influential text of its time next to Darwin'sOn the Origin of Species, published just five years earlier.

In his Introduction to this new edition, David Lowenthal placesMan and Naturein the context of recent scholarship and evaluates its significance for the environmental movement that has emerged since the latter part of the twentieth century. He also paints a vivid portrait of the book's brilliant, passionate, wide-ranging, and sometimes choleric author.

Although what we know and what we fear about the environment have vastly amplified since Marsh's day, his appraisal of forest cover and erosion remains largely valid, his cautions about watershed control still cognent, and his call for stewardship ever more pertinent.Man and Natureis worth reading not only for having taught lessons crucial in its day, but for teaching them still so well.

David Lowenthalis professor emeritus of geography at University College London. His books includeGeorge Perkins Marsh: Prophet of Conservation, The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History, andThe Past Is a Foreign Country.

"[Man and Nature was] the rudest kick in the face that American initiative, optimism, and carelessness had yet received." - Wallace Stegner

"It is no exaggeration to say thatMan and Naturelaunched the modern conservation movement. It helped Americans in the second half of the nineteenth century recognize the damage they were doing to the natural environment, and challenged them to behave in more responsible ways toward the earth and its natural systems. . . .Man and Naturestands right next toSilent SpringandA Sand County Almanacby any measure of historic significance." - from the Foreword by William Cronon

  

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kohsari

Review: Man and Nature: Or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Classics)

User Review  - Lura Miller - Goodreads

I'm still reading this, but I think I'm going to have to buy it because it is taking too long as a library book. Good insights already into humanity's intent on altering landscapes and the environment for our own gain. Read full review

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About the author (1965)

David Lowenthal is Emeritus Professor of Geography and Honorary Research Fellow at University College London. He is a gold medallist of the Royal Geographical, the Royal Scottish Geographical and the American Geographical Societies, a Fellow of the British Academy and honorary D.Litt. Memorial University of Newfoundland. In 2010 he was awarded the Forbes Lecture Prize by the International Institute for Conservation. His books include The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History (1996), George Perkins Marsh, Prophet of Conservation (2000) and The Nature of Cultural Heritage and the Culture of National Heritage (2005).

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