An Environmental History of the World: Humankind's Changing Role in the Community of Life

Front Cover
Psychology Press, 2002 - History - 264 pages
1 Review
An Environmental History of the World is a concise history, from Ancient to Modern times, of the interaction between human societies and the other forms of life that inhabit our planet. This original work follows a chronological path through the history of mankind, in relationship to ecosystems around the world. Each chapter concentrates on a general period in human history which has been characterised by large scale changes in the relationship of human societies to the biosphere, and gives three case-studies that illustrate the significant patterns occurring at that time. Little environmental or historical knowledge is assumed from the reader in this introduction to environmental history.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - WildcatJF - LibraryThing

Hughes does a solid job of compressing the long environmental history down into a readable format that lacks ethnocentrism and presents its points clearly. Probably the best overall book I read for my environmental history class. Read full review

Contents

Introduction history and ecology
1
Environmental history
4
The community of life
5
Community ecology and history
6
Ecological process
7
Primal harmony
12
kinship of humans with other forms of life
14
the primal tradition
19
Conclusion
104
The transformation of the biosphere
109
the European biotic invasion
113
city country and empire in the Industrial Age
119
Darwins vision of evolution
127
Conclusion
136
Exploitation and conservation
141
tradition and change
148

agriculture in the spirit of the land
22
Conclusion
27
The great divorce of culture and nature
30
Gilgamesh and urban origins
33
ancient Egypt and sustainability
38
the collapse of classic Maya culture
42
Conclusion
48
Ideas and impacts
52
mind and practice
59
Chinese environmental problems and solutions
66
environmental reasons for the decline and fall
73
Conclusion
78
The Middle Ages
83
the barriers to growth
86
Polynesian impacts on island ecosystems
93
conservation in the empire of the Incas
99
preservation or enjoyment?
155
the dams and their effects
162
Conclusion
168
Modern environmental problems
174
a green revolution?
182
now that the big trees are down
188
the aftermath of Chernobyl
193
Conclusion
199
Present and future
206
a sense of place
213
the threats to biodiversity
217
the United Nations Environment Program
224
A general conclusion
238
Writing on global environmental history
242
Index
249
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2002)

J. Donald Hughes is John Evans Professor in the Department of History at the University of Denver, USA

Bibliographic information