The global environment has been in a state of change since the height of the last glacial maximum of the Pleistocene. Examining this state of flux of both the natural environment and the living organisms that inhabit it, I. G. Simmons’s Global Environmental History ranges from 10,000 BCE to the modern day to present an incredibly rich and deep time overview of how we have come to our current state of ecological crisis.
A far-reaching approach that considers the truly global picture and recognizes the contributions of many disciplines—including the natural sciences, the social sciences, and increasingly, the humanities—Global Environmental History focuses not only on the material world but also on humans’ ideas about the planet and their place on it. Taking as his starting point the major phases of human technological evolution of the last 12,000 years, Simmons considers how these changes have affected the natural world and goes on to assess the response to conditions such as climate change. By putting today’s environmental preoccupations into a long-term perspective, Simmons reveals the history of some current anxieties.
A timely examination of the interrelation of history and nature, Simmons’s book will be welcomed by any concerned reader interested in the origins of the modern environmental crisis.