100 books about Effect of human beings on You are on page 1 2Next
Aerosol Effects on Climate
S. Gerard Jennings University of Arizona Press, 1993 Library of Congress QC882.42.A35 1993 | Dewey Decimal 551.5
There is now a growing awareness that, in addition to the well publicized influence of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases on the warming of the earth's atmosphere, aerosol particles may also play an important role in forcing climate change. This volume brings together previously unavailable data and interpretative analyses, derived from studies in both the U.S. and U.S.S.R., which review, update, and assess aerosol-related climatic effects.
When did the human species turn against the planet that we depend on for survival? Human industry and consumption of resources have altered the climate, polluted the water and soil, destroyed ecosystems, and rendered many species extinct, vastly increasing the likelihood of an ecological catastrophe. How did humankind come to rule nature to such an extent? To regard the planet’s resources and creatures as ours for the taking? To find ourselves on a seemingly relentless path toward ecocide?
In After Eden, Kirkpatrick Sale answers these questions in a radically new way. Integrating research in paleontology, archaeology, and anthropology, he points to the beginning of big-game hunting as the origin of Homo sapiens’ estrangement from the natural world. Sale contends that a new, recognizably modern human culture based on the hunting of large animals developed in Africa some 70,000 years ago in response to a fierce plunge in worldwide temperature triggered by an enormous volcanic explosion in Asia. Tracing the migration of populations and the development of hunting thousands of years forward in time, he shows that hunting became increasingly adversarial in relation to the environment as people fought over scarce prey during Europe’s glacial period between 35,000 and 10,000 years ago. By the end of that era, humans’ idea that they were the superior species on the planet, free to exploit other species toward their own ends, was well established.
After Eden is a sobering tale, but not one without hope. Sale asserts that Homo erectus, the variation of the hominid species that preceded Homo sapiens and survived for nearly two million years, did not attempt to dominate the environment. He contends that vestiges of this more ecologically sound way of life exist today—in some tribal societies, in the central teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism, and in the core principles of the worldwide environmental movement—offering redemptive possibilities for ourselves and for the planet.
Nature no longer exists apart from humanity. The world we will inhabit is the one we have made. Geologists call this epoch the Anthropocene, Age of Humans. The facts of the Anthropocene are scientific—emissions, pollens, extinctions—but its shape and meaning are questions for politics. Jedediah Purdy develops a politics for this post-natural world.
This aptly named book contains 22 selections by John Muir, John McPhee, Barry Lopez, and others on Alaska and to some extent on the neighboring Yukon, accompanied by a small but evocative collection of photographs of Eskimos. The pieces, most of which are top-notch, vividly describe the harsh climate, the Arctic and sub-Arctic habitats, and the animals of Alaska, and tell the stories of the Native Americans and others who have made their home or worked in the North. This excellent sampler of some of the best writing on Alaska is recommended for academic and, especially, public libraries.
In Allegories of the Anthropocene Elizabeth M. DeLoughrey traces how indigenous and postcolonial peoples in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands grapple with the enormity of colonialism and anthropogenic climate change through art, poetry, and literature. In these works, authors and artists use allegory as a means to understand the multiscalar complexities of the Anthropocene and to critique the violence of capitalism, militarism, and the postcolonial state. DeLoughrey examines the work of a wide range of artists and writers—including poets Kamau Brathwaite and Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, Dominican installation artist Tony Capellán, and authors Keri Hulme and Erna Brodber—whose work addresses Caribbean plantations, irradiated Pacific atolls, global flows of waste, and allegorical representations of the ocean and the island. In examining how island writers and artists address the experience of finding themselves at the forefront of the existential threat posed by climate change, DeLoughrey demonstrates how the Anthropocene and empire are mutually constitutive and establishes the vital importance of allegorical art and literature in understanding our global environmental crisis.
In Animate Planet Kath Weston shows how new intimacies between humans, animals, and their surroundings are emerging as people attempt to understand how the high-tech ecologically damaged world they have made is remaking them, one synthetic chemical, radioactive isotope, and megastorm at a time. Visceral sensations, she finds, are vital to this process, which yields a new animism in which humans and "the environment" become thoroughly entangled. In case studies on food, water, energy, and climate from the United States, India, and Japan, Weston approaches the new animism as both a symptom of our times and an analytic with the potential to open paths to new and forgotten ways of living.
Anthropos and the Material
Penny Harvey, Christian Krohn-Hansen, and Knut Nustad, editors Duke University Press, 2019 Library of Congress GF75.A645 2019
The destructive effects of modern industrial societies have shaped the planet in such profound ways that many argue for the existence of a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene. This claim brings into relief a set of challenges that have deep implications for how relations between the human, the material, and the political affect contemporary social worlds. The contributors to Anthropos and the Material examine these challenges by questioning and complicating long-held understandings of the divide between humans and things. They present ethnographic case studies from across the globe, addressing myriad topics that range from labor, economics, and colonialism to technology, culture, the environment, agency, and diversity. In foregrounding the importance of connecting natural and social histories, the instability and intangibility of the material, and the ways in which the lively encounters between the human and the nonhuman challenge conceptions of liberal humanism, the contributors point to new understandings of the capacities of people and things to act, transform, and adapt to a changing world.
What would it be like to live in a world with no predators roaming our landscapes? Would their elimination, which humans have sought with ever greater urgency in recent times, bring about a pastoral, peaceful human civilization? Or in fact is their existence critical to our own, and do we need to be doing more to assure their health and the health of the landscapes they need to thrive?
In The Carnivore Way, Cristina Eisenberg argues compellingly for the necessity of top predators in large, undisturbed landscapes, and how a continental-long corridor—carnivore way—provides the room they need to roam and connected landscapes that allow them to disperse. Eisenberg follows the footsteps of six large carnivores—wolves, grizzly bears, lynx, jaguars, wolverines, and cougars—on a 7,500-mile wildlife corridor from Alaska to Mexico along the Rocky Mountains. Backed by robust science, she shows how their well-being is a critical factor in sustaining healthy landscapes and how it is possible for humans and large carnivores to coexist peacefully and even to thrive.
University students in natural resource science programs, resource managers, conservation organizations, and anyone curious about carnivore ecology and management in a changing world will find a thoughtful guide to large carnivore conservation that dispels long-held myths about their ecology and contributions to healthy, resilient landscapes.
In less than a century, the American West has transformed from a predominantly rural region to one where most people live in metropolitan centers. Cities and Nature in the American West offers provocative analyses of this transformation. Each essay explores the intersection of environmental, urban, and western history, providing a deeper understanding of the com- plex processes by which the urban West has shaped and been shaped by its sustaining environment. The book also considers how the West’s urban development has altered the human experience and perception of nature, from the administration and marketing of national parks to the consumer roots of popular environ- mentalism; the politics of land and water use; and the challenges of environmental inequities. A number of essays address the cultural role of wilderness, nature, and such activities as camping. Others examine the increasingly per- vasive power of the West’s urban areas and urbanites to redefine the very foundations and future of the American West.
The weekly magazine Garden and Forest existed for only nine years (1888–1897). Yet, in that brief span, it brought to light many of the issues that would influence the future of American environmentalism. In The City Natural, Shen Hou presents the first “biography” of this important but largely overlooked vehicle for individuals with the common goal of preserving nature in American civilization.
As Hou’s study reveals, Garden and Forest was instrumental in redefining the fields of botany and horticulture, while also helping to shape the fledgling professions of landscape architecture and forestry. The publication actively called for reform in government policy, urban design, and future planning for the preservation and inclusion of nature in cities. It also attempted to shape public opinion on these issues through a democratic ideal that every citizen had the right (and need) to access nature. These notions would anticipate the conservation and “city beautiful” movements that followed in the early twentieth century.
Hou explains the social and environmental conditions that led to the rise of reform efforts, organizations, and publications such as Garden and Forest. She reveals the intellectual core and vision of the magazine as a proponent of the city natural movement that sought to relate nature and civilization through the arts and sciences. Garden and Forest was a staunch advocate of urban living made better through careful planning and design. As Hou shows, the publication also promoted forest management and preservation, not only as a natural resource but as an economic one. She also profiles the editors and contributors who set the magazine’s tone and follows their efforts to expand America’s environmental expertise.
Through the pages of Garden and Forest, the early period of environmentalism was especially fruitful and optimistic; many individuals joined forces for the benefit of humankind and helped lay the foundation for a coherent national movement. Shen Hou’s study gives Garden and Forest its due and adds an important new chapter to the early history of American environmentalism.
A broader and more comprehensive understanding of how we communicate with each other about the natural world and our relationship to it is essential to solving environmental problems. How do individuals develop beliefs and ideologies about the environment? How do we express those beliefs through communication? How are we influenced by the messages of pop culture and social institutions? And how does all this communication become part of the larger social fabric of what we know as "the environment"?
Communicating Nature explores and explains the multiple levels of everyday communication that come together to form our perceptions of the natural world. Author Julia Corbett considers all levels of communication, from communication at the individual level, to environmental messages transmitted by popular culture, to communication generated by social institutions including political and regulatory agencies, business and corporations, media outlets, and educational organizations.
The book offers a fresh and engaging introductory look at a topic of broad interest, and is an important work for students of the environment, activists and environmental professionals interested in understanding the cultural context of human-nature interactions.
For more than a century the establishment of national parks and protected areas was a major threat to the survival of indigenous people. The creation of parks based on wilderness ideals outlawed traditional ways of life and forced from their homelands peoples who had shaped and preserved local ecosystems for centuries.Today such tragic conflicts are being superseded by new alliances for conservation. Conservation Through Cultural Survival assesses cutting-edge efforts to establish new kinds of parks and protected areas which are based on partnerships with indigenous peoples. It chronicles new conservation thinking and the establishment around the world of indigenously inhabited protected areas, provides detailed case studies of the most important types of co-managed and indigenously managed areas, and offers guidelines, models, and recommendations for international action. The book: discusses the goals and development of the global protected area system assesses the strengths and limitations of a range of different types of indigenously inhabited protected areas discusses key issues and indigenous peoples' concerns recommends measures to promote conservation suggests international actions that would promote co-managed and indigenously managed areas Contributors who have been actively involved in projects around the world provide in-depth accounts from Nepal, Australia, New Guinea, Nicaragua, Honduras, Canada, and Alaska of some of the most promising efforts to develop protected areas where indigenous peoples maintain their rights to settlement and subsistence and participate in management.Conservation Through Cultural Survival will be required reading for environmentalists, protected area planners and managers, and all who care about the future of indigenous peoples and their homelands.
Indian agent Joseph Street said it well in 1833 when he described his trip across Iowa: “I had never rode through a country so full of game.” In the early 1800s Iowa's deep soil, free-flowing rivers and streams, and favorable climate had combined to produce the welcoming habitats that supported a surprising variety of animals. In his engaging, intelligent book, James Dinsmore has created the first comprehensive history of this abounding wildlife from the arrival of Euro-American explorers to the present day.
Based on a thorough search of hundreds of primary sources ranging from chronicles of military expeditions to field reports by early naturalists, first-person accounts by fur traders and hunters to up-to-date county checklists, A Country So Full of Game examines the dramatic encounters of humans with elk, black bears, passenger pigeons, bobcats, prairie-chickens, otters, and many more. Each chapter discusses the animal's status and distribution when explorers first arrived in Iowa, how it was hunted or trapped, how this exploitation affected its population, and what its current status is both in Iowa and nationally. Enhanced by Mark Müller's distinctive drawings, commissioned for this book, the anecdotes evoke a sense of loss and wonder at the magic abundance of Iowa's wildlife.
Iowa has been changed more than, perhaps, any other state. We can mourn the disappearance of the bison and mountain lion while we marvel at the recent success of the wild turkey and white-tailed deer. Listening to James Dinsmore tell the story of wildlife in Iowa can open a window onto the future as other areas of our planet are increasingly altered by humans. A Country So Full of Game will allow all naturalists, both amateur and professional, hunter and biologist, to appreciate and learn from Iowa's diverse wild heritage.
Thomas Andrews drills deep into the many pressures that have reshaped a small stretch of North America, from the ice age to the advent of the Anthropocene and controversies over climate change. He brings to the surface lessons about the critical relationships to land, climate, and species that only seemingly unimportant places on Earth can teach.
The essays collected in Cultivating the Colonies demonstrate how the relationship between colonial power and nature revealsthe nature of power. Each essay explores how colonial governments translated ideas about the management of exoticnature and foreign people into practice, and how they literally “got their hands dirty” in the business of empire.
The eleven essays include studies of animal husbandry in the Philippines, farming in Indochina, and indigenous medicine in India. They are global in scope, ranging from the Russian North to Mozambique, examining the consequences of colonialismon nature, including its impact on animals, fisheries, farmlands, medical practices, and even the diets of indigenouspeople.
Cultivating the Colonies establishes beyond all possible doubt the importance of the environment as a locus for studyingthe power of the colonial state.
In a multi-cultural society, differing worldviews among groups can lead to conflict over competing values and behaviors. Nowhere is this tension more concrete than in the wilderness, where people of different cultures hunt and fish for the same animals. White Americans tend to see nature as something external which they have some responsibility to care for. In contrast, Native Americans are more likely to see themselves as one with nature. In Culture and Resource Conflict, authors Douglas Medin, Norbert Ross, and Douglas Cox investigate the discord between whites and Menominee American Indians over hunting and fishing, and in the process, contribute to our understanding of how and why cultures so often collide. Based on detailed ethnographic and experimental research, Culture and Resource Conflict finds that Native American and European American hunters and fishermen have differing approaches—or mental models—with respect to fish and game, and that these differences lead to misunderstanding, stereotyping, and conflict. Menominee look at the practice of hunting and fishing for sport as a sign of a lack of respect for nature. Whites, on the other hand, define respect for nature more on grounds of resource management and conservation. Some whites believe—contrary to fact—that Native Americans are depleting animal populations with excessive hunting and fishing, while the Menominee protest that they only hunt what they need and make extensive use of their catch. Yet the authors find that, despite these differences, the two groups share the fundamental underlying goal of preserving fish and game for future generations, and both groups see hunting and fishing as deeply meaningful activities. At its core, the conflict between these two groups is more about mistrust and stereotyping than actual disagreement over values. Combining the strengths of psychology and anthropology, Culture and Resource Conflict shows how misunderstandings about the motives of others can lead to hostility and conflict. As debates over natural resources rage worldwide, this unique book demonstrates the obstacles that must be overcome for different groups to reach consensus over environmental policy.
One hundred and fifty years after the publication of On the Origin of Species, award-winning environmental reporter Alanna Mitchell set out to retrace the idea of evolution and grapple with the fact that a massive extinction of the planet's species was well under way. So began a three-year odyssey in which Mitchell picked up where Darwin left off, examining not just the origin but also the ultimate fate of our world.
Combining scientific curiosity with travel and adventure, Dancing at the Dead Sea takes the reader on an intimate tour through the world's environmental hotspots. Readers join Mitchell as she tracks the spectacular biodiversity of regions as extraordinary as the island of Madagascar, the rain forests of Suriname, the parched oases of Jordan, the Arctic desert of Banks Island, the volcanic crests of Iceland, and, ultimately, the Galapagos archipelago, where Darwin conducted his famous research. Along the way, Mitchell introduces us to the numerous scientists and conservationists who are working to protect these endangered places. She also chronicles the courageous efforts of everyday men and women in these regions as they try to convince governments to turn the world's hotspots into environmentally protected areas.
Ultimately, Mitchell's travels around the world compel her to ponder our shelf life as a species in the grand evolutionary scheme of the planet. She wonders what Darwin would make of the profound ecological destruction she witnesses. Is the human race suicidal? What can help our species avert extinction? Posing tough and cutting questions such as these, Dancing at the Dead Sea is a must-read for aficionados of good science writing and travel literature alike.
In humanity’s more than 100,000 year history, we have evolved from vulnerable creatures clawing sustenance from Earth to a sophisticated global society manipulating every inch of it. In short, we have become the dominant animal. Why, then, are we creating a world that threatens our own species? What can we do to change the current trajectory toward more climate change, increased famine, and epidemic disease?
Renowned Stanford scientists Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich believe that intelligently addressing those questions depends on a clear understanding of how we evolved and how and why we’re changing the planet in ways that darken our descendants’ future. The Dominant Animal arms readers with that knowledge, tracing the interplay between environmental change and genetic and cultural evolution since the dawn of humanity. In lucid and engaging prose, they describe how Homo sapiens adapted to their surroundings, eventually developing the vibrant cultures, vast scientific knowledge, and technological wizardry we know today.
But the Ehrlichs also explore the flip side of this triumphant story of innovation and conquest. As we clear forests to raise crops and build cities, lace the continents with highways, and create chemicals never before seen in nature, we may be undermining our own supremacy. The threats of environmental damage are clear from the daily headlines, but the outcome is far from destined. Humanity can again adapt—if we learn from our evolutionary past.
Those lessons are crystallized in The Dominant Animal. Tackling the fundamental challenge of the human predicament, Paul and Anne Ehrlich offer a vivid and unique exploration of our origins, our evolution, and our future.
Poet and writer Alison Deming once noted, “In the desert, one finds the way by tracing the aftermath of water . . . ”
Here, Ken Lamberton finds his way through a lifetime of exploring southern Arizona’s Santa Cruz River. This river—dry, still, and silent one moment, a thundering torrent of mud the next—serves as a reflection of the desert around it: a hint of water on parched sand, a path to redemption across a thirsty landscape.
With his latest book, Lamberton takes us on a trek across the land of three nations—the United States, Mexico, and the Tohono O’odham Nation—as he hikes the river’s path from its source and introduces us to people who draw identity from the river—dedicated professionals, hardworking locals, and the author’s own family. These people each have their own stories of the river and its effect on their lives, and their narratives add immeasurable richness and depth to Lamberton’s own astute observations and picturesque descriptions.
Unlike books that detail only the Santa Cruz’s decline, Dry River offers a more balanced, at times even optimistic, view of the river that ignites hope for reclamation and offers a call to action rather than indulging in despair and resignation. At once a fascinating cultural history lesson and an important reminder that learning from the past can help us fix what we have damaged, Dry River is both a story about the amazing complexity of this troubled desert waterway and a celebration of one man’s lifelong journey with the people and places touched by it.
"What about the twenty-first century? Will we finally accept our responsibilities as guardians of planet Earth, the biological living trust, for the beneficiaries, the children of today, tomorrow, and beyond? Or, will it too be a century of lethal, economic struggle among the polarized positions of the supremely dysfunctional among us? Are they—once again—to be allowed to determine the legacy we, as a society, as a nation, bequeath those who follow us? The choice is ours, the adults of the world. How shall we choose?"
So writes Chris Maser in this compelling study of three interactive spheres of the ecosystem: atmosphere (air), litho-hydrosphere (rock that comprises the restless continents and the water that surrounds them), and biosphere (all life sandwiched in between).
Rich in detail and insightful analogies, Earth in Our Care addresses key issues including land-use policies, ecological restoration, forest management, local living, and sustainability thinking. Exploring our interconnectedness with the Earth, Maser examines today's problems and, more importantly, provides solutions for the future.
edited by Greta Gaard Temple University Press, 1993 Library of Congress HQ1233.E26 1993 | Dewey Decimal 304.2
Drawing on the insights of ecology, feminism, and socialism, ecofeminism's basic premise is that the ideology that authorizes oppression based on race, class, gender, sexuality, physical abilities, and species is the same ideology that sanctions the oppression of nature. In this collection of essays, feminist scholars and activists discuss the relationships among human begins, the natural environment, and nonhuman animals. They reject the nature/culture dualism of patriarchal thought and locate animals and humans within nature. The goal of these twelve articles is to contribute to the evolving dialogue among feminists, ecofeminists, animal liberationists, deep ecologists, and social ecologists in an effort to create a sustainable lifestyle for all inhabitants of the earth.
Among the issues addressed are the conflicts between Green politics and ecofeminism, various applications of ecofeminist theory, the relationship of animal liberation to ecofeminism, harmful implications of the romanticized woman-nature association in Western culture, and cultural limitations of ecofeminism.
In the series Ethics and Action, edited by Tom Regan.
Niklas Luhmann University of Chicago Press, 1989 Library of Congress QH540.5.L8313 1989 | Dewey Decimal 574.501
Niklas Luhmann is widely recognized as one of the most original thinkers in the social sciences today. This major new work further develops the theories of the author by offering a challenging analysis of the relationship between society and the environment.
Luhmann extends the concept of "ecology" to refer to any analysis that looks at connections between social systems and the surrounding environment. He traces the development of the notion of "environment" from the medieval idea—which encompasses both human and natural systems—to our modern definition, which separates social systems from the external environment.
In Luhmann's thought, human beings form part of the environment, while social systems consist only of communications. Utilizing this distinctive theoretical perspective, Luhmann presents a comprehensive catalog of society's reactions to environmental problems. He investigates the spheres of the economy, law, science, politics, religion, and education to show how these areas relate to environmental issues.
Ecological Communication is an important work that critically examines claims central to our society—claims to modernity and rationality. It will be of great importance to scholars and students in sociology, political science, philosophy, anthropology, and law.
From Henry David Thoreau to Rachel Carson, writers have long examined the effects of industrialization and its potential to permanently alter the world around them. Today, as we experience rapid global urbanization, pressures on the natural environment to accommodate our daily needs for food, work, shelter, and recreation are greatly intensified. Concerted efforts to balance human use with ecological concerns are needed now more than ever.
A rich body of literature on the effect of human actions on the natural environment provides a window into what we now refer to as ecological design and planning. The study and practice of ecological design and planning provide a promising way to manage change in the landscape so that human actions are more in tune with natural processes. In The Ecological Design and Planning Reader Professor Ndubisi offers refreshing insights into key themes that shape the theory and practice of ecological design and planning. He has assembled, synthesized, and framed selected seminal published scholarly works in the field from the past one hundred and fifty years——ranging from Ebenezer Howard’s Garden Cities of To-morrow to Anne Whiston Spirn’s, “Ecological Urbanism: A Framework for the Design of Resilient Cities.” The reader ends with a hopeful look forward, which suggests an agenda for future research and analysis in ecological design and planning.
This is the first volume to bring together classic and contemporary writings on the history, evolution, theory, methods, and exemplary practice of ecological design and planning. The collection provides students, scholars, researchers, and practitioners with a solid foundation for understanding the relationship between human systems and our natural environment.
A deeper understanding of contemporary environmental problems requires us to know where we come from, and the study of environmental history will help us in that quest. Environmental history, in short, may be described as an attempt to study the interaction between humans and nature in the past. How have human societies affected their environment and vice versa? What does history tell us about ecological change?
The essays in Encountering the Past in Nature provide various approaches to the new discipline. Experts with diverse educational backgrounds tackle important issues in environmental history, ranging from the intellectual formation of environmental concepts to case studies of forest history and animal extinction. Most essays in the collection focus on the issue of wilderness and the various uses of forest resources. Encountering the Past in Nature also offers introductory essays on the historiography and methodology of this field of historical study.
Encountering the Past in Nature is a useful addition to the introductory texts currently available in the United States.
Over the long course of Japan’s history, its people profited from their rich natural environment while simultaneously facing significant environmental challenges. Over time, they have altered their natural environment in numerous ways, from landscape modification to industrial pollution. How has the human-nature relationship changed over time in Japan? How does Japan’s environmental history compare with that of other countries, or that of the world as a whole?
Environment and Society in the Japanese Islands attempts to answer these questions through a series of case studies by leading Japanese and Western historians, geographers, archaeologists, and climatologists. These essays, on diverse topics from all periods of Japanese history and prehistory, are unified by their focus on the key concepts of “resilience” and “risk mitigation.” Taken as a whole, they place Japan’s experience in global context and call into question the commonly presumed division between pre-modern and modern environmental history.
Primarily intended for scholars and students in fields related to Japan or environmental history, these accessibly-written essays will be valuable to anyone wishing to learn about the historical roots of today’s environmental issues or the complex relationship between human society and the natural environment.
Through a series of essays, Eurasian Environments prompts us to rethink our understanding of tsarist and Soviet history by placing the human experience within the larger environmental context of flora, fauna, geology, and climate. This book is a broad look at the environmental history of Eurasia, specifically examining steppe environments, hydraulic engineering, soil and forestry, water pollution, fishing, and the interaction of the environment and disease vectors. Throughout, the authors place the history of Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union in a trans-chronological, comparative context, seamlessly linking the local and the global. The chapters are rooted in the ecological and geological specificities of place and community while unveiling the broad patterns of human-nature relationships across the planet. Eurasian Environments brings together an international group scholars working on issues of tsarist/Soviet environmental history in an effort to showcase the wave of fascinating and field-changing research currently being written.
"Extraordinary. . . . Berger is a hero of biology who deserves the highest honors that science can bestow."—Tim Flannery, New York Review of Books
On the Tibetan Plateau, there are wild yaks with blood cells thinner than those of horses’ by half, enabling the endangered yaks to survive at 40 below zero and in the lowest oxygen levels of the mountaintops. But climate change is causing the snow patterns here to shift, and with the snows, the entire ecosystem. Food and water are vaporizing in this warming environment, and these beasts of ice and thin air are extraordinarily ill-equipped for the change. A journey into some of the most forbidding landscapes on earth, Joel Berger’s Extreme Conservation is an eye-opening, steely look at what it takes for animals like these to live at the edges of existence. But more than this, it is a revealing exploration of how climate change and people are affecting even the most far-flung niches of our planet.
Berger’s quest to understand these creatures’ struggles takes him to some of the most remote corners and peaks of the globe: across Arctic tundra and the frozen Chukchi Sea to study muskoxen, into the Bhutanese Himalayas to follow the rarely sighted takin, and through the Gobi Desert to track the proboscis-swinging saiga. Known as much for his rigorous, scientific methods of developing solutions to conservation challenges as for his penchant for donning moose and polar bear costumes to understand the mindsets of his subjects more closely, Berger is a guide par excellence. He is a scientist and storyteller who has made his life working with desert nomads, in zones that typically require Sherpas and oxygen canisters. Recounting animals as charismatic as their landscapes are extreme, Berger’s unforgettable tale carries us with humor and expertise to the ends of the earth and back. But as his adventures show, the more adapted a species has become to its particular ecological niche, the more devastating climate change can be. Life at the extremes is more challenging than ever, and the need for action, for solutions, has never been greater.
In Facing the Planetary William E. Connolly expands his influential work on the politics of pluralization, capitalism, fragility, and secularism to address the complexities of climate change and to complicate notions of the Anthropocene. Focusing on planetary processes—including the ocean conveyor, glacier flows, tectonic plates, and species evolution—he combines a critical understanding of capitalism with an appreciation of how such nonhuman systems periodically change on their own. Drawing upon scientists and intellectuals such as Lynn Margulis, Michael Benton, Alfred North Whitehead, Anna Tsing, Mahatma Gandhi, Wangari Maathai, Pope Francis, Bruno Latour, and Naomi Klein, Connolly focuses on the gap between those regions creating the most climate change and those suffering most from it. He addresses the creative potential of a "politics of swarming" by which people in different regions and social positions coalesce to reshape dominant priorities. He also explores how those displaying spiritual affinities across differences in creed can energize a militant assemblage that is already underway.
For nearly two centuries, the creation myth for the United States imagined European settlers arriving on the shores of a vast, uncharted wilderness. Over the last two decades, however, a contrary vision has emerged, one which sees the country's roots not in a state of "pristine" nature but rather in a "human-modified landscape" over which native peoples exerted vast control.Fire, Native Peoples, and the Natural Landscape seeks a middle ground between those conflicting paradigms, offering a critical, research-based assessment of the role of Native Americans in modifying the landscapes of pre-European America. Contributors focus on the western United States and look at the question of fire regimes, the single human impact which could have altered the environment at a broad, landscape scale, and which could have been important in almost any part of the West. Each of the seven chapters is written by a different author about a different subregion of the West, evaluating the question of whether the fire regimes extant at the time of European contact were the product of natural factors or whether ignitions by Native Americans fundamentally changed those regimes.An introductory essay offers context for the regional chapters, and a concluding section compares results from the various regions and highlights patterns both common to the West as a whole and distinctive for various parts of the western states. The final section also relates the findings to policy questions concerning the management of natural areas, particularly on federal lands, and of the "naturalness" of the pre-European western landscape.
Rik Scarce Temple University Press, 2000 Library of Congress GF503.S23 2000 | Dewey Decimal 304.2
Leaping waterfalls, struggling through rocky shallows, only the strongest salmon survive to spawn a new generation. These remarkable fish seem to be pure nature, unfathomable, all instinct. But are they? For more than a century biologists have tried to unlock the mystery of salmon we know. For sociologist Rik Scarce, salmon represent an opportunity to probe the relationship of science, society, and nature.
About Pacific salmon -- a game fish and food source that is protected and manages for economic and environmental abundance -- Scarce writes, "What other living thing receives such extensive attention from science and society, is used in so many ways, yet retains so much of what we would like to think is its 'wild' character?" He shows how political, bureaucratic, and economic forces have directed salmon science for their own purposes and how control remains a central feature in salmon biology.
Identifying a countertrend rooted in environmental activism, Scarce also argues that an ecocentric perspective is gaining ground even as pressures mount simultaneously to save endangered salmon populations and to bring every last salmon to market. Thus, while external forces control much of the biologists' work, a movement is underway to free biology from political and economic pressures. In rich, ethnographic detail, Scarce develops this portrait of a science struggling with nature and itself. The old-line "fisheries biologists" tell how they work under immense pressure to unravel the unknowns of salmon existence to fulfill objectives of politically-motivated funding agencies. In contrast, the new breed of "conservation biology" researchers struggles to maintain the genetic diversity of salmon populations while minimizing the ways humans determine the fate of the salmon.
Fishy Business provides new ways for regarding about human interactions with other species, from appealing ones like wolves, whales, and redwood tress to less popular ones like snail darters and kangaroo rats. Society struggles to decide what parts of nature matter and why. Ultimately, Scarce argues, nature is a social product: what shall we make of it?
What can a pesticide pump, a jar full of sand, or an old calico print tell us about the Anthropocene—the age of humans? Just as paleontologists look to fossil remains to infer past conditions of life on earth, so might past and present-day objects offer clues to intertwined human and natural histories that shape our planetary futures. In this era of aggressive hydrocarbon extraction, extreme weather, and severe economic disparity, how might certain objects make visible the uneven interplay of economic, material, and social forces that shape relationships among human and nonhuman beings?
Future Remains is a thoughtful and creative meditation on these questions. The fifteen objects gathered in this book resemble more the tarots of a fortuneteller than the archaeological finds of an expedition—they speak of planetary futures. Marco Armiero, Robert S. Emmett, and Gregg Mitman have assembled a cabinet of curiosities for the Anthropocene, bringing together a mix of lively essays, creatively chosen objects, and stunning photographs by acclaimed photographer Tim Flach. The result is a book that interrogates the origins, implications, and potential dangers of the Anthropocene and makes us wonder anew about what exactly human history is made of.
Dan Dagget believes that humanity can have a positive effect on the land. He demonstrates case after case of positive human engagement in the environment and of managed ecosystems and restored areas that are richer, more diverse, and healthier than unmanaged ones. Much of pre-Columbian America, he contends, was not a pristine wilderness but an ancient garden managed over millennia by native peoples who shaped the plant and animal communities around them to the mutual benefit of all.
Dagget recommends a new kind of environmentalism based on management, science, evolution, and holism, and served by humans who enrich the environment even as they benefit from it. His new environmentalism offers hopeful solutions to the current ecological crisis and a new purpose for our human energies and ideals. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned with the earth and anyone seeking a viable way for our burgeoning human population to continue to live upon it.
While a number of gases are implicated in global warming, carbon dioxide is the most important contributor, and in one sense the entire phenomena can be seen as a human-induced perturbation of the carbon cycle. The Global Carbon Cycle offers a scientific assessment of the state of current knowledge of the carbon cycle by the world's leading scientists sponsored by SCOPE and the Global Carbon Project, and other international partners. It gives an introductory over-view of the carbon cycle, with multidisciplinary contributions covering biological, physical, and social science aspects. Included are 29 chapters covering topics including: an assessment of carbon-climate-human interactions; a portfolio of carbon management options; spatial and temporal distribution of sources and sinks of carbon dioxide; socio-economic driving forces of emissions scenarios.
Throughout, contributors emphasize that all parts of the carbon cycle are interrelated, and only by developing a framework that considers the full set of feedbacks will we be able to achieve a thorough understanding and develop effective management strategies.
The Global Carbon Cycle edited by Christopher B. Field and Michael R. Raupach is part of the Rapid Assessment Publication series produced by the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), in an effort to quickly disseminate the collective knowledge of the world's leading experts on topics of pressing environmental concern.
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.
The pace of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and population growth has thrust the planet into a new age—the Anthropocene. Humans have altered the planet’s biogeochemical systems without consciously managing them. The Great Acceleration explains the causes, consequences, and uncertainties of this massive uncontrolled experiment.
While the state of California remains one of the most striking and varied landscapes in the world, it has experienced monumental changes since European settlers first set foot there. The past two centuries have witnessed an ongoing struggle between environment and economy, nature and humanity that has left an indelible mark on the region.Green Versus Gold provides a compelling look at California's environmental history from its Native American past to conflicts and movements of recent decades. Acclaimed environmental historian Carolyn Merchant has brought together a vast storehouse of primary sources and interpretive essays to create a comprehensive picture of the history of ecological and human interactions in one of the nation's most diverse and resource-rich states.For each chapter, Merchant has selected original documents that give readers an eyewitness account of specific environments and periods, along with essays from leading historians, geographers, scientists, and other experts that provide context and analysis for the documents. In addition, she presents a list of further readings of both primary and secondary sources. Among other topics, chapters examine:California's natural environment and Native American lands the Spanish and Russian frontiers environmental impacts of the gold rush the transformation of forests and rangelands agriculture and irrigation cities and urban issues the rise of environmental science and contemporary environmental movement.Merchant's informed and well-chosen selections present a unique view of decades of environmental change and controversy. Historians, educators, environmentalists, writers, students, scientists, policy makers, and others will find the book an enlightening and important contribution to the debate over our nation's environmental history.
In 2006, one of the hottest years on record, a “pizzly” was discovered near the top of the world. Half polar bear, half grizzly, this never-before-seen animal might be dismissed as a fluke of nature. Anthony Barnosky instead sees it as a harbinger of things to come.
In Heatstroke, the renowned paleoecologist shows how global warming is fundamentally changing the natural world and its creatures. While melting ice may have helped produce the pizzly, climate change is more likely to wipe out species than to create them. Plants and animals that have followed the same rhythms for millennia are suddenly being confronted with a world they’re unprepared for—and adaptation usually isn’t an option.
This is not the first time climate change has dramatically transformed Earth. Barnosky draws connections between the coming centuries and the end of the last ice age, when mass extinctions swept the planet. The differences now are that climate change is faster and hotter than past changes, and for the first time humanity is driving it. Which means this time we can work to stop it.
No one knows exactly what nature will come to look like in this new age of global warming. But Heatstroke gives us a haunting portrait of what we stand to lose and the vitality of what can be saved.
How Nature Speaks illustrates the convergence of complexity theory in the biophysical and social sciences and the implications of the science of complexity for environmental politics and practice. This collection of essays focuses on uncertainty, surprise, and positionality—situated rather than absolute knowledge—in studies of nature by people embedded within the very thing they purport to study from the outside. The contributors address the complicated relationship between scientists and nature as part of a broader reassessment of how we conceive of ourselves, knowledge, and the world that we both inhabit and shape.
Exploring ways of conceiving the complexity and multiplicity of humans’ many interactive relationships with the environment, the contributors provide in-depth case studies of the interweaving of culture and nature in socio-historical processes. The case studies focus on the origin of environmental movements, the politicization of environmental issues in city politics, the development of a local energy production system, and the convergence of forest management practices toward a dominant scheme. They are supported by explorations of big-picture issues: recurring themes in studies of social and environmental dynamics, the difficulties of deliberative democracy, and the potential gains for socio-ecological research offered by developmental systems theory and Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of intentionality.
How Nature Speaks includes a helpful primer, “On Thinking Dynamically about the Human Ecological Condition,” which explains the basic principles of complexity and nonlinear thinking.
Contributors. Chuck Dyke, Yrjö Haila, Ari Jokinen, Ville Lähde, Markus Laine, Iordanis Marcoulatos, John O’Neill, Susan Oyama, Taru Peltola, Lasse Peltonen, John Shotter, Peter Taylor
Threats to biodiversity, food shortages, urban sprawl . . . lessons for environmental problems that confront us today may well be found in the past. The archaeological record contains hundreds of situations in which societies developed long-term sustainable relationships with their environments—and thousands in which the relationships were destructive. Charles Redman demonstrates that much can be learned from an improved understanding of peoples who, through seemingly rational decisions, degraded their environments and threatened their own survival. By discussing archaeological case studies from around the world—from the deforestation of the Mayan lowlands to soil erosion in ancient Greece to the almost total depletion of resources on Easter Island—Redman reveals the long-range coevolution of culture and environment and clearly shows the impact that ancient peoples had on their world. These case studies focus on four themes: habitat transformation and animal extinctions, agricultural practices, urban growth, and the forces that accompany complex society. They show that humankind's commitment to agriculture has had cultural consequences that have conditioned our perception of the environment and reveal that societies before European contact did not necessarily live the utopian existences that have been popularly supposed. Whereas most books on this topic tend to treat human societies as mere reactors to environmental stimuli, Redman's volume shows them to be active participants in complex and evolving ecological relationships. Human Impact on Ancient Environments demonstrates how archaeological research can provide unique insights into the nature of human stewardship of the Earth and can permanently alter the way we think about humans and the environment.
In Praise of Nature
Edited by Stephanie Mills; Foreword by Tom Brokaw Island Press, 1990 Library of Congress QH541.145.I5 1990 | Dewey Decimal 363.7
Five thought-provoking essays by Stephanie Mills are followed by reviews and excerpts of the ten most important pieces of related literature written by experts in the various fields. Reviewers include Peter Borrelli, David Brower, Ernest Callenbach, J. Baird Callicott, Lois Gibbs, and others. Following the essays is an annotated bibliography listing over 100 important environmental works.
For thirty years, Larry Aumiller lived in close company with the world’s largest grouping of brown bears, returning by seaplane every spring to the wilderness side of Cook Inlet, two hundred and fifty miles southwest of Anchorage to work as a manager, teacher, guide, and more. Eventually—without the benefit of formal training in wildlife management or ecology—he become one of the world’s leading experts on brown bears, the product of an unprecedented experiment in peaceful coexistence.
This book celebrates Aumiller’s achievement, telling the story of his decades with the bears alongside his own remarkable photographs. As both professional wildlife managers and ordinary citizens alike continue to struggle to bridge the gap between humans and the wild creatures we’ve driven out, In Wild Trust is an inspiring account of what we can achieve.
A vast number of national parks and protected areas throughout the world have been established in the customary territories of Indigenous peoples. In many cases these conservation areas have displaced Indigenous peoples, undermining their cultures, livelihoods, and self-governance, while squandering opportunities to benefit from their knowledge, values, and practices. This book makes the case for a paradigm shift in conservation from exclusionary, uninhabited national parks and wilderness areas to new kinds of protected areas that recognize Indigenous peoples’ conservation contributions and rights. It documents the beginnings of such a paradigm shift and issues a clarion call for transforming conservation in ways that could enhance the effectiveness of protected areas and benefit Indigenous peoples in and near tens of thousands of protected areas worldwide.
Indigenous Peoples, National Parks, and Protected Areas integrates wide-ranging, multidisciplinary intellectual perspectives with detailed analyses of new kinds of protected areas in diverse parts of the world. Eleven geographers and anthropologists contribute nine substantive fieldwork-based case studies. Their contributions offer insights into experience with new conservation approaches in an array of countries, including Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Peru, South Africa, and the United States.
This book breaks new ground with its in-depth exploration of changes in conservation policies and practices—and their profound ramifications for Indigenous peoples, protected areas, and social reconciliation.
Infrastructure, Environment, and Life in the Anthropocene explores life in the age of climate change through a series of infrastructural puzzles—sites at which it has become impossible to disentangle the natural from the built environment. With topics ranging from breakwaters built of oysters, underground rivers made by leaky pipes, and architecture gone weedy to neighborhoods partially submerged by rising tides, the contributors explore situations that destabilize the concepts we once relied on to address environmental challenges. They take up the challenge that the Anthropocene poses both to life on the planet and to our social-scientific understanding of it by showing how past conceptions of environment and progress have become unmoored and what this means for how we imagine the future.
Contributors. Nikhil Anand, Andrea Ballestero, Bruce Braun, Ashley Carse, Gastón R. Gordillo, Kregg Hetherington, Casper Bruun Jensen, Joseph Masco, Shaylih Muehlmann, Natasha Myers, Stephanie Wakefield, Austin Zeiderman
The Island of Lost Luggage
Janet McAdams University of Arizona Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS3563.C263I85 2000 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
". . . at the Island of Lost Luggage, they line up:
the disappeared, the lost children, the Earharts
of modern life. It's your bad luck to die in the cold
wars of certain nations. But in the line at Unclaimed
Baggage, no one mourns for the sorry world
that sent them here . . ."
The abused. The oppressed. The terrified victims of institutionalized insanity. Making daring connections between the personal and the political, Janet McAdams draws new lines in the conflict between the new and old worlds as she redefines the struggle to remain human.
This award-winning collection of poetry forges surprising links among seemingly unrelated forms of violence and resistance in today's world: war in Central America, abuses against Nature, the battleground of the bedroom. McAdams evokes the absurdity of everyday existence as she sends out a new call for social responsibility.
The Island of Lost Luggage is the poetry winner of the 1999 First Book Awards competition of the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas.
From Charles Darwin’s enlightening voyage to the Galapagos Islands to moat-encased prisons incarcerating the world’s deadliest prisoners, islands have been sites of immense scientific, political, and creative importance. An inspiration for artists and writers, they can be lively centers of holiday revelry or remote, mysterious spots; places of escape or of exile and imprisonment. In this cultural and scientific history of these alluring, isolated territories, Stephen A. Royle describes the great variety of islands, their economies, and the animals, plants, and people who thrive on them.
Royle shows that despite the view of some islands as earthly paradises, they are often beset by severe limitations in both resources and opportunities. Detailing the population loss many islands have faced in recent years, he considers how islanders have developed their homes into tourist destinations in order to combat economic instability. He also explores their exotic, otherworldly beauty and the ways they have provided both refuge and inspiration for artists, such as Paul Gauguin in Tahiti and George Orwell on the Scottish island of Jura. Filled with illustrations, Islands is a compelling and comprehensive survey of the geographical and cultural aspects of island life.
Mexico is one of the most ecologically diverse nations on the planet, with landscapes that range from rainforests to deserts and from small villages to the continent’s largest metropolis. Yet historians are only beginning to understand how people’s use of the land, extraction of its resources, and attempts to conserve it have shaped both the landscape and its inhabitants.
A Land Between Waters explores the relationship between the people and the environment in Mexico. It heralds the arrival of environmental history as a major area of study within the field of Mexican history. This volume brings together a dozen original works of environmental history by some of the foremost experts in Mexican environmental history from both the United States and Mexico.
The contributions collected in this seminal volume explore a wide array of topics, from the era of independence to the present day. Together they examine how humans have used, abused, and attended to nature in Mexico over more than two hundred years. Written in clear, accessible prose, A Land Between Waters showcases the breadth of Mexican environmental history in a way that defines the key topics in the field and suggests avenues for subsequent work. Most importantly, it assesses the impacts of environmental changes that Mexico has faced in the past with an eye to informing national debates about the challenges that the nation will face in the future.
The arrival of Anglo settlers in the 1870s marked the beginning of major vegetation changes in southeastern Arizona, including an increase in woody plants in rangelands, the degradation of riparian wetlands, and the spread of non-native plants. While many of these changes have already been linked to human land-use through comparative photographs and historic descriptions, it has long been presumed that changes in the region's climate have also contributed to vegetation change.
Geographer Conrad Bahre now challenges the view that these vegetation changes are due to climatic change. Correlating his own field research with archival records and photographs, Bahre demonstrates that most of the changes follow some type of human disturbance, such as cattle grazing, fuelwood cutting, wildfire suppression, agriculture, and road construction. Indeed, all available evidence suggests that Anglo settlement brought unprecedented changes to the land.
Vegetation change in the American West has long been an issue of concern. This careful scrutiny of one corner of that region—one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the United States—shows how poorly understood is the relationship between human activities and vegetation. More important, it introduces new techniques for differentiating between natural and anthropogenic factors effecting vegetation change that can be used to help ecologists understand vegetation dynamics worldwide.
Life in the Himalaya
Maharaj K. Pandit Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress QH193.H5P36 20217 | Dewey Decimal 333.72095496
The collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates 50 million years ago created the Himalaya, along with massive glaciers, intensified monsoon, turbulent rivers, and an efflorescence of ecosystems. Today, the Himalaya is at risk of catastrophic loss of life. Maharaj Pandit outlines the mountain’s past in order to map a way toward a sustainable future.
In the capital of Ghana, a teenager nicknamed “Condom Sister” trolls the streets to educate other young people about contraception. Her work and her own aspirations point to a remarkable shift not only in the West African nation, where just a few decades ago women had nearly seven children on average, but around the globe. While world population continues to grow, family size keeps dropping in countries as diverse as Switzerland and South Africa.
The phenomenon has some lamenting the imminent extinction of humanity, while others warn that our numbers will soon outgrow the planet’s resources. Robert Engelman offers a decidedly different vision—one that celebrates women’s widespread desire for smaller families. Mothers aren’t seeking more children, he argues, but more for their children. If they’re able to realize their intentions, we just might suffer less climate change, hunger, and disease, not to mention sky-high housing costs and infuriating traffic jams.
In More, Engelman shows that this three-way dance between population, women’s autonomy, and the natural world is as old as humanity itself. He traces pivotal developments in our history that set population—and society—on its current trajectory, from hominids’ first steps on two feet to the persecution of “witches” in Europe to the creation of modern contraception. Both personal and sweeping, More explores how population growth has shaped modern civilization—and humanity as we know it.
The result is a mind-stretching exploration of parenthood, sex, and culture through the ages. Yet for all its fascinating historical detail, More is primarily about the choices we face today. Whether society supports women to have children when and only when they choose to will not only shape their lives, but the world all our children will inherit.
A collection of the papers presented at the Twentieth Anniversary Southwest Symposium, Movement, Connectivity, and Landscape Change in the Ancient Southwest looks back at the issues raised in the first symposium in 1988 and tackles three contemporary domains in archaeology: landscape use and ecological change, movement and ethnogenesis, and connectivity among social groups through time and space. Across these sections the authors address the relevance of archaeology in the modern world; new approaches and concerns about collaboration across disciplines, communities, and subgroups; and the importance of multiple perspectives.
Particular attention is paid to the various ways that archaeology can and should contribute to contemporary social and environmental issues. Contributors come together to provide a synthetic volume on current research and possibilities for future explorations. Moving forward, they argue that archaeologists must continue to include researchers from across political and disciplinary boundaries and enhance collaboration with Native American groups.
This book will be of interest to professional and academic archaeologists, as well as students working in the field of the American Southwest.
In A Natural History of the Chicago Region, Joel Greenberg takes readers on a journey that begins in 1673 with Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet—the first Europeans known to have visited the Chicago region—and that we're still on today. This is a fascinating story, told with humor and passion, of forests battling prairies for dominance; of grasslands plowed, wetlands drained, and species driven to extinction in the settlement of the Midwest; and of caring conservationists fighting to preserve and restore the native plants and animals. Intermingling historical anecdotes and episodes straight from the words of early settlers and naturalists with current scientific information, Greenberg places the natural history of the region in a human context, showing how it affects our everyday existence in even the most urbanized landscape of Chicago.
Is Italy il bel paese—the beautiful country—where tourists spend their vacations looking for art, history, and scenery? Or is it a land whose beauty has been cursed by humanity’s greed and nature’s cruelty? The answer is largely a matter of narrative and the narrator’s vision of Italy. The fifteen essays in Nature and History in Modern Italy investigate that nation’s long experience in managing domesticated rather than wild natures and offer insight into these conflicting visions. Italians shaped their land in the most literal sense, producing the landscape, sculpting its heritage, embedding memory in nature, and rendering the two different visions inseparable. The interplay of Italy’s rich human history and its dramatic natural diversity is a subject with broad appeal to a wide range of readers.
Can “market forces” solve the world’s environmental problems? The stakes are undeniably high. With wildlife populations and biodiversity riches threatened across the globe, it is obvious that new and innovative methods of addressing the crisis are vital to the future of the planet. But is “the market” the answer?
As public funding for conservation efforts grows ever scarcer and the private sector is brimming with ideas about how its role—along with its profits— can grow, market forces have found their way into environmental management to a degree unimaginable only a few years ago. Ecotourism, payment for environmental services (PES), and new conservation finance instruments such as species banking, carbon trading, and biodiversity derivatives are only some of the market mechanisms that have sprung into being. This is “Nature™ Inc.”: a fast-growing frontier of networks, activities, knowledge, and regulations that are rapidly changing the relations between people and nature on both global and local scales.
Nature™ Inc. brings together cutting-edge research by respected scholars from around the world to analyze how “neoliberal conservation” is reshaping human–nature relations that have been fashioned over two centuries of capitalist development. Contributors synthesize and add to a growing body of academic literature that cuts across the disciplinary boundaries of geography, sociology, anthropology, political science, and development studies to critically interrogate the increasing emphasis on neoliberal market-based mechanisms in environmental conservation. They all grapple with one overriding question: can capitalist market mechanisms resolve the environmental problems they have helped create?
Life itself as well as the entire human economy depends on goods and services provided by earth's natural systems. The processes of cleansing, recycling, and renewal, along with goods such as seafood, forage, and timber, are worth many trillions of dollars annually, and nothing could live without them. Yet growing human impacts on the environment are profoundly disrupting the functioning of natural systems and imperiling the delivery of these services.Nature's Services brings together world-renowned scientists from a variety of disciplines to examine the character and value of ecosystem services, the damage that has been done to them, and the consequent implications for human society. Contributors including Paul R. Ehrlich, Donald Kennedy, Pamela A. Matson, Robert Costanza, Gary Paul Nabhan, Jane Lubchenco, Sandra Postel, and Norman Myers present a detailed synthesis of our current understanding of a suite of ecosystem services and a preliminary assessment of their economic value. Chapters consider: major services including climate regulation, soil fertility, pollination, and pest control philosophical and economic issues of valuation case studies of specific ecosystems and services implication of recent findings and steps that must be taken to address the most pressing concerns Nature's Services represents one of the first efforts by scientists to provide an overview of the many benefits and services that nature offers to people and the extent to which we are all vitally dependent on those services. The book enhances our understanding of the value of the natural systems that surround us and can play an essential role in encouraging greater efforts to protect the earth's basic life-support systems before it is too late.
For millennia the ecology of the Great Basin has evolved because of climate change and the impacts of human presence. Nevada’s Changing Wildlife Habitat is the first book to explain the transformations in the plants and animals of this region over time and how they came about. Using data gleaned from archaeological and anthropological studies, numerous historical documents, repeat photography, and several natural sciences, the authors examine changes in vegetation and their impact on wildlife species and the general health of the environment. They also outline the choices that current users and managers of rangelands face in being good stewards of this harsh but fragile environment and its wildlife.
Nevada's relatively brief history (it became a state in 1864) has been largely a story of the exploitation of its natural resources. Mining has torn down mountains and poisoned streams and groundwater. Uncontrolled grazing by vast herds of sheep and cattle has denuded grasslands and left them prey to the invasion of noxious plant species and vulnerable to wildfire. Clear-cut logging practices have changed the composition of forests and induced serious soil erosion. More recently, military testing, including hundreds of atomic blasts to determine the efficacy of nuclear weapons, has irreversibly polluted expanses of fragile desert landscape. And rampant development throughout the state over the past four decades, along with the public's growing demand for recreational facilities, has placed intolerable demands on the arid state's limited water resources and threatened the survival of numerous rare plant and animal species. Veteran historian and Nevada native James W. Hulse considers the state's complex environmental history as a series of Faustian bargains between the state's need for economic development and the industries, government agencies, and individuals that have exploited Nevada's natural resources with little concern for the long-term consequences of their activities. His survey covers all these issues, and examines public attitudes about the environment and the role of federal and state agencies in creating, interpreting, and enforcing environmental policies.
New Natures broadens the dialogue between the disciplines of science and technology studies (STS) and environmental history in hopes of deepening and even transforming understandings of human-nature interactions. The volume presents richly developed historical studies that explicitly engage with key STS theories, offering models for how these theories can help crystallize central lessons from empirical histories, facilitate comparative analysis, and provide a language for complicated historical phenomena. Overall, the collection exemplifies the fruitfulness of cross-disciplinary thinking.
The chapters follow three central themes: ways of knowing, or how knowledge is produced and how this mediates our understanding of the environment; constructions of environmental expertise, showing how expertise is evaluated according to categories, categorization, hierarchies, and the power afforded to expertise; and lastly, an analysis of networks, mobilities, and boundaries, demonstrating how knowledge is both diffused and constrained and what this means for humans and the environment.
Contributors explore these themes by discussing a wide array of topics, including farming, forestry, indigenous land management, ecological science, pollution, trade, energy, and outer space, among others. The epilogue, by the eminent environmental historian Sverker Sörlin, views the deep entanglements of humans and nature in contemporary urbanity and argues we should preserve this relationship in the future. Additionally, the volume looks to extend the valuable conversation between STS and environmental history to wider communities that include policy makers and other stakeholders, as many of the issues raised can inform future courses of action.
In his provocative book The Next Social Contract, Wayne Gabardi rigorously considers the fate of animals in the twenty-first century. He claims that if we are to address the challenges raised by the Anthropocene—the period where nonhuman beings tend to be mere extras, often subsumed under the umbrella notion of “nature”—we need to radically rethink our basic ethical outlook and develop a new, “more-than-human” social contract.
Gabardi’s wide-ranging and multidisciplinary analysis focuses on four principal battlegrounds of animal biopolitics in the twenty first century: the extinction of wild animals, the crisis of oceanic animals, industrialized farm animals and the future of industrial agribusiness, and the situation of contact-zone animals moving into human-occupied habitats.
In his recasting of the social contract, Gabardi envisions a culture shift in human-animal relations toward posthumanism that features the ethical and political prioritization of animal life so it is on par with that of human well-being.
In this rich ethnographic study, Kelly D. Alley sheds light on debates about water uses, wastewater management, and the meanings of waste and sacred power. On the Banks of the Ganga analyzes the human predicaments that result from the accumulation and disposal of waste by tracing how citizens of India interpret the impact of wastewater flows on a sacred river and on their own cultural practices.
Alley investigates ethno-semantic, discursive, and institutional data to flesh out the interplay between religious, scientific, and official discourses about the river Ganga. Using a new outward layering methodology, she points out that anthropological analysis must separate the historical and discursive strands of the debates concerning waste and sacred purity in order to reveal the cultural complexities that surround the Ganga. Ultimately, she addresses a deeply rooted cultural paradox: if the Ganga river is considered sacred by Hindus across India, then why do the people allow it to become polluted?
Examining areas of contemporary concern such as water usage and urban waste management in the most populated river basin in the world, this book will appeal to anthropologists and readers in religious, environmental, and Asian studies, as well as geography and law.
Kelly D. Alley is Associate Professor and Director of Anthropology at Auburn University. In addition to being a prolific writer, she has conducted research on public culture and environmental issues in northern India for over a decade. Alley is currently overseeing a project to ameliorate river pollution problems in India.
2018 Reading the West Book Awards Nonfiction Winner
Have you ever wondered about society’s desire to cultivate the perfect lawn, why we view some animals as “good” and some as “bad,” or even thought about the bits of nature inside everyday items–toothbrushes, cell phones, and coffee mugs? In this fresh and introspective collection of essays, Julia Corbett examines nature in our lives with all of its ironies and contradictions by seamlessly integrating personal narratives with morsels of highly digestible science and research. Each story delves into an overlooked aspect of our relationship with nature—insects, garbage, backyards, noise, open doors, animals, and language—and how we cover our tracks.
With a keen sense of irony and humor and an awareness of the miraculous in the mundane, Julia recognizes the contradictions of contemporary life. She confronts the owner of a high-end market who insists on keeping his doors open in all temperatures. Takes us on a trip to a new mall with a replica of a trout stream that once flowed nearby. The phrase “out of the woods” guides us through layers of meaning to a contemplation of grief, remembrance, and resilience.
Out of the Woods leads to surprising insights into the products, practices, and phrases we take for granted in our everyday encounters with nature and encourages us all to consider how we might re-value or reimagine our relationships with nature in our everyday lives.
Were the earliest inhabitants of the Great Basin 'Paleoindians' in the traditional sense? Were they highly mobile foragers? Did they hunt large, now extinct animals like mammoth, horse, and camel?
Great Basin archaeologists have argued that the earliest inhabitants possessed an organization strategy of mixed 'Paleoindian' and 'Archaic' lifeways, referring to them as 'Paleoarchaic.'
Recent excavations of rock shelters and caves, coupled with innovative studies of the surface archaeological record have increased our understanding of human organization in the Great Basin during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. When did humans first inhabit the Great Basin? How do we interpret projectile point variability from late Pleistocene and early Holocene contexts? What land-use and foraging strategies characterized the early inhabitants? Did these hunter-gatherers possess a Paleoindian or Paleoarchaic lifeway?
This volume offers an updated perspective of human ecology and organization during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in the Great Basin, 13,000–8,000 years ago.
Creating institutions to meet the challenge of sustainability is arguably the most important task confronting society; it is also dauntingly complex. Ecological, economic, and social elements all play a role, but despite ongoing efforts, researchers have yet to succeed in integrating the various disciplines in a way that gives adequate representation to the insights of each.Panarchy, a term devised to describe evolving hierarchical systems with multiple interrelated elements, offers an important new framework for understanding and resolving this dilemma. Panarchy is the structure in which systems, including those of nature (e.g., forests) and of humans (e.g., capitalism), as well as combined human-natural systems (e.g., institutions that govern natural resource use such as the Forest Service), are interlinked in continual adaptive cycles of growth, accumulation, restructuring, and renewal. These transformational cycles take place at scales ranging from a drop of water to the biosphere, over periods from days to geologic epochs. By understanding these cycles and their scales, researchers can identify the points at which a system is capable of accepting positive change, and can use those leverage points to foster resilience and sustainability within the system.This volume brings together leading thinkers on the subject -- including Fikret Berkes, Buz Brock, Steve Carpenter, Carl Folke, Lance Gunderson, C.S. Holling, Don Ludwig, Karl-Goran Maler, Charles Perrings, Marten Scheffer, Brian Walker, and Frances Westley -- to develop and examine the concept of panarchy and to consider how it can be applied to human, natural, and human-natural systems. Throughout, contributors seek to identify adaptive approaches to management that recognize uncertainty and encourage innovation while fostering resilience.The book is a fundamental new development in a widely acclaimed line of inquiry. It represents the first step in integrating disciplinary knowledge for the adaptive management of human-natural systems across widely divergent scales, and offers an important base of knowledge from which institutions for adaptive management can be developed. It will be an invaluable source of ideas and understanding for students, researchers, and professionals involved with ecology, conservation biology, ecological economics, environmental policy, or related fields.
The first Europeans to set foot on North America stood in awe of the natural abundance before them. The skies were filled with birds, seas and rivers teemed with fish, and the forests and grasslands were a hunter’s dream, with populations of game too abundant and diverse to even fathom. It’s no wonder these first settlers thought they had discovered a paradise of sorts. Fortunately for us, they left a legacy of copious records documenting what they saw, and these observations make it possible to craft a far more detailed evocation of North America before its settlement than any other place on the planet.
Here Steve Nicholls brings this spectacular environment back to vivid life, demonstrating with both historical narrative and scientific inquiry just what an amazing place North America was and how it looked when the explorers first found it. The story of the continent’s colonization forms a backdrop to its natural history, which Nicholls explores in chapters on the North Atlantic, the East Coast, the Subtropical Caribbean, the West Coast, Baja California, and the Great Plains. Seamlessly blending firsthand accounts from centuries past with the findings of scientists today, Nicholls also introduces us to a myriad cast of characters who have chronicled the changing landscape, from pre–Revolutionary era settlers to researchers whom he has met in the field.
A director and writer of Emmy Award–winning wildlife documentaries for the Smithsonian Channel, Animal Planet, National Geographic, and PBS, Nicholls deploys a cinematic flair for capturing nature at its most mesmerizing throughout. But Paradise Found is much more than a celebration of what once was: it is also a reminder of how much we have lost along the way and an urgent call to action so future generations are more responsible stewards of the world around them. The result is popular science of the highest order: a book as remarkable as the landscape it recreates and as inspired as the men and women who discovered it.
Carnivores provide innumerable ecological benefits and play a unique role in preserving and maintaining ecosystem services and function, but at the same time they can create serious problems for human populations. A key question for conservation biologists and wildlife managers is how to manage the world's carnivore populations to conserve this important natural resource while mitigating harmful impacts on humans.
In People and Predators, leading scientists and researchers offer case studies of human-carnivore conflicts in a variety of landscapes, including rural, urban, and political. The book covers a diverse range of taxa, geographic regions, and conflict scenarios, with each chapter dealing with a specific facet of human-carnivore interactions and offering practical, concrete approaches to resolving the conflict under consideration. Chapters provide background on particular problems and describe how challenges have been met or what research or tools are still needed to resolve the conflicts.
People and Predators will helps readers to better understand issues of carnivore conservation in the 21st century, and provides practical tools for resolving many of the problems that stand between us and a future in which carnivores fulfill their historic ecological roles.
East Germany’s Socialist Unity Party aimed to placate a public well aware of the higher standards of living enjoyed elsewhere by encouraging them to participate in outdoor activities and take vacations in the countryside. Scott Moranda considers East Germany’s rural landscapes from the perspective of both technical experts (landscape architects, biologists, and physicians) who hoped to dictate how vacationers interacted with nature, and the vacationers themselves, whose outdoor experience shaped their understanding of environmental change. As authorities eliminated traditional tourist and nature conservation organizations, dissident conservationists demanded better protection of natural spaces. At the same time, many East Germans shared their government’s expectations for economic development that had real consequences for the land. By the 1980s, environmentalists saw themselves as outsiders struggling against the state and a public that had embraced mainstream ideas about limitless economic growth and material pleasures.
Planting the Anthropocene is a rhetorical look into the world of industrial tree planting in Canada that engages the themes of nature, culture, and environmental change. Bringing together the work of material ecocriticism and critical affect studies in service of a new materialist environmental rhetoric, Planting the Anthropocene forwards a frame that can be used to work through complex scenes of anthropogenic labor.
Using the results of interviews with seasonal Canadian tree planters, Jennifer Clary-Lemon interrogates the complex and messy imbrication of nature-culture through the inadequate terminology used to describe the actual circumstances of the planters’ work and lives—and offers alternative ways to conceptualize them. Although silvicultural workers do engage with the limiting rhetoric of efficiency and humanism, they also make rhetorical choices that break down the nature-culture divide and orient them on a continuum that blurs the boundaries between the given and the constructed, the human and nonhuman. Tree-planting work is approached as a site of a deep-seated materiality—a continued re-creation of the land’s “disturbance”—rather than a simplistic form of doing good that further separates humans from landscapes.
Jennifer Clary-Lemon’s view of nature and the Anthropocene through the lens of material rhetorical studies is thoroughly original and will be of great interest to students and scholars of rhetoric and composition, especially those focused on the environment.
Practical Ecology for Planners, Developers, and Citizens introduces and explains key ecological concepts for planners, landscape architects, developers, and others involved in planning and building human habitats. The book is tailored to meet the needs of busy land use professionals and citizens seeking a concise yet thorough overview of ecology and its applications. It offers clear guidelines and a wealth of information on how we can protect species and ecosystems while at the same creating healthy, sustainable human communities.
Throughout the book, the authors make ecological concepts accessible to readers with little or no scientific background. They present key ideas and information in simple and pragmatic terms, and provide numerous graphics to help explain important concepts. They also offer exercises for the reader to practice ecologically-based planning and design, along with a list of resources for practical information on ecology and conservation.
Practical Ecology for Planners, Developers, and Citizens will raise the level of ecological understanding among land use professionals and citizens, and is an invaluable new resource for anyone concerned with human land use and its environmental impacts.
Reimagining a Place for the Wild
Leslie Miller, Louise Excell, and Christopher Smart University of Utah Press, 2018 Library of Congress QL84.22.W47R45 2018 | Dewey Decimal 333.9540978
Reimagining a Place for the Wild contains a diverse collection of personal stories that describe encounters with the remaining wild creatures of the American West and critical essays that reveal wildlife’s essential place in western landscapes. Gleaned from historians, journalists, biologists, ranchers, artists, philosophers, teachers, and conservationists, these narratives expose the complex challenges faced by wild animals and those devoted to understanding them. Whether discussing keystone species like grizzly bears and gray wolves or microfauna swimming the thermal depths of geysers, these accounts reflect the authors’ expertise as well as their wonder and respect for wild nature. The writers do more than inform our sensibilities; their narratives examine both humanity’s conduct and its capacity for empathy toward other life. A selection of photos and paintings punctuates the volume.
This collection sprang from the Reimagine Western Landscapes Symposium held at the University of Utah’s Taft-Nicholson Environmental Humanities Education Center in Centennial Valley, Montana. These testaments join a chorus of voices seeking improved relations with the western wild in the twenty-first century.
Since its settlement in 1630, Boston, its harbor, and outlying regions have witnessed a monumental transformation at the hands of humans and by nature. Remaking Boston chronicles many of the events that altered the physical landscape of Boston, while also offering multidisciplinary perspectives on the environmental history of one of America's oldest and largest metropolitan areas.
Situated on an isthmus, and blessed with a natural deepwater harbor and ocean access, Boston became an important early trade hub with Europe and the world. As its population and economy grew, developers extended the city's shoreline into the surrounding tidal mudflats to create more useable land. Further expansion of the city was achieved through the annexation of surrounding communities, and the burgeoning population and economy spread to outlying areas. The interconnection of city and suburb opened the floodgates to increased commerce, services and workforces, while also leaving a wake of roads, rails, bridges, buildings, deforestation, and pollution.
Profiling this ever-changing environment, the contributors tackle a variety of topics, including: the glacial formation of the region; physical characteristics and composition of the land and harbor; dredging, sea walling, flattening, and landfill operations in the reshaping of the Shawmut Peninsula; the longstanding controversy over the link between landfills and shoaling in shipping channels; population movements between the city and suburbs and their environmental implications; interdependence of the city and its suburbs; preservation and reclamation of the Charles River; suburban deforestation and later reforestation as byproducts of changing land use; the planned outlay of parks and parkways; and historic climate changes and the human and biological adaptations to them.
First developed in the 1880s as a way to monitor glaciers in Europe, repeat photography —the practice of taking photographs at different points in times from the same physical vantage point—remains an essential and cost-effective technique for scientists and researchers working to track and study landscape change.
This volume explores the technical and geographic scope of this important technique, focusing particularly on the intertwined influences of climatic variation and land-use practices in sculpting landscapes. Contributors offer a broad-perspective review of the state-of-the-art of repeat photography, with twenty-three chapters written by researchers around the globe who have made use of repeat photography in their work. Topics addressed include
the history of repeat photography
techniques for creating and analyzing repeat photographs
applications in the geosciences
applications in population ecology
applications in ecosystem change
Repeat Photography demonstrates the wide range of potential applications, examines new techniques for acquiring data from repeat photography, and clearly shows that repeat photography remains a valuable and efficient means of monitoring change in both developed and developing regions. Over one hundred sets of photographs, including thirty-two pages of color photos, serve as examples.
Recent concerns about climate change and its effects on natural landscapes, combined with ongoing concerns about land-use practices, make this state-of-the-art review a timely contribution to the literature.
Scientists and researchers concerned with the behavior of large ecosystems have focused in recent years on the concept of "resilience." Traditional perspectives held that ecological systems exist close to a steady state and resilience is the ability of the system to return rapidly to that state following perturbation. However beginning with the work of C. S. Holling in the early 1970s, researchers began to look at conditions far from the steady state where instabilities can cause a system to shift into an entirely different regime of behavior, and where resilience is measured by the magnitude of disturbance that can be absorbed before the system is restructured.Resilience and the Behavior of Large-Scale Systems examines theories of resilience and change, offering readers a thorough understanding of how the properties of ecological resilience and human adaptability interact in complex, regional-scale systems. The book addresses the theoretical concepts of resilience and stability in large-scale ecosystems as well as the empirical application of those concepts in a diverse set of cases. In addition, it discusses the practical implications of the new theoretical approaches and their role in the sustainability of human-modified ecosystems.The book begins with a review of key properties of complex adaptive systems that contribute to overall resilience, including multiple equlibria, complexity, self-organization at multiple scales, and order; it also presents a set of mathematical metaphors to describe and deepen the reader's understanding of the ideas being discussed. Following the introduction are case studies that explore the biophysical dimensions of resilience in both terrestrial and aquatic systems and evaluate the propositions presented in the introductory chapters. The book concludes with a synthesis section that revisits propositions in light of the case studies, while an appendix presents a detailed account of the relationship between return times for a disturbed system and its resilienc.In addition to the editors, contributors include Stephen R. Carpenter, Carl Folke, C. S. Holling, Bengt-Owe Jansson, Donald Ludwig, Ariel Lugo, Tim R. McClanahan, Garry D. Peterson, and Brian H. Walker.
Despite nearly three decades of efforts intended to protect the nation's waters, and some success against certain forms of chemical and organic contamination, many of our nation's waterways continue to be seriously degraded. The call of the 1972 Clean Water Act -- "to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters" -- remains unanswered.Restoring Life in Running Waters discusses freshwater ecosystems in the United States and the need for using biology to understand their present condition. The book makes a case for using indexes that integrate measurements of many biological attributes to assess and communicate environmental health. In a unique and innovative format, the authors present 37 premises and 7 myths that explore the theory and practice of biological monitoring and the use of multimetric indexes.The book explains: why biological monitoring and assessment are needed the historical evolution of biological monitoring how and why living systems give the best signals for diagnosing environmental degradation what multimetric indexes do and why they are effective how multimetric indexes can be used and common pitfalls to avoid in using them why many criticisms of biological indexes are not valid how the principles of biological monitoring and multimetric indexes can be expanded beyond aquatic systems to other environments how information from indexes can be integrated into the regulatory and policy frameworkRestoring Life in Running Waters provides practical and effective tools for managers and scientists seeking to understand the impact of human activities on natural systems and to determine proper action to remedy problems. It is an essential handbook for conservation biologists; agency personnel at all levels, including technical staff, policymakers, and program managers; and for anyone working to protect and restore the health of the nation's waters.
Often referred to as “the Big Tomato,” Sacramento is a city whose makeup is significantly more complex than its agriculture-based sobriquet implies. In River City and Valley Life, seventeen contributors reveal the major transformations to the natural and built environment that have shaped Sacramento and its suburbs, residents, politics, and economics throughout its history.
The site that would become Sacramento was settled in 1839, when Johann Augustus Sutter attempted to convert his Mexican land grant into New Helvetia (or “New Switzerland”). It was at Sutter’s sawmill fifty miles to the east that gold was first discovered, leading to the California Gold Rush of 1849. Nearly overnight, Sacramento became a boomtown, and cityhood followed in 1850.
Ideally situated at the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers, the city was connected by waterway to San Francisco and the surrounding region. Combined with the area’s warm and sunny climate, the rivers provided the necessary water supply for agriculture to flourish. The devastation wrought by floods and cholera, however, took a huge toll on early populations and led to the construction of an extensive levee system that raised the downtown street level to combat flooding. Great fortune came when local entrepreneurs built the Central Pacific Railroad, and in 1869 it connected with the Union Pacific Railroad to form the first transcontinental passage. Sacramento soon became an industrial hub and major food-processing center. By 1879, it was named the state capital and seat of government.
In the twentieth century, the Sacramento area benefitted from the federal government’s major investment in the construction and operation of three military bases and other regional public works projects. Rapid suburbanization followed along with the building of highways, bridges, schools, parks, hydroelectric dams, and the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant, which activists would later shut down. Today, several tribal gaming resorts attract patrons to the area, while “Old Sacramento” revitalizes the original downtown as it celebrates Sacramento’s pioneering past.
This environmental history of Sacramento provides a compelling case study of urban and suburban development in California and the American West. As the contributors show, Sacramento has seen its landscape both ravaged and reborn. As blighted areas, rail yards, and riverfronts have been reclaimed, and parks and green spaces created and expanded, Sacramento’s identity continues to evolve. As it moves beyond its Gold Rush, Transcontinental Railroad, and government-town heritage, Sacramento remains a city and region deeply rooted in its natural environment.
The authors recount twelve millennia of history along the lower San Juan River, much of it the story of mostly unsuccessful human attempts to make a living from the river's arid and fickle environment. From the Anasazi to government dam builders, from Navajo to Mormon herders and farmers, from scientific explorers to busted miners, the San Juan has attracted more attention and fueled more hopes than such a remote, unpromising, and muddy stream would seem to merit.
The Rocky Mountain West is largely arid and steep, with ecological scars from past human use visible for hundreds of years. Just how damaging were the past 150 years of activity? How do current rates of disturbance compare with past mining, grazing, and water diversion activities? In the face of constant change, what constitutes a "natural" ecosystem? And can a high quality of life be achieved for both human and natural communities in this region.
Rocky Mountain Futures presents a comprehensive and wide-ranging examination of the ecological consequences of past, current, and future human activities in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States and Canada. The book brings together 32 leading ecologists, geographers, and other scientists and researchers to present an objective assessment of the cumulative effects of human activity on the region's ecological health and to consider changes wrought by past human use. This combined view of past and present reveals where Rocky Mountain ecosystems are heading, and the authors project what the future holds based upon current economic and social trends and the patterns that emerge from them. The book:
examines the biogeographic and paleoenvironmental setting and historical climate that have shaped Rocky Mountain ecosystems
traces the direct human influences on landscapes and ecosystems over the past 150 years
explores the cumulative effects of past, present, and projected future human activities on tundra, subalpine and montane forests, valleys, grasslands, and waters
offers case studies that illustrate specific examples of human influence and current efforts to restore the environment
Case studies focus on northern New Mexico; Summit County, Colorado; Flathead Valley, Montana; and Alberta, Canada. Among the contributors are Craig D. Allen, N. Thompson Hobbs, Linda L. Joyce, Robert E. Keane, David Schindler, Timothy R. Seastedt, David Theobald, Diana Tomback, William Travis, Cathy Whitlock, and Jack Stanford.
The United Nations has proclaimed 2002 as the International Year of Mountains to increase international awareness of the global importance of mountain ecosystems. The case-based multidisciplinary approach of this book constitutes an important new model for understanding the implications of land-use practices and economic activity on mountains, and will serve a vital role in improving decisionmaking both in the Rocky Mountains and in other parts of the world that face similar challenges.
In New Mexico's Gila Wilderness, 106 Mexican gray wolves may be some of the most monitored wildlife on the planet. Collared, microchipped, and transported by helicopter, the wolves are protected and confined in an attempt to appease ranchers and conservationists alike. Once a symbol of the wild, these wolves have come to illustrate the demise of wilderness in this Human Age, where man's efforts shape life in even the most remote corners of the earth. And yet, the howl of an unregistered wolf—half of a rogue pair—splits the night. If you know where to look, you'll find that much remains untamed, and even today, wildness can remain a touchstone for our relationship with the rest of nature.
In Satellites in the High Country, journalist and adventurer Jason Mark travels beyond the bright lights and certainties of our cities to seek wildness wherever it survives. In California's Point Reyes National Seashore, a battle over oyster farming and designated wilderness pits former allies against one another, as locals wonder whether wilderness should be untouched, farmed, or something in between. In Washington's Cascade Mountains, a modern-day wild woman and her students learn to tan hides and start fires without matches, attempting to connect with a primal past out of reach for the rest of society. And in Colorado's High Country, dark skies and clear air reveal a breathtaking expanse of stars, flawed only by the arc of a satellite passing—beauty interrupted by the traffic of a million conversations. These expeditions to the edges of civilization's grid show us that, although our notions of pristine nature may be shattering, the mystery of the wild still exists — and in fact, it is more crucial than ever.
But wildness is wily as a coyote: you have to be willing to track it to understand the least thing about it. Satellites in the High Country is an epic journey on the trail of the wild, a poetic and incisive exploration of its meaning and enduring power in our Human Age.
Jairus Victor Grove contends that we live in a world made by war. In Savage Ecology he offers an ecological theory of geopolitics that argues that contemporary global crises are better understood when considered within the larger history of international politics. Infusing international relations with the theoretical interventions of fields ranging from new materialism to political theory, Grove shows how political violence is the principal force behind climate change, mass extinction, slavery, genocide, extractive capitalism, and other catastrophes. Grove analyzes a variety of subjects—from improvised explosive devices and drones to artificial intelligence and brain science—to outline how geopolitics is the violent pursuit of a way of living that comes at the expense of others. Pointing out that much of the damage being done to the earth and its inhabitants stems from colonialism, Grove suggests that the Anthropocene may be better described by the term Eurocene. The key to changing the planet's trajectory, Grove proposes, begins by acknowledging both the earth-shaping force of geopolitical violence and the demands apocalypses make for fashioning new ways of living.
We have long lorded over the ocean. But only recently have we become aware of the myriad life-forms beneath its waves. We now know that this delicate ecosystem is our life-support system; it regulates the earth’s temperatures and climate and comprises 99 percent of living space on earth. So when we change the chemistry of the whole ocean system, as we are now, life as we know it is threatened.
In Seasick, veteran science journalist Alanna Mitchell dives beneath the surface of the world’s oceans to give readers a sense of how this watery realm can be managed and preserved, and with it life on earth. Each chapter features a different group of researchers who introduce readers to the importance of ocean currents, the building of coral structures, or the effects of acidification. With Mitchell at the helm, readers submerge 3,000 feet to gather sea sponges that may contribute to cancer care, see firsthand the lava lamp–like dead zone covering 17,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of Mexico, and witness the simultaneous spawning of corals under a full moon in Panama.
The first book to look at the planetary environmental crisis through the lens of the global ocean, Seasick takes the reader on an emotional journey through a hidden realm of the planet and urges conservation and reverence for the fount from which all life on earth sprang.
Serengeti National Park is one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, a natural laboratory for ecology, evolution, and conservation, with a history that dates back at least four million years to the beginnings of human evolution. The third book of a ground- breaking series, Serengeti III is the result of a long-term integrated research project that documents changes to this unique ecosystem every ten years.
Bringing together researchers from a wide range of disciplines—ecologists, paleontologists, economists, social scientists, mathematicians, and disease specialists— this volume focuses on the interactions between the natural system and the human-dominated agricultural system. By examining how changes in rainfall, wildebeest numbers, commodity prices, and human populations have impacted the Serengeti ecosystem, the authors conclude that changes in the natural system have affected human welfare just as changes in the human system have impacted the natural world. To promote both the conservation of biota and the sustainability of human welfare, the authors recommend community-based conservation and protected-area conservation. Serengeti III presents a timely and provocative look at the conservation status of one of earth’s most renowned ecosystems.
Wisconsin’s rich tradition of sustainability rightfully includes its First Americans, who along with Aldo Leopold, John Muir, and Gaylord Nelson shaped its landscape and informed its “earth ethics.” This collection of Native biographies, one from each of the twelve Indian nations of Wisconsin, introduces the reader to some of the most important figures in Native sustainability: from anti-mining activists like Walt Bresette (Red Cliff Ojibwe) and Hillary Waukau (Menominee) to treaty rights advocates like James Schlender (Lac Courte Oreille Ojibwe), artists like Truman Lowe (Ho-Chunk), and educators like Dorothy “Dot” Davids (Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians), along with tribal geneologists, land stewards, and preservers of language and culture. Each of the biographies speaks to traditional ecological values and cultural sensibilities, highlighting men and women who helped to sustain and nurture their nations in the past and present.
The Native people whose lives are depicted in Seventh Generation Earth Ethics understood the cultural gravity that kept their people rooted to their ancestral lands and acted in ways that ensured the growth and success of future generations. In this way they honor the Ojibwe Seventh Generation philosophy, which cautions decision makers to consider how their actions will affect seven generations in the future—some 240 years.
So Shall You Reap is a broad-gauged exploration of the intersections of farming and history. Beginning with the prehistorical era, Otto and Dorothy Solbrig describe the evolution of farming. When and how did people learn to irrigate, to fertilize, to rotate their crops -- and why?
Along with its fundamental importance to history, farming has radically altered the physical world. Natural landscapes have been completely transformed to provide room for growth on a large scale of a few species of plants and even fewer species of domesticated animals. Agriculture has altered the earth's biosphere and changed its geosphere: The soil has been modified, forests have been felled, swamps have been drained, rivers have been dammed and diverted.
So Shall You Reap presents a fresh and informed perspective on how farming and the crops we grow have changed us and our environment. By understanding the nature of the origins and evolution of agriculture, we will be better prepared to anticipate what the future may hold in store, and what must be done to increase food production while minimizing environmental problems.
In the midst of spiraling ecological devastation, multispecies feminist theorist Donna J. Haraway offers provocative new ways to reconfigure our relations to the earth and all its inhabitants. She eschews referring to our current epoch as the Anthropocene, preferring to conceptualize it as what she calls the Chthulucene, as it more aptly and fully describes our epoch as one in which the human and nonhuman are inextricably linked in tentacular practices. The Chthulucene, Haraway explains, requires sym-poiesis, or making-with, rather than auto-poiesis, or self-making. Learning to stay with the trouble of living and dying together on a damaged earth will prove more conducive to the kind of thinking that would provide the means to building more livable futures. Theoretically and methodologically driven by the signifier SF—string figures, science fact, science fiction, speculative feminism, speculative fabulation, so far—Staying with the Trouble further cements Haraway's reputation as one of the most daring and original thinkers of our time.
In The Story of N, Hugh S. Gorman analyzes the notion of sustainability from a fresh perspective—the integration of human activities with the biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen—and provides a supportive alternative to studying sustainability through the lens of climate change and the cycling of carbon. It is the first book to examine the social processes by which industrial societies learned to bypass a fundamental ecological limit and, later, began addressing the resulting concerns by establishing limits of their own
The book is organized into three parts. Part I, “The Knowledge of Nature,” explores the emergence of the nitrogen cycle before humans arrived on the scene and the changes that occurred as stationary agricultural societies took root. Part II, “Learning to Bypass an Ecological Limit,” examines the role of science and market capitalism in accelerating the pace of innovation, eventually allowing humans to bypass the activity of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Part III, “Learning to Establish Human-Defined Limits,” covers the twentieth-century response to the nitrogen-related concerns that emerged as more nitrogenous compounds flowed into the environment. A concluding chapter, “The Challenge of Sustainability,” places the entire story in the context of constructing an ecological economy in which innovations that contribute to sustainable practices are rewarded.
When the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground on Bligh Reef in Alaska in 1989 and spilled 11 million gallons of oil, it changed Prince William Sound forever. The catastrophe disrupted the region’s biological system, killing countless animals and poisoning habitats that to this day no longer support some of the local species. The effects have also profoundly altered the way people use this region.
Nearly three decades later, changes in recreation use run counter to what was initially expected. Instead of avoiding Prince William Sound, tourists and visitors flock there. Economic revitalization efforts have resulted in increased wilderness access as new commercial enterprises offer nature tourism in remote bays and fjords. This increased visitation has caused concerns that the wilderness may again be threatened—not by oil but rather by the very humans seeking those wilderness experiences.
In Sustaining Wildlands, scientists and managers, along with local community residents, address what has come to be a central paradox in public lands management: the need to accommodate increasing human use while reducing the environmental impact of those activities. This volume draws on diverse efforts and perspectives to dissect this paradox, offering an alternative approach where human use is central to sustaining wildlands and recovering a damaged ecosystem like Prince William Sound.
Brad A. Andres, Chris Beck, Nancy Bird, Dale J. Blahna, Harold Blehm, Sara Boario, Bridget A. Brown, Courtney Brown, Greg Brown, Milo Burcham, Kristin Carpenter, Ted Cooney, Patience Andersen Faulkner, Maryann Smith Fidel, Jessica B. Fraver, Jennifer Gessert, Randy Gimblett, Michael I. Goldstein, Samantha Greenwood, Lynn Highland, Marybeth Holleman, Shay Howlin, Tanya Iden, Robert M. Itami, Lisa Jaeger, Laura A. Kennedy, Spencer Lace, Nancy Lethcoe, Kate McLaughlin, Rosa H. Meehan, Christopher Monz, Karen A. Murphy, Lisa Oakley, Aaron J. Poe, Chandra B. Poe, Karin Preston, Jeremy Robida, Clare M. Ryan, Gerry Sanger, Bill Sherwonit, Lowell H. Suring, Paul Twardock, Sarah Warnock, and Sadie Youngstrom
“The American people sees itself advance across the wilderness, draining swamps, straightening rivers, peopling the solitude, and subduing nature,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in 1835. That’s largely how we still think of nineteenth-century America today: a country expanding unstoppably, bending the continent’s natural bounty to the national will, heedless of consequence. A country of slavery and of Indian wars. There’s much truth in that vision.
But if you know where to look, you can uncover a different history, one of vibrant resistance, one that’s been mostly forgotten. This Radical Land recovers that story. Daegan Miller is our guide on a beautifully written, revelatory trip across the continent during which we encounter radical thinkers, settlers, and artists who grounded their ideas of freedom, justice, and progress in the very landscapes around them, even as the runaway engine of capitalism sought to steamroll everything in its path. Here we meet Thoreau, the expert surveyor, drawing anticapitalist property maps. We visit a black antislavery community in the Adirondack wilderness of upstate New York. We discover how seemingly commercial photographs of the transcontinental railroad secretly sent subversive messages, and how a band of utopian anarchists among California’s sequoias imagined a greener, freer future. At every turn, everyday radicals looked to landscape for the language of their dissent—drawing crucial early links between the environment and social justice, links we’re still struggling to strengthen today.
Working in a tradition that stretches from Thoreau to Rebecca Solnit, Miller offers nothing less than a new way of seeing the American past—and of understanding what it can offer us for the present . . . and the future.
In this well-written, comprehensive, reasonable yet passionate volume, Emilio Moran introduces us to the range of human and ecological diversity in the Amazon Basin. By describing the complex heterogeneity on the Amazon's ecological mosaic and its indigenous populations' conscious adaptations to this diversity, he leads us to realize that there are strategies of resource use which do not destroy the structure and function of ecosystems. Finally, and most important, he examines ways in which we might benefit from the study of human ecology to design and implement a balance between conservation and use.
Winner of the 2017 Paul Sweezy Marxist Sociology Book Award from the American Sociological Association
Although humans have long depended on oceans and aquatic ecosystems for sustenance and trade, only recently has human influence on these resources dramatically increased, transforming and undermining oceanic environments throughout the world. Marine ecosystems are in a crisis that is global in scope, rapid in pace, and colossal in scale. In The Tragedy of the Commodity, sociologists Stefano B. Longo, Rebecca Clausen, and Brett Clark explore the role human influence plays in this crisis, highlighting the social and economic forces that are at the heart of this looming ecological problem.
In a critique of the classic theory “the tragedy of the commons” by ecologist Garrett Hardin, the authors move beyond simplistic explanations—such as unrestrained self-interest or population growth—to argue that it is the commodification of aquatic resources that leads to the depletion of fisheries and the development of environmentally suspect means of aquaculture. To illustrate this argument, the book features two fascinating case studies—the thousand-year history of the bluefin tuna fishery in the Mediterranean and the massive Pacific salmon fishery. Longo, Clausen, and Clark describe how new fishing technologies, transformations in ships and storage capacities, and the expansion of seafood markets combined to alter radically and permanently these crucial ecosystems. In doing so, the authors underscore how the particular organization of social production contributes to ecological degradation and an increase in the pressures placed upon the ocean. The authors highlight the historical, political, economic, and cultural forces that shape how we interact with the larger biophysical world.
A path-breaking analysis of overfishing, The Tragedy of the Commodity yields insight into issues such as deforestation, biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.
Human settlement of the Lower Mississippi River Valley—especially in New Orleans, the region’s largest metropolis—has produced profound and dramatic environmental change. From prehistoric midden building to late-twentieth century industrial pollution, Transforming New Orleans and Its Environs traces through history the impact of human activity upon the environment of this fascinating and unpredictable region.
In eleven essays, scholars across disciplines––including anthropology, architecture, history, natural history, and geography––chronicle how societies have worked to transform untamed wetlands and volatile floodplains into a present-day sprawling urban center and industrial complex, and how they have responded to the environmental changes brought about by the disruption of the natural setting.
This new text follows the trials of native and colonial settlers as they struggled to shape the environment to fit the needs of urbanization. It demonstrates how the Mississippi River, while providing great avenues for commerce, transportation, and colonization also presented the region’s greatest threat to urban centers, and details how engineers set about taming the mighty river. Also featured is an analysis of the impact of modern New Orleans upon the surrounding rural parishes and the effect urban pollution has had on the city’s water supply and aquatic life.
In 1800, the highlands of Sri Lanka had some of the most biologically diverse primary tropical rainforest ecosystems in the world. By 1900, only a few craggy corners and mountain caps had been spared the fire stick. Highland villagers, through the extension of slash-and-burn agriculture, and British managers, through the creation of plantations—first of coffee, then cinchona, and finally tea—had removed virtually the entire primary forest cover.
Tropical Pioneers documents the conversion of a tropical rainforest biome and the collision between what previously had been more discrete ecological zones within South Asia. The ecological impacts were transformational. Author James L. A. Webb, Jr., demonstrates that profound ecological disruption occurred in the central highlands of Sri Lanka during the nineteenth century and suggests that the theme of ecological crisis brought about by the integration of tropical ecological zones during precolonial and colonial periods alike is an important one for historians to investigate elsewhere.
Tropical Pioneers is based on extensive research in the National Archives of Sri Lanka, the National Agricultural Library at Gannaruwa, the Library of the Royal Asiatic Society-Ceylon Branch, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the Public Record Office of the United Kingdom, and the British Library.
From the time when humans first learned to harness fire, cultivate crops, and domesticate livestock, they have altered their environment as a means of survival. In the modern era, however, natural resources have been devoured and defiled in the wake of a consumerism that goes beyond mere subsistence. In this volume, an international group of environmental historians documents the significant ways in which humans have impacted their surroundings throughout history.
John McNeill introduces the collection with an overarching account of the history of human environmental impact. Other contributors explore the use and abuse of the earth’s land in the development of agriculture, commercial forestry, and in the battle against desertification in arid and semi-arid regions. Cities, which first appeared some 5,500 years ago, have posed their own unique environmental challenges, including dilemmas of solid waste disposal, sewerage, disease, pollution, and sustainable food and water supplies.
The rise of nation-states brought environmental legislation, which often meant “selling off” natural resources through eminent domain. Perhaps the most damaging environmental event in history resulted from a “perfect storm” of effects: cheap fossil fuels (especially petroleum) and the rapid rise of personal incomes during the 1950s brought an exponential increase in energy consumption and unforseen levels of greenhouse gasses to the earth’s atmosphere. By the 1970s, the deterioration of air, land, and water due to industrialization, population growth, and consumerism led to the birth of the environmental and ecological movements.
Overall, the volume points to the ability and responsibility of humans to reverse the course of detrimental trends and to achieve environmental sustainability for existing and future populations.
Climate change is viewed as a primarily scientific, economic, or political issue. While acknowledging the legitimacy of these perspectives, Kevin J. O’Brien argues that we should respond to climate change first and foremost as a case of systematic and structural violence. Global warming is largely caused by the carbon emissions of the affluent, emissions that harm the poor first and worst. Climate change is violence because it divides human beings from one another and from the earth.
O’Brien offers a constructive and creative response to this violence through practical examples of activism and nonviolent peacemaking, providing brief biographies of five Christians in the United States—John Woolman, Jane Addams, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr., and Cesar Chavez. These activists’ idealism, social commitment, and political savvy offer lessons of resistance applicable to the struggle against climate change and for social justice.
All systems produce waste as part of a cycle—bacteria, humans, combustion engines, even one as large and complex as a city. To some extent, this waste can be absorbed, processed, or recycled—though never completely. In Wasted World, Rob Hengeveld reveals how a long history of human consumption has left our world drowning in this waste.
This is a compelling and urgent work that traces the related histories of population growth and resource consumption. As Hengeveld explains, human life (and population growth) depends not only on mineral resources but also on energy. People first obtained energy from food and later supplemented this with energy from water, wind, and animals as one source after another fell short of our ever-growing needs. Finally, we turned to fossil energy, which generates atmospheric waste that is the key driver of global climate change. The effects of this climate change are already leading to food shortages and social collapse in some parts of the world. Because all of these problems are interconnected, Hengeveld argues strenuously that measures to counter individual problems cannot work. Instead, we need to tackle their common cause—our staggering population growth. While many scientists agree that population growth is one of the most critical issues pressuring the environment, Hengeveld is unique in his insistence on turning our attention to the waste such growth leaves in its wake and to the increasing demands of our global society.
A practical look at the sustainability of our planet from the perspective of a biologist whose expertise is in the abundances and distributions of species, Wasted World presents a fascinating picture of the whole process of using, wasting, and exhausting energy and material resources. And by elucidating the complexity of the causes of our current global state, Hengeveld offers us a way forward.
Deep in the wildlands of northern Maine is a remote piece of land with a small point sheltering a shallow cove along the shore of an expansive lake. Used as a campsite by indigenous peoples for thousands of years, the land was cleared in the mid-1800s, developed into a lumber depot and named Chamberlain Farm. Following a period of neglect after a century of use by lumbermen, the area was turned into a rustic enclave for hunting and fishing enthusiasts. In recent years as civilization encroached, it became the focus of protection efforts by wilderness lovers who sought to ensure preservation and keep in it some semblance of its former wildness.In The Wilderness from Chamberlain Farm, historian Dean B. Bennett traces those transformations, bringing to life the people involved, their motivations, and the interconnected effects of their actions. Beginning 10,000 years ago with the retreat of the glaciers, Bennett offers an overview of the forces that shaped the land, and the visitors to and inhabitants of this place once known as Apmoojenegamook -- "lake that is crossed." We meet one of the first American owners of the property, David Pingree, and his agent E. S. Coe, who kept a tight rein on operations from the 1840s until the turn of the century. An acquaintance of Coe and visitor during that time was Henry David Thoreau, who passed through the area on one of his excursions in the Maine woods. We also are introduced to the indomitable Patty and Al Nugent, who staked a claim on the land and built a sporting camp with their own hands that has served as a haven for outdoorsmen from the 1930s to the present day. And we learn of the efforts of Senator Edmund S. Muskie and others to protect this wild river area, culminating in the creation of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and its federal designation as the nation's first state-administered riverway in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.The dynamic history of the farm and its setting illuminate society's evolving perspective on the natural world around us. The Wilderness from Chamberlain Farm describes and explains the perspectives revealed by those attracted to the farm and its environment, and those who fought to protect the Allagash, offering a valuable lens through which to understand the changing relationship of people and the land.
Elephants rarely breed in captivity and are not considered domesticated, yet they interact with people regularly and adapt to various environments. Too social and sagacious to be objects, too strange to be human, too captive to truly be wild, but too wild to be domesticated—where do elephants fall in our understanding of nature?
In Wildlife in the Anthropocene, Jamie Lorimer argues that the idea of nature as a pure and timeless place characterized by the absence of humans has come to an end. But life goes on. Wildlife inhabits everywhere and is on the move; Lorimer proposes the concept of wildlife as a replacement for nature. Offering a thorough appraisal of the Anthropocene—an era in which human actions affect and influence all life and all systems on our planet— Lorimer unpacks its implications for changing definitions of nature and the politics of wildlife conservation. Wildlife in the Anthropocene examines rewilding, the impacts of wildlife films, human relationships with charismatic species, and urban wildlife. Analyzing scientific papers, policy documents, and popular media, as well as a decade of fieldwork, Lorimer explores the new interconnections between science, politics, and neoliberal capitalism that the Anthropocene demands of wildlife conservation.
Imagining conservation in a world where humans are geological actors entangled within and responsible for powerful, unstable, and unpredictable planetary forces, this work nurtures a future environmentalism that is more hopeful and democratic.
Whether referring to a place, a nonhuman animal or plant, or a state of mind, wild indicates autonomy and agency, a will to be, a unique expression of life. Yet two contrasting ideas about wild nature permeate contemporary discussions: either that nature is most wild in the absence of a defiling human presence, or that nature is completely humanized and nothing is truly wild.
This book charts a different path. Exploring how people can become attuned to the wild community of life and also contribute to the well-being of the wild places in which we live, work, and play, Wildness brings together esteemed authors from a variety of landscapes, cultures, and backgrounds to share their stories about the interdependence of everyday human lifeways and wildness. As they show, far from being an all or nothing proposition, wildness exists in variations and degrees that range from cultivated soils to multigenerational forests to sunflowers pushing through cracks in a city alley. Spanning diverse geographies, these essays celebrate the continuum of wildness, revealing the many ways in which human communities can nurture, adapt to, and thrive alongside their wild nonhuman kin.
From the contoured lands of Wisconsin’s Driftless region to remote Alaska, from the amazing adaptations of animals and plants living in the concrete jungle to indigenous lands and harvest ceremonies, from backyards to reclaimed urban industrial sites, from microcosms to bioregions and atmospheres, manifestations of wildness are everywhere. With this book, we gain insight into what wildness is and could be, as well as how it might be recovered in our lives—and with it, how we might unearth a more profound, wilder understanding of what it means to be human.
Wildness: Relations of People and Place is published in association with the Center for Humans and Nature, an organization that brings together some of the brightest minds to explore and promote human responsibilities to each other and the whole community of life. Visit the Center for Humans and Nature's Wildness website for upcoming events and a series of related short films.
Far from being the serene, natural streams of yore, modern rivers have been diverted, dammed, dumped in, and dried up, all in efforts to harness their power for human needs. But these rivers have also undergone environmental change. The old adage says you can’t step in the same river twice, and Ellen Wohl would agree—natural and synthetic change are so rapid on the world’s great waterways that rivers are transforming and disappearing right before our eyes.
A World of Rivers explores the confluence of human and environmental change on ten of the great rivers of the world. Ranging from the Murray-Darling in Australia and the Yellow River in China to Central Europe’s Danube and the United States’ Mississippi, the book journeys down the most important rivers in all corners of the globe. Wohl shows us how pollution, such as in the Ganges and in the Ob of Siberia, has affected biodiversity in the water. But rivers are also resilient, and Wohl stresses the importance of conservation and restoration to help reverse the effects of human carelessness and hubris.
What all these diverse rivers share is a critical role in shaping surrounding landscapes and biological communities, and Wohl’s book ultimately makes a strong case for the need to steward positive change in the world’s great rivers.