The Environment

The Environment : A History of the Idea

3.57 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
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Is it possible for the economy to grow without the environment being destroyed? Will our lifestyles impoverish the planet for our children and grandchildren? Is the world sick? Can it be healed? Less than a lifetime ago, these questions would have made no sense. This was not because our ancestors had no impact on nature-nor because they were unaware of the serious damage they had done. What people lacked was an idea: a way of imagining the web of interconnection and consequence of which the natural world is made. Without this notion, we didn't have a way to describe the scale and scope of human impact upon nature. This idea was "the environment."

In this fascinating book, Paul Warde, Libby Robin, and Sverker Soerlin trace the emergence of the concept of the environment following World War II, a period characterized by both hope for a new global order and fear of humans' capacity for almost limitless destruction. It was at this moment that a new idea and a new narrative about the planet-wide impact of people's behavior emerged, closely allied to anxieties for the future. Now we had a vocabulary for talking about how we were changing nature: resource exhaustion and energy, biodiversity, pollution, and-eventually-climate change.

With the rise of "the environment," the authors argue, came new expertise, making certain kinds of knowledge crucial to understanding the future of our planet. The untold history of how people came to conceive, to manage, and to dispute environmental crisis, The Environment is essential reading for anyone who wants to help protect the environment from the numerous threats it faces today.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 127 x 203 x 22mm | 363g
  • Baltimore, MD, United States
  • English
  • 2 Figures
  • 142142679X
  • 9781421426792
  • 58,924

Review quote

Demonstrates the power of history to speak into the present... It is a wonderfully succinct, compelling, and revealing piece of writing. -- James Dunk * Australian Book Review * Our relationship with nature goes far beyond resources, amenity or the scientific idea of an archive we learn to read. There are, as The Environment shows, ethical complexities in how we use and abuse the planet - and in how we frame its improbable riches. -- Huw Lewis-Jones, Falmouth University * Nature * This engaging and accessible book should be required reading for anyone concerned with the development of "the environment" as a conceptual lodestone of both science and politics in the mid- to late-twentieth century. Moreover, it will be richly rewarding for anyone wishing to teach, research, or simply better understand the path dependencies and political dynamics of environmental issues today. -- Philip Conway, Aberystwyth University * Local Environment *
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About Paul Warde

Paul Warde is a reader in environmental history at the University of Cambridge. Libby Robin is a professor of environmental history at Australian National University. Sverker Soerlin is a professor of environmental history at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and a cofounder of the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory.
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Rating details

7 ratings
3.57 out of 5 stars
5 14% (1)
4 43% (3)
3 29% (2)
2 14% (1)
1 0% (0)
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