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Global Environmental History

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.

288 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2008

Earth Sciences: Environment

Geography: Environmental Geography

History: General History


"Simmons draws on the work of philosophers, artists, and literary figures to provide insight into society’s points of view as it transformed its landscape. . . . By emphasizing these aspects of society and its relationship to nature, he truly humanizes this work. This volume would be ideal to help frame either an undergraduate or graduate course on environmental history of historical geography of the environment. . . . Specialists in the evironmental sciences would benefit from Simmons’ longer-term and humanistic perspective."

Craig E. Colten | Environment

"The entire volume emphasizes the counterpoint between material changes in the biosphere and societies’ changing notions about the natural world and its human uses. Of all the recent surveys, this is the most intriguing, for its explicit characterization of humanity’s working assumptions about our needful or rightful place in the biosphere."

Richard Tucker | Environmental History

"Global Environmental History, which is aimed at general readers and students, emphasizes the empirical evidence for climatic change during the past 10,000 to 12,000 years. Simmons is as concerned with humans’ ideas about the planet and their place within it as he is with climatic shifts…the book presents an enormous panoply of facts, theoretical concepts, and trends, all of which speak well to the author’s erudition."

Brian Fagan | Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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