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The Environment: A History of the Idea

Paul Warde Libby Robin Sverker Sorlin

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Hardback

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Johns Hopkins University
15 November 2018
Mathematics & Sciences; History of science; Ecological science, the Biosphere; Conservation of the environment
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.
By:   Paul Warde, Libby Robin , Sverker Sorlin
Imprint:   Johns Hopkins University
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 203mm,  Width: 127mm,  Spine: 22mm
Weight:   363g
ISBN:   9781421426792
ISBN 10:   142142679X
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   15 November 2018
Recommended Age:   From 18 years
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

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.

Reviews for The Environment: A History of the Idea

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 *


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