By J. Donald Hughes

Even if the organizing precept of almost each global background textual content is "development", the editor of this quantity keeps that this conventional process fails to deal with the problem of sustainability. by way of adopting the ecological method as their significant subject, the authors exhibit how the method of human interplay with the traditional atmosphere opened up some time past, and supply standpoint at the ecological crises in our international firstly of the twenty first century. issues variety from wide nearby stories that research vital facets of the worldwide atmosphere that impact countries, to a research of the common effect of 1 very important person on his kingdom and past. The authors take diversified techniques, yet all proportion the conviction that international heritage needs to take ecological procedure heavily, they usually all realize the ways that the residing and non-living structures of the earth have motivated the process human affairs.

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Extra info for The Face of the Earth: Environment and World History

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Organismsare the natural stuff of metaphorand ritual. 5 25 HUGHES Coevolution During the courseof history, human developmenthas been deeply affected by relationshipswith other forms of life, so much so that it can be describedas a processof complex coevolution, genetically and culturally. As humansbecame betterhunters,animalsbecamebetterat escapingthem. 6 Coevolutionmeansthat the developmentof eachof two speciesis significantly affected by interaction with the other. An extremeexampleis symbiosis,suchas that of the yucca plant and the yucca moth, neither of which could survive without the other; the plant is the moth'sonly food, and the moth is the plant'sonly pollinator.

One of the greatestmistakesmadeby modemurban humans,including the authorsof textbookson world history, is to think about themselvesas existing and acting without referenceto other forms of life. No speciesexists alone; every one relatesto others in one or more of a numberof 23 HUGHES 3 commumtIes that ecologists like to call ecosystems. Ecosystemsare groupsof interactingorganismsin particular environments,which recycle water, foods, and minerals in manifold ways. The human speciesevolved in at least one ecosystem,and historically it becameadaptedto several of them.

46, July 1991, pp. 2-3. 14. Arnold JosephToynbee,Mankind and Mother Earth: A Narrative History ofthe World (New York: Oxford University Press,1976). 15. Arnold JosephToynbee,A Study of History, 12 vols. (London: Oxford University Press,1934-1961). 16. Ian Gordon Simmons, Changing the Face of the Earth: Culture, Environment,History (Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell, 1989). 17. Ian GordonSimmons,EnvironmentalHistory: A ConciseIntroduction (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1993), is a brief, interpretativestudy of the principlesinvolved in world environmentalhistory.

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