Ecological Futures: What History Can Teach Us / Edition 1

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Overview

Ecological Futures, the final book in Sing C. Chew's trilogy on world ecological degradation, proposes that our own era exhibits ecological conditions similar to those of the past. The climate changes, environmental crises, mass population migrations, and socioeconomic disorganization we find in our globalized world also characterized the Late Bronze Age and the period following the fall of the Roman Empire. Given such historical parallels, can history tell us what to expect? Analyzing past trends, Chew identifies a set of long-term structural changes common to previous systemic crises and suggests possible outcomes. These "possible futures" include the collapse of systems, territories, informational technologies, and communities in an era of scarce resources, political reorganization, and globalization.

About the Author:
Sing C. Chew is professor at Humboldt State University and senior research scientist in the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Leipzig, Germany

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Editorial Reviews

Bill Devall
This is the concluding volume of Sing Chew’s trilogy on the relationship between society and the environment over five thousand years of world history. . . . Extensively researched, readable, and compelling, Ecological Futures takes an unsparing look at how contemporary societies will change during the current era of climate change.
William R. Thompson
Life on earth is predicated on the conjunction of a variety of environmental factors. Throughout history societies and civilizations have experienced crises when these conjunctions became less favorable. It is our modern conceit that we have somehow escaped those problems. Sing Chew's well-researched trilogy, of which this is the third volume, is a powerful antidote to this fundamental misconception about possible and probable futures.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759104549
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 6/27/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 182
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Sing C. Chew is a research scientist with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, and professor of sociology at Humboldt State University, Arcata, California.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

Preface

Part I The Dark Ages over World History

1 System Crisis 3

Part II The Crisis of the Bronze Age

2 Nature and Culture 21

3 Ecological Crisis and System Transformation 41

Part III The Crisis of Antiquity

4 Intensification of Natural and Social Systems Relations 111

5 A Period of Darkness 139

Part IV System Transformation

6 From the Past to the Future: Whither System Transformation? 169

Appendix 1 Arboreal Pollen Influxes 191

Appendix 2 Plantago Pollen Influxes 213

Appendix 3 Arboreal and Nonarboreal Pollen Influxes Percentages 231

Bibliography 253

Index 285

About the Author 295

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