Environmental History of Great Britain

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This is a history of the environment of England, Wales and Scotland, and of the interactions of people, place and nature since the last ice sheet withdrew some ten thousand years ago. It is concerned with the changing cultures (in the full anthropological sense) of the peoples inhabiting Britain as well as with the environment they transformed, exploited, abused and cherished. As the author points out, every culture in Britain has had to acknowledge its placement on a set of islands 50ยบ N where any month of the year can be the wettest month of the year, where there are some long shallow estuaries and a few deep inlets, and where cereals do not reliably ripen 300 metres above sea-level. Cultural imagination cannot alter these realities, but it can variously view them as dangerous or picturesque, as economic or uneconomic. The book is a history of changing reflexivity in the interactions between people, culture, and nature.The book is structured as a chronological narrative. It is written with unusual
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780748612840
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
  • Publication date: 10/3/2001
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Simmons is emeritus professor of geography at the University of Durgaham and Fellow of the British Academy.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Ch. 2 Hunter-gatherers and fisherfolk: 10,000 to 5000 B.P. 23
The current interglacial 23
People and cultures 31
Environment and culture 32
The possible role of humans 42
A summary of environmental change involving humans 45
Into the agricultural era 48
Ch. 3 Shafts of sunlight: agriculturalists 51
Atmospheric changes: the climate 52
Cultivated land and grasslands 53
Relations with the woodlands 58
The creation of new landforms 61
Heaths and moorlands 61
Industries 62
Sacred space 64
The social context 65
Ch. 4 Closed and open systems, A.D. 550 to A.D. 1700 69
Atmospheric changes: the climate 69
Landform change 70
Agriculture and grasslands 71
Heaths, moors and mountains 87
Woods and forests 92
Fresh water and fresh-water wetlands 100
Rural settlement 102
Urban settlement 102
Industry 105
Pleasure and the environment 109
Energy 113
Sacred space 114
Social context 115
Connections: at home and abroad 117
Sensibilities and attitudes to environment 118
Ch. 5 Building Jerusalem: the eighteenth century 120
The atmosphere 120
Woods and forests 121
Agriculture and grasslands 123
Heaths, moors and mountains 130
Sensibilities and attitudes to environment 132
Fresh water and fresh-water wetlands 132
Rural settlement 133
Urban settlement 135
Industry 135
Energy 140
The rich and their pleasure 141
Sacred space 143
The extension of the economy 144
A century's trends 145
Ch. 6 Industrial growth: material empires, 1800-1914 148
The atmosphere 150
Landforms 152
Woods and forests 152
Agriculture 153
Heaths, moors and mountains 155
Fresh water and fresh-water wetlands 160
Fishing and whaling 162
Energy 164
Industry 167
Urban settlement 172
Rural settlement 175
Leisure and pleasure 176
Sacred space 179
Wildlife and its protection 179
International linkages 180
Sensibilities and attitudes to environment 182
Ch. 7 'A fit country for heroes', 1914-50 192
Climate 194
Landforms 194
Woods and forests 198
Agriculture and grasslands 202
Heaths, moors and mountains 209
Fresh water and fresh-water wetlands 211
Industry and wastes 212
Urban settlement 216
Rural settlement 217
Military lands 218
The coasts 218
Fishing and whaling 220
Energy 223
Environmental protection and conservation 225
Specialised leisure 228
Sacred space 228
Administration and planning 229
Sensibilities and attitudes to environment 230
The 1950s: legacies and foreshadowings 234
Ch. 8 A post-industrial world, 1950 to the present 237
Atmosphere and climate 239
Landforms 243
Fesh water 246
Forestry and woodlands 251
Agriculture 258
Sacred space 270
Fresh-water wetlands 272
Heaths, moors and other commons 273
Military lands 283
Conservation and landscape protection 284
Rural settlement: the rural economy 291
The urban-industrial environment 292
Land use: the overall picture 297
Leisure and environment 299
Coasts 301
Fisheries in the post-industrial world 304
Energy 310
Population trends 315
Administration 318
The international scene 319
Sensibilities and attitudes to environment 320
Contradictions of the time 323
Ch. 9 Experience and meaning 325
Critical periods 325
Cultural context 327
Pathways 331
App. 1 The changing environment from the air 342
Notes 357
Biographies 394
Glossary 400
A selected bibliography 406
Index 408
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