Forces of Nature: Our Quest to Conquer the Planet

Overview

This illuminating overview of human population shifts and their precarious relationship with climate change and geography brings a unique perspective to understanding our age-old natural desire to inhabit picturesque landscapes or to transform once-desolate areas into new gardens of growth, all the while confronted by the dangerous, often life-threatening natural events that test our endurance. The author takes us on a journey along the ancient migration routes of our earliest ancestors and examines why many ...
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Forces of Nature: Our Quest to Conquer the Planet

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Overview

This illuminating overview of human population shifts and their precarious relationship with climate change and geography brings a unique perspective to understanding our age-old natural desire to inhabit picturesque landscapes or to transform once-desolate areas into new gardens of growth, all the while confronted by the dangerous, often life-threatening natural events that test our endurance. The author takes us on a journey along the ancient migration routes of our earliest ancestors and examines why many chose to settle in natural utopias with ample water; lush, fertile lands; and a moderate climate, while others were forced to make the most of far less inviting surroundings. Today, populations still shift. Some people migrate for devoutly religious reasons—outgrowing their surroundings, they move to the next available area, seeking a better life and spreading their religion—potentially instigating social conflict. We also now migrate in order to fulfill our wants and needs. Instead of settling near sources of water as a means for growth and survival, we seek out waterfront areas for their appealing landscape, though these spaces are already teeming with people. In contrast, many others are willing to move to new areas, no matter how inhospitable the clime, to earn a living. While there is still no technology that can protect vulnerable groups against the threatening features of the natural world, this book offers suggestions for how we can better adapt to challenging environments.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Forces of Nature examines the intriguing interplay between society and nature in a very interesting and unique manner using a captivating geographical context. Vann weaves a fascinating tapestry combining the vivid descriptions of catastrophic natural disasters and the even more enthralling manner in which civilizations—both old and current—have coped with those disasters. This is a book not to be missed!"
-Randy Cerveny, President’s Professor of Geographical Sciences, Arizona State University, and author of Weather’s Greatest Mysteries Solved!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616146016
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 3/27/2012
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 9.24 (w) x 6.12 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Barry A. Vann is professor of geography and higher education at the University of the Cumberlands. He is the author of Puritan Islam: The Geoexpansion of the Muslim World; Rediscovering the South’s Celtic Heritage; In Searc-h of Ulster-Scots Land: The Birth and Geotheological Imagings of a Transatlantic People; and (with Ellsworth Huntington) Geography toward History: Studies in the Mediterranean Basin and Mesopotamia.
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Table of Contents

Images 11

Maps 13

Tables 15

Chapter1 The Power of Environmental Perceprions 17

Introduction 17

Historical Perspectives on Human-Environmental Interactions 23

Human Values and Environmental Perception 33

The Importance of Environmental Perception 35

Summary 36

Chapter 2 Living on The Edge of The World 39

Introduction 39

Forming the Human Ecumene 39

The Edge of the World 44

Rural to Rural Migration 48

Building on the Old 51

Summary 57

Chapter 3 Settling The Ancient Ecumene 59

Introduction 59

Accommodating Population Growth 60

Our Ecumene 64

Where Life Is Hard, Few People Are Found 70

Summary 77

Chapter 4 Geotheology The Cradle of Civilzation 79

Introduction 79

Geotheology 81

Cosmology and Geoeschatology 83

Geotheokolasis and Geotheomisthosis 90

Sacred Images of Weather and Climate with Inferences for Climate Change 100

Summary 100

Chapter 5 Geokolasis: The Cases of Donora, Lakeerie, And The Dust Bowl 103

Introduction 103

Asia Fills the Production Void 105

Deaths in the Fog 108

"Death and Rebirth of Lake Erie" 110

Grapes of Draft 114

Summary 123

Chapter 6 Erosion And Dispossession in The Cumberland Gap Area, 1933-1939 127

Introduction 127

Framing a Perspective on Life in the Cumberland Gap Area 131

Tennessee Valley Authority and Norris Dam 133

Life of the Nondispossessed 137

Lingering Legacy of the TVA in the Cumberland Gap Area 143

Summary 145

Chapter 7 Life And Death in Hurricane Alley 147

Introduction 147

Geography of Hurricanes 150

The Galveston Hurricane of September 8, 1900 163

Summary 170

Chapter 8 Life And Death in America's Tornado Alleys 173

Introduction 173

Predicting Tornadoes 175

Classifying Tornadoes 179

Geography of Tornadoes 181

The Tri-State Tornado of 1925 188

Mossy Grove and the Outbreak of November 11, 2002 195

Summary 198

Chapter 9 Life And Death in Quake Zones 201

Introduction 201

Predicting the Next Big One 206

Measuring Quakes 210

New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811 and 1812 212

Summary 215

Chapter 10 Challenges of Climate Change 217

Introduction 217

When Human Ecology Approaches Geotheology 220

Stigmatization of Carbon 223

The Imprecision of Predicting Global Warming and Climate Change 224

The Historicity of Climate Change 232

Summary 241

Chapter 11 The East's Human Tsunami 243

Introduction 243

Demographic Adaptations in Mid-Atlantic Coastal Areas 245

Ecological Forces behind International Migrations 250

Carrying Capacity in the Near East, Middle East, and Southern Asia 253

The East's Expanded Carrying Capacity and the Declining Pull of the West 260

Living in the Eastern Hazard Zone 262

Summary 263

Chapter 12 The Americas in 2060 265

Introduction 265

Lands of Contrasting Environmental Features 268

Population Change in the Americas 270

The Fatal Attraction of North America 273

The Need for Development in the Americas 276

Summary 278

Appendix: Cumberland Gap Survey 281

Acknowledgments 283

Notes 285

Bibliography 321

Index 335

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 6, 2012

    This is actually a great read. I happen to know the author and

    This is actually a great read. I happen to know the author and he is definitely not an idiot like the previous reviewer claimed. He is actually highly intelligient and one of the kindest people I've ever met. I highly recommend the book as well as other books by Barry Vann. He is a great teacher!

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