Students today are often confronted with alarms and concerns over the state of the environment. Global warming, biodiversity, genetically engineered food - disputes over such topics are a constant refrain. But to best understand these contemporary debates, students need to understand the long history of these environmental concerns. Great Debates in American Environmental History examines over 200 of the most important and controversial environmental issues in the history of the United States, conveniently organizing them in chronological order from the Colonial period to the present. Each entry describes the issue, the stakeholders of various positions, and both the immediate outcome of the debate, and the long-term consequences of the result.
Great Debates in American Environmental History examines in detail the environmental issues surrounding such turning points in the history of the United States as: The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and the resulting addition of the Great Plains to the United States. The controversial mid-19th century plans for a large urban park in the middle of Manhattan, now known as Central Park. The debates over the federal land grants given to railroads in the 1860s to spur the construction of transcontinental rail, and the resulting environmental effects that impact much of the West today. The 1921 discovery of tetraethyl lead as an anti-knock gasoline additive, which was put on the market with little research as to the health impact. The current debates over the drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR.