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Earth, Air, Fire, Water: Humanistic Studies of the Environment
     

Earth, Air, Fire, Water: Humanistic Studies of the Environment

by Jill Ker Conway, Kenneth Keniston, Leo Marx
 

ISBN-10: 1558492216

ISBN-13: 9781558492219

Pub. Date: 03/28/2000

Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press

Written in a clear, accessible style with a general audience in mind, the essays in this volume offer fresh approaches to thinking about environmental issues. When we consider the forms of environmental decline most urgently in need of attention -- eroding soils, shrinking forests, expanding deserts, acid rain, ozone depletion, air pollution, poisoned water

Overview

Written in a clear, accessible style with a general audience in mind, the essays in this volume offer fresh approaches to thinking about environmental issues. When we consider the forms of environmental decline most urgently in need of attention -- eroding soils, shrinking forests, expanding deserts, acid rain, ozone depletion, air pollution, poisoned water supplies, the loss of biological diversity -- it may seem logical that scientists should be the people mobilized to tackle these problems. Yet to devise effective solutions for today's environmental threats, we must situate them within their larger historical, societal, and cultural settings. Amelioration does not require exclusively scientific knowledge, but also changes based upon law and public policy, on institutional structures and practices, on habits of consumption, and on countless other facets of daily life. Earth, Air, Fire, Water seeks to redirect our thinking about environmental issues by locating them in the behavior of human beings -- in the institutions, beliefs, and practices that mediate between people and that obscure but beautiful nonhuman world we refer to as "nature." The book opens with a section on the elements and the ways humans have understood them in the past. There follows a section devoted to social institutions and the ways in which we can learn from current and past efforts to study the interaction between people and nature. The concluding section analyzes the culture of modernity and the ways in which the human imagination has changed in response to the arrival of modern technology. In addition to the editors, contributors include Gregory Nagy, Donald Worster, Stephen J. Pyne, John F. Richards, Richard White, Terence Turner, Barbara Epstein, Oleg N. Yanitsky, Bina Agarwal, Anton Struchkov, Yaakov Garb, and Louis Menand.

University of Massachusetts Press

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558492219
Publisher:
University of Massachusetts Press
Publication date:
03/28/2000
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.18(w) x 9.46(h) x 0.78(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Prefaceix
The New Environmentalisms1
I.Historical Studies
Introduction31
As the World Runs out of Breath: Metaphorical Perspectives on the Heavens and the Atmosphere in the Ancient World37
Climate and History: Lessons from the Great Plains51
Consumed by Either Fire or Fire: A Prolegomenon to Anthropogenic Fire78
Only a World Perspective Is Significant: Settlement Frontiers and Property Rights in Early Modern World History102
II.Social Studies
Introduction119
Environmentalism and Indian Peoples125
Indigenous Rights, Environmental Protection, and the Struggle over Forest Resources in the Amazon: The Case of the Brazilian Kayapo145
Grassroots Environmental Activism: The Toxics Movement and Directions for Social Change170
Russian Environmental Movements184
Gender and Environmental Action206
III.The Question of Modernity
Introduction253
Gender, Environment, and Nature: Two Episodes in Feminist Politics259
Modernity and the Environment as a Public Issue in Today's Russia279
Modernity and Literary Theory305
Environmental Degradation and the Ambiguous Social Role of Science and Technology320
Appendix339
Notes on Contributors345

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