Environmentalism A Global History

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 10/8/1999
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Environmentalism: A Global History is an addition to the popular Longman World History Series, edited by Michael Adas. Written by one of the foremost thinkers on ecological issues relating to South Africa, this new text offers a cross-cultural and global survey of environmental thinking and the movements it has spawned. In this brief text, Ramachandra Guha identifies commonalities and differences in environmental thinking and activism through case studies. The experiences of areas as diverse as the United States, the former Soviet Union, China, India, Africa, and Brazil provide an excellent overview of each country's strengths and contributions. Students will find Environmentalism: A Global History to be a lively and engaging study of ideas and debates on a topic that is central to our lives in the twenty-first century.

Table of Contents

Going Green
The movement's two waves
environmentalism and industrialization
the varieties of environmentalism
Back To The Land!
The English Love of the Country---Wordsworth, Ruskin and company
Were the Nazis Green?---environmentalism and nationalism in Germany
The Gandhian View of the Simple Life---early environmentalists in India
The Ideology of Scientific Conservation
Conservation Internationalism---The wider significance of George Perkins Marsh
The Global Reach of Scientific Forestry---German science in Asia and America
The Balance Sheet of Scientific Forestry---the social and ecological costs of state forest management
The Growth of the Wilderness Idea
Conservation in the Colonies---the crisis of African wildlife
Wilderness Thinking in America---the work of John Muir Aldo Leopold
Afterword Some Who Don't Fit
`Trans-disciplinary' environmentalists---Patrick Geddes Lewis Mumford Radhakamal Mukerjee
Prologue The Age of Ecological Innocence
The decades of development and the making of the `affluent' society
some dissenters---Carl Sauer, E. F. Schumacher, Lewis Mumford, and Mira Behn
The Ecology of Affluence
The Significance of Silent Spring---how a book by a woman scientist changed the world
The Environmental Debate---science and the discourse of ecological crisis
The Environmental Movement---environmental action in Europe and the United States
Radical American Environmentalism---the competing claims of Deep Ecology and environmental justice
The German Greens---how a protest movement became a political party
The Southern Challenge
The postmaterialist hypothesis challenged
The Environmentalism of the Poor---social action among the desperately disadvantaged in the Third World
An India/Brazil Comparison---ecological degradation and environmental protest in two large and important countries
A Chipko/Chico Comparison---the parallels between two famous forest movements
Redefining Development---bringing back nature and the people
Socialism and Environmentalism
Early Soviet Environmentalism---the life and death of a dissident tradition
The Three Gorges Project---destructive development in China
Democracy and Environmentalism---how the political system facilitates or suppresses environmental action
One World or Two?
The Earth Summit and North-South conflicts
unity and division among the environmental movement
Bibliographic Essay 146(9)
Index 155


Author''s Preface The roots of this book go back to two gloriously happy years I spent working at Yale University in the mid 1980s. On the basis of my own work in India I had imagined environmentalism to be principally a question of social justice, of allowing the poor to have as much claim on the fruits of nature as the powerful. But living and teaching in the United States I was to come face-to-face with a rather different kind of environmentalism, which shifted attention away from humans towards the rights of plants, animals and wild habitats. I have ever since been fascinated by the diversity within the global environmental movement. This book explores the part played by different cultural and national traditions in the making and shaping of that diversity. I returned to India from the USA in 1987, but have gone back several times since, to renew acquaintance with and deepen my understanding of American environmentalism. More recently, I spent the academic year 1994-95 in Germany, a country that is unquestionably the leader within Europe in matters environmental, and is home also to the German Greens, the protest movement which became a political party. Briefer trips to Latin America in 1994, to Russia in 1996, and to Southern Africa in 1997, allowed a glimpse of the problems and possibilities of environmentalism in those territories. These forays, short and long, have been paid for by hospitable universities and indulgent foundations who have helped me challenge one of the unacknowledged taboos of international scholarship. For the way that the world is structured, Brazilians may write about Brazil, Nigerians about Nigeria, Bangladeshis about Bangladesh. But broader works of contrast and comparison, books that are not restricted to one country but which take the world as their oyster, are written from the comfortable citadels of a great and prosperous university in Europe or the United States. This prejudice is not cultural or racial, but merely geographical. Global histories, be they of environmentalism, feminism, liberalism or fundamentalism, are generally the handiwork of people working and teaching in the northern half of the globe. It is as difficult for a scholar of British origin to write a global history living in Bogota as it is easy for an Indian while based in Indianapolis. My thanks then, first of all, to the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. Two colleagues at Yale, Bill Burch and Joe Miller, and two students, Mike Bell and Joel Seton, encouraged me to move beyond what had been; until then, a near-obsessive concern with the history and politics of my own country. Next in chronological order comes the University of California at Santa Barbara, whose invitation in 1989 to deliver the Ninth Steven Manley Memorial Lecture forced me to think more seriously about the comparative aspects of the environmental question. The arguments of that lecture were given a firmer empirical basis in the year I spent at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, whose magnificently efficient library staff chased and procured dozens of obscure references and out-of-print books. Other institutions that have helped materially include the University of California at Berkeley; the Harry and Frank Guggenheim Foundation, New York; the Social Science Research Council, New York; and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi: my thanks to all of them. The themes and arguments of this book have been shaped by numerous conversations across the continents. I have learnt much from three scholars whose interests exemplify the cross-cultural character of the environmental movement: from Juan Martinez-Alier, a Spaniard most at home in Ecuador and Cuba; from Mike Bell, a Rhode Islander who happily mixes with Little Englanders; and from Wolfgang Sachs, a Bavarian radical with a keenly developed insight into the practice of the Gujarati Mahatma, Gandhi. There are other friends in Europe and American with whom I have argued fiercely or gently but always (to me, at any rate) productively, and yet others who have passed on valuable tips and sources. I thank here William Beinart, David Brokensha, J. Peter Brosius, Louise Fortmann, Andrew Hurrell, Arne Kalland, Margit Mayer, Arne Naess, Paul Richards, David Rothenberg, Katherine Snyder, Carol Warren and Donald Worster. I owe a particular debt to K. Sivaramakrishnan ( of Yale, again), the source of a steady stream of books and articles impossible to get hold of in India. To come home now, to the students and scholars of the Indian environmental movement, the college of colleagues to whom I perhaps owe most of all. Discussions over many years with Anjan Ghosh, Madhav Gadgil and Shiv Visvanathan have helped me more clearly see India in the cold light of the world, and the world through the warm glow of India. I have also been challenged and inspired by the verse and zest of younger colleagues such as Amita Baviskar, Ashish Kothari, Mahesh Rangarajan and Nandini Sundar. Andre Beteille, a distinguished senior scholar, and Keshav Desiraju, an experienced environmental administrator, read and helpfully commented on an earlier draft. For valuable comments on the manuscript I am indebted to the following reviewers: Randall Dodgen (Sonoma State University); Robert Entenmann (St. Olaf College); Vera Reben (Shippensburg University); Cathy Skidmore-Hess (Georgia Southern University); Tracey Steele (Sam Houston State University). I would also to thank my editors, Pam Gordon at Addison Wesley Longman (New York) and Rukun Advani at Oxford University Press (New Delhi) for their critical support to the project. But it is, of course, the editor of this series who made the book possible, who gently nudged all that talking and listening towards the more reliable medium of print. Michael Adas invited me to write on global environmentalism, waited trustingly as I missed one deadline after another, and then, when the draft chapters finally began to arrive, sent them back with meticulously detailed comments. It is a pleasure to thank him for all this, and a delight to remember those happy days at Yale when Michael and I first met.

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