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The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-91243-0
384 pages
October 2014, Wiley-Blackwell
The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History, 2nd Edition (1118912438) cover image

Description

The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History, Second Edition, presents a multidisciplinary global history of Earth from its origins to the present day.
  • Provides a comprehensive, global, multidisciplinary history of the planet from its earliest origins to the present era
  • Draws on the most recent research in geology, climatology, evolutionary biology, archaeology, anthropology, history, demography and the social and physical sciences
  • Features the latest research findings on planetary history, human evolution, the green agricultural revolution, climate change, global warming and the nature of world/human history interdependencies
  • Offers in-depth analyses of topics relating to human evolution, agriculture, population growth, urbanization, manufacturing, consumption, industrialization, and fossil fuel dependency.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1

The Nature ofWorld History 1

The Nature of Big History 2

The Nature of World Environmental History 3

Earth’s History and Human Origins 3

Mass Migrations and the Rise of Agriculture 4

Population Growth and the Rise of Cities 8

Cities and the Rise of Manufacturing and Industry 9

World Trade and New World Ecology 10

Fossil Fuels and Climate Change 11

Notes 12

1 An Evolving Earth 15

Introduction 15

The Origins of Earth and Its Unique Atmosphere: From Hot to Cold Planet 16

Icehouse Planet and Greenhouse Planet 18

Plate Tectonics, Super-continents, and Climate Change 20

TheWarming 21

The Cooling 25

The Elevation of the Tibetan Plateau and Its Effect on the Global Climate 26

The Birth, Death, and Rebirth of the Mediterranean Sea and Its Hemispheric Environmental Effects 32

The Impact of the Isthmus of Panama on Global Climate Change 34

TheMid-Pliocene, Glacial and Interglacial Cycles, and "Modern" Times 35

Notes 38

2 Evolving Humanity 41

Introduction 41

Climatic Changes and Evolution 42

Another Effect of the Closing of the Mediterranean Sea 44

Human Ancestry 45

The Birth of Human Intelligence 46

Early Diets andTheir Nutritional Value 51

Translating Human Intelligence into Action 54

Tectonic Upheavals, Landscape Changes, and Climate 55

Population Migration and Expansion 56

Homo Neanderthalensis vs. Homo Sapiens 58

The Broad Spectrum: An Economic Revolution 63

Notes 65

3 Foraging, Cultivating, and Food Production 69

Introduction 69

Early Farming and aWarming Climate 70

Settlement and Domestication 72

Early Agricultural Communities 74

Early Agriculture in China 77

Early Agriculture in Africa 79

Early Agriculture in Mesoamerica 80

Early Agriculture in Europe 81

World Agriculture during the Age of Manufacture and Industry 82

The First Green Revolution, 1840–1930 87

The Second Green Revolution, 1945– 88

Agro-business, Food Prices, and Climate Change 94

Notes 95

4 Populating the Earth: Diet, Domestication, and Disease 99

Introduction 99

A Modern Demographic Scenario 100

The Role of Disease in Calculating Population Size 102

The Impact of Migration and Settlement on Global Population Growth 106

The Role of Nutrition in Early Population Growth 107

The Role of Animal Domestication in the Spread of Infectious Disease 110

Nutrition, Climate Change, and Population 113

A Population Bomb or Not? 120

Notes 125

5 TheMaking of an Urban World 128

Introduction 128

What Does "Urban" Mean? 134

Early Urbanization and Its Environmental Effects 135

Ancient Urbanization 137

The Origin ofWriting 140

The Impact of Changing Rivers on Environmental Quality 143

Urbanization in the Indus Valley 145

China’s Early Cities 150

Ancient Mesoamerican Cities 152

Early European Cities 154

Notes 160

6 Mining, Making, and Manufacturing 163

Introduction 163

The Age of Copper and Bronze 166

The Effects of Ancient Mining on Human Health and the Environment 171

Mining in the RomanWorld 174

The Age of Iron 178

Iron-Making in China and India 180

Iron-Making in Premodern Europe 184

Manufacturing in West Africa, 1350–1800 CE 190

Manufacturing in Colonial America 192

Manufacturing in the Modern World 193

Notes 193

7 Industrial Work 196

Introduction 196

The Economies of China and India 196

European Hegemony and British Industrialization 198

Economic Developments in China, Japan, and India 199

Harnessing the Power of Water 203

Disease, Death, and a Public Health Response 205

The Power of Steam 208

The Role of Invention and Innovation 211

Comparing Industrialization in the United States and Britain 212

Coal, Iron, and Steel 222

Industrial Transformation and Global Auto Mobility 228

Notes 231

8 Trade and Consumption 235

Introduction 235

Global Trading Networks 236

Distancing Consumers from Producers 237

Material Goods 240

Luxury Foods Become Commodities 244

Tobacco 244

Sugar 249

Coffee and Tea 253

Environmental Effects of Increased Cultivation of Coffee 257

Conspicuous Consumption 258

Global Consumption 260

The Automobile and Electronics in Emerging Markets 263

The Great Recession, 2008–2013 264

Notes 265

9 Fossil Fuels and Wind, Water, Nuclear, and Solar Energy 269

Introduction 269

The EotechnicWorld:Waterwheels andWindmills 270

The Paleotechnic World: Energy from Coal 280

The Neotechnic World: Energy from Oil 286

The Developing World's Demands for Energy 298

The Case for Natural Gas: A Neotechnic Energy Solution 299

Hydraulic Fracturing of Rock, or "Fracking," to Release Natural Gas Deposits 300

The Case for Nuclear Energy: Another Neotechnic Solution 302

The Case for Renewable Wind and Solar Power: A Return to the Eotechnic 303

Notes 309

10 A Warming Climate 312

Introduction 312

The Rise and Fall of the Mayan Civilization 315

The Medieval Warm Period (1000–1300 CE) and Little Ice Age (1300–1850 CE) 316

Current Global Climate Conditions 319

The Role of Solar Energy 322

The Role of the Atlantic Circulation Energy Exchange 323

The Role of Fossil Fuel Emissions 324

What Is to Be Done? 329

Notes 333

Epilogue 336

Notes 342

Index 343

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Author Information

Anthony N. Penna is Professor Emeritus of History, Northeastern University. His books include Nature’s Bounty: Historical and Modern Environmental Perspectives (1999), Remaking Boston: An Environmental History of the City and Its Surroundings (co-editor, 2009), and Natural Disasters in a Global Environment (co-author; Wiley, 2013).
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