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The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History

August 2009, ©2009, Wiley-Blackwell
The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History (EHEP001922) cover image
The Human Footprint is a global, thematic, and multi-disciplinary history of the planet, from its earliest origins to its current condition. Avoiding conventional narratives and using the latest research in a diverse range of fields, Penna brings harmony to human history and ecology and provides a fresh, much-needed narrative of world history.
  • Provides a comprehensive, global look at the history of the earth from the Paleolithic to the present era
  • Uses a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on the most recent research in geology, climatology, evolutionary biology, archaeology, anthropology, history, demography and the social and physical sciences
  • Each chapter expands on a single theme, including human evolution, the invention of agriculture and its global impact, population growth, urbanization, manufacturing, consumption, industrialization, and energy use
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List of Figures.

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

The Nature of World History.

The Nature of World Environmental History.

Earth History and Human Origins.

Population Growth and the Rise of Cities.

Cities and the Rise of Manufacturing and Industry.

World Trade and New World Ecology.

Fossil Fuels and Climate Change.

1. An Evolving Earth.

Introduction.

The Origin of the Earth: From Hot to Cold Planet.

Icehouse Planet/Greenhouse Planet.

Plate Tectonics, Super-Continents, and Climate Change.

The Warming.

The Cooling.

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

The Birth, Death, and Rebirth of the Mediterranean Sea and its Hemispheric Environmental Effects.

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

The Mid-Pliocene, Glacial and Interglacial Cycles, and "Modern" Times.

2. Evolving Humanity.

Introduction.

Climatic Changes and Evolution.

Another Effect of the Closing of the Mediterranean Sea.

Human Ancestry.

The Birth of Human Intelligence.

Translating Human Intelligence into Action.

Population Migration and Expansion.

Homo neanderthalensis vs. Homo sapiens.

Early Diets and Their Nutritional Value.

The Broad Spectrum – an Economic Revolution.

3. Foraging, Cultivating, and Food Production.

Introduction.

Early Farming and a Warming Climate.

Settlement and Domestication.

Early Agricultural Communities.

Early Agriculture in China.

Early Agriculture in Africa.

Early Agriculture in Mesoamerica.

Early Agriculture in Europe.

World Agriculture During the Age of Manufacture and Industry.

The Green Revolution.

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

Introduction.

A Modern Demographic Scenario.

The Role of Disease in Calculating Population Size.

The Impact of Migration and Settlement on Global Population Growth.

The Role of Nutrition on Early population Growth.

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

Nutrition, Climate Change and Population.

A Population Bomb or Not?

5. The Making of an Urban World.

Introduction.

What Does Urban Mean?

Early Urbanization and Its Environmental Effects.

Ancient Urbanization.

The Origin of Writing.

The Impact of Changing Rivers on Environmental Quality.

Urbanization in the Indus Valley.

China’s Early Cities.

Ancient Mesoamerican Cities.

Early European Cities.

6. Mining, Making, and Manufacturing.

Introduction.

The Age of Copper and Bronze.

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

Mining in the Roman World.

The Age of Iron.

Iron Making in China and India.

Iron Making in pre-Modern Europe.

Manufacturing in Colonial America.

7. Industrial Work.

Introduction.

China and India’s Economy.

European Hegemony and British Industrialization.

Economic Development in China, Japan, and India.

Harnessing the Power of Water.

Disease, Death and a Public Health Response.

The Power of Steam.

The Role of Invention and Innovation.

Comparing Industrialization in the United States and in Britain.

Coal, Iron, and Steel.

Industrial Transformation and Global Auto Mobility.

8. Trade and Consumption.

Introduction.

Global Trading Networks.

Distancing Consumers from Producers.

Material Goods.

Luxury Foods Become Commodities.

Tobacco.

Sugar.

Coffee and Tea.

Environmental Effects of Increased Cultivation of Coffee.

Conspicuous Consumption.

Global Consumption.

The Automobile and Electronics in Emerging Markets.

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

Introduction.

The Eotechnic World: Waterwheels and Windmills.

The Paleotechnic World: Energy from Coal.

The Neotechnic World: Energy from Oil.

The Developing World’s Demands for Energy.

The Case for Natural Gas: A Neotechnic Energy Solution.

The Case for Nuclear Energy: Another Neotechnic Solution.

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

10. A Warming Climate.

Introduction.

The Rise and Fall of the Mayan Civilization.

The Medieval Warm Period (1000–1300 ce) and the Little Ice Age (1300–1850 ce).

Current Global Climate Conditions.

The Role of Solar Energy.

The Role of the Atlantic Circulation Energy Exchange.

The Role of Fossil Fuel Emissions.

What Is to be Done?

Epilogue.

Notes.

Index.

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Anthony N. Penna has taught at Carnegie-Mellon University and Northeastern University, where he has been teaching North American and Global Environmental history courses since 1990. He is the author of Nature’s Bounty: Historical and Modern Environmental Perspectives (1999), and he is co-editor of Remaking Boston: An Environmental History of the City and Its Surroundings (2009).
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  • Provides a comprehensive, global look at the history of the earth from the Paleolithic to the present era
  • Uses a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on the most recent research in geology, climatology, evolutionary biology, archaeology, anthropology, history, demography and the social and physical sciences
  • Each chapter expands on a single theme, including human evolution, the invention of agriculture and its global impact, population growth, urbanization, manufacturing, consumption, industrialization, and energy use
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"The Human Footprint adds to the growing literature combining environmental with world history, both of which are relatively recent and vibrant subfields of history . . . His topical approach does result in an interesting, readable, and accessible set of histories that addresses issues of concern not just to world and environmental historian, but to geologists and evolutionary biologists as well, making it quite suitable for use in a range of college and university courses." (Technology and Culture, 1 January 2011)

"I highly recommend this book as one that would work extremely well in an environmental history offering or as a supplementary work in any World survey." (World History Association, 1 October 2010)

"An increasing number of scholar-teachers are now able to teach global survey courses, giving students an improved context for heading into a future of daunting climate change. None of the recent survey volumes is better tailored for this audience (or for a wider and equally anxious public) than Penna's Human Footprint, the fruit of two decades of teaching this subject at Northeastern University...One virtue of Penna's approach is its integration of hard sciences (archeology, climatology, epidemiology, etc.) with social and historical concepts...Penna makes clear how natural settings shaped early human cultures; this enables readers then to watch the long human effort to turn the tables on Nature, reshaping it to this species' innovative priorities." (Environmental History, 2011) 

"An ambitious and timely book that builds on and extends a vital field of historical research. Key attractions include the compatibility with the organization of teaching in many world history courses and the embrace not only of big changes like the advent of agriculture or industrialization, but less familiar developments such as the environmental impact of migration patterns. The result is a real sense of how humans have interacted with nature and the ways current environmental issues connect to the past."
Peter N. Stearns, George Mason University, author of The Industrial Revolution in World History

"Penna is to be congratulated for producing one of the first environmental histories to embrace the entire world and all of human history. As our relationship with the world’s diverse environments deteriorates, such educational resources are becoming increasingly vital."
David Christian,Macquarie University, formerly of SDSU, author of Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History

"An insightful survey of global history . . . In clear and accessible prose, it provides a masterful synthesis of scholarship across a wide range of disciplines. Its breadth and sophistication – and its relevance to the world today – make it a compelling read.
Jeffrey K. Stine, Curator of Engineering and Environmental History, Smithsonian Institution, author of America's Forested Wetlands: From Wasteland to Valued Resource

"Penna weaves human and natural history together into a single, compelling story. In his vision, human innovation, culture and exchange, nutrition, atmospheric chemistry, and plate tectonics are just a few of the many processes that come together in an endless dance of engagement and change . . . The pasts and the fates of humanity, nature, and the Earth are one and the same."
Adam McKeown, Columbia University, author of Melancholy Order: Asian Migration and the Globalization of Borders 1834–1929

"Combining wide knowledge with an eye for the essential, Penna takes a truly vast and challenging subject – the natural and human history of the earth – and distills it into a volume that is reliable, accessible, and illuminating."
William B. Meyer, Colgate University, author of Human Impact on the Earth

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Purchase Options
Wiley E-Text   
The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History
ISBN : 978-1-4443-2616-1
320 pages
June 2011
$34.00   BUY

Paperback   
The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History
ISBN : 978-1-4051-8771-8
376 pages
August 2009, ©2009
$48.95   BUY

Hardcover   
The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History
ISBN : 978-1-4051-8772-5
378 pages
August 2009
$107.95   BUY

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