The environment is one of the most pressing concerns facing society in the 21st century. The environmental debate is hugely complex with cultural, social, economic, moral, political and scientific dimensions all interacting. Key to this debate is Environmental History which provides an valuable long-term perspective on environmental change.
Historians are now providing fascinating insights into the relations between humans and their environments in the past. Throughout history, humans have affected the natural environment, sometimes in a sustainable manner, but often in a destructive manner. This website explores the ways in which environmental changes, often the result of human actions, have caused historical trends.
The site presents topics as wide ranging as public health, conservation, preservation of nature, smoke abatement, municipal housekeeping, occupational disease, air pollution and water pollution, and generally the historical interaction between culture and nature. The emphasis of the site is on Europe, in particular the area around the North Sea basin but with a keen eye on linking this with the wider world. This is reflected in the range of articles, bibliographies and other material that this website has to offer.
The Essay section contains papers and material exploring different topics including forestry, nature conservation, water pollution, environmental change, land use and two articles deal with the question what environmental history is. The bibliography section presents topical reading lists on forest history, climate history, Scotland, waste and other themes. In addition there is a section specially designed to provide students with information about environmental history and study aids such as a basic reading list, a short introduction to the subject and an environmental history timeline of Europe (still under development). The podcasts are online radio shows featuring discussions about developments in environmental history and interviews with scholars and scientists working in the field. Finally, the site presents an annotated guide to related and relevant websites.
Over time new articles and material will be added. Suggestions for any improvements, new sections or collaboration are always welcome. Please use the feedback form to mail any communications related to this site.
Enjoy your visit!
New video: Forestry and Landscape Change in 20th Century Scotland
New podcast episode: The Broken Promise of Agricultural Progress
Research Funding: International Research Institute on Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan
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