The Future of Nature


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Documents of Global Change

Edited by Libby Robin, Sverker Sörlin, and Paul Warde

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An innovative anthology that offers a global perspective on how people think about predicting the future of life on Earth

This anthology provides an historical overview of the scientific ideas behind environmental prediction and how, as predictions about environmental change have been taken more seriously and widely, they have affected politics, policy, and public perception. Through an array of texts and commentaries that examine the themes of progress, population, environment, biodiversity and sustainability from a global perspective, it explores the meaning of the future in the twenty-first century. Providing access and reference points to the origins and development of key disciplines and methods, it will encourage policy makers, professionals, and students to reflect on the roots of their own theories and practices.

Libby Robin is Professor of environmental history in the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University and a senior research fellow at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra. Sverker Sörlin is Professor of environmental history at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and co-founder of the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory. Paul Warde is Reader in environmental and economic history at the University of East Anglia, an associate lecturer at the University of Cambridge, and associate research fellow at the Centre for History and Economics at Cambridge.

“This book, drawing primarily from a 300-year legacy of Western scientific literatures related to global thinking, gives much-needed historical context for the ongoing development of human conceptions of themselves and the whole Earth in relation to each other."—Julianne Lutz Warren, New York University

“Among the greatest challenges for the anthology in the ‘Age of Instant Downloads’ is to offer a whole that is more than the sum of the book’s disparate selections. With so many of these readings easily accessible online, the success of such collections resides in the editors’/contributor’s introductions. Robin, Sörlin, and Warde do a wonderful job of bundling together various conceptual elements under the rubric of ‘global change.’ Their approach offers a very appealing way to introduce key environmental themes to students in a clear and coherent way."—Edward D. Melillo, Amherst College

"The Future of Nature is a very unusual type of book as it consists of largely natural science texts edited and organized by three humanities scholars...It will be extremely useful in bringing together in one volume a selection of foundational texts for the prevailing thinking about future global change.”—Poul Holm, Trinity College, Dublin

"This representative and comprehensive collection of the original publications is no small achievement, but what makes the book really sing is the annotated commentary that sets each in its intellectual context and time and show how collectively they build to the understanding of today. There is absolutely no book like it.”—Thomas E. Lovejoy, University Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University

“The theme of ‘global change’ turns out to be an excellent way to structure a collection that includes primary sources spanning three centuries as well as commentaries that are uniformly insightful as well as usefully brief. The long time span makes this collection particularly valuable."—Harriet Ritvo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“The editors have done a marvelous job of bringing together a fascinating set of primary materials and a superb set of commentaries that provide something we sorely need: more intellectual history of environmental science and thought.”—Jay Turner, Wellesley College

“This product of intensive international cooperation on a critical topic belongs in every university library.”—F. T. Manheim, Choice
Winner the 2013 New England Book Festival given by the JM Northern Media Family of Festivals, in the Compilations/Anthologies Category.
ISBN: 9780300184617
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
584 pages, 6-1/8 x 9-1/4
46 b/w illus.