The discovery of the Americas around 1500 AD was an extraordinary watershed in human experience. It gave rise to the modern period of human ecology, a phenomenon global in scope that set in motion profound changes in almost every society on earth. This new period, which saw the depletion of the lands of the New World, proved tragic for some, triumphant for others, and powerfully affecting for all.
In this work, acclaimed environmental historian Donald Worster takes a global view in his examination of the ways in which complex issues of worldwide abundance and scarcity have shaped American society and behavior over three centuries. Looking at the limits nature imposes on human ambitions, he questions whether today's America is in the midst of a shift from a culture of abundance to a culture of limits-and whether American consumption has become reliant on the global South. Worster engages
with key political, economic, and environmental thinkers while presenting his own interpretation of the role of capitalism and government in issues of wealth, abundance, and scarcity. Acknowledging the earth's agency throughout human history, Shrinking the Earth offers a compelling explanation of how
we have arrived where we are today and a hopeful way forward on a planet that is no longer as large as it once was.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 508 g
Dimensions: 237 x 162 x 25 mm
[R]emarkable. ... [A] brilliantly crafted discussion of the limits imposed by our natural reserves, combining historical analysis, economic development and political decision making. Worster has the rare ability to present complex ideas in an easily accessible manner. He fills his book with the stories of the people who brought us both riches as a society and a body of ideas we can use to make us healthy again. * Roger I. Abrams, New York Journal of Books *
In his excellent Shrinking the Earth, Donald Worster makes the convincing case that this disconnect between simple mathematics and the ivory towers ultimately stems from the discovery of the western Hemisphere by Europeans, which essentially doubled their carrying capacity. Worster's careful, multifaceted analysis of the many complex factors influencing and driving human response to resource levels and limits is far more ecological in its approach. * Jeffery C. Nekola, TREE *