Environmentalism: A Global History by Ramachandra GuhaEnvironmentalism: A Global History by Ramachandra Guha

Environmentalism: A Global History

byRamachandra Guha

Paperback | October 8, 1999

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A new entry in the Longman World History Series, Environmentalism: A Global History is perfect for professors who want to assign short topical paperbacks which explore global issues and movements in their world history classes. This volume will fit into the second half of World History courses which typically cover the period from 1500 to the present century.


Environmentalism: A Global History is the first genuinely global history of environmentalism. Written by one of the foremost thinkers on ecological issues relating to South Africa, Guha has become one of the more provocative and perceptive commentators on environmentalism in its cross-cultural and global dimensions. Students will find this new text to be a lively and engaging study of ideas and debates that are central to our lives in the twentieth-first century.

Title:Environmentalism: A Global HistoryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 9 × 6.5 × 0.5 inPublished:October 8, 1999Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0321011694

ISBN - 13:9780321011695

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Read from the Book

Author's Preface The roots of this book go back to two gloriously happy years I spent working at Yale University in the mid 1980s. On the basis of my own work in India I had imagined environmentalism to be principally a question of social justice, of allowing the poor to have as much claim on the fruits of nature as the powerful. But living and teaching in the United States I was to come face-to-face with a rather different kind of environmentalism, which shifted attention away from humans towards the rights of plants, animals and wild habitats. I have ever since been fascinated by the diversity within the global environmental movement. This book explores the part played by different cultural and national traditions in the making and shaping of that diversity. I returned to India from the USA in 1987, but have gone back several times since, to renew acquaintance with and deepen my understanding of American environmentalism. More recently, I spent the academic year 1994-95 in Germany, a country that is unquestionably the leader within Europe in matters environmental, and is home also to the German Greens, the protest movement which became a political party. Briefer trips to Latin America in 1994, to Russia in 1996, and to Southern Africa in 1997, allowed a glimpse of the problems and possibilities of environmentalism in those territories. These forays, short and long, have been paid for by hospitable universities and indulgent foundations who have helped me challenge one of the unacknowledged taboos of international scholarship. For the way that the world is structured, Brazilians may write about Brazil, Nigerians about Nigeria, Bangladeshis about Bangladesh. But broader works of contrast and comparison, books that are not restricted to one country but which take the world as their oyster, are written from the comfortable citadels of a great and prosperous university in Europe or the United States. This prejudice is not cultural or racial, but merely geographical. Global histories, be they of environmentalism, feminism, liberalism or fundamentalism, are generally the handiwork of people working and teaching in the northern half of the globe. It is as difficult for a scholar of British origin to write a global history living in Bogota as it is easy for an Indian while based in Indianapolis. My thanks then, first of all, to the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. Two colleagues at Yale, Bill Burch and Joe Miller, and two students, Mike Bell and Joel Seton, encouraged me to move beyond what had been; until then, a near-obsessive concern with the history and politics of my own country. Next in chronological order comes the University of California at Santa Barbara, whose invitation in 1989 to deliver the Ninth Steven Manley Memorial Lecture forced me to think more seriously about the comparative aspects of the environmental question. The arguments of that lecture were given a firmer empirical basis in the year I spent at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, whose magnificently efficient library staff chased and procured dozens of obscure references and out-of-print books. Other institutions that have helped materially include the University of California at Berkeley; the Harry and Frank Guggenheim Foundation, New York; the Social Science Research Council, New York; and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi: my thanks to all of them. The themes and arguments of this book have been shaped by numerous conversations across the continents. I have learnt much from three scholars whose interests exemplify the cross-cultural character of the environmental movement: from Juan Martinez-Alier, a Spaniard most at home in Ecuador and Cuba; from Mike Bell, a Rhode Islander who happily mixes with Little Englanders; and from Wolfgang Sachs, a Bavarian radical with a keenly developed insight into the practice of the Gujarati Mahatma, Gandhi. There are other friends in Europe and American with whom I have argued fiercely or gently but always (to me, at any rate) productively, and yet others who have passed on valuable tips and sources. I thank here William Beinart, David Brokensha, J. Peter Brosius, Louise Fortmann, Andrew Hurrell, Arne Kalland, Margit Mayer, Arne Naess, Paul Richards, David Rothenberg, Katherine Snyder, Carol Warren and Donald Worster. I owe a particular debt to K. Sivaramakrishnan ( of Yale, again), the source of a steady stream of books and articles impossible to get hold of in India. To come home now, to the students and scholars of the Indian environmental movement, the college of colleagues to whom I perhaps owe most of all. Discussions over many years with Anjan Ghosh, Madhav Gadgil and Shiv Visvanathan have helped me more clearly see India in the cold light of the world, and the world through the warm glow of India. I have also been challenged and inspired by the verse and zest of younger colleagues such as Amita Baviskar, Ashish Kothari, Mahesh Rangarajan and Nandini Sundar. Andre Beteille, a distinguished senior scholar, and Keshav Desiraju, an experienced environmental administrator, read and helpfully commented on an earlier draft. For valuable comments on the manuscript I am indebted to the following reviewers: Randall Dodgen (Sonoma State University); Robert Entenmann (St. Olaf College); Vera Reben (Shippensburg University); Cathy Skidmore-Hess (Georgia Southern University); Tracey Steele (Sam Houston State University). I would also to thank my editors, Pam Gordon at Addison Wesley Longman (New York) and Rukun Advani at Oxford University Press (New Delhi) for their critical support to the project. But it is, of course, the editor of this series who made the book possible, who gently nudged all that talking and listening towards the more reliable medium of print. Michael Adas invited me to write on global environmentalism, waited trustingly as I missed one deadline after another, and then, when the draft chapters finally began to arrive, sent them back with meticulously detailed comments. It is a pleasure to thank him for all this, and a delight to remember those happy days at Yale when Michael and I first met.

Table of Contents


 1. Going Green.
 2. Back-to-the Land!
 3. The Ideology of Scientific Conservation.
 4. The Growth of the Wilderness Idea.
 Afterward: Some Who Don't Fit.


Prologue: The Age of Ecological Innocence.
5. The Ecology of Affluence.
6. The Southern Challenge.
7. Socialism and Environmentalism.
8. One World or Two?
Bibliographic Essay.