Shrinking the Earth: The Rise and Decline of American Abundance

Hardcover | January 22, 2016

byDonald Worster

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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 ofthe 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, hequestions whether America today 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 ofthe 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 and a hopeful way forward on a planet that is no longer as large asit once was.

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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 ofthe lands of the New World, proved tragic for ...

Donald Worster is Hall Distinguished Professor of American History Emeritus at the University of Kansas and Honorary Director of the Center for Ecological History at the University of Remnin. He is the author of many books, including A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir (OUP 2008); Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930's (O...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:January 22, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019984495X

ISBN - 13:9780199844951

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Gatsby's Green LightPart One: Second EarthThe Age of Abundance BeginsMany Revolutions FollowUltimately, StabilityField Trip: Nantucket IslandPart Two: After the FrontierThe WatershedLand of Coal and SteelThe Resourceful StateField Trip: Imperial ValleyPart Three: Planet of LimitsPlunder and PlentyDavid Potter's AmericaA Wolf over the HillEarth's BoundariesField Trip: Athabasca RiverEpilogue: Life on a Pale Blue DotNotesAcknowledgmentsIndex