Emerging themes

I. G. Simmons

in Global Environmental History

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780748621583
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670765 | DOI:
Emerging themes

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The topics of language and emotion cannot be ignored in their roles in environmental history. Nor can that of religions, whose powers are not everywhere and all the time eclipsed by the worldviews of the sciences. Thus myth, symbol and value are all bound up together in any account of developments over time. Out of this complexity it can be discerned that a tension has always existed between a fragmentation of society which is parallelled in the non-human world, and coalescences which likewise are found in both spheres. This tension was lowest in forager times but has increased with each step in access to energy and materials. In society, phenomena like individualism have grown and in step, sequestration of nature into dedicated zones has taken place. At the other extreme, like-minded people are in instant contact with each other across the world and emission gases from one country affect the whole stratosphere. Each step in such processes has brought about its unique conditions and so history provides little insight into what the future may bring.

Keywords: Language; Myth; Value; Prediction; Dominion; Fragmentation; Coalescence

Chapter.  18623 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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