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Global Environmental History10,000 BC to AD 2000$
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Ian Simmons

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748621583

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621583.001.0001

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Emerging themes

Emerging themes

Chapter:
(p.218) Chapter Six Emerging themes
Source:
Global Environmental History
Author(s):

I. G. Simmons

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621583.003.0006

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

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