Although the organizing principle of virtually every world history text is "development", the editor of this volume maintains that this traditional approach fails to address the issue of sustainability. By adopting the ecological process as their major theme, the authors show how the process of human interaction with the natural environment unfolded in the past, and offer perspective on the ecological crises in our world at the beginning of the 21st century. Topics range from broad regional studies that examine important aspects of the global environment that affect nations, to a study of the widespread influence of one important individual on his nation and beyond. The authors take different approaches, but all share the conviction that world history must take ecological process seriously, and they all recognize the ways in which the living and non-living systems of the earth have influenced the course of human affairs.
Introduction - Ecological Process in World History, J. Donald Hughes; Biodiversity in World History, J. Donald Hughes; Equity, Eco-Racism and the Environment Justice Movement, Martin V. Melosi; Of Rats and Men - An Environmental History of the Island Pacific, John R. McNeil; Land and Agriculture in Australia - Coping With Change in a Fragile Environment, Helen Wheatley; Toward Eco-Revival? The Cultural Roots of Russian Environmental Concerns, Valery J. Cholakov; The Greening of Gandhi - Gandhian Thought and the Environmental Movement in India, Diane M. Jones.