Download Environmental Transformations: A Geography of the Anthropocene PDF

Environmental Transformations: A Geography of the Anthropocene
Name: Environmental Transformations: A Geography of the Anthropocene
Author: mark whitehead
Pages: 191
Year: 2014
Language: English
File Size: 9.46 MB
Downloads: 0
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EnvironmentalTransformations From the depths of the oceans to the highest reaches of the atmosphere, the human impact on the environment is signi cant and undeniable. These forms of global and local environmental change collectively appear to signal the arrival of a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. This is a geological era de ned not by natural environmental fluctuations or meteorite impacts, but by the collective actions of humanity. Environmental Transformationsoffers a concise and accessible introduction to the human practices and systems that sustain the Anthropocene. It combines accounts of the carbon cycle, global heat balances, entropy, hydrology, forest ecology and pedology, with theories of demography, war, industrial capitalism, urban development, state theory and behavioural psychology. This book charts the particular role of geography and geographers in studying environmental change and its human drivers. It provides a review of critical theories that can help to uncover the socio economic and political factors that influence environmental change. It also explores key issues in contemporary environmental studies, such as resource use, water scarcity, climate change, industrial pollution and deforestation. These issues are 'mapped" through a series of geographical case studies to illustrate the particular value of geographical notions of space, place and scale, in uncovering the complex nature of environmental change in different socio economic, political and cultural contexts. Finally, the book considers the different ways in which nations, communities and individuals around the world are adapting to environmental change in the twenty rst century. Particular attention is given throughout to the uneven geographical opportunities that different communities have to adapt to environmental change and to the questions of social justice this situation raises. This book encourages students to engage in the scienti c uncertainties that surround the study of environmental change, while also discussing both pessimistic and more optimistic views on the ability of humanity to address the environmental challenges of our current era. Mark Whiteheadis a professor of human geography at Aberystwyth University. His research interests include the politics of sustainable development, urban geography and environmental citizenship. He is the author of several books including Spaces of Sustainability: geographical perspectives on the sustainable society(Routledge, 2006) and State Science and the Skies: governmentalities of the British atmosphere(Wiley Blackwell, 2009). He is the Managing Editor of the journal Environmental Values .


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This is an excellent book, a much needed, sophisticated, yet accessible resource forstudents of the impact of human activities on the earth's natural environments. In aperiod of 140 character attention spans and localized geographic focus, Whitehead'scomprehensive contribution offers a refreshingly profound and far reachingperspective on the global historical geographies of the Anthropocene. Roger Keil, Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto Environmental Transformationsis a timely text addressing ongoing debates about the sites and spaces of change in the newly named Anthropocene. Linking analyses from 'deep time" to 'real time", Environmental Transformationsprovides a stimulating and wide ranging engagement with humanity as a force for earth shaping. Recognising that such shaping occurs in highly uneven ways over time and through space, this is an ambitious and challenging introductory text; a text that itself will continue to grow and change through links to an active and evolving blog. Anna Davies, Professor, Department of Geography, Trinity College Dublin This book convincingly shows that the physical environment has now decisively entered the terrain of the political. Read it if you wish to find out what that may mean for the world"s future. Erik Swyngedouw, Professor, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester


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First published 2014by Routledge2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RNand by Routledge711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business 2014 Mark WhiteheadThe right of Mark Whitehead to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Whitehead, Mark Environmental transformations: a geography of the anthropocene/ Mark Whitehead. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Nature Effect of human beings on. 2. Global environmental change. I. Title. GF75.W49 2014 304.2 dc23 2013035936 ISBN: 978 0 415 80983 2 (hbk) ISBN: 978 0 415 80984 9 (pbk) ISBN: 978 1 315 83267 8 (ebk) Typeset in Minion and Univers by Florence Production Ltd, Stoodleigh, Devon


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List of plates ix List of figuresxi List of tablesxii List of boxesxiii Acknowledgementsxiv 1 Introduction: geography in the Anthropocene1 1.1 Meme or geological epoch: introducing the Anthropocene 1 1.2 The rough geographies of the Anthropocene5 1.3 Where do we go from here? 12 Note14 Key readings14 Part 1 Environmental transformations15 2 Resources: oil and water 17 2.1 Introduction: the Simon Ehrlich wager17 2.2 Changing patterns of resource use 19 2.3 Doomsters, cornucopians and everything in between312.4 Water resources in the Nile Basin37 2.5 Conclusions40 Notes41 Key readings41 3 Air: science and the atmosphere42 3.1 Introduction: Thomas Midgley and the ultraviolet century 42 3.2 A brief history of air pollution: from Mauna Loa to Mumbai 44 3.3 Reflections on the nature of atmospheric science52 3.4 Corridors of uncertainty: 'fugitive emissions" and the case of Louisiana"s cancer alley 60 3.5 Conclusions63 Notes63 Key readings64 4 Soil: the political ecology of soil degradation65 4.1 Introduction: getting under the planet"s skin65 4.2 Soil and environmental transformations66 Contents


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4.3 Interpreting the transformation of soil: a political ecology perspective 73 4.4 A dust bowl for the twenty first century: soil degradation in China 76 4.5 Conclusions 79 Key readings 80 5 Forests: jungle capitalism and the corporate environment 81 5.1 Introduction: the story of Chut Wutty 81 5.2 Transforming forests: reflections on the long Anthropocene 82 5.3 Globalizing the forest and multinational forest corporations 85 5.4 Jungle capitalism: the case of the United Fruit Company 92 5.5 Big box retail and the global timber supply chain 94 5.6 Conclusions 97 Note 98 Key readings 98 6 Cities: sprawl and the urban planet 99 6.1 Introduction: urbanization and why Darwin was wrong after all 99 6.2 A brief history of urbanization: from Mesopotamia to the mega region 100 6.3 Theorizing the city: from growth machines to the favela105 6.4 Urbanization and the environment 109 6.5 Conclusions 116 Notes 119 Key readings 119 Part 2 Living in the Anthropocene 121 7 Governing the environment 123 7.1 Introduction: protecting people from nature or protecting nature from people?123 7.2 A brief environmental history of the nation state125 7.3 Thinking about state environment relations: green arbiters and ecological leviathans128 7.4 Governing the air: the case of the London fog disaster 134 7.5 Rivers of grass: the US state and the Florida Everglades137 7.6 Conclusions141 Key readings142 8 Greening the brain: understanding and changing human behaviour 143 8.1 Introduction: human psychology in the Anthropocene143 8.2 Changing patterns of human behaviour and their environmental consequences: Fordism and the Great Acceleration144 8.3 Understanding human behaviours: religion, science and ideology 150 8.4 Changing human environmental behaviours: beyond homo economicus153 8.5 Policy perspectives on pro environmental behaviour change157 8.6 Conclusions161 Key readings161 9 Conclusions: misanthropy, adaptation and safe operating spaces 162 Bibliography164 Index173 viiiCONTENTS


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Plates 1.1 Paul Crutzen2 1.2 A geological timeline of life on the planet Earth3 1.3 The Garden of Eden: The Expulsion from Paradise, nave mosaics from Palatine Chapel, Palermo, Sicily (mid twelfth century)6 1.4 Spaceship Earth, EPCOT8 1.5 The Ediacaran golden spike, Australia 11 1.6 Blog screen capture12 2.1 Paul Ehrlich18 2.2 The rise of the cement society: Spaghetti Junction, near Birmingham, UK25 2.3 Mining spoil in the community of Blaenavon, South Wales28 2.4 Water monitors used at Malakoff Diggins29 2.5 The Aswan High Dam (Egypt), a key part of Egypt"s water security strategy39 3.1 The ozone hole above Antarctica on 24 September 2006 was 11.4 million square miles43 3.2 The building of new flood defences on Borth Beach, Wales, UK 473.3 Photochemical smog in Los Angeles 513.4 Naomi Oreskes54 4.1 The promotion of inorganic fertilizer use by the Tennessee Valley Authority69 4.2 An algae bloom off the south coast of England72 4.3 The Loess Plateau, China79 5.1 Deforestation of the Atlantic Forest, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil91 5.2 The rst IKEA store, lmhult, Sweden95 6.1 Urban structured coherence? 106 6.2 Suburbanization in Toronto 108 6.3 The informal production of urban space Rocinha favela , Rio de Janeiro, Brazil110 6.4 E waste collection in the UK 114 6.5 Dicken"s Heath A new urbanist development near Birmingham, UK117 7.1 The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina124 7.2 Henry David Thoreau130 7.3 Karl Marx"s gravestone, Highgate Cemetery, London131


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