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Global Environmental History

10,000 BC to AD 2000

Ian G Simmons

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Courses which deal with environmental history have long lacked a comprehensive overview. I. G. Simmons has made a significant contribution with a book that looks at the long-term history of environment and humanity from 10,000 BC to AD 2000. This far-reaching text considers the global picture and recognises the contributions of many disciplines including the natural sciences, the social sciences, and increasingly, the humanities.

As a starting point, this book takes the major phases of human technological evolution of the last 12,000 years and considers how these have affected the natural world. It then considers the response to conditions such as climate change, putting today's preoccupations into a long-term perspective. This is a book of history, not prophecy, and so makes no judgements on current anxieties.

Key Features

  • Includes a glossary of unfamiliar terms
  • Notable in being a history and not a polemic
  • Examines the interrelation of history and nature, drawing on many fields of learning
  • Extensive coverage makes this ideal background reading for more specialised treatments and studies


Prologue - Mustering the Marks
Chapter 1 - Resonances
Chapter 2 - The Gatherer-hunters and their World
Chapter 3 - Pre-industrial Agriculture
Chapter 4 - An industrious world
Chapter 5 - A Post-industrial Era?
Chapter 6 - Emerging themes
Further Reading

About the Author

Ian G Simmons retired in 2001 from his position as Emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of Durham. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, and the author of many books including The Ecology of Natural Resources(Arnold 1973), Environmental History: An Introduction (Blackwell 1994), Changing the Face of the Earth (second edn, Blackwell 1996), and Humanity and Environment (Longman 1997). He received the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1998.


In this savvy and concise book, Ian Simmons introduces his readers to Global Environmental History across the past 12,000 years... The design also enables Global Environmental History to be used an an engaging textbook for environmental history courses with students from any background, since neither a science or humanities training is assumed.
- Libby Robin, Australian National University Canberra, Environment and History