Introduction to Environmental History
Environmental history is a branch of historiography, which deals with the stuffy of human relations with the natural world over time. Generally the environmental history is the history written with the acknowledgment which we shape our environment and it shapes us. Environmental history is a kind of history that seeks understanding of human beings as they have lived, worked and thought in relationship to the rest of nature through the changes brought by time. The human species is part of nature, but compared to most other species we have caused far-reaching alterations of the conditions of land, sea, air, and the living plants and other animals that share our tenure of the Earth. The changes humans have made in the environment have in turn affected our societies and our histories. Environmental historians tend to think that the unavoidable fact that human societies and individuals are interrelated with the environment in mutual change deserves constant recognition in the writing of history. Speaking of the contribution that environmental history can make to other kinds of history, Donald Worster, a leading American environmental historian, said that it is "part of a revisionist effort to make the discipline far more inclusive in its narratives than it has traditionally been. The theme of the interaction of the human events and the ecological processes has been effective during every chronological time from the origin of the humankind to the present.
The environmental problems that received global attention during the last 40 years of the twentieth century and whose importance has only increased in the present century show the need for environmental histories that will help in understanding ways that humans have in part caused them, reacted to them, and attempted to deal with them. One valuable contribution of environmental history has been to turn the attention of historians to topical environmental issues that produce global changes, such as global warming, altering weather patterns, atmospheric pollution and damage to the ozone layer, the depletion of natural resources including forests and fossil fuels, the dangers of radiation spread by nuclear weapons testing and accidents at nuclear power facilities, worldwide deforestation, extinction of species and other threats to biodiversity, the introduction of opportunistic exotic species to ecosystems far from their regions of origin, waste disposal and other problems of the urban environment, pollution of rivers and oceans, the disappearance of wilderness and the loss of amenities such as natural beauty and access to recreation, and the environmental effects of warfare including weapons and agents intended to impact the resources and environments of antagonists.