Desert takes a fresh look at one of the most significant natural aspects of our planet, as both a geographical feature and a cultural entity. It examines and often overturns our common notions about deserts, from the fear of desolation and death of thirst on the one hand, to the attraction of the exotic, adventure and freedom on the other. The book considers the immense geographical diversity of deserts from the Sahara to Antarctica, and describes how plants and animals have adapted to these hostile environments in intriguing and often bizarre ways. Diverse races have also inhabited deserts and evolved unique lifestyles and cultures in response to their environments. Desert also asks why all three of the world's great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, originated in the deserts of the Middle East, and traces the continuing connections between the minimal materialism of desert existence and the pursuit of a spiritual dimension. Deserts have also long exerted an allure on the West, leading to the impetus for exploration, the fascination with travellers' tales and the fashion for Orientalism in art, architecture and dress. Desert also reviews the significance of desolate landscapes in literature and film and looks at artists' responses to the desert, from seeing it as empty space, devoid of interest or perspective, to devising new visual techniques through which to 'see' it.
Author: SueEllen Campbell
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2011-08-22
This lively book sweeps across dramatic and varied terrains—volcanoes and glaciers, billabongs and canyons, prairies and rain forests—to explore how humans have made sense of our planet’s marvelous landscapes. In a rich weave of scientific, cultural, and personal stories, The Face of the Earth examines mirages and satellite images, swamp-dwelling heroes and Tibetan nomads, cave paintings and popular movies, investigating how we live with the great shaping forces of nature—from fire to changing climates and the intricacies of adaptation. The book illuminates subjects as diverse as the literary life of hollow Earth theories, the links between the Little Ice Age and Frankenstein’s monster, and the spiritual allure of deserts and their scarce waters. Including vivid, on-the-spot accounts by scientists and writers in Saudi Arabia, Australia, Alaska, England, the Rocky Mountains, Antarctica, and elsewhere, The Face of the Earth charts the depth and complexity of our interdependence with the natural world.
Written by one of the leading thinkers in environmentalism, Earthcare brings together Merchant's existing work on the topic of women and the environment as well as updated and new essays. Earthcare looks at age-old historical associations of women with nature, beginning with Eve and continuing through to environmental activists of today, women's commitment to environmental conservation, and the problematic assumptions of women as caregivers and men as dominating nature.
The Global Deserts Outlook presents a panorama of the environmental status of the world's deserts: their location and extent, uniqueness and vulnerability, biodiversity and natural resources. The report provides a balanced picture of deserts as ecosystems which form a special part of the world's natural and cultural heritage, and not simply as land that is the end result of the process of desertification. Few places on earth contain a richer collection of natural adaptations to the environment. Readers are challenged to consider the development potential of deserts and their conservation needs, to explore what would be the most appropriate and sustainable livelihoods for people living in desert areas. Deserts do not have much water, but they do have other natural resources. The knowledge and technology exist to manage these resources sustainably; the challenge lies with determining and implementing appropriate actions for desirable long-term outcomes
Author: Larry L. Rasmussen
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2015-05-01
Genre: Christian ethics
Grand Winner of the 2014 Nautilus Book Awards Thoughtful observers agree that the planetary crisis we now face-climate change; species extinction; the destruction of entire ecosystems; the urgent need for a more just economic-political order-is pushing human civilization to a radical turning point: change or perish. But precisely how to change remains an open question. In Earth-honoring Faith, Larry Rasmussen answers that question with a dramatically new way of thinking about human society, ethics, and the ongoing health of our planet. Rejecting the modern assumption that morality applies to human society alone, Rasmussen insists that we must derive a spiritual and ecological ethic that accounts for the well-being of all creation, as well as the primal elements upon which it depends: earth, air, fire, water, and sunlight. He argues that good science, necessary as it is, will not be enough to inspire fundamental change. We must draw on religious resources as well to make the difficult transition from an industrial-technological age obsessed with consumption to an ecological age that restores wise stewardship of all life. Earth-honoring Faith advocates an alliance of spirituality and ecology, in which the material requirements for planetary life are reconciled with deep traditions of spirituality across religions, traditions that include mysticism, sacramentalism, prophetic practices, asceticism, and the cultivation of wisdom. It is these shared spiritual practices that can produce a chorus of world faiths to counter the consumerism, utilitarianism, alienation, oppression, and folly that have pushed us to the brink. Written with passionate commitment and deep insight, Earth-honoring Faith reminds us that we must live in the present with the knowledge that the eyes of future generations will look back at us.
Author: Richard Hofrichter
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2000
Genre: Health & Fitness
An expanding array of hazardous substances poses an increasing threat to public health. But what makes our society a toxic culture are the social arrangements that encourage and excuse the deterioration of human health and the environment. Elements of toxic culture include the unquestioned production of hazardous wastes, economic blight, substandard housing, chronic stress, exploitative working conditions, and dangerous technologies. Toxic culture is also a metaphor for the ways our language, concepts, and values frame debates, ignoring the political conflicts and power relations that influence public health.Reflecting a diversity of voices and critical perspectives, the essays in this book range from critiques of traditional thinking and practices to strategies for shifting public consciousness to create healthy communities. Rather than emphasize policy reform, medical advances, and individual behavior, the essays stress the causes of ill health associated with the production, use, and disposal of resources and, more important, inequality. The contributors include academics, political activists, and artists. Connecting the essays are a recognition of the political and cultural dynamics that influence public health and a commitment to organize against the powerful interests that perpetuate our toxic culture.Contributors : Robin Andersen, Mary Arquette, Marcy Darnovsky, Giovanna Di Chiro, John Bellamy Foster, Mindy Thompson Fullilove, Robert E. Fullilove, III, Al Gedicks, Richard Hofrichter, Joshua Karliner, Charles Levenstein, Timothy W. Luke, Rafael Mares, Branda Miller, Mary H. O'Brien, John O'Neal, Sheldon Rampton, William Shutkin, John Stauber, Sandra Steingraber, Alice Tarbell, John Wooding.
Author: Paul Shepard
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Release Date: 2011-07-01
Through much of history our relationship with the earth has been plagued by ambivalence--we not only enjoy and appreciate the forces and manifestations of nature, we seek to plunder, alter, and control them. Here Paul Shepard uncovers the cultural roots of our ecological crisis and proposes ways to repair broken bonds with the earth, our past, and nature. Ultimately encouraging, he notes, "There is a secret person undamaged in every individual. We have not lost, and cannot lose, the genuine impulse."
Author: John Elder
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Release Date: 1985
Genre: Literary Criticism
This landmark work explores how our attitudes toward nature are mirrored in and influenced by poetry. Showing us a resurgent vision of harmony between nature and humanity in the work of some of our most widely read poets, Imagining the Earth reveals the power of poetry to identify, interpret, and celebrate a wide range of issues related to nature and our place in it.
Author: Anne Buttimer
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 1999-07-31
Genre: Social Science
Nature and Identity in Cross-Cultural Perspective presents 20 essays which explore diverse cultural interpretations of the earth's surface. Contrasted with each other and with the potentially cosmopolitan culture of science, these detailed studies of ways in which different cultures conceptualise nature appear in the context of global environmental change. Understanding across cultural lines has never been more important. This book shows how individual cultures see their own histories as offering protection for nature, while often viewing others as lacking such ethical restraints. Through such writing a discourse of understanding and common action becomes possible. The authors come from the places they discuss, and offer passionate as well as scholarly visions of nature within their cultural homes. Audience: This volume is of interest to academics and professionals working in the fields of cultural geography, environmental history, environmental studies, history of environmental ideas, environmental education, landscape and literature, nature and culture. It can be used for courses in the above-mentioned areas and seminars in comparative literature. It can also be used as a complimentary text to provide cultural context to literary readings, and for seminars on cultural aspects of the environment.
Author: Helaine Selin
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2013-04-17
Nature Across Cultures: Views of Nature and the Environment in Non-Western Cultures consists of about 25 essays dealing with the environmental knowledge and beliefs of cultures outside of the United States and Europe. In addition to articles surveying Islamic, Chinese, Native American, Aboriginal Australian, Indian, Thai, and Andean views of nature and the environment, among others, the book includes essays on Environmentalism and Images of the Other, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Worldviews and Ecology, Rethinking the Western/non-Western Divide, and Landscape, Nature, and Culture. The essays address the connections between nature and culture and relate the environmental practices to the cultures which produced them. Each essay contains an extensive bibliography. Because the geographic range is global, the book fills a gap in both environmental history and in cultural studies. It should find a place on the bookshelves of advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, and scholars, as well as in libraries serving those groups.
Author: Brian J. Hudson
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Release Date: 2013-02-15
From Niagara Falls in the United States to Angel Falls in Venezuela, Victoria Falls in Africa, and Hannoki Falls in Japan, waterfalls provide some of the world’s loveliest panoramas. With their glistening spray and deafening roar, these astonishing natural wonders attract hordes of people each year who seek out, with cameras in hand, these terrifying and sublime examples of natural beauty. While waterfalls have often been considered in terms of their picturesque qualities, their rich cultural background has been neglected. In Waterfall, Brian Hudson portrays these marvels in a new light. He explores the many myths and legends waterfalls have inspired in cultures ranging from Native American to Celtic and Indian, and how they have been depicted in art, literature, film, and music. He also examines their influence on architecture and landscape design, as manmade waterfalls begin to be a staple of parks, gardens, and backyard landscaping. Hudson also discusses the ecology of waterfalls and the conflict that arises from their importance as both a source of hydroelectric power and tourist attractions in many countries. As erosion takes its own toll, the additional environmental impacts of human exploitation could be devastating. A superb addition to the library of any nature lover, this beautifully illustrated book provides a fascinating look at the history and value of these stunning cascades of water.