Crosby's Conclusions and Review
Monk's parakeets--an invasive species
Monks parakeetsSustainability: we should live so the needs of the current generation are met without taking away the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

Example of a test question from a past year (I won't use this one again):

key themes from this book:

Three waves of human transformation of the neo-Europes:
chart showing immigration from 1830 to

What is the next wave of human transformation of the environment?


Crosby's central point: you can't explain the success of Europeans in the neoEuropes without using an ecological argument as an important part of the explanation
(Compare North America and Africa--why was it possible for people of European descent to become the huge majority in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand)

How do you prove this point?
how much is the success of a civilization determined by ecology?
History tends to be written separating nature and culture and focusing only on culture
to talk about environmental history we need to deal with the relationship between nature and culture
notice here that history changes
when we talk about "nature" we are seeing ourselves as separate: we see nature as what is not human
what over-grazing can do to the land
a step more specific:  how did Europeans and their plants and animals succeed?
What are some of Crosby's most important specific arguments:

What does this theory explain, and what does it not explain?

history is not just a bunch of facts, it is instead an attempt to understand cause and effect
the natural world/ecology is one part of the story of cause and effect
historical explanations change over time--Crosby's argument wouldn't be possible without the science of ecology
the natural world is not a given, it changes too, and human beings can have major effects

This page written and copyright Pamela E. Mack
last updated 2/8/10
Hist 124