Monday, December 24, 2007
Available now at Amazon.com and local retailers: Professor Gilbert LaFreniere has released The Decline of Nature from Academica Press.
This book is the culmination of 26 years of teaching environmental history and geology at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon and 15 years working for government agencies as a scientist in southern California.
Prof. LaFreniere combines his personal experiences exploring the natural history of Europe, New England, California, the Pacific NW, and Canada with advanced degrees in both geology (MS, Dartmouth) and history (PhD, UCSB) to create a unique synthesis of philosophy, history, and science.
The Decline of Nature presents the history of Western civilization's ecological impact upon the planet and examines both the idea of Providence (the Christian worldview) and the idea of Progress (the technological/capitalist worldview) as the foundation of careless and voracious use of Nature.
The book also reconsiders the historical idea of Cycles, once suggested by the 20th century German historian Oswald Spengler, as a preferable organizing principle for world historians attempting to understand the interaction of successive civilizations and their environmental interaction.
Today's expanding human population combines with advanced technologies to deplete the planet of vital resources while the costs of past consumption reveal themselves in the form of global warming, air and water pollution, health defects in humans and animals, and even the mass extinction of species.
This ecological crisis provides both a catalyst and accelerant to current social pressures, warfare, and terrorism. Any attempt to reverse this course of history will require a discerning investigation of how we arrived at today's crisis situation and Prof. LaFreniere's new book provides this much needed introspection and criticism.
UPDATE 10/29/08: The paperback is now available at Amazon.com.
Posted by Sean at 11:06 AM