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The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History

By: Anthony N Penny (Author)


Paperback | Dec 2014 | Edition: 2 | #216672 | ISBN-13: 9781118912461
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About this book

The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History, Second Edition, presents a multidisciplinary global history of Earth from its origins to the present day.
- Provides a comprehensive, global, multidisciplinary history of the planet from its earliest origins to the present era
- Draws on the most recent research in geology, climatology, evolutionary biology, archaeology, anthropology, history, demography and the social and physical sciences
- Features the latest research findings on planetary history, human evolution, the green agricultural revolution, climate change, global warming and the nature of world/human history interdependencies
- Offers in-depth analyses of topics relating to human evolution, agriculture, population growth, urbanization, manufacturing, consumption, industrialization, and fossil fuel dependency

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Concise table of contents:

List of Figures

1 An Evolving Earth
2 Evolving Humanity
3 Foraging, Cultivating, and Food Production
4 Populating the Earth: Diet, Domestication, and Disease
5 The Making of an Urban World
6 Mining, Making, and Manufacturing
7 Industrial Work
8 Trade and Consumption
9 Fossil Fuels, Wind, Water, Nuclear and Solar Energy
10 A Warming Climate


Detailed table of contents:

List of Figures



The Nature of World History

The Nature of Big History

The Nature of World Environmental History

Earth History and Human Origins

Mass Migrations and the Rise of Agriculture

Population Growth and the Rise of Cities

Cities and the Rise of Manufacturing and Industry

World Trade and New World Ecology

Fossil Fuels and Climate Change

1 An Evolving Earth


The Origins of the Earth and Its Unique Atmosphere: From Hot to Cold Planet

Icehouse Planet/Greenhouse Planet

Plate Tectonics, Super-Continents, and Climate Change

The Warming

The Cooling

The Elevation of the Tibetan Plateau and Its Effect on the Global Climate

The Birth, Death, and Rebirth of the Mediterranean Sea and its Hemispheric Environmental Effects

The Impact of the Isthmus of Panama on Global Climate Change

The Mid-Pliocene, Glacial and Interglacial Cycles, and "Modern" Times

2 Evolving Humanity


Climatic Changes and Evolution

Another Effect of the Closing of the Mediterranean Sea

Human Ancestry

The Birth of Human Intelligence

Early Diets and Their Nutritional Value

Translating Human Intelligence into Action

Tectonic Upheavals, Changing Landscapes and Climate

Population Migration and Expansion

Homo neanderthalensis vs. Homo sapiens

The Broad Spectrum – an Economic Revolution

3 Foraging, Cultivating, and Food Production


Early Farming and a Warming Climate

Settlement and Domestication

Early Agricultural Communities

Early Agriculture in China

Early Agriculture in Africa

Early Agriculture in Mesoamerica

Early Agriculture in Europe

World Agriculture During the Age of Manufacture and Industry

The First Green Revolution

The Second Green Revolution

Agro-business, Food Prices and Climate Change

4 Populating the Earth: Diet, Domestication, and Disease


A Modern Demographic Scenario

The Role of Disease in Calculating Population Size

The Impact of Migration and Settlement on Global Population Growth

The Role of Nutrition in Early Population Growth

The Role of Animal Domestication in the Spread of Infectious Disease

Nutrition, Climate Change, and Population

A Population Bomb or Not?

5 The Making of an Urban World


What Does Urban Mean?

Early Urbanization and Its Environmental Effects

Ancient Urbanization

The Origin of Writing

The Impact of Changing Rivers on Environmental Quality

Urbanization in the Indus Valley

China's Early Cities

Ancient Mesoamerican Cities

Early European Cities

6 Mining, Making, and Manufacturing


The Age of Copper and Bronze

The Effects of Ancient Mining on Human Health and the Environment

Mining in the Roman World

The Age of Iron

Iron Making in China and India

Iron Making in pre-Modern Europe

Manufacturing in West Africa 1350-1800

Manufacturing in Colonial America

Manufacturing in the Modern World

7 Industrial Work


China and India’s Economy

European Hegemony and British Industrialization

Economic Developments in China, Japan, and India

Harnessing the Power of Water

Disease, Death and a Public Health Response

The Power of Steam

The Role of Invention and Innovation

Comparing Industrialization in the United States and in Britain

Coal, Iron, and Steel

Industrial Transformation and Global Auto Mobility

8 Trade and Consumption


Global Trading Networks

Distancing Consumers from Producers

Material Goods

Luxury Foods Become Commodities



Coffee and Tea

Environmental Effects of Increased Cultivation of Coffee

Conspicuous Consumption

Global Consumption

The Automobile and Electronics in Emerging Markets

9 Fossil Fuels, Wind, Water, Nuclear and Solar Energy


The Eotechnic World: Waterwheels and Windmills

The Paleotechnic World: Energy from Coal

The Neotechnic World: Energy from Oil

The Developing World’s Demands for Energy

The Case for Natural Gas: A Neotechnic Energy Solution

The Case for Nuclear Energy: Another Neotechnic Solution

The Case for Renewable Wind and Solar Power: A Return to the Eotechnic

10 A Warming Climate


The Rise and Fall of the Mayan Civilization

The Medieval Warm Period (1000–1300 ce) and Little Ice Age (1300–1850 ce)

Current Global Climate Conditions

The Role of Solar Energy

The Role of the Atlantic Circulation Energy Exchange

The Role of Fossil Fuel Emissions

What Is to Be Done?





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Anthony N. Penna is Professor Emeritus of History, Northeastern University. His books include Nature’s Bounty: Historical and Modern Environmental Perspectives (1999), Remaking Boston: An Environmental History of the City and Its Surroundings (co-editor, 2009), and Natural Disasters in a Global Environment (co-author; Wiley, 2013).

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