World Environmental History, a Berkshire Essential, explores how the biosphere is affected by human interventions such as climate change, deforestation, waste management, water and wind energy, population growth, oil spills, ecological imperialism, and urbanization. An interdisciplinary approach to the field considers biological and physical processes as integral parts of history, with mammals, birds, plants, bacteria, and viruses as "biotic actors" that play important roles. So do geological formations and disruptions, such as deserts, mountains, islands, earthquakes, and tsunamis. World Environmental History's rich content includes articles on the anthroposphere, carrying capacity, ethnobotany, Gaia theory, and the Green Revolution, for instance – all of which define key concepts that shape the environmental studies so crucial to a sustainable future.
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Jerry H. Bentley was a professor of history at the University of Hawaii, USA and editor of the Journal of World History. His research concentrated on global history, and particularly on processes of cross-cultural interaction. His book Old World Encounters: Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre-Modern Times (New York, 1993) examines processes of cultural exchange and religious conversion before the modern era, and his pamphlet Shapes of World History in Twentieth-Century Scholarship (Washington, DC, 1996) discusses the historiography of world history. His interests included processes of cross-cultural interaction and cultural exchanges in modern times. Dr. Bentley passed away in 2012.