While all human societies have enlisted technologies to control nature, the last hundred years have witnessed the technological exploitation and destruction of natural resources on an unprecedented scale. As environmental groups and the scientific community sound the alarm about deforestation, global warming and ozone depletion, the obvious question arises: how did we get where we are today? Victor Ferkiss here sets out to answer this central question, emphasizing that we cannot escape from our present environmental predicament unless we understand the ideas which have created it.
Tracing the development of cultural attitudes toward the environment and technology over almost the whole span of human civilization, Nature, Technology and Society is distinctive both in its comprehensiveness, and in its attempt to place side by side influential thinkers and movements with varied views on these issues.
In this extraordinary book Ferkiss asks the basic questions concerning humans and their relationship to the environment. He traces cultural attitudes towards the environment from early mankind to the present day. Nature, Technology and Society is distinguished in its comprehensiveness, as well as in its attempt to place influential thinkers and movements with varied views side-by-side.
"A valuable and documented source."
"Ferkiss has navigated an exceedingly complex course through our philosophical history, tracing the lineage of ideas about nature and technology as they evolved from ancient times through Taoism, industrialism, Marxism, and several other 'isms.'"
– Sierra Magazine
"Offers a colorful, concise, and well-written survey of formal thought on the role of science and technology."
– Policy Currents
"Worldwide in its scope and reach, Ferkiss's book encompasses ethics and technology, society, and international relations – a true renaissance perspective. It is written clearly and without trepidations."
– Amitai Etzioni, author of The Moral Dimension
"A valuable overview of conceptions of nature, science, and technology since ancient times. Anyone concerned with global environmental issues will benefit from its temperate, even- handed treatment of the hundreds of thinkers who have participated in great age-old debate over the human conquest of the earth and its resources."
– W. Warren Wagar, Distinguished Teaching Professor, SUNY, Binghamton
"An extraordinary achievement – a dazzling scholarly tour de force that is so clearly and elegantly written that readers are gripped by the superb story [Ferkiss] tells. It is the story of what may be the central issue of our time – humanity's relationship with nature [...] Perhaps no scholar on earth is better equipped to tell this story [...] [Ferkiss] exhibits an extraordinary command of the subject as he takes readers on a fascinating guided tour through Western and Eastern culture, beautifully summarizing and judiciously commenting on the changing attitudes shown by people ranging from Buddhists to Nazis, from the ancient Greeks to today's Earth Firsters and ecotopians [...] A genuine treat."
– Edward Cornish, President, World Future Society
"A fine book [...] it reaches broadly and deeply into our cultural roots, bringing religion, theology, popular culture, science, folklore, natural history and much else into the discussion [...] an excellent source book [and] a valuable reference work, one of those books that belong on the shelf, near at hand, in the collection of any serious student of environmentalism and the history of technology. It will be consulted often."
– Walter Rosenbaum, University of Florida, author of Environmental Politics and Policy