By Donald S. Garden
Of curiosity to scholars and teachers alike, this booklet offers a much-needed synthesis of the hot literature at the environmental background of Australia and Oceania. Charting the construction of the Australian continent from the traditional land mass of Gondwanaland to the arriving of people, this ebook maps out the main tendencies within the region's environmental history.
Especially attention-grabbing are the chapters highlighting how successive waves of human migration created environmental havoc in the course of the zone, resulting in the cave in of the Easter Island civilization and the unfold of nonindigenous wildlife. From the controversies over the explanations why creatures akin to the marsupial lion and the enormous kangaroo grew to become extinct to such modern difficulties as deforestation and international warming, this e-book includes sobering classes for us all.
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Additional resources for Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific: An Environmental History
However, out of this flowed an equally distorting mythology about Aborigines. In a hearkening back to eighteenth-century ideals of “noble savages,” the Aborigines were increasingly idealized in educated circles as having lived in symbiotic, sustainable harmony with the natural world, and of having an understanding of the environment that enabled them to interact gently with it and to nurture it. Their traditional lifestyle, so it was averred, had minimal environmental impact. The Aborigines were true conservationists.
Mulvaney, John and John Kamminga. 1999. Prehistory of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press. Philander, S. George. 1990. El Niño, La Nina, and the Southern Oscillation. Academic Press. Ponting, Clive. 1991. A Green History of the World. Sinclair-Stevenson. Powell, J. M. 1993. The Emergence of Bioregionalism in the Murray-Darling Basin. Murray-Darling Basin Commission. Presland, Gary. 1994. Aboriginal Melbourne: The Lost Land of the Kulin People. McPhee Gribble. Pyne, Stephen J. 1991. Burning Bush: A Fire History of Australia.
2001). Patrick Kirch, who has written of the parallel extinction of megafauna in New Guinea, has summed up the state of understanding in words that apply equally to Australia: To what extent hunting was responsible for the extinction of these great beasts is debatable, although the combination of hunting and human-induced fires resulting in grassland expansion is likely to have been important, in conjunction with climatic changes. 74) As the quotations from Jared Diamond and Patrick Kirch indicate, one form of evidence for understanding the initial impact of the Aborigines on the Australian environment, as well as subsequent adaptations, is to examine comparable changes that have accompanied the spread of humans across the globe.