Review by Choice Review
Grove explores the origins of environmentalism and assesses its impact in lands colonized by the European maritime powers. He demonstrates that environmental policy was undertaken not just to improve the living conditions of the conquered--although many early environmentalists were social reformers. Rather, concern about the effects of deforestation and other forms of environmental degradation made colonial powers and trading companies aware that their long-term economic security was endangered by the ecological crisis they had created. They understood that the short-term interests of private capital had to be put aside; the absolutist nature of colonial rule allowed the implementation of policies impossible in Europe. Primitive societies looked upon environmentalism as another form of oppression and social control, even though they had recognized the dangers of environmental degradation and had tried to deal with it well before arrival of the Europeans, a point mentioned by the author. Grove examines the work of many natural historians, including Pierre Poivre and other physiocrats, and Sir Joseph Banks, the naturalist on Cook's voyages. A valuable reference for scholars studying European colonial history, anthropology, archaeology, and the environmental movement. General; graduate; faculty; professional. J. S. Schwartz; CUNY College of Staten Island
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.