Reply To: September 22: Sverker Sörlin's History is a Nightmare

Start Forums Courses Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History September 22: Sverker Sörlin's History is a Nightmare Reply To: September 22: Sverker Sörlin's History is a Nightmare

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Sabbath Sunday # Posted on September 24, 2014 at 11:37

Reply to Yaqi’s reflection from Sabbath

I have enjoyed your reflection Yaqi especially on the argument we share that the old histories narratives actually prepared ground for considering environmental history as a post modern way of historising human nature interaction from the time of evolution while emphasising on what drives man’s actions.

However, without particular reference to the old records of man’s history a modern scholar of environmental history will find himself at a loss if such data is only dismissed as a ‘nightmare.’ Man-nature relationship went through actions like domestication of plant and animals, improvisation of farming methods to feed populations, urbanisation and eventually the development of technology to enable man to manipulate his environment. All this did not happen devoid of social political organisation which in some instances brought conflict, wars, revolutions and reforms. So I wonder why a modern scholar like Sörlin can simply dismiss history as a ‘nightmare’ meaning that the only relevant discipline today is environmental history.

I also notice that nature and environment are different entities and that nature is not unsustainable but only our environments. I argue that nature is as old as the beginning of life on Earth and that environment is a human perception to in which all species are thriving. It is because that man has been utilising nature’s resources and now realises that they are getting limited in time and space that the issues of sustainability are being invented. Otherwise, nature itself is unstoppable because man and all other species may even undergo evolution and adaptation due to nature’s unintentional orientations. In this case man will have no control even if sustainability innovations are put in place.

Lastly, I further agree with you that environmental historians could trace the known trends of nature’s history and respect all man’s records about history in order to design a discipline that transcends all disciplines in order to study, understand and manage our environments for sustainability.