Posts tagged ‘history of ecology’

My review of Ecological Paradigms Lost

Cuddington and Beisner (eds.), Ecological Paradigms Lost
     Isis, 97 (2006), 808.

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June 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

My review of All Creatures: Naturalists, Collectors and Biodiversity

Robert E. Kohler, All Creatures: Naturalists, Collectors, and Biodiversity, 1850-1950
     Science, 313 (2006), 1741.

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June 1, 2011 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

The Ecological Colonization of Space

The Ecological Colonization of Space,” Environmental History, 10:2 (2005), 239-268.

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This article claims that the prospect of space colonization has been of significant importance with respect to ecological debate, methodology and practice. Cabin ecological research of the improvement of submarines and underground shelters serves as the background for understanding the emergence of the “carrying capacity” concept adopted by the space program of the 1960s. Ecologists involved in space research aimed at constructing cabin ecological systems for spaceships that were subsequently used as models to understand Spaceship Earth. Space colonies came to represent the rational, orderly, and wisely managed contrast to the irrational, disorderly, and ill managed Earth. Human environmental and moral space was to be reordered according to the ideals of cabin ecology and the astronaut’s life in outer space. Despite criticisms of the managerial ethics of space colonization in the mid 1970s, cabin ecology and space technology have became important tools for ecological management. Biosphere 2 was built in Arizona as a prototype for future colonies on Mars, for example. It currently serves as a model for how humans should live within Biosphere 1 (the Earth). The challenge of today is how to get out of the intellectual capsule that ecologists have created for environmentally concerned humanists.

May 23, 2011 at 11:53 am 4 comments

The Politics of Ecology in South Africa on the Radical Left

The Politics of Ecology in South Africa on the Radical Left,” Journal of the History of Biology, 37:2 (2004), 303-331.

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The South African ecologist and political activist Edward Roux (1903–1966) used evolutionary biology to argue against racism. During the cold-war, he transformed his communist beliefs into advocacy for scientific rationalism, management, and protection of nature against advancing capitalism. These pleas for saving the environment served as a vehicle for questioning the more risky issue of evolution and racial order in society. The link between ecological and political order had long been an important theme among the country’s ecologists and politicians alike. The statesman Jan Christian Smuts’ holistic theory of evolution and racial order inspired the nation’s ecologists to sanctify an ecologically informed racial policy. This idealist informed methodology stood in direct opposition to the materialist approach to ecology of Roux. These methodological debates reflected differing political support from within the Union Party and people on the radical left, respectively. Ecology was of concern to politicians because understandings of the order of nature had direct implications for the racial order of the South African society.

May 16, 2011 at 7:24 pm Leave a comment


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