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Clive Ponting's bestselling study of man's despoliation of the planet - now completely revised and updated.

Like Jared Diamond's COLLAPSE, Clive Ponting's book studies the relationship between the environment and human history. It examines world civilizations from Sumeria to ancient Egypt, from Easter Island to the Roman Empire and it argues that human beings have repeatedly built societies that have grown and prospered by exploiting the Earth's resources, only to expand to the point where those resources could no longer sustain the societies' populations and subsequently collapsed. He shows, for example, how the fall of Rome has particular and vital importance for our modern global civilization.
Destructive environmental behaviour today takes place on a much larger scale than ever before and the consequences will be correspondingly greater. Ponting argues for a higher sensitivity to the finite nature of our resources and the catastrophic impact on our modern world, should we continue to squander those resources.
This new edition of Clive Ponting's international bestseller has been revised, expanded and updated. It provides not only a compelling story of how we have damaged the environment for thousands of years but also an up-to-the-minute assessment of the crisis facing the world today - and the problems that have to be faced in the search for solutions.

Reviews

Ponting's re-evaluation of history is an important antidote to mental troglodytism. It also makes a welcome change from the scatter-gun apocalypse-mongering which has become standard fare in green literature. With luck and foresight, and more books like this, we may yet learn our lesson

Independent on Sunday

Pioneering... a book good enough to rival the best American products in the field...Clive Ponting has embraced a daunting task with commendable success

TLS

An ambitious and thought-provoking attempt to rewrite history from an ecological standpoint.

Independent

If there is a single book on the subject to engage the enthusiast, silence the cynic and enlighten the ignoramus, this is it.

Observer

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Formats & editions

  • EBook

    9781409000723

    February 1, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    464 pages

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  • Paperback

    9780099516682

    July 2, 2007

    Vintage

    464 pages

    RRP $24.99

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