Back to the garden : nature and the Mediterranean world from by James H. S. McGregor

By James H. S. McGregor

The backyard used to be the cultural origin of the early Mediterranean peoples; they stated their reliance on and kinship with the land, and so they understood nature throughout the lens in their diversely cultivated panorama. Their photo of the backyard underwrote the biblical ebook of Genesis and the region’s 3 religions. For millennia, there has been no sharp divide among humankind and the land that used to be domestic. to make certain, the weather may be harsh, their origins mysterious, yet there has been a frequent consensus that presumed a principally harmonious operating dating with Nature. conventional agriculture within the historic Mediterranean mimicked the most important qualities of clearly taking place ecosystems. It used to be different, advanced, self-regulating, and resilient.
This dating successfully got here to an result in the past due eighteenth century, while “nature” used to be progressively equated with the untamed panorama with out human intervention. within the early a part of the century, the human international, the rural realm, and the province of uncultivated nature have been one non-stop box with out inner barriers. by means of century’s finish, in spite of the fact that, key writers had created a pointy divide inside of this continuum and separated the rural global from the realm of nature. This abrupt and dramatic switch of sensibility upended ecological realizing and had huge, immense consequences—consequences with which we're nonetheless struggling.
In Back to the Garden, James H. S. McGregor argues that the environmental concern the realm faces at the present time is because of the Western society’s abandonment of the “First Nature” principle—of the harmonious interrelationship of human groups and the flora and fauna. This crucial paintings bargains a brand new knowing of environmental responsibility whereas offering that recuperating the unique imaginative and prescient of ourselves, no longer as antagonists of nature yet as cultivators of a organic international to which we innately belong, is feasible via confirmed recommendations of the prior. a lot has been misplaced, the panorama has been degraded, and standard wisdom has died away. yet there's nonetheless a lot that may be recovered, studied, and reimagined.

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Additional resources for Back to the garden : nature and the Mediterranean world from prehistory to the present

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Did they make their life and death choices with nothing more to guide them than we have? Did they, like us, willfully plunder the land for short-term gain while they compromised the comfort and security of their neighbors, their children, and themselves? Or did they live differently and in harmony with that portion of the earth that they recognized as the source of their well-being? Looking back, many environmentalists have concluded that the present emergency is just the crisis stage of a malaise that afflicted Mediterranean societies from the start.

This sequence of actions, which could be taken for granted in modern humans, requires imagination, planning, organization of behavior, and spatial memory that many archaeologists are hesitant to ascribe to hominids like the Neanderthal. Trade might also account for the long-distance transport of high-quality stone, but trade also seems unlikely among a group that is generally believed to have been incapable of language or intricate social organization and interaction. Whatever their social and intellectual abilities might have been, in their choice of home sites the Neanderthals showed a high level of insight and intelligence.

Napoléon captured Venice in 1797 and stripped it of its assets before he deeded it to Austria. In 1870 the Austrians gave way to the Italians. None of these conquerors had much of an understanding of the city they took over. Their lack of comprehension should come as no surprise. Imagine a powerful, rich, and influential civilization that in 1800 had no use for horses and little use for the wheel. It had few machines more powerful than clocks and relied on human muscle for mobility. A metropolis without roads, it was surrounded not by fields and pastures but by expanses of water.

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