Common section


These suggestions of some selected references are for those interested in reading further. Rather than devote space to extensive bibliographies, I have favored citing recent publications that do provide comprehensive listings of the earlier literature. In addition, I cite some key books and articles. A journal title (in italics) is followed by the volume number, followed after a colon by the first and last page numbers, and then by the year of publication in parentheses.


Influential comparative studies of collapses of ancient advanced societies around the world include Joseph Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), and Norman Yoffee and George Cowgill, eds., The Collapse of Ancient States and Civilizations (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988). Books focusing specifically on environmental impacts of past societies, or on the role of such impacts in collapses, include Clive Ponting, A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations (New York: Penguin, 1991); Charles Redman, Human Impact on Ancient Environments (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999); D. M. Kammen, K. R. Smith, K. T. Rambo, and M.A.K. Khalil, eds.,Preindustrial Human Environmental Impacts: Are There Lessons for Global Change Science and Policy? (an issue of the journal Chemosphere, volume 29, no. 5, September 1994); and Charles Redman, Steven James, Paul Fish, and J. Daniel Rogers, eds., The Archaeology of Global Change: The Impact of Humans on Their Environment (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books, 2004). Among books discussing the role of climate change in the context of comparative studies of past societies are three by Brian Fagan:Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Niño and the Fate of Civilizations (New York: Basic Books, 1999); The Little Ice Age (New York: Basic Books, 2001); and The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization (New York: Basic Books, 2004).

Comparative studies of relations between the rises and the falls of states include Peter Turchin, Historical Dynamics: Why States Rise and Fall (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003), and Jack Goldstone, Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991).

Chapter 1

Histories of the state of Montana include Joseph Howard, Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1943); K. Ross Toole, Montana: An Uncommon Land (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1959); K. Ross Toole, 20th-Century Montana: A State of Extremes (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972); and Michael Malone, Richard Roeder, and William Lang, Montana: A History of Two Centuries, revised edition (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991). Russ Lawrence offered an illustrated book on the Bitterroot Valley, Montana’s Bitterroot Valley (Stevensville, Mont.: Stoneydale Press, 1991). Bertha Francis, The Land of Big Snows (Butte, Mont.: Caxton Printers, 1955) gives an account of the history of the Big Hole Basin. Thomas Power, Lost Landscapes and Failed Economies: The Search for Value of Place (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1996), and Thomas Power and Richard Barrett, Post-Cowboy Economics: Pay and Prosperity in the New American West(Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2001), discuss the economic problems of Montana and the U.S. Mountain West. Two books on the history and impacts of mining in Montana are David Stiller, Wounding the West: Montana, Mining, and the Environment(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000) and Michael Malone, The Battle for Butte: Mining and Politics on the Northern Frontier, 1864-1906 (Helena, Mont.: Montana Historical Society Press, 1981). Stephen Pyne’s books on forest fires include Fire in America: A Cultural History of Wildland and Rural Fire (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1982) and Year of the Fires: The Story of the Great Fires of 1910 (New York: Viking Penguin, 2001). An account of fires focused on the western United States by two authors, one of them a resident of the Bitterroot Valley, is Stephen Arno and Steven Allison-Bunnell, Flames in Our Forest: Disaster or Renewal? (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2002). Harsh Bais et al., “Allelopathy and exotic plant invasion: from molecules and genes to species interactions” (Science 301:1377-1380 (2003)) show that the means by which Spotted Knapweed displaces native plants include secreting from its roots a toxin to which the weed itself is impervious. Impacts of ranching on the U.S. West in general, including Montana, are discussed by Lynn Jacobs, Waste of the West: Public Lands Ranching (Tucson: Lynn Jacobs, 1991).

Current information on some Montana problems discussed in my chapter can be obtained from Web sites and e-mail addresses of organizations concerned with these problems. Some of these organizations, and their addresses, are as follows: Bitterroot Land Trust: Bitterroot Valley Chamber of Commerce: Bitterroot Water Forum: Friends of the Bitterroot: Montana Weed Control Plum Creek Timber: Trout Unlimited’s Missoula office: Whirling Disease Foundation: Sonoran Institute: Center for the Rocky Mountain West: Montana Department of Labor and Industry: Northwest Income Indicators Project:

Chapter 2

The general reader seeking an overview of Easter Island should begin with three books: John Flenley and Paul Bahn, The Enigmas of Easter Island (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003, updating Paul Bahn and John Flenley, Easter Island, Earth Island(London: Thames and Hudson, 1992); Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Easter Island: Archaeology, Ecology, and Culture (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994); and Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Among Stone Giants (New York: Scribner, 2003). The last-mentioned book is a biography of Katherine Routledge, a remarkable English archaeologist whose 1914-15 visit enabled her to interview islanders with personal memories of the last Orongo ceremonies, and whose life was as colorful as a fantastic novel.

Two other recent books are Catherine and Michel Orliac, The Silent Gods: Mysteries of Easter Island (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995), a short illustrated overview; and John Loret and John Tancredi, eds., Easter Island: Scientific Exploration into the World’s Environmental Problems in Microcosm (New York: Kluwer/Plenum, 2003), 13 chapters on results of recent expeditions. Anyone who becomes seriously interested in Easter Island will want to read two classic earlier books: Katherine Routledge’s own account, The Mystery of Easter Island (London: Sifton Praed, 1919, reprinted by Adventure Unlimited Press, Kempton, Ill., 1998), and Alfred Métraux, Ethnology of Easter Island (Honolulu: Bishop Museum Bulletin 160, 1940, reprinted 1971). Eric Kjellgren, ed.,Splendid Isolation: Art of Easter Island (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001) assembles dozens of photos, many in color, of petroglyphs, rongo-rongo boards, moai kavakava, barkcloth figures, and a red feather headdress of a type that may have inspired the red stone pukao.

Articles by Jo Anne Van Tilburg include “Easter Island (Rapa Nui) archaeology since 1955: some thoughts on progress, problems and potential,” pp. 555-577 in J. M. Davidson et al., eds., Oceanic Culture History: Essays in Honour of Roger Green (New Zealand Journal of Archaeology Special Publication, 1996); Jo Anne Van Tilburg and Cristián Arévalo Pakarati, “The Rapanui carvers’ perspective: notes and observations on the experimental replication of monolithic sculpture (moai),” pp. 280-290 in A. Herle et al., eds., Pacific Art: Persistence, Change and Meaning (Bathurst, Australia: Crawford House, 2002); and Jo Anne Van Tilburg and Ted Ralston, “Megaliths and mariners: experimental archaeology on Easter Island (Rapa Nui),” in press in K. L. Johnson, ed.,Onward and Upward! Papers in Honor of Clement W. Meighan (University Press of America). The latter two of those three articles describe experimental studies aimed at understanding how many people were required to carve and transport statues, and how long it would have taken.

Many good books accessible to the general reader describe the settlement of Polynesia or the Pacific as a whole. They include Patrick Kirch, On the Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands Before European Contact (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), The Lapita Peoples: Ancestors of the Oceanic World (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), and The Evolution of the Polynesian Chiefdoms (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984); Peter Bellwood, The Polynesians: Prehistory of an Island People, revised edition (London: Thames and Hudson, 1987); and Geoffrey Irwin, The Prehistoric Exploration and Colonisation of the Pacific (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992). David Lewis, We, the Navigators(Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1972) is a unique account of traditional Pacific navigational techniques, by a modern sailor who studied those techniques by embarking on long voyages with surviving traditional navigators. Patrick Kirch and Terry Hunt, eds., Historical Ecology in the Pacific Islands: Prehistoric Environmental and Landscape Change (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1997) consists of papers about human environmental impacts on Pacific Islands other than Easter.

Two books by Thor Heyerdahl that inspired my interest and that of many others in Easter Island are The Kon-Tiki Expedition (London: Allen & Unwin, 1950) and Aku-Aku: The Secret of Easter Island (London: Allen & Unwin, 1958). A rather different interpretation emerges from the excavations of the archaeologists whom Heyerdahl brought to Easter Island, as described in Thor Heyerdahl and E. Ferdon, Jr., eds., Reports of the Norwegian Archaeological Expedition to Easter Island and the East Pacific, vol. 1: The Archaeology of Easter Island (London: Allen & Unwin, 1961). Steven Fischer, Glyph Breaker (New York: Copernicus, 1997) and Rongorongo: The Easter Island Script (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997) describe Fischer’s efforts at deciphering the Rongorongo text. Andrew Sharp, ed., The Journal of Jacob Roggeveen (London: Oxford University Press, 1970) reprints on pp. 89-106 the first European eyewitness description of Easter Island.

An archaeological mapping of Easter Island is summarized in Claudio Cristino, Patricia Vargas, and R. Izaurieta, Atlas Arqueológico de Isla de Pascua (Santiago: University of Chile, 1981). Detailed articles about Easter Island are published regularly in theRapa Nui Journal by the Easter Island Foundation, which also publishes occasional conferences about the island. Important collections of papers are Claudio Cristino, Patricia Vargas et al., eds., First International Congress, Easter Island and East Polynesia, vol. 1 Archaeology (Santiago: University of Chile, 1988); Patricia Vargas Casanova, ed., Easter Island and East Polynesia Prehistory (Santiago: University of Chile, 1998); and Christopher Stevenson and William Ayres, eds., Easter Island Archaeology: Research on Early Rapanui Culture (Los Osos, Calif.: Easter Island Foundation, 2000). A summary of the history of cultural contacts is to be found in Claudio Cristino et al., Isla de Pascua: Procesos, Alcances y Efectos de la Aculturación (Easter Island: University of Chile, 1984).

David Steadman reports his identification of bird bones and other remains excavated at Anakena Beach in three papers: “Extinctions of birds in Eastern Polynesia: a review of the record, and comparisons with other Pacific Island groups” (Journal of Archaeological Science 16:177-205 (1989)), and “Stratigraphy, chronology, and cultural context of an early faunal assemblage from Easter Island” (Asian Perspectives 33:79-96 (1994)), both with Patricia Vargas and Claudio Cristino; and “Prehistoric extinctions of Pacific Island birds: biodiversity meets zooarchaeology” (Science 267:1123-1131 (1995)). William Ayres, “Easter Island subsistence” (Journal de la Société des Océanistes 80:103-124 (1985)) provides further archaeological evidence of foods consumed. For solution of the mystery of the Easter Island palm and other insights from pollen in sediment cores, see J. R. Flenley and Sarah King, “Late Quaternary pollen records from Easter Island” (Nature 307:47-50 (1984)), J. Dransfield et al., “A recently extinct palm from Easter Island” (Nature 312:750-752 (1984)), and J. R. Flenley et al., “The Late Quaternary vegetational and climatic history of Easter Island” (Journal of Quaternary Science 6:85-115 (1991)). Catherine Orliac’s identifications are reported in a paper in the above-cited edited volume by Stevenson and Ayres, and in “Données nouvelles sur la composition de la flore de l’Île de Pâques” (Journal de la Société des Océanistes 2:23-31 (1998)). Among the papers resulting from the archaeological surveys by Claudio Cristino and his colleagues are Christopher Stevenson and Claudio Cristino, “Residential settlement history of the Rapa Nui coastal plain (Journal of New World Archaeology 7:29-38 (1986)); Daris Swindler, Andrea Drusini, and Claudio Cristino, “Variation and frequency of three-rooted first permanent molars in precontact Easter Islanders: anthropological significance (Journal of the Polynesian Society 106:175-183 (1997)); and Claudio Cristino and Patricia Vargas, “Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island: chronological and sociopolitical significance” (Rapa Nui Journal 13:67-69 (1999)).

Christopher Stevenson’s papers on intensive agriculture and lithic mulches include Archaeological Investigations on Easter Island; Maunga Tari: an Upland Agriculture Complex (Los Osos, Calif.: Easter Island Foundation, 1995), (with Joan Wozniak and Sonia Haoa) “Prehistoric agriculture production on Easter Island (Rapa Nui), Chile” (Antiquity 73:801-812 ( 1999)), and (with Thegn Ladefoged and Sonia Haoa) “Productive strategies in an uncertain environment: prehistoric agriculture on Easter Island” (Rapa Nui Journal 16:17-22 (2002)). Christopher Stevenson, “Territorial divisions on Easter Island in the 16th century: evidence from the distribution of ceremonial architecture,” pp. 213-229 in T. Ladefoged and M. Graves, eds., Pacific Landscapes (Los Osos, Calif.: Easter Island Foundation, 2002) reconstructs the boundaries of Easter’s 11 traditional clans.

Dale Lightfoot, “Morphology and ecology of lithic-mulch agriculture” (Geographical Review 84:172-185 (1994)) and Carleton White et al., “Water conservation through an Anasazi gardening technique” (New Mexico Journal of Science 38:251-278 (1998)) provide evidence for the function of lithic mulches elsewhere in the world. Andreas Mieth and Hans-Rudolf Bork “Diminution and degradation of environmental resources by prehistoric land use on Poike Peninsula, Easter Island (Rapa Nui)” (Rapa Nui Journal17:34-41 (2003)) discuss deforestation and erosion on the Poike Peninsula. Karsten Haase et al., “The petrogenetic evolution of lavas from Easter Island and neighboring seamounts, near-ridge hotspot volcanoes in the S.E. Pacific” (Journal of Petrology38:785-813 (1997)) analyze the dates and chemical compositions of Easter’s volcanoes. Erika Hagelberg et al., “DNA from ancient Easter Islanders” (Nature 369:25-26 (1994)) analyze DNA extracted from 12 Easter Island skeletons. James Brander and M. Scott Taylor, “The simple economics of Easter Island: a Ricardo-Malthus model of renewable resource use” (American Economic Review 38: 119-138 (1998)) give an economist’s view of overexploitation on Easter.

Chapter 3

The settlement of Southeast Polynesia is covered in the sources for the settlement of Polynesia as a whole that I provided under the Further Readings for Chapter 2. The Pitcairn Islands: Biogeography, Ecology, and Prehistory (London: Academic Press, 1995), edited by Tim Benton and Tom Spencer, is the product of a 1991-92 expedition to Pitcairn, Henderson, and the coral atolls Oeno and Ducie. The volume consists of 27 chapters on the islands’ geology, vegetation, birds (including Henderson’s extinct birds), fishes, terrestrial and marine invertebrates, and human impacts.

Most of our information about the Polynesian settlement and abandonment of Pitcairn and Henderson comes from the studies of Marshall Weisler and various colleagues. Weisler provides an overall account of his research in a chapter, “Henderson Island prehistory: colonization and extinction on a remote Polynesian island,” on pp. 377-404 of the above-cited volume by Benton and Spencer. Two other overview papers by Weisler are “The settlement of marginal Polynesia: new evidence from Henderson Island” (Journal of Field Archaeology 21:83-102 (1994)) and “An archaeological survey of Mangareva: implications for regional settlement models and interaction studies” (Man and Culture and Oceania 12:61-85 (1996)). Four papers by Weisler explain how chemical analysis of basalt adzes can identify on what island the basalt was quarried, and thus can help trace out trade routes: “Provenance studies of Polynesian basalt adzes material: a review and suggestions for improving regional databases” (Asian Perspectives 32:61-83 (1993)); “Basalt pb isotope analysis and the prehistoric settlement of Polynesia,” coauthored with Jon D. Whitehead (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 92:1881-1885 (1995)); “Interisland and interarchipelago transfer of stone tools in prehistoric Polynesia,” coauthored with Patrick V. Kirch (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 93:1381-1385 (1996)); and “Hard evidence for prehistoric interaction in Polynesia” (Current Anthropology 39:521-532 (1998)). Three papers describe the East and Southeast Polynesia trade network: Marshall Weisler and R. C. Green, “Holistic approaches to interaction studies: a Polynesian example,” pp. 413-453 in Martin Jones and Peter Sheppard, eds., Australasian Connections and New Directions (Auckland, N.Z.: Department of Anthropology, University of Auckland, 2001); R. C. Green and Marshall Weisler, “The Mangarevan sequence and dating of the geographic expansion into Southeast Polynesia” (Asian Perspectives 41:213-241 (2002)); and Marshall Weisler, “Centrality and the collapse of long-distance voyaging in East Polynesia,” pp. 257-273 in Michael D. Glascock, ed., Geochemical Evidence for Long-Distance Exchange (London: Bergin and Garvey, 2002). Three papers on Henderson Island crops and skeletons are Jon G. Hather and Marshall Weisler, “Prehistoric giant swamp taro (Cyrtosperma chamissonis) from Henderson Island, Southeast Polynesia” (Pacific Science 54:149-156 (2000)); Sara Collins and Marshall Weisler, “Human dental and skeletal remains from Henderson Island, Southeast Polynesia” (People and Culture in Oceania 16:67-85 (2000)); and Vincent Stefan, Sara Collins, and Marshall Weisler, “Henderson Island crania and their implication for southeastern Polynesian prehistory” (Journal of the Polynesian Society 111:371-383 (2002)).

No one interested in Pitcairn and Henderson, and no one who loves a great story, should miss the novel Pitcairn’s Island by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall (Boston: Little, Brown, 1934)—a realistically re-created account of the lives and mutual murders of the H.M.S. Bounty mutineers and their Polynesian companions on Pitcairn Island, after they had seized the Bounty and cast Captain Bligh and his supporters adrift. Caroline Alexander, The Bounty (New York: Viking, 2003) offers the most thorough effort to understand what really did happen.

Chapter 4

The prehistory of the U.S. Southwest is well served by books written for the general public and well illustrated, often in color. Those books include Robert Lister and Florence Lister, Chaco Canyon (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1981); Stephen Lekson, Great Pueblo Architecture of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986); William Ferguson and Arthur Rohn, Anasazi Ruins of the Southwest in Color (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987); Linda Cordell, Ancient Pueblo Peoples (Montreal: St. Remy Press, 1994); Stephen Plog, Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997); Linda Cordell, Archaeology of the Southwest, 2nd ed. (San Diego: Academic Press, 1997); and David Stuart, Anasazi America (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000).

Not to be missed are three illustrated books on the glorious painted pottery of the Mimbres people: J. J. Brody, Mimbres Painted Pottery (Santa Fe: School of American Research, 1997); Steven LeBlanc, The Mimbres People: Ancient Pueblo Painters of the American Southwest (London: Thames and Hudson, 1983); and Tony Berlant, Steven LeBlanc, Catherine Scott, and J. J. Brody, Mimbres Pottery: Ancient Art of the American Southwest (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1983).

Three detailed accounts of warfare and violence among the Anasazi and their neighbors are Christy Turner II and Jacqueline Turner, Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric American Southwest (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1999); Steven LeBlanc, Prehistoric Warfare in the American Southwest (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1999); and Jonathan Haas and Winifred Creamer, Stress and Warfare Among the Kayenta Anasazi of the Thirteenth Century A.D. (Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History, 1993).

Monographs or scholarly books on specific problems or peoples in the Southwest include Paul Minnis, Social Adaptation to Food Stress: A Prehistoric Southwestern Example (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985); W. H. Wills, Early Prehistoric Agriculture in the American Southwest (Santa Fe: School of American Research, 1988); R. Gwinn Vivian, The Chacoan Prehistory of the San Juan Basin (San Diego: Academic Press, 1990); Lynne Sebastian, The Chaco Anasazi: Sociopolitical Evolution and the Prehistoric Southwest (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); and Charles Redman, People of the Tonto Rim: Archaeological Discovery in Prehistoric Arizona (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993). Eric Force, R. Gwinn Vivian, Thomas Windes, and Jeffrey Dean reevaluated the incised arroyo channels that lowered Chaco Canyon’s water table in their monograph Relation of “Bonito” Paleo-channel and Base-level Variations to Anasazi Occupation, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico(Tuscon: Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, 2002). Everything that you might want to know about Packrat Middens is described in the book with that title by Julio Betancourt, Thomas Van Devender, and Paul Martin (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1990).

The Southwest has also been well served by edited multiauthored volumes collecting chapters by numerous scholars. Among them are David Grant Nobel, ed., New Light on Chaco Canyon (Santa Fe: School of American Research, 1984); George Gumerman, ed.,The Anasazi in a Changing Environment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988); Patricia Crown and W. James Judge, eds., Chaco and Hohokam: Prehistoric Regional Systems in the American Southwest (Santa Fe: School of American Research, 1991); David Doyel, ed., Anasazi Regional Organization and the Chaco System (Albuquerque: Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, 1992); Michael Adler, ed., The Prehistoric Pueblo World A.D. 1150-1350 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1996); Jill Neitzel, ed.,Great Towns and Regional Polities in the Prehistoric American Southwest and Southeast (Dragoon, Ariz.: Amerind Foundation, 1999); Michelle Hegmon, ed., The Archaeology of Regional Interaction: Religion, Warfare, and Exchange Across the American Southwest and Beyond (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2000); and Michael Diehl and Steven LeBlanc, Early Pit-house Villages of the Mimbres Valley and Beyond (Cambridge, Mass.: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 2001).

The bibliographies of the books that I have cited will provide signposts to the literature of scholarly articles on the Southwest. A few articles particularly relevant to this chapter will now be mentioned separately. Papers by Julio Betancourt and his colleagues on what can be learned from historical reconstructions of the vegetation at Chaco Canyon include Julio Betancourt and Thomas Van Devender, “Holocene vegetation in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico” (Science 214:656-658 (1981)); Michael Samuels and Julio Betancourt, “Modeling the long-term effects of fuelwood harvests on pinyon-juniper woodlands” (Environmental Management 6:505-515 (1982)); and Julio Betancourt, Jeffrey Dean, and Herbert Hull, “Prehistoric long-distance transport of construction beams, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico” (American Antiquity 51:370-375 (1986)). Two papers on changes in Anasazi wood use through time are Timothy Kohler and Meredith Matthews, “Long-term Anasazi land use and forest production: a case study of Southwest Colorado” (American Antiquity 53:537-564 (1988)), and Thomas Windes and Dabney Ford, “The Chaco wood project: the chronometric reappraisal of Pueblo Bonito” (American Antiquity 61:295-310 (1996)). William Bull provides a good review of the complex origins of arroyo cutting in his paper “Discontinuous ephemeral streams” (Geomorphology 19:227-276 (1997)). Strontium isotopes were used to identify the local origins of Chaco timber and maize by the authors of two papers: for timber, Nathan English, Julio Betancourt, Jeffrey Dean, and Jay Quade, “Strontium isotopes reveal distant sources of architectural timber in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico” (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 98:11891-11896 (2001)); and, for maize, Larry Benson et al., “Ancient maize from Chacoan great houses: where was it grown?” (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 100:13111-13115 (2003)). R. L. Axtell et al. provide a detailed reconstruction of population size and agricultural potential for the Kayenta Anasazi of Long House Valley in their paper “Population growth and collapse in a multiagent model of the Kayenta Anasazi in Long House Valley” (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 99:7275-7279 (2002)).

Chapter 5

Three recent books presenting different views of the Maya collapse are David Webster, The Fall of the Ancient Maya (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2002), Richardson Gill, The Great Maya Droughts (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000), and Arthur Demerest, Prudence Rice, and Don Rice, eds., The Terminal Classic in the Maya Lowlands (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2004). Webster provides an overview of Maya society and history and interprets the collapse in terms of a mismatch between population and resources, while Gill focuses on climate and interprets the collapse in terms of drought, and Demerest et al. emphasize complex variation among sites and deemphasize uniform ecological interpretations. Earlier, multiauthored edited volumes setting out diverse interpretations are T. Patrick Culbert, ed., The Classic Maya Collapse (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1973), and T. Patrick Culbert and D. S. Rice, eds., Precolumbian Population History in the Maya Lowlands(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1990). David Lentz, ed., Imperfect Balance: Landscape Transformation in the Precolumbian Americas (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000) contains several chapters relevant to the Maya, plus chapters on other relevant societies mentioned elsewhere in this book, including Hohokam, Andean, and Mississippian societies.

Books summarizing the rises and falls of specific cities include David Webster, AnnCorinne Freter, and Nancy Gonlin, Copán: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Maya Kingdom (Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 2000); Peter Harrison, The Lords of Tikal (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1999); Stephen Houston, Hieroglyphs and History at Dos Pilas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993); and M. P. Dunning, Lords of the Hills: Ancient Maya Settlement in the Puuc Region, Yucatán, Mexico (Madison, Wis.: Prehistory Press, 1992). For books about Maya history and society not focusing specifically on the collapse, see especially Michael Coe, The Maya, 6th ed. (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1999); also, Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube, Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens(New York: Thames and Hudson, 2000); Robert Sharer, The Ancient Maya (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1994); Linda Schele and David Freidel, A Forest of Kings (New York: William Morrow, 1990); and Linda Schele and Mary Miller,The Blood of Kings (New York: Braziller, 1986).

The two classic books by John Stephens describing his rediscoveries are Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan (New York: Harper, 1841) and Incidents of Travel in Yucatan (New York: Harper, 1843); both have been reprinted by Dover Publications. Victor Wolfgang von Hagen, Maya Explorer (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1948) combines a biography of John Stephens with an account of his discoveries.

Numerous papers and books by B. L. Turner II discuss aspects of Maya agricultural intensification and population. They include B. L. Turner II, “Prehistoric intensive agriculture in the Mayan lowlands” (Science 185:118-124 (1974)); B. L. Turner II and Peter Harrison, “Prehistoric raised-field agriculture in the Maya lowlands” (Science 213:399-405 (1981)); B. L. Turner II and Peter Harrison, Pull-trouser Swamp: Ancient Maya Habitat, Agriculture, and Settlement in Northern Belize (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983); Thomas Whitmore and B. L. Turner II, “Landscapes of cultivation in Mesoamerica on the eve of the conquest” (Annals of the Association of American Geographers 82:402-425 (1992)); and B. L. Turner II and K. W. Butzer “The Columbian encounter and land-use change” (Environment 43:16-20 and 37-44 (1992)).

Recent articles describing in detail the studies of lake cores that provide evidence for links between droughts and Maya collapses include Mark Brenner et al., “Paleolimnology of the Maya lowlands: long-term perspectives on interactions among climate, environment, and humans” (Ancient Mesoamerica 13:141-157 (2002)) (see also other articles on pp. 79-170 and 265-345 of the same volume); David Hodell et al., “Solar forcing of drought frequency in the Maya lowlands” (Science 292:1367-1370 (2001)); Jason Curtis et al., “Climate variability of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico) during the past 3500 years, and implications for Maya cultural evolution” (Quaternary Research 46:37-47 (1996)); and David Hodell et al., “Possible role of climate in the collapse of Classic Maya civilization” (Nature 375: 391-394 (1995)). Two articles by the same group of scientists discussing drought inferences from lake cores specifically for the Petén region are: Michael Rosenmeier, “A 4,000-year lacustrine record of environmental change in the southern Maya lowlands, Petén, Guatemala” (Quaternary Research 57:183-190 (2002)); and Jason Curtis et al., “A multi-proxy study of Holocene environmental change in the Maya lowlands of Peten, Guatemala” (Journal of Paleolimnology19:139-159 (1998)). Supplementing these studies of lake sediments, Gerald Haug et al., “Climate and the collapse of Maya civilization” (Science 299:1731-1735 (2003)) extract year-to-year rainfall changes by analyzing sediments washed by rivers into the ocean.

No one interested in the Maya should miss Mary Ellen Miller, The Murals of Bonampak (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986), with its beautiful color as well as black-and-white reproductions of the murals and their grisly torture scenes; nor Justin Kerr’s series of volumes reproducing Maya pottery, The Maya Vase Book (New York: Kerr Associates, various dates). The fascinating story of how Maya writing was deciphered is related by Michael Coe, Breaking the Maya Code, 2nd ed. (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1999), and Stephen Houston, Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazareigos, and David Stuart, The Decipherment of Ancient Maya Writing (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 2001). The reservoirs of Tikal are described by Vernon Scarborough and Gari Gallopin, “A water storage adaptation in the Maya lowlands” (Science 251:658-662 (1991)). Lisa Lucero’s article “The collapse of the Classic Maya: a case for the role of water control” (American Anthropologist 104:814-826 (2002)) explains why differing local water problems might have contributed to the non-uniformity of the Classic collapse, with different cities meeting differing fates at different dates. Arturo Gómez-Pompa, José Salvador Flores, and Victoria Sosa, “The ‘pet kot’: a man-made tropical forest of the Maya” (Interciencia12:10-15 (1987)) describe Maya cultivation of forest patches with useful trees. Timothy Beach, “Soil catenas, tropical deforestation, and ancient and contemporary soil erosion in the Petén, Guatemala” (Physical Geography 19:378-405 (1998)) shows that the Maya in some areas but not in others were able to reduce soil erosion by terracing. Richard Hansen et al., “Climatic and environmental variability in the rise of Maya civilization: a preliminary perspective from northern Petén” (Ancient Mesoamerica 13:273-295 (2002)) presents a multidisciplinary study of an area densely populated already in pre-Classic times, and yielding evidence for plaster production as a driving force behind deforestation there.

Chapters 6-8

Vikings: The North Atlanta Saga, edited by William Fitzhugh and Elisabeth Ward (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000), is a multiauthored volume, beautifully illustrated in color, whose 31 chapters cover in detail the Vikings’ society, their expansion over Europe, and their North Atlantic colonies. Shorter, single-authored overviews of the Vikings include Eric Christiansen, The Norsemen in the Viking Age (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), F. Donald Logan, The Vikings in History, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 1991), and Else Roestahl, The Vikings (New York: Penguin, 1987). Gwyn Jones, Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986) and G. J. Marcus, The Conquest of the North Atlantic (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981) are instead concerned specifically with the Vikings’ three remote North Atlantic colonies of Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland. A useful additional feature of Jones’s book is that among its appendices are translations of the most relevant saga source documents, including the Book of the Icelanders, both of the Vinland sagas, and the Story of Einar Sokkason.

Two recent books summarizing Iceland’s history are Jesse Byock, Viking Age Iceland (New York: Penguin Putnam, 2001), which takes the story up to the end of the Icelandic Commonwealth in 1262-1264, and which builds on the same author’s earlierMedieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Present (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988); and Gunnar Karlsson, Iceland’s 1100 Years: the History of a Marginal Society (London: Hurst, 2000), which covers not only the medieval but also the modern era.Environmental Change in Iceland: Past and Present (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1991), edited by Judith Maizels and Chris Caseldine, is a more technical, multiauthored account of Iceland’s environmental history. Kirsten Hastrup, Island of Anthropology: Studies in Past and Present Iceland (Viborg: Odense University Press, 1990) collects the author’s anthropological papers on Iceland. The Sagas of Icelanders: a Selection (New York: Penguin, 1997) offers translations of 17 of the sagas (including the two Vinland sagas), drawn from a five-volume The Complete Sagas of Icelanders (Reykjavík: Leifur Eiriksson, 1997).

Two related papers on landscape change in Iceland are Andrew Dugmore et al., “Tephrochronology, environmental change and the Norse settlement of Iceland” (Environmental Archaeology 5:21-34 (2000)), and Ian Simpson et al., “Crossing the thresholds: human ecology and historical patterns of landscape degradation” (Catena 42:175-192 (2001)). Because each insect species has specific habitat and climate requirements, Paul Buckland and his colleagues have been able to use insects preserved at archaeological sites as environmental indicators. Their papers include Gudrún Sveinbjarnardóttir et al. “Landscape change in Eyjafjallasveit, Southern Iceland” (Norsk Geog. Tidsskr 36:75-88 (1982)); Paul Buckland et al., “Late Holocene palaeoecology at Ketilsstadir in Myrdalur, South Iceland” (Jökull 36:41-55 (1986)); Paul Buckland et al., “Holt in Eyjafjallasveit, Iceland: a paleoecological study of the impact of Landnám” (Acta Archaeologica 61:252-271 (1991)); Gudrún Sveinbjarnardóttir et al., “Shielings in Iceland: an archaeological and historical survey” (Acta Archaeologica 61:74-96 (1991)); Paul Buckland et al., “Palaeoecological investigations at Reykholt, Western Iceland,” pp. 149-168 in C. D. Morris and D. J. Rackhan, eds., Norse and Later Settlement and Subsistence in the North Atlantic (Glasgow: Glasgow University Press, 1992); and Paul Buckland et al., “An insect’s eye-view of the Norse farm,” pp. 518-528 in Colleen Batey et al., eds., The Viking Age in Caithness, Orkney and the North Atlantic (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993). The same insect-based approach to understanding environmental change in the Faeroe Islands is used by Kevin Edwards et al., “Landscapes at landnám: palynological and palaeoentomological evidence from Toftanes, Faroe Islands” (Fródskaparrit 46:177-192 (1998)).

Two books assemble in detail the available information on Norse Greenland: Kirsten Seaver, The Frozen Echo: Greenland and Exploration of North America ca. A.D. 1000-1500 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1996), and Finn Gad, The History of Greenland, vol. I: Earliest Times to 1700 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1971). A subsequent book by Finn Gad, The History of Greenland, vol. II: 1700-1782 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1973), continues the story through the period of Greenland’s “rediscovery” and Danish colonization. Niels Lynnerup reported on his analysis of the available Norse skeletons from Greenland in his monograph The Greenland Norse: a Biologic-Anthropological Study (Copenhagen: Commission for Scientific Research in Greenland, 1998). Two multiauthored monographs with many papers on the Inuit and their Native American predecessors in Greenland are Martin Appelt and Hans Christian Gullóv, eds., Late Dorset in High Arctic Greenland(Copenhagen: Danish Polar Center, 1999), and Martin Appelt et al., eds., Identities and Cultural Contacts in the Arctic (Copenhagen: Danish Polar Center, 2000). An intimately personal insight into the lives of Greenland Inuit was gained from the discovery of six women, a child, and an infant who died and were buried around 1475, and whose bodies and clothing remained well preserved because of the cold dry climate. Those mummies are described and illustrated in Jens Peder Hart Hansen et al., eds., The Greenland Mummies (London: British Museum Press, 1991); the book’s cover is a haunting, unforgettable photograph of the face of the six-month-old infant.

The two most important series of archaeological studies of the Greenland Norse within the last 20 years have been by Thomas McGovern and by Jette Arneborg and their colleagues. Among McGovern’s papers are Thomas McGovern, “The Vinland adventure: a North Atlantic perspective” (North American Archaeologist 2:285-308 (1981)); Thomas McGovern, “Contributions to the paleoeconomy of Norse Greenland” (Acta Archaeologica 54:73-122 (1985)); Thomas McGovern et al., “Northern islands, human era, and environmental degradation: a view of social and ecological change in the medieval North Atlantic” (Human Ecology 16:225-270 (1988)); Thomas McGovern, “Climate, correlation, and causation in Norse Greenland” (Arctic Anthropology 28:77-100 (1991)); Thomas McGovern et al., “A vertebrate zooarchaeology of Sandnes V51: economic change at a chieftain’s farm in West Greenland” (Arctic Anthropology 33:94-121 (1996)); Thomas Amorosi et al., “Raiding the landscape: human impact from the Scandinavian North Atlantic” (Human Ecology 25:491-518 (1997)); and Tom Amorosi et al., “They did not live by grass alone: the politics and paleoecology of animal fodder in the North Atlantic region” (Environmental Archaeology 1:41-54 (1998)). Arneborg’s papers include Jette Arneborg, “The Roman church in Norse Greenland” (Acta Archaeologica 61:142-150 (1990)); Jette Arneborg, “Contact between Eskimos and Norsemen in Greenland: a review of the evidence,” pp. 23-35 in Tvaerfaglige Vikingesymposium(Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University, 1993); Jette Arneborg, “Burgundian caps, Basques and dead Norsemen at Herjolfsnaes, Greenland,” pp. 75-83 in Nationalmuseets Arbejdsmark (Copenhagen: Nationalmuseet, 1996); and Jette Arneborg et al., “Change of diet of the Greenland Vikings determined from stable carbon isotope analysis and 14C dating of their bones” (Radiocarbon 41:157-168 (1999)). Among the Greenland sites that Arneborg and her colleagues excavated was the remarkable “Farm beneath the sand,” a large Norse farm sealed under a thick layer of sand at Western Settlement; that site and several other Greenland sites are described in a monograph edited by Jette Arneborg and Hans Christian Gullóv, Man, Culture and Environment in Ancient Greenland(Copenhagen: Danish Polar Center, 1998). C. L. Vebaek described his excavations from 1945 to 1962 in three monographs: respectively numbers 14, 17, and 18 (1991, 1992, and 1993) in the series Meddelelser om Grónland, Man and Society, Copenhagen: The Church Topography of the Eastern Settlement and the Excavation of the Benedictine Convent at Narsarsuaq in the Uunartoq Fjord; Vatnahverfi: An Inland District of the Eastern Settlement in Greenland; and Narsaq: A Norse Landnáma Farm.

Among important individual papers on Norse Greenland are Robert McGhee, “Contact between Native North Americans and the medieval Norse: a review of the evidence” (American Antiquity 49:4-26 (1984)); Joel Berglund, “The decline of the Norse settlements in Greenland” (Arctic Anthropology 23:109-135 (1986)); Svend Albrethsen and Christian Keller, “The use of the saeter in medieval Norse farming in Greenland” (Arctic Anthropology 23:91-107 (1986)); Christian Keller, “Vikings in the West Atlantic: a model of Norse Greenlandic medieval society” (Acta Archaeologica 61:126-141 (1990)); Bent Fredskild, “Agriculture in a marginal area: South Greenland from the Norse landnam (1985 A.D.) to the present 1985 A.D.,” pp. 381-393 in Hilary Birks et al., eds., The Cultural Landscape: Past, Present and Future (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988); Bent Fredskild, “Erosion and vegetational changes in South Greenland caused by agriculture” (Geografisk Tidsskrift 92:14-21 (1992)); and Bjarne Jakobsen “Soil resources and soil erosion in the Norse Settlement area of Østerbygden in southern Greenland” (Acta Borealia 1:56-68 (1991)).

Chapter 9

Three books, excellent in different ways, that portray New Guinea highland societies are: a historical account by Gavin Souter, New Guinea: the Last Unknown (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1964); Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson, First Contact (New York: Viking, 1987), a moving account of the first encounters of highland New Guineans with Europeans; and Tim Flannery, Throwim Way Leg (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1998), a zoologist’s experiences with highlanders. Two papers by R. Michael Bourke discuss casuarina agroforestry and other agricultural practices maintaining soil fertility in the New Guinea highlands: “Indigenous conservation farming practices,” Report of the Joint ASOCON/Commonwealth Workshop, pp. 67-71 (Jakarta: Asia Soil Conservation Network, 1991), and “Management of fallow species composition with tree planting in Papua New Guinea,” Resource Management in Asia/Pacific Working Paper 1997/5 (Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australia National University, 1997). Three papers by Simon Haberle summarize the paleobotanical evidence for reconstructing the history of casuarina agroforestry: “Paleoenvironmental changes in the eastern highlands of Papua New Guinea” (Archaeology in Oceania31:1-11 (1996)); “Dating the evidence for agricultural change in the Highlands of New Guinea: the last 2000 years” (Australian Archaeology no. 47:1-19 (1998)); and S. G. Haberle, G. S. Hope, and Y. de Fretes, “Environmental change in the Baliem Valley, montane Irian Jaya, Republic of Indonesia” (Journal of Biogeography 18:25-40 (1991)).

Patrick Kirch and Douglas Yen described their fieldwork on Tikopia in the monograph Tikopia: The Prehistory and Ecology of a Polynesia Outlier (Honolulu: Bishop Museum Bulletin 238, 1982). Subsequent accounts of Tikopia by Kirch include “Exchange systems and inter-island contact in the transformation of an island society: the Tikopia case,” pp. 33-41 in Patrick Kirch, ed., Island Societies: Archaeological Approaches to Evolution and Transformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986); Chapter 12 of his book The Wet and the Dry (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994); “Tikopia social space revisited,” pp. 257-274 in J. M. Davidson et al., eds., Oceanic Culture History: Essays in Honour of Roger Green (New Zealand Journal of Archaeology Special Publication, 1996); and “Microcosmic histories: island perspectives on ‘global’ change” (American Anthropologist 99:30-42 (1997)). Raymond Firth’s series of books on Tikopia began with We, the Tikopia (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1936) and Primitive Polynesian Economy (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1939). The extirpations of bird populations during the earliest phase of Tikopian settlement are described by David Steadman, Dominique Pahlavin, and Patrick Kirch, “Extinction, biogeography, and human exploitation of birds on Tikopia and Anuta, Polynesian outliers in the Solomon Islands” (Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 30:118-153 (1990)). For an account of population changes and population regulation on Tikopia, see W. D. Borrie, Raymond Firth, and James Spillius, “The population of Tikopia, 1929 and 1952” (Population Studies 10:229-252 (1957)).

My account of forest policy in Tokugawa Japan is based on three books by Conrad Totman: The Green Archipelago: Forestry in Preindustrial Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989); Early Modern Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); and The Lumber Industry in Early Modern Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1995). Chapter 5 of John Richards, The Unending Frontier: An Environmental History of the Early Modern World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003) draws on Totman’s books and other sources to discuss Japanese forestry in the comparative context of other modern environmental case studies. Luke Roberts, Mercantilism in a Japanese Domain: The Merchant Origins of Economic Nationalism in 18th-Century Tosa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998) discusses the economy of one daimyo domain that depended heavily on its forest. The formation and early history of Tokugawa Japan is covered in vol. 4 of the Cambridge History of Japan, John Whitney Hall, ed., Early Modern Japan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).

The switch from deforestation to reforestation in Denmark, Switzerland, and France is explained by Alexander Mather, “The transition from deforestation to reforestation in Europe” pp. 35-52 in A. Angelsen and D. Kaimowitz, eds., Agriculture Technologies and Tropical Deforestation (New York: CABI Publishing, 2001). For an account of reforestation in the Andes under the Incas, see Alex Chepstow-Lusty and Mark Winfield, “Inca agroforestry: lessons from the past” (Ambio 29:322-328 (1998)).

Accounts of self-sustaining small-scale modern rural societies include: for the Swiss Alps, Robert Netting, “Of men and meadows: strategies of alpine land use” (Anthropological Quarterly 45:132-144 (1972)); “What alpine peasants have in common: observations on communal tenure in a Swiss village” (Human Ecology 4:135-146 (1976)), and Balancing on an Alp (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); for Spanish irrigation systems, T. F. Glick, Irrigation and Society in Medieval Valencia(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1970) and A. Maass and R. L. Anderson, And the Desert Shall Rejoice: Conflict, Growth and Justice in Arid Environments (Malabar, Fla.: Krieger, 1986); and, for Philippine irrigation systems, R. Y. Siy, Jr.,Community Resource Management: Lessons from the Zanjera (Quezon City: University of Philippines Press, 1982). Those Swiss, Spanish, and Philippine studies are compared in Chapter 3 of Elinor Ostrom’s book Governing the Commons (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

Accounts of ecological specialization within the Indian caste system include Madhav Gadgil and Ramachandra Guha, This Fissured Land: An Ecological History of India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1992). Two papers that may serve as examples of prudent resource management by ecologically specialized Indian castes include Madhav Gadgil and K. C. Malhotra, “Adaptive significance of the Indian castes system: an ecological perspective” (Annals of Human Biology 10:465-478 (1983)), and Madhav Gadgil and Prema Iyer, “On the diversification of common-property resource use by Indian society,” pp. 240-255 in F. Berkes, ed., Common Property Resources: Ecology and Community-based Sustainable Development (London: Belhaven, 1989).

Before leaving these examples of success or failure in the past, let us mention some more examples of failure. I have discussed five failures in detail, because they seem to me to be the best understood cases. However, there are many other past societies, some of them well known, that may also have overexploited their resources, sometimes to the point of decline or collapse. I do not discuss them at length in this book, because they are subject to more uncertainties and debate than the cases that I do discuss in detail. However, just to make the record more complete, I shall now briefly mention nine of them, proceeding geographically through the New and then the Old World:

Native Americans of the California Channel Islands off Los Angeles overexploited different species of shellfish in succession, as shown by shells in their middens. The oldest middens contain mostly the shells of the largest species that lives closest to shore and would have been easiest to bring up by diving. With time in the archaeological record, the middens show that the individuals harvested of that species became smaller and smaller, until people switched to harvesting the next-smaller species that lived farther offshore in deeper water. Again, the individuals harvested of that species decreased in size with time. Thus, each species in turn was overharvested until it became uneconomic to exploit, whereupon people fell back upon the next species, which was less desirable and more difficult to harvest. See Terry Jones, ed., Essays on the Prehistory of Maritime California (Davis, Calif.: Center for Archaeological Research, 1992); and L. Mark Raab, “An optimal foraging analysis of prehistoric shellfish collecting on San Clemente Island, California” (Journal of Ethnobiology 12:63-80 (1992)). Another food source presumably overharvested by Native Americans on the same islands was a flightless species of sea duck called Chendytes lawesi, which must have been easy to kill because it was flightless, and which was eventually exterminated after human settlement of the Channel Islands. The abalone industry in modern Southern California met a similar fate: when I first moved to Los Angeles in 1966, one could still buy abalone in the supermarkets and harvest it on the coast, but abalone disappeared from Los Angeles menus during my lifetime here because of overharvesting.

The largest Native American city in North America was Cahokia, which arose outside St. Louis and some of whose enormous mounds have survived as tourist attractions. With the arrival in the Mississippi Valley of a productive new variety of corn, the Mississippian Mound Builder culture arose there and in the U.S. Southeast. Cahokia reached its peak in the 1200s and then collapsed long before the arrival of Europeans. The cause of Cahokia’s collapse is debated, but deforestation, resulting in erosion and the filling up of oxbow lakes with sediment, may have played a role. See Neal Lopinot and William Woods, “Wood exploitation and the collapse of Cahokia,” pp. 206-231 in C. Margaret Scarry, ed., Foraging and Farming in the Eastern Woodlands (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1993); Timothy Pauketat and Thomas Emerson, eds., Cahokia: Domination and Ideology in the Mississippian World (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997); and George Milner, The Cahokia Chiefdom: The Archaeology of a Mississippian Society (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1998). In the remainder of the U.S. Southeast, chiefdoms of Mound Builder societies rose and fell; exhaustion of soil nutrients may have played a role.

The first state-level society on the coast of Peru was that of the Moche, famous for their realistic pottery, especially their portrait vessels. Moche society collapsed by around A.D. 800, apparently because of some combination of El Niño events, destruction of irrigation works by flooding, and drought (see Brian Fagan’s 1999 book, cited under Further Readings for the Prologue, for discussion and references).

One of the empires or cultural horizons of the Andean Highlands that preceded the Incas was the Tiwanaku Empire, in whose collapse drought may have played a role. See Alan Kolata, Tiwanaku (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993); Alan Kolata, ed., Tiwanaku and Its Hinterland: Archaeology and Paleoecology of an Andean Civilization (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1996); and Michael Binford et al., “Climate variation and the rise and fall of an Andean civilization” (Quaternary Research 47:235-248 (1997)).

Ancient Greece went through cycles of environmental problems and recovery, at intervals of about 400 years. In each cycle, human population built up, forests were cut down, hillsides were terraced to reduce erosion, and dams were built to minimize siltation in the valley bottoms. Eventually in each cycle, the terraces and dams became overwhelmed, and the region had to be abandoned or suffered a drastic decrease in population and in societal complexity, until the landscape had recovered sufficiently to permit a further population buildup. One of those collapses coincided with the fall of Mycenean Greece, the Greek society that was celebrated by Homer and that fought the Trojan War. Mycenean Greece possessed writing (the Linear B script), but with the collapse of Mycenean society that writing disappeared, and Greece became non-literate until the return of literacy (now based on the alphabet) around 800 B.C. (see Charles Redman’s 1999 book, cited under Further Readings for the Prologue, for discussion and references).

What we think of as civilization began around 10,000 years ago in the part of Southwest Asia known as the Fertile Crescent, and encompassing parts of modern Iran, Iraq, Syria, southeastern Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel/Palestine. The Fertile Crescent was where the world’s oldest agriculture arose, and where metallurgy, writing, and state societies first developed. Thus, peoples of the Fertile Crescent enjoyed their head start of thousands of years over the rest of the world. Why, after leading the world for so long, did the Fertile Crescent decline, to the point where today it is poor except for its oil reserves and the name “Fertile Crescent” is a cruel joke? Iraq is now anything but the leader in world agriculture. Much of the explanation has to do with deforestation in the low-rainfall environment of the Fertile Crescent, and salinization that permanently ruined some of the world’s oldest farmlands (see the two books written or edited by Charles Redman, and cited under Further Readings for the Prologue, for discussion and references).

The most famous monumental ruins in Africa south of the equator are those of Great Zimbabwe, consisting of a center with large stone structures in what is now the country of Zimbabwe. Great Zimbabwe thrived in the 11th to 15th centuries, controlling trade between Africa’s interior and its east coast. Its decline may have involved a combination of deforestation and a shift of trade routes. See David Phillipson, African Archaeology, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Christopher Ehret, The Civilizations of Africa: A History to 1800 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2002).

The earliest cities and large states of the Indian subcontinent arose in the third millennium B.C. in the Indus Valley of what is now Pakistan. Those Indus Valley cities belong to what is known as Harappan civilization, whose writing remains un-deciphered. It used to be thought that Harappan civilization was terminated by invasions of Indo-European-speaking Aryans from the northwest, but it now appears that the cities were in decline before those invasions (Plate 41). Droughts, and shifts of the course of the Indus River, may have played a role. See Gregory Possehl, Harappan Civilization (Warminster, England: Aris and Phillips, 1982); Michael Jansen, Maire Mulloy, and Günter Urban, eds., Forgotten Cities of the Indus (Mainz, Germany: Philipp von Zabern, 1991); and Jonathan Kenoyer, Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization (Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press, 1998).

Finally, the enormous temple complexes and reservoirs of Angkor Wat, former capital of the Khmer Empire, constitute the most famous ruins and archaeological “mystery” of Southeast Asia, within modern Cambodia (Plate 42). The Khmer decline may have involved the silting up of reservoirs that supplied water for intensive irrigated rice agriculture. As the Khmer Empire grew weak, it proved unable to hold off its chronic enemies the Thais, whom the Khmer Empire had been able to resist while at full strength. See Michael Coe, Angkor and the Khmer Civilization (London: Thames and Hudson, 2003), and the papers and books by Bernard-Philippe Groslier cited by Coe.

Chapter 10

If you decide to consult these primary sources on the Rwandan genocide and its antecedents, brace yourself for some painful reading.

Catharine Newbury, The Cohesion of Oppression: Clientship and Ethnicity in Rwanda, 1860-1960 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988) describes how Rwandan society became transformed, and how the roles of the Hutu and the Tutsi became polarized, from precolonial times to the eve of independence.

Human Rights Watch, Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999) presents in mind-numbing detail the immediate background to the events of 1994, then a 414-page account of the killings themselves, and finally their aftermath.

Philip Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998) is an account of the genocide by a journalist who interviewed many survivors, and who depicts as well the failure of other countries and of the United Nations to prevent the killings.

My chapter includes several quotations from Gérard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), a book by a French specialist on East Africa who wrote in the immediate aftermath of the genocide, and who vividly reconstructs the motives of participants and of the French government’s intervention. My account of the Hutu-versus-Hutu killings in Kanama commune is based on the analysis in Catherine André and Jean-Philippe Platteau’s paper “Land relations under unbearable stress: Rwanda caught in the Malthusian trap” (Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 34:1-47 (1998)).

Chapter 11

Two books comparing the histories of the two countries sharing the island of Hispaniola are a lively account in English by Michele Wecker, Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola (New York: Hill and Wang, 1999), and a geographic and social comparison in Spanish by Rafael Emilio Yunén Z., La Isla Como Es (Santiago, República Dominicana: Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, 1985).

Three books by Mats Lundahl will serve as an introduction into the literature on Haiti: Peasants and Poverty: A Study of Haiti (London: Croom Helm, 1979); The Haitian Economy: Man, Land, and Markets (London: Croom Helm, 1983); and Politics or Markets? Essays on Haitian Undervelopment (London: Routledge, 1992). The classic study of the Haitian revolution of 1781-1803 is C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins, 2nd ed. (London: Vintage, 1963).

The standard English-language history of the Dominican Republic is Frank Moya Pons, The Dominican Republic: A National History (Princeton, N.J.: Markus Wiener, 1998). The same author wrote a different text in Spanish: Manual de Historia Dominicana,9th ed. (Santiago, República Dominicana, 1999). Also in Spanish is a two-volume history by Roberto Cassá, Historia Social y Económica de la República Dominicana (Santo Domingo: Editora Alfa y Omega, 1998 and 2001). Marlin Clausner’s history focuses on rural areas: Rural Santo Domingo: Settled, Unsettled, Resettled (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1973). Harry Hoetink, The Dominican People, 1850-1900: Notes for a Historical Sociology (Baltimore: Johns Hop-kins University Press, 1982) deals with the late 19th century. Claudio Vedovato, Politics, Foreign Trade and Economic Development: A Study of the Dominican Republic (London: Croom Helm, 1986) focuses on the Trujillo and post-Trujillo era. Two books providing an entry into the Trujillo era are Howard Wiarda, Dictatorship and Development: The Methods of Control in Trujillo’s Dominican Republic (Gainesville, University of Florida Press, 1968) and the more recent Richard Lee Turits, Foundations of Despotism: Peasants, the Trujillo Regime, and Modernity in Dominican History (Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2002).

A manuscript tracing the history of environmental policies in the Dominican Republic, hence especially relevant to this chapter, is Walter Cordero, “Introducción: bibliografía sobre medio ambiente y recursos naturales en la República Dominicana” (2003).

Chapter 12

Most of the up-to-date primary literature on China’s environmental and population issues is in Chinese, or on the Web, or both. References will be found in an article by Jianguo Liu and me, “China’s environment in a globalizing world” (in preparation). As for English-language sources in books or journals, the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. (e-mail address, publishes a series of annual volumes entitled the China Environment Series. World Bank publications include China: Air, Land, and Water (Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2001), available either as a book or as a CD-ROM. Some other books are L. R. Brown, Who Will Feed China? (New York: Norton, 1995); M. B. McElroy, C. P. Nielson, and P. Lydon, eds., Energizing China: Reconciling Environmental Protection and Economic Growth (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998); J. Shapiro, Mao’s War Against Nature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); D. Zweig, Internationalizing China: Domestic Interests and Global Linkages (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2002); and Mark Elvin, The Retreat of the Elephants: An Environmental History of China (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004). For an English-language translation of a book originally published in Chinese, see Qu Geping and Li Jinchang, Population and Environment in China (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 1994).

Chapter 13

A deservedly acclaimed account of the early history of the British colonies in Australia from their origins in 1788 into the 19th century is Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia’s Founding (New York: Knopf, 1987). Tim Flannery, The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People (Chatsworth, New South Wales: Reed, 1994) begins instead with the arrival of Aborigines over 40,000 years ago and traces their impact and that of Europeans on the Australian environment. David Horton, The Pure State of Nature: Sacred Cows, Destructive Myths and the Environment (St. Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin, 2000) offers a perspective different from Flannery’s.

Three government sources provide encyclopedic accounts of Australia’s environment, economy, and society: Australian State of the Environment Committee 2001, Australia: State of the Environment 2001 (Canberra: Department of Environment and Heritage, 2001), supplemented by reports on the website; its predecessor State of the Environment Advisory Committee 1996, Australia: State of the Environment 1996 (Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing, 1996); and Dennis Trewin, 2001 Year Book Australia (Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2001), a Centenary of Australia’s Federation celebratory edition of a yearbook published annually since 1908.

Two well-illustrated books by Mary E. White provide overviews of Australian environmental problems: Listen . . . Our Land Is Crying (East Roseville, New South Wales: Kangaroo Press, 1997) and Running Down: Water in a Changing Land (East Roseville, New South Wales: Kangaroo Press, 2000). Tim Flannery’s “Beautiful lies: population and environment in Australia” (Quarterly Essay no. 9, 2003) is a provocative shorter overview. Salinization’s history and impacts in Australia are covered by Quentin Beresford, Hugo Bekle, Harry Phillips, and Jane Mulcock, The Salinity Crisis: Landscapes, Communities and Politics (Crawley, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press, 2001). Andrew Campbell, Landcare: Communities Shaping the Land and the Future (St. Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin, 1994) describes an important grassroots movement to improve land management in rural Australia.

Chapter 14

Along with questions by my UCLA students, Joseph Tainter’s book The Collapses of Complex Societies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988) provided a starting point for this chapter, by stating clearly why a society’s failure to solve its environmental problems poses a puzzle crying out for explanation. Thomas McGovern et al. “Northern islands, human error, and environmental degradation: a view of social and ecological change in the medieval North Atlantic” (Human Ecology 16:225-270 (1988)) traces a sequence of reasons why the Greenland Norse failed to perceive or solve their own environmental problems. The sequence of reasons that I propose in this chapter overlaps partly with that of McGovern et al., whose model should be consulted by anyone interested in pursuing this puzzle.

Elinor Ostrom and her colleagues have studied the tragedy of the commons (alias common-pool resources), using both comparative surveys and experimental games to identify the conditions under which consumers are most likely to recognize their common interests and to implement an effective quota system themselves. Ostrom’s books include Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990) and Elinor Ostrom, Roy Gardner, and James Walker, Rules, Games, and Common-Pool Resources (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994). Her more recent articles include Elinor Ostrom, “Coping with tragedies of the commons” Annual Reviews of Political Science 2: 493-535 (1999); Elinor Ostrom et al., “Revisiting the commons: local lessons, global challenges” Science 284:278-282 (1999); and Thomas Dietz, Elinor Ostrom, and Paul Stern, “The struggle to govern the commons” Science 302:1907-1912 (2003).

Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam (New York: Ballantine Books, 1984) covers disastrous decisions over exactly the time span that she names in the book’s title, also reflecting en route from Troy to Vietnam on the follies of the Aztec emperor Montezuma, the fall of Christian Spain to the Moslems, England’s provocation of the American Revolution, and other such self-destructive acts. Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993, reprint of the original 1852 edition) covers an even wider range of follies than does Tuchman, including (just to name a few) the South Sea bubble in 18th-century England, tulip madness in 17th-century Holland, prophecies of the Last Judgment, the Crusades, witch hunting, belief in ghosts and sacred relics, dueling, and kings’ decrees about hair length, beards, and mustaches. Irving Janis, Groupthink (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983, revised 2nd ed.) explores the subtle group dynamics that contributed to the success or failure of deliberations involving recent American presidents and their advisors. Janis’s case studies are of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, the American army’s crossing of the 38th parallel in Korea in 1950, American’s non-preparation for Japan’s 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, America’s escalation of the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1967, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and America’s adoption of the Marshall Plan in 1947.

Garrett Hardin’s classic and often-cited article “The tragedy of the commons” appeared in Science 162:1243-1248 (1968). Mancur Olson applies the metaphor of stationary bandits and roving bandits to Chinese warlords and other extractive agents in “Dictatorship, democracy, and development” (American Political Science Review 87:567-576 (1993)). Sunk-cost effects are explained by Hal Arkes and Peter Ayton, “The sunk cost and Concorde effects: are humans less rational than lower animals?” (Psychological Bulletin 125:591-600 (1999)), and by Marco Janssen et al., “Sunk-cost effects and vulnerability to collapse in ancient societies” (Current Anthropology 44:722-728 (2003)).

Chapter 15

Two books on the oil industry’s history and on scenarios for its future are: Kenneth Deffeyes, Hubbert’s Peak: the Impending World Oil Shortage (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001); and Paul Roberts, The End of Oil (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004). For a perspective within the industry, a place to start would be the websites of the major international oil companies, such as that of ChevronTexaco:

Fact-filled publications on the state of the mining industry were produced by an initiative termed “Mining, Minerals, and Sustainable Development,” resulting from a partnership supported by major mining companies. Two of these publications are: Breaking New Ground: Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (London: Earthscan, 2002); and Alistair MacDonald, Industry in Transition: a Profile of the North American Mining Sector (Winnipeg: International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2002). Other fact-filled sources are the publications of the Mineral Policy Center in Washington, D.C., recently renamed Earthworks (Web site Some books on environmental issues raised by mining are: Duane Smith, Mining America: the Industry and the Environment, 1800-1980 (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 1993); Thomas Power, Lost Landscapes and Failed Economies: The Search for a Value of Place (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1996); Jerrold Marcus, ed., Mining Environmental Handbook: Effects of Mining on the Environment and American Environmental Controls on Mining (London: Imperial College Press, 1997); and Al Gedicks, Resource Rebels: Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations (Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press, 2001). Two books describing the collapse of copper mining on the island of Bougainville, triggered in part by environmental impacts, are: M. O’Callaghan, Enemies Within: Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the Sandline Crisis: The Inside Story (Sydney: Doubleday, 1999); and Donald Denoon, Getting Under the Skin: The Bougainville Copper Agreement and Creation of the Panguna Mine (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2000).

Information about forest certification may be obtained from the website of the Forest Stewardship Council: For a comparison of forest certification by the FSC with other forest certification schemes, see Saskia Ozinga, Behind the Logs: An Environmental and Social Assessment of Forest Certification Schemes (Moreton-in-Marsh, UK: Fern, 2001). Two books on the history of deforestation are John Perlin, A Forest Journey: The Role of Wood in the Development of Civilization (New York: Norton, 1989); and Michael Williams, Deforesting the Earth: From Prehistory to Global Crisis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003).

Information about fisheries certification may be obtained from the Web site of the Marine Stewardschip Council: Howard M. Johnson (Web site produces a series called Annual Report on the United States Seafood Industry(Jacksonville, Ore.: Howard Johnson, annually). Aquaculture of shrimp and salmon is treated in two chapters of Jason Clay, World Agriculture and the Environment: A Commodity-by-Commodity Guide to Impacts and Practices (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2004). Four books on overfishing of fish in general or of specific fish species are: Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World (New York: Walker, 1997); Suzanne Ludicello, Michael Weber, and Robert Wreland, Fish, Markets, and Fishermen: The Economics of Overfishing (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1999); David Montgomery, King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon (New York: Westview, 2003 ); and Daniel Pauly and Jay Maclean, In a Perfect Ocean(Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2003). An example of an article on overfishing is: Jeremy Jackson et al., “Historical overfishing and the recent collapse of coastal ecosystems” (Science 293:629-638 (2001)). The discovery that aquacultured salmon contain higher concentrations of toxic contaminates than do wild salmon was reported by Ronald Hits et al., “Global assessment of organic contaminates in farmed salmon” (Science 303:226-229: 2004).

It would be impossible to understand environmental practices of big businesses without first understanding the realities of what companies must do to survive in an intensely competitive business world. Three widely read books on this subject are: Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman, Jr., In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies (New York: Harper Collins, 1982, republished in 2004); Robert Waterman, Jr., The Renewal Factor: How the Best Get and Keep the Competitive Edge (Toronto: Bantam Books, 1987); and Robert Waterman, Jr., Adhocracy: The Power to Change (New York: Norton, 1990).

Books that discuss the circumstances under which businesses may be environmentally constructive rather than destructive include Tedd Saunders and Loretta McGovern, The Bottom Line of Green Is Black: Strategies for Creating Profitable and Environmentally Sound Businesses (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993); and Jem Bendell, ed., Terms for Endearment: Business NGOs and Sustainable Development (Sheffield, UK: Greenleaf, 2000).

Chapter 16

Some books, published since 2001, that provide an overview of current environmental problems and an introduction to the large literature on this subject include: Stuart Pimm, The World According to Pimm: a Scientist Audits the Earth (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001); Lester Brown’s three books Eco-economy: Building an Economy for the Earth (New York: Norton, 2001), Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and Civilization in Trouble (New York, Norton: 2003), and State of the World (New York: Norton, published annually since 1984); Edward Wilson, The Future of Life (New York: Knopf, 2002); Gretchen Daily and Katherine Ellison, The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2002); David Lorey, ed., Global Environmental Challenges of the Twenty-first Century: Resources, Consumption, and Sustainable Solutions (Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 2003); Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future(Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2004); and James Speth, Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004).

The Further Readings for Chapter 15 provided references for problems of deforestation, overfishing, and oil. Vaclav Smil, Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003) offers an account not only of oil, coal, and gas but also of other forms of energy production. The biodiversity crisis and habitat destruction are discussed by John Terborgh, Where Have All the Birds Gone? (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1989) and Requiem for Nature (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1999); David Quammen, Song of the Dodo (New York: Scribner, 1997); and Marjorie Reaka-Kudla et al., eds., Biodiversity 2: Understanding and Protecting Our Biological Resources (Washington, D.C.: Joseph Henry Press, 1997).

Some recent papers on coral reef destruction are: T. P. Hughes, “Climate change, human impacts, and the resilience of coral reefs” (Science 301:929-933 (2003)); J. M. Pandolfi et al., “Global trajectories of the long-term decline of coral reef ecosystems” (Science301:955-958 (2003)); and D. R. Bellwood et al., “Confronting the coral reef crisis” (Nature 429:827-833 (2004)).

Books on soil problems include the classic Vernon Gill Carter and Tom Dale, Topsoil and Civilization, revised ed. (Norman: University of Okalahoma Press, 1974), and Keith Wiebe, ed., Land Quality, Agricultural Productivity, and Food Security: Biophysical Processes and Economic Choices at Local, Regional, and Global Levels (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2003). Articles offering different perspectives on soil problems are David Pimentel et al., “Environmental and economic costs of soil erosion and conservation benefits” (Science 267:1117-1123 (1995)); Stanley Trimble and Pierre Crosson, “U.S. soil erosion rates—myth and reality” (Science 289:248-250 (2000)); and a set of eight articles by various authors, published in Science 304:1613-1637 (2004).

For issues concerning the world’s water supplies, see the reports authored by Peter Gleick and published every two years: e.g., Peter Gleick, The World’s Water, 1998-1999: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2000). Vernon Scarborough, The Flow of Power: Ancient Water Systems and Landscapes (Santa Fe: School of American Research, 2003) compares solutions to water problems in ancient societies around the world.

A global accounting of the fraction of solar energy utilized by plant photosynthesis (termed “net primary production”) was offered by Peter Vitousek et al., “Human domination of Earth’s ecosystems” (Science 277:494-499 (1997)), and updated and broken down by region by Mark Imhoff et al. “Global patterns in human consumption of net primary production” (Nature 429:870-873 (2004)).

Effects of toxic chemicals on living things, including humans, are summarized by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers, Our Stolen Future (New York: Plume, 1997). One specific example of the high economic costs of toxic and other impacts on an entire ecosystem is an account for Chesapeake Bay: Tom Horton and William Eichbaum, Turning the Tide: Saving the Chesapeake Bay (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1991).

Among books offering good accounts of global warming and climate change are Steven Schneider, Laboratory Earth: The Planetary Gamble We Can’t Afford to Lose (New York: Basic Books, 1997); Michael Glantz, Currents of Change: Impacts of El Ninõ and La Ninã on Climate and Society, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); and Spencer Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003).

Three classics in the large literature on human population are Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (New York: Ballantine Books, 1968); Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, The Population Explosion (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990); and Joel Cohen, How Many People Can the Earth Support? (New York: Norton, 1995).

To place my assessment of the environmental and population problems of my city of Los Angeles in a wider context, see a book-length corresponding effort for the whole United States: The Heinz Center, The State of the Nation’s Ecosystems: Measuring the Lands, Waters, and Living Resources of the United States (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

Readers interested in more detailed statements of the dismissals of environmentalists’ concerns that I list as one-liners may consult Bjórn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). For more extended responses to the one-liners, see Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, Betrayal of Science and Reason (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1996). The Club of Rome study discussed in that section of my chapter is Donella Meadows et al., The Limits to Growth (New York: Universe Books, 1972), updated by Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and Dennis Meadows, The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update (White River Junction, Vt.: Chelsea Green, 2004). For the issue of how to decide whether there are too few or too many false alarms, see S. W. Pacala et al., “False alarm over environmental false alarms” (Science 301:1187-188 (2003)).

Some entries to the literature on the connections between environmental and population problems on the one hand, and political instability on the other hand, include: the website of Population Action International,; Richard Cincotta, Robert Engelman, and Daniele Anastasion, The Security Demographic: Population and Civil Conflict after the Cold War (Washington, D.C.: Population Action International, 2004); the annual journal The Environmental Change and Security Project Report,published by the Woodrow Wilson Center (website; and Thomas Homer-Dixon, “Environmental scarcities and violent conflict: evidence from cases” (International Security 19:5-40 (1994)).

Finally, readers curious about what other garbage besides dozens of Suntory whiskey bottles drifted onto the beaches of remote Oeno and Ducie atolls in the Southeast Pacific Ocean should consult the three tables in T. G. Benton, “From castaways to throwaways: marine litter in the Pitcairn Islands” (Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 56:415-422 (1995)).

For all of the 12 major sets of environmental problems that I summarized at the beginning of Chapter 16, there already exist many excellent books discussing how governments and organizations could address them. But there still remains the question that many people ask themselves: what can I do, as an individual, that might make a difference? If you are wealthy, you can obviously do a lot: for example, Bill and Melinda Gates have decided to devote billions of dollars to urgent public health problems around the world. If you are in a position of power, you can use that position to advance your agenda: for example, President George W. Bush of the U.S., and President Joaquín Balaguer of the Dominican Republic, used their positions to influence decisively, albeit in different ways, the environmental agendas of their respective countries. However, the vast majority of us who lack that wealth and power tend to feel helpless and hopeless in the face of the overwhelming power of governments and big businesses. Is there anything that a poor individual who is neither a CEO nor a political leader can do to make a difference?

Yes, there are half-a-dozen types of actions that often prove effective. But it needs to be said at the outset that an individual should not expect to make a difference through a single action, or even through a series of actions that will be completed within three weeks. Instead, if you do want to make a difference, plan to commit yourself to a consistent policy of actions over the duration of your life.

In a democracy, the simplest and cheapest action is to vote. Some elections, contested by candidates with very different environmental agendas, are settled by ridiculously small numbers of votes. An example was the year 2000 U.S. presidential election, decided by a few hundred votes in the state of Florida. Besides voting, find out the addresses of your elected representatives, and take some time each month to let them know your views on specific current environmental issues. If representatives don’t hear from voters, they will conclude that voters aren’t interested in the environment.

Next, you can reconsider what you, as a consumer, do or don’t buy. Big businesses aim to make money. They are likely to discontinue products that the public doesn’t buy, and to manufacture and promote products that the public does buy. The reason that increasing numbers of logging companies are adopting sustainable logging practices is that consumer demand for wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council exceeds supply. Of course, it is easiest to influence companies in your own country, but in today’s globalized world the consumer has increasing ability to influence overseas companies and policy-makers as well. A prime example is the collapse of white-minority government and apartheid policies in South Africa between 1989 and 1994, as the result of the economic boycott of South Africa by individual consumers and investors overseas, leading to an unprecedented economic divestiture by overseas corporations, public pension funds, and governments. During my several visits to South Africa in the 1980s, the South African state seemed to me so irrevocably committed to apartheid that I never imagined it would back down, but it did.

Another way in which consumers can influence policies of big companies, besides buying or refusing to buy their products, is by drawing public attention to the company’s policies and products. One set of examples is the campaigns against animal cruelty that led major fashion houses, such as Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, and Oleg Cassini, to publicly renounce their use of fur. Another example involves the public activists who helped convince the world’s largest wood products company, Home Depot, to commit to ending its purchases of wood from endangered forest regions and to give preference to certified forest products. Home Depot’s policy shift greatly surprised me: I had supposed consumer activists to be hopelessly outgunned in trying to influence such a powerful company.

Most examples of consumer activism have involved trying to embarrass a company for doing bad things, and that one-sidedness is unfortunate, because it has given environmentalists a reputation for being monotonously shrill, depressing, boring, and negative. Consumer activists could also be influential by taking the initiative to praise companies whose policies they do like. In Chapter 15 I mentioned big businesses that are indeed doing things sought by environmentalist consumers, but those companies have received much less praise for their good deeds than blame for their bad deeds. Most of us are familiar with Aesop’s fable concerning the competition between the wind and the sun to persuade a man to take off his coat: after the wind blew hard and failed, the sun then shone brightly and succeeded. Consumers could make much more use of the lesson of that fable, because big businesses adopting environmentalist policies know that they are unlikely to be believed if they praise their own policies to a cynical public; the businesses need outside help in becoming recognized for their efforts. Among the many big companies that have benefited recently from favorable public comment are ChevronTexaco and Boise Cascade, praised for their environmental management of their Kutubu oil field and for their decision to phase out products of unsustainably managed forests, respectively. In addition to activists castigating “the dirty dozen,” they could also praise “the terrific ten.”

Consumers who wish to influence big businesses by either buying or refusing to buy their products, or by embarrassing or praising them, need to go to the trouble of learning which links in a business chain are most sensitive to public influence, and also which links are in the strongest position to influence other links. Businesses that sell directly to the consumer, or whose brands are on sale to the consumer, are much more sensitive than businesses that sell only to other businesses and whose products reach the public without a label of origin. Retail businesses that, by themselves or as part of a large buyers’ group, buy much or all of the output of some particular producing business are in a much stronger position to influence that producer than is a member of the public. I mentioned several examples in Chapter 15, and many other examples can be added.

For instance, if you do or don’t approve of how some big international oil company manages its oil fields, it does make sense to buy at, boycott, praise, or picket that company’s gas stations. If you admire Australian titanium mining practices and dislike Lihir Island gold mining practices, don’t waste your time fantasizing that you could have any influence on those mining companies yourself; turn your attention instead to DuPont, and to Tiffany and Wal-Mart, which are major retailers of titanium-based paints and of gold jewelry, respectively. Don’t praise or blame logging companies without readily traceable retail products; leave it instead to Home Depot, Lowe’s, B and Q, and the other retail giants to influence the loggers. Similarly, seafood retailers like Unilever (through its various brands) and Whole Foods are the ones who care whether you buy seafood from them; they, not you, can influence the fishing industry itself. Wal-Mart is the world’s largest grocery retailer; they and other such retailers can virtually dictate agricultural practices to farmers; you can’t dictate to farmers, but you do have clout with Wal-Mart. If you want to know where in the business chain you as a consumer have influence, there are now organizations such as the Mineral Policy Center/Earthworks, the Forest Stewardship Council, and the Marine Stewardship Council that can tell you the answer for many business sectors. (For their website addresses, see the Further Readings to Chapter 15.)

Of course, you as a single voter or consumer won’t swing an election’s outcome or impress Wal-Mart. But any individual can multiply his or her power by talking to other people who also vote and buy. You can start with your parents, children, and friends. That was a significant factor in the international oil companies beginning to reverse direction from environmental indifference to adopting stringent environmental safeguards. Too many valuable employees were complaining or taking other jobs because friends, casual acquaintances, and their own children and spouses made them feel ashamed of themselves for their employer’s practices. Most CEOs, including Bill Gates, have children and a spouse, and I have learned of many CEOs who changed their company’s environmental policies as a result of pressure from their children or spouse, in turn influenced by the latter’s friends. While few of us are personally acquainted with Bill Gates or George Bush, a surprising number of us discover that our own children’s classmates and our friends include children, friends, and relatives of influential people, who may be sensitive to how they are viewed by their children, friends, and relatives. An example is that pressure from his sisters may have strengthened President Joaquín Balaguer’s concern for the Dominican Republic’s environment. The 2000 U.S. presidential election was actually decided by a single vote in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 decision on the Florida vote challenge, but all nine Supreme Court justices had children, spouses, relatives, or friends who helped form their outlook.

Those of us who are religious can further multiply our power by developing support within our church, synagogue, or mosque. It was churches that led the civil rights movement, and some religious leaders have also been outspoken on the environment, but not many so far. Yet there is much potential for building religious support, because people more readily follow the suggestions of their religious leaders than the suggestions of historians and scientists, and because there are strong religious reasons to take the environment seriously. Members of congregations can remind fellow members and their leaders (their priests, ministers, rabbis, etc.) of the sanctity of the created order, of biblical metaphors for keeping Nature fertile and productive, and of the implications of the concept of stewardship that all religions acknowledge.

An individual who wants to benefit directly from his or her actions can consider investing time and effort in improving one’s own local environment. The example most familiar to me from firsthand experience at my family’s summer vacation site in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley is the Teller Wildlife Refuge, a small private non-profit organization devoted to habitat preservation and restoration along the Bitterroot River. While the organization’s founder, Otto Teller, was rich, his friends who sensitized him to environmental issues were not rich, nor are most of the people who volunteer to help the Teller Refuge today. As a benefit to themselves (actually, to anyone living in or visiting the Bitterroot Valley), they continue to enjoy gorgeous scenery and good fishing, which would otherwise by now have been eliminated for land development. Such examples can be multiplied indefinitely: almost every local area has its own neighborhood group, landowners’ association, or other such organizations.

Working to fix your local environment has another benefit besides making your own life more pleasant. It also sets an example to others, both in your own country and overseas. Local environmental organizations tend to be in frequent contact with each other, exchanging ideas and drawing inspiration. When I was scheduling interviews with Montana residents associated with the Teller Wildlife Refuge and the Blackfoot Initiative, one of the constraints on their schedules arose from trips that they were making to advise other such local initiatives in Montana and neighboring states. Also, when Americans tell people in China or other countries what the Chinese should (in the opinion of the Americans) be doing for the good of themselves and the rest of the world, our message tends to fall on unreceptive ears because of our own well-known environmental misdeeds. We would be more effective in persuading people overseas to adopt environmental policies good for the rest of humanity (including for us) if we ourselves were seen to be pursuing such policies in more cases.

Finally, any of you who have some discretionary money can multiply your impact by making a donation to an organization promoting policies of your choice. There is an enormous range of organizations to fit anyone’s interests: Ducks Unlimited for those interested in ducks, Trout Unlimited for those into fishing, Zero Population Growth for those concerned with population problems, Seacology for those interested in islands, and so on. All such environmental organizations operate on low budgets, and many operate cost-effectively, so that small additional sums of money make big differences. That’s true even of the largest and richest environmental organizations. For example, World Wildlife Fund is one of the three largest and best-funded environmental organizations operating around the world, and it is active in more countries than any other. The annual budget of WWF’s largest affiliate, its U.S. branch, averages about $100 million per year, which sounds like a lot of money—until one realizes that that money has to fund its programs in over 100 countries, covering all plant and animal species and all marine and terrestrial habitats. That budget also has to cover not only mega-scale projects (such as a $400-million, 10-year program to triple the area of habitat protected in the Amazon Basin), but also a multitude of small-scale projects on individual species. Lest you think that your small donation is meaningless to such a big organization, consider that a gift of just a few hundred dollars suffices to support a trained park ranger, outfitted with global positioning software, to survey Congo Basin primate populations whose conservation status would otherwise be unknown. Consider also that some environmental organizations are highly leveraged and use private gifts to attract further funds from the World Bank, governments, and aid agencies on a dollar-for-dollar basis. For instance, WWF’s Amazon Basin project is leveraged by a factor of more than 6-to-1, so that your $300 gift actually ends up putting almost $2,000 into the project.

Of course, I mention these numbers for WWF merely because it’s the organization with whose budget I happen to be most familiar, and not in order to recommend it over many other equally worthy environmental organizations with different goals. Such examples of how efforts by individuals make a difference can be multiplied indefinitely.

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