The ecological decline of ancient Near Eastern civilizations and the violent and explosive characteristics of post‐Columbian colonial ecologies might well remain comfortably remote from us in our twentieth century world were it not for the disturbing parallels that such case histories seem to evoke as we consider our contemporary global circumstance. Just as in ancient times and in the age of colonial expansion, it is in the “remote environments,” usually quite distant from the centers of power, that the crucial indicators of environmental catastrophe first become apparent within the system as a whole. These regions are frequently characterized by weak economies and highly vulnerable ecosystems in our time, just as they were in the past. Accordingly, the environmental circumstances in these regions constitute for the modern world a kind of monitoring device that can provide early warnings of ecological instabilities in the global ecosystem.
Weiskel, T.C. and Gray, R.A. (1990), "The anthropology of environmental decline: Part 2 “Development” and Ecological degradation in the contemporary third world", Reference Services Review, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 7-36. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb049098Download as .RIS
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