Understanding Imperiled Earth: How Archaeology and Human History Inform a Sustainable Future

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ISBN 13: 1588347591

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Product Description

A unique introduction to how understanding archaeology can support modern-day sustainability efforts, from restoring forested land to developing fire management strategies

An essential and hopeful book for climate-conscious readers

The world faces an uncertain future with the rise of climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, overfishing, and other threats. Understanding Imperiled Earth meets this uncertainty head-on, presenting archaeology and history as critical guides to addressing the modern environmental crisis.

Anthropologist Todd J. Braje draws connections between deep history and today's hot-button environmental news stories to reveal how the study of the ancient past can help build a more sustainable future. The book covers a diverse array of interconnected issues, including: 
  • how modern humans have altered the natural world 
  • conservation work of Indigenous communities
  • extinction of megafauna like dire wolves and woolly rhinoceros
  • the risk of deforestation highlighted by Notre Dame's destruction
  • the extinction crisis reflected by endangered bird species in Hawai'i
  • fish scarcity driving demand and price, like the single blue-fin tuna fish that sold for three million dollars
  • importance of "action archaeology" 

Braje examines how historical roots offer a necessary baseline for a healthier Earth, because understanding how the the planet used to be is fundamental to creating effective restoration efforts moving forward through urban forests, sustainable food webs, and more. Understanding Imperiled Earth offers an illuminating, hopeful, and actionable approach to some of the world's most urgent problems.

Author Information

Todd J. Braje
TODD J. BRAJE received his PhD in anthropology from the University of Oregon and is the executive director of the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, after more than a decade spent as a professor at San Diego State University. He's the author of several books, including Islands through Time and Modern Oceans, Ancient Sites, and has published more than one hundred academic journal articles and book chapters. His research focuses on the archaeology of maritime societies, the application of archaeological records to modern resource management, and the peopling of the New World.

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