Acknowledgments xi

List of tables ix


The problem 1

Why bother? 6

Etiology of ecocide 9

Chapter outline 10

1 The Human Odyssey: From Biological to Cultural Evolution

Beginnings 12

From Tree Shrews to Primates 14

Fire Use and Dietary Changes 17

The Rise of Modern Humans 19

The Megafauna Extinction 22

The Pivotal Role of Language 27

2 Problematic Society-Nature Relations Before the Modern Era

The Neolithic Revolution 29

Ecological Blunders of Antiquity 32

1. The Mesopotamians, Southwest Asia: 3700 bce to 1600 bce 35

2. The Greeks, Mediterranean: 770 bce to 30 bce 38

3. The Romans, Mediterranean: 500 bce to 500 ce 41

4. The Chaco Anasazi, Northwestern New Mexico: 700 ce to

1300 ce 45

5. The Mayas, Mesoamerica: 200 ce to 900 ce 48

6. The Easter Islanders, Rapa Nui: 700 ce to 1700 ce 50

3 The Modern Assault on Nature: The Making of Ecocide

The Capitalist System: A Brief Historical and Sociological Overview 54

The Rise of Scientific and Technological Thinking 56

The Capitalist Ethos: Ecological and Social Values 58

Social and Ecological Implications of the "Columbian Exchange" 59

The Enslavement of Land and Nature 60

Early Modern Fur Trade 62

The Mass Slaughter of the North American Bison 66

The Rise of Commercial Whaling 67

4 The Planet as Sacrifice Zone

The Enclosure of the Commons: A Global Phenomenon 70

The Industrial Revolution 71

Ecology and Modern Warfare 72

Ecocide and Modern Warfare 74

The Planet as National Sacrifice Zone 77

The Planet as Demographic Sacrifice Zone 81

5 Ecocide and Globalization

The Impact of Globalism 86

Poverty and Ecocide 88

A Terminal Grand Buffet? 91

Ecocide and the Global Treadmill of Production 93

The Failure of Environmental Education 95

The Ideological Turn 96

The Currents of Ecological Democracy 97

The Imperatives of Ecological Democracy 98

Envisioning an Equitable Global Commons 101


Living in the Age of Ecocide 103

Glossary 106

Tables 119

Selected bibliography 179

Index 195

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