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Standing on the Edge of Being

Scotland 1850 to COP 26

by Richard D. Oram

£75.00

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ISBN: 9780859767187
Published: 07 Nov 2024
Format: Hardback
Extent: 576
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Imprint: John Donald
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About the Book

Drawing together the evidence of archaeology, palaeoecology, climate history and the historical record, this first environmental history of Scotland explores the interaction of human populations with the land, waters, forests and wildlife.

This volume takes the reader from the mid nineteenth century to the present, confronting the ‘Anthropocene’ – the era where human action became a key driver of environmental and climatic change – and explores Scotland’s experience of its consequences and costs. In the first half of the book, we chart a course through a century of decline and loss alongside the first serious efforts to curb and reverse the worst environmental impacts, from the filth-spewing cities and foul factory emissions of the lowlands to the degraded mountains, moorland and waters of the upland zones, In the second half, we trace the conflict between pressures to develop and to conserve, to go for economic growth or environmental protection, against the backdrop of mounting public awareness of an unfolding environmental disaster. We see how political compromises have failed to deliver security – for jobs or the environment – and how the toxic legacies of now-vanished industries have been left to the public purse to remediate. But, even now, all is not lost: this final volume of the exploration of the last two thousand years of Scotland’s environmental history calls for deeper and wider public engagement in shaping a future vision for the nation.


The Author

Richard D. Oram

Richard D. Oram gained an MA (Hons) in Medieval History with Archaeology and a PhD in Medieval History, both from the University of St Andrews. He is currently Professor of Medieval and Environmental History at the University of Stirling. A former Director of the Centre for Environmental History and Policy and member of the Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland, he is now a Trustee of the National Museums of Scotland.

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