How do you begin to understand something you’ve never before seen – or perhaps even knew existed? Do you try to relate it to a thing about which you do know? Do you seek out the counsel of those you consider knowledgable, or those who have at least been identified to you as knowledgable? And […]
While it may no longer be a topic of everyday conversation, the draining of the fens – vast wetland areas – of eastern England in the Seventeenth Century in order that they could be turned in to arable farmland was an engineering project of monumental proportions as well as effects. Like the more commonly mentioned Enclosure Acts that followed not long after, it brought about changes to the social, political, and ecological systems of the country that are still felt to this day.
Libraries full of books have been, and could yet still be, written about the human and cultural devastation left behind following wars. Far fewer are available that take up the subject of the scars they leave upon the environment – and of these, only one, the just released “The Long Shadows; A Global Environmental History of the Second World War,” focuses exclusively on the global environmental effects of the largest war the world has yet seen.
What is the purpose of studying an unfamiliar living creature? Is it to confirm what others have previously declared to be true about it, or is it to examine the creature in and of itself to discover what is true about it? And how does one interpret something that obviously once was alive but that resembles nothing known to presently exist – particularly if the idea of extinction does not fall within your understanding of how nature functions?