Prior to the recent field of study, modern historiography has added diversity and explanations to unknown issues. Issues concerning climate change, ecological shifts, market economy’s effects on specie diversity, conflicts between rural and urban communities, soil erosion, and rise of modern environment movement have become a set of pressing subjects in discussion amongst historians (pg. 799). Ted Steinberg discusses these issues in “Down to Earth: Nature, Agency, and Power in History,” regarding environmental history and its contribution to recent fields in history. He discusses how environmental history changes the way historians view the role of agency and power in the past, and how these ways in turn are affected by capitalism (pg. 818).
Steinberg discusses such environmental discussion to William H. Sewell who interprets the relationship between human agency and structure and capitalism’s impact on such study throughout history. Human interaction with environmental changes have developed a string of events that developed a resolution to modern issues similar to discussion and modern movements. Such issues were due to the difference in economy and meaning of survival that have developed to the creation of poor labor forces and adversity of classes. The deliberate action between human and non-human resources have also impacted the climate and environment which have triggered many modern issues today. The demand for non-human resources have created a great demand in human resources and an escalation in a history of modern politics regarding capitalism and communism.
Such ways are deeply beneficial to the common knowledge of historians as well as placing a limit on the comprehensive study of modern history. It is important to know the issues as the environment has become such a pressing issue regarding the new field of climate change and human interaction with the environment. However, such studies are necessary for limits as the need for an emphasis on the importance of judging society from a modern point of view. Such emphasis on the importance of the environment was unknown to people in the past and the world was not ready for progressive ideas as they solely stuck with tradition.
Image: Gambino, Megan. “Alfred W. Crosby on the Columbian” (image). “Columbian Exchange.” North Wind Picture Archives (AP Images). Smithsonian.com. Accessed October 20, 2019. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/alfred-w-crosby-on-the-columbian-exchange-98116477/
Article: Ted Steinberg, “Down to Earth: Nature, Agency, and Power in History,” The American Historical Review 107, no. 3 (June 2002): 798-820.