This book is the first environmental history of the European continent. Can we achieve decarbonised and circular economies (in a word: sustainability) without understanding the natural and environmental history of where we live? Can we implement an ecological transition without a deep knowledge of ecology and ecological history? Even defining Europe is a slippery business. Its diversity, evolutionary history and shifting boundaries contribute to the continent’s fluctuating reality. Yet, paradoxically, Europe is instantly recognisable. With its characteristic human landscapes, formerly grand forests, Mediterranean coasts and Alpine panoramas, we all know it when we see it. This book does not want to be a chronological account of past natural events, but rather sheds light on Europe’s peculiar phenomena, scenarios, and emblematic occurrences, in a way that describes the relationship between humanity and the environment. The author shows how the transformations in Europe have helped bring the planet Earth into the current Anthropocene epoch.
Emilio Padoa-Schioppa teaches Landscape Ecology, Biology and Biology Teaching at the Bicocca University in Milan, where he helped found the Landscape Ecology Research Unit.