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Environmentalism of the Rich$
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Peter Dauvergne

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034951

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034951.001.0001

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Sailing into the Anthropocene

Sailing into the Anthropocene

Chapter:
(p.19) 2 Sailing into the Anthropocene
Source:
Environmentalism of the Rich
Author(s):

Peter Dauvergne

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262034951.003.0002

Chapters 2–6 survey the political and socioeconomic forces underlying the global sustainability crisis. Understanding the scale and depth of contemporary forces of capitalism and consumerism requires a close look at the consequences of imperialism and colonialism on patterns of violence and exploitation. This chapter begins this process of understanding by sketching the history of ecological imperialism after 1600, seeing this as a reasonable starting date for the beginning of what many scholars are now calling the Anthropocene Epoch (or the age of humans, replacing the geologic epoch of the Holocene beginning 12,000 years ago). It opens with Captain Pedro Fernandes de Queirós’s voyage across the Pacific Ocean in 1605–06 to “discover” modern-day Vanuatu, before turning to look more globally at the devastation of imperialism – and later colonialism – for the South Pacific, the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Over this time conquerors enslaved and murdered large numbers of indigenous people; cataclysmic change came as well, however, from the introduction of European diseases, plants, and animals. This chapter’s survey of imperialism, colonialism, and globalization sets the stage for Chapter 3, which explores the devastating history of the South Pacific island of Nauru after 1798.

Keywords:   Anthropocene, colonialism, ecological imperialism, European diseases, globalization, imperialism, Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, South Pacific, Vanuatu

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