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Floating Coast: An Environmental History of…
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Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait (edição 2020)

por Bathsheba Demuth (Autor)

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351542,433 (3.5)2
Whales and walruses, caribou and fox, gold and oil: through the stories of these animals and resources, Bathsheba Demuth reveals how people have turned ecological wealth in a remote region into economic growth and state power for more than 150 years.The first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada, Floating Coast breaks away from familiar narratives to provide a fresh and fascinating perspective on an overlooked landscape. The unforgiving territory along the Bering Strait had long been home to humans--the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia--before Americans and Europeans arrived with revolutionary ideas for progress. Rapidly, these frigid lands and waters became the site of an ongoing experiment: How, under conditions of extreme scarcity, would the great modern ideologies of capitalism and communism control and manage the resources they craved?Drawing on her own experience living with and interviewing indigenous people in the region, as well as from archival sources, Demuth shows how the social, the political, and the environmental clashed in this liminal space. Through the lens of the natural world, she views human life and economics as fundamentally about cycles of energy, bringing a fresh and visionary spin to the writing of human history.Floating Coast is a profoundly resonant tale of the dynamic changes and unforeseen consequences that immense human needs and ambitions have brought, and will continue to bring, to a finite planet.… (mais)
Membro:healey.parera
Título:Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait
Autores:Bathsheba Demuth (Autor)
Informação:W. W. Norton & Company (2020), Edition: Reprint, 448 pages
Colecções:home office
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Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait por Bathsheba Demuth

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I am so glad I read this. I don't have any particular interest in the Bering Strait, but this wasn't a typical history. Demuth is an exquisitely thoughtful writer. Her "environmental history" is what I would call spiritual.

The book is not devoid of historical facts and narratives. Frankly, much of it could even be a bit of a slog. In chronicling "Beringia", the land masses which border the Bering Strait, Demuth covers both USA and USSR history. After a while, reading about the fox farming and reindeer farming booming, then crashing, then booming; the quotas on whales being this high, then that low, then this high again... could really put me into a lull.

But when Demuth is poetic, she is sublime. Most of these moments came towards the beginning and towards the end. Tastes:

"[T]he world is not what we make of it; it is part of what makes us: our flesh and bones, and also our inclinations and hopes."

"An ecosystem is the aggregate of many species' habits of transformation, their ways of moving energy from its origin in the sun across space & condensing it over time. To be alive is to take a place in a chain of conversions."

"We all live in more than one time... The evidence is all around us, in the layered world: a mossy, decaying mission store in Gambell, built near an ancient whale-butchering place, across from a row of tidy new homes... [A] house with Soviet concrete walls, but a roof made of walrus hide so fresh, it smelled."

Finally:

"Fossil fuels freed the use of energy from human toil, allowing human history to seem separate from the rest of time... This made possible a new idea of liberty, released from the constraints of the matter that made us, and from the precariousness of being."

That does sum up for me where we find ourselves. ( )
  Tytania | Sep 1, 2020 |
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Whales and walruses, caribou and fox, gold and oil: through the stories of these animals and resources, Bathsheba Demuth reveals how people have turned ecological wealth in a remote region into economic growth and state power for more than 150 years.The first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada, Floating Coast breaks away from familiar narratives to provide a fresh and fascinating perspective on an overlooked landscape. The unforgiving territory along the Bering Strait had long been home to humans--the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia--before Americans and Europeans arrived with revolutionary ideas for progress. Rapidly, these frigid lands and waters became the site of an ongoing experiment: How, under conditions of extreme scarcity, would the great modern ideologies of capitalism and communism control and manage the resources they craved?Drawing on her own experience living with and interviewing indigenous people in the region, as well as from archival sources, Demuth shows how the social, the political, and the environmental clashed in this liminal space. Through the lens of the natural world, she views human life and economics as fundamentally about cycles of energy, bringing a fresh and visionary spin to the writing of human history.Floating Coast is a profoundly resonant tale of the dynamic changes and unforeseen consequences that immense human needs and ambitions have brought, and will continue to bring, to a finite planet.

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