Historiographical Feasibility and Environmental Reality

Published 1993 in B. Mazlish and R. Buultjens, eds. Conceptualizing Global History. Boulder: Westview Press, 47-69.

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I. Historiographical Feasibility

The ancient totality of World History was based on civilizational arrogance and geographical ignorance. It allowed the more or less undisturbed side-by-sidedness of numerous self-centered worlds, theoretically with a home–grown world historian for each one of them. All these Polybiuses could write local world history, but none of them could write global world history. Toynbee and McNeill tried to correct this. But they preserved the old concept of totality and tried to make world history coextensive with global history.... But the World History that worked was not global, and the Global History that might work will have to sacrifice totality.

II. Environmental Reality

The monitoring of the changing face of the earth with scientific instruments, remote sensing by satellites, computer models, and other means of modern science and technology continuously reveals and projects current and approximate future states of the global environment. Worldwide and systematic monitoring of our global environment is a fairly new activity that leads to the production of potentially relevant information.

More on Greenhouse Gases

1. World Map of a Global Air Sampling Network (Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases Group)
2. Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide 1990-1999 (beautiful three-dimensional representation)
3. Antarctic Ice Core and Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Concentrations since 1855


Literature Cited