The Greenest Nation?
A New History of German Environmentalism
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: The MIT Press
Series: History for a Sustainable Future
Title Page, Copyright Page
It is hardly hyperbole to assert that we live in a state of environmental crisis. Human-induced climate change is already threatening plant and animal biodiversity and human habitats. Globally there is an uneven distribution of environmental amenities and hazards. Our food and our bodies are increasingly...
Every book has its history, and syntheses usually have a particularly circuitous one. After two decades of researching and writing on many aspects of environmentalism in Germany and elsewhere, a book of this kind was a somewhat logical project. It was also an exercise in self-restraint. It probably would...
1 Environmentalism and Environmental History in the Twenty-first Century
In a way, this book is an outgrowth of many conversations that I have had over the last years. As a German environmentalist traveling abroad, I have frequently encountered a sense of envy: man, you have it so good! Strict laws, world-class green...
2 Creating a Tradition: German Environmentalism, 1900 to 1945
There is no “zero hour” of environmentalism. Humans have pondered their relationship to the natural environment throughout the ages, and a concern for nature is probably as old as human civilization. That puts the environmental historian...
3 Getting in Motion: German Environmentalism, 1945 to 1980
In the collective memory of the Federal Republic, the 1950s have long since taken on mythical status. Total defeat and the miseries of the immediate postwar years gave way to a long boom that entered into common parlance as the “economic...
Interim Remarks: Explaining the Rise of Environmentalism
The rise of environmentalism is one of those things that seem easy to explain—until one takes a closer look. From a distance everything looks plain: the stellar rise of environmentalism over the last half-century makes it tempting to view it as a general...
4 The Green Enigma: German Environmentalism, 1980 to 2013
The early 1980s were crisis years all over the West. The second oil crisis of 1979/80 had shaken the economies of the West and triggered a severe depression. In the fall of 1982, almost one in ten Germans was unemployed, something unheard of since the miracle years. The crisis provoked strong reactions. The...
5 German Environmentalism in Mid Passage
Every year millions of visitors come to Cologne to visit the famous cathedral. With some 10,000 square meters of windows and the tallest twin church towers in the world, it is by all means an impressive building. It is also a mirror of German history. Construction started in the thirteenth century, when...
How Green After All? An Epilogue
As it happens, this book is also a farewell to my country of birth. The University of Birmingham offered me a position while this book was under review, and my move to the British Isles was just weeks away when I sent the final version to press. For all the excitement that a new job and a new country...
Selected Readings on German Environmentalism