Territory, Environment, Landscape

Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Around these two concepts - which, although with different meanings, want to underline the growing role of human activities on ecological transformations at the planetary level - there is a heated discussion in the scientific debate on environmental issues.

The Institute for Studies on Mediterranean Societies, which publishes the Global Environment, one of the three Environmental History journals in the world, has for some time been providing an important contribution of knowledge to this field of study thanks to an intense research activity that it carries out in collaboration with a network of national and international institutions.

Thanks to the work of a group of scholars from different disciplines (historians, economists, urban planners, geographers, geologists, sociologists, agronomists, anthropologists), the ISSM has opened a research project with the aim of analyzing the processes through which current environmental problems have been configured over a long period of time that begins in the nineteenth century and continues until today.

The specific objective is to identify the causes and effects on the territory and on the economic-social system of changes due to ecological imbalances produced by a series of historical phenomena that have assumed a particular periodizing value for the purposes of environmental changes.

Although the studies focus on Italy and the Mediterranean countries, they elaborate interpretative schemes and interpretative keys that assume a general value and can be adapted to other geographical contexts.

The common denominator of these themes is the study of the implications on the environmental balance of the processes that lead to a strong discontinuity in the relationship between man and nature, between society and the environment. We remember some of them: 1) The environmental implications of urban ecosystems: pollution, waste disposal, distorted underground exploitation; 2) the relationship between the structural characteristics of the territory (altimetry, hydrographic systems, soil quality, seismicity, volcanism) and the impact on the ecosystem caused by urbanization and industrialization; 3) the environmental and social implications produced by the decline of common goods and forms of collective use of natural resources; 4) the historical role of public policies and coordination between different levels of planning: urban, landscape, naturalistic; 5) the configuration of the environmental implications of the spread of environmental crime and related illegal activities; 6) environmentalism and the action of large international organizations in the field of the environment; 7) population displacement and land grabbing; 8) the market, consumption and the environment; 8) changes in perception and new cultural perspectives; 9) the implications of globalization and deindustrialization; 10) the role of scientists.