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Ecological Imperialism Essay


Ecological imperialism is a very insightful book based on the fact that it asks the basic question that has continued to attract attention and controversy in equal measure. There has been an argument as per to whether environmental issues of today are historically determined. If this is the case that such issues are historically determined, then there should be some kind of history that is most relevant to questions that revolve around policy making and management.

The main question that Crosby poses is whether the expansion by Europeans would have succeeded without the biota that they brought with them. The book explains that the expansion was successful because the biota that Europeans brought with them succeeded.

It remains to be understood how a few disoriented Europeans were able to overwhelm the new world with their civilizations (Crosby 67). There are good answers to this question that have been posed by Crosby as he explains various aspects that relate to ecological imperialism.

In fact Crosby has been able to popularize the concept of ecological dimension by looking at the history of imperial expansion into the new world. There is a question as per to how Europeans were able to colonize people of the new world with misfiring guns and spears. In this case, Crosby tries to explain that the victory hat Europeans had is not as a result of their political and military might but bacteriology.

This is where Europeans unwittingly carried with them diseases like small pox and measles that were used to wipe out inhabitants of the new world. Therefore a good question that is asked is: did ecology shape European expansion? As far as this issue is concerned, European expansion can be explained by ecological factors (Crosby 59). Ecology was able to create Neo-Europe’s that facilitated the expansion of Europeans in the new world.

Why did Europeans spread so quickly into America, New Zealand, Australia and others is s question that has been well answered by this book in different perspectives that are supposed to be understood? The question is not so innocent because it explains that other things like pests, pigs, livestock and diseases followed Europeans to the new world (Crosby 68).

The most splendid answer is found in the final chapters where there is a definition that weeds can be explained as organisms that thrive on disturbances that are always caused by humans. If this is the case, then humans can as well be described and considered as the primary weed of all.

There is a disequilibrium that was fathered and distributed by different people thereby creating a potent self replicating system (Crosby 151). There are various advantages that Europeans developed to explain why they are found everywhere. It should be understood that there are other places where Europeans failed which is realistic in one way or the other.

As far as Crosby’s arguments are concerned, his question is very useful and well conceived because it explains to people the ecological and historical impact of various aspects of European expansionism up to the 20th century. The question is well conceived because for Europeans to have decided to expand into new territories, they must have factored into account various aspects like geography and climate.

This has therefore helped to present a fresh insight that can deviate from the normal norms. It should be known that this is a millennia long process that has been well explained by Crosby for all people to understand (Crosby 215). The success of Europeans was as a result of different factors other than weapons which are well boiled down by Crosby. In this case, it builds on a useful question in trying to understand the thesis.

The thesis of the book is clear and well stated because it helps people to understand different aspects that relate to ecological imperialism. This is because the thesis holds that Europe had an unassailable biotic mix that could not be understood by other people. Native people and ecosystems could not understand the biotic mix of Europeans which is clear and well stated thereby helping people to understand the book well (Crosby 90).

This therefore means that the argument is sound and well supported. As much as there might be some reservations about his arguments, it is well thought and explained out because there are real examples that have been used to reinforce it. There is proper explanation because it is quite obvious from the argument that the biota functioned as a team wherever it was taken up by Europeans.

It should be understood that there are various ways by which Crosby might be able to improve upon his argument or evidence. As much as Crosby is trying to advance a good point, the way it has been put forward is problematic in one way or the other. Humans have been excluded from the picture which is not good (Crosby 42).

This work can be improved upon by ensuring that human development is not relegated to the sidelines as Crosby has argued. There should be no dangerously reductive picture of the historical developments that Crosby has tried to argue in favor of.

This therefore paints a rosy picture that deterministic ecological explanations cannot be held accountable for the European expansion that was witnessed in successive years. All in all, Crosby should not forget that the initial European exploration was motivated by curiosity rather than necessity.

Works Cited

Crosby, Alfred. Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, April 1). Ecological Imperialism. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/ecological-imperialism/

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"Ecological Imperialism." IvyPanda, 1 Apr. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/ecological-imperialism/.

1. IvyPanda. "Ecological Imperialism." April 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ecological-imperialism/.


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IvyPanda. "Ecological Imperialism." April 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ecological-imperialism/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Ecological Imperialism." April 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ecological-imperialism/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Ecological Imperialism'. 1 April.

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