Nation-States and the Global Environment: New Approaches to by Erika Marie Bsumek

By Erika Marie Bsumek

Hardly ever an afternoon passes with out newshounds, policymakers, teachers, or scientists calling recognition to the global scale of the environmental problem confronting humankind. whereas weather switch has generated the best alarm lately, different international problems-desertification, poisonous toxins, species extinctions, drought, and deforestation, to call only a few-loom shut in the back of. The scope of the main urgent environmental difficulties a long way exceeds the skill of person geographical regions, less smaller political entities. To compound those difficulties, fiscal globalization, the expansion of non-governmental activist teams, and the accelerating move of knowledge have essentially reworked the geopolitical panorama. regardless of the hot urgency of those demanding situations, even if, they aren't with no old precedent. As this booklet exhibits, geographical regions have lengthy sought agreements to control migratory flora and fauna, simply as they've got negotiated conventions governing the exploitation of rivers and different our bodies of water. equally, realms have lengthy tried to manage assets past their borders, to impose their criteria of right environmental exploitation on others, and to attract on services constructed somewhere else to deal with environmental difficulties at domestic. This assortment examines this little-understood background, offering case experiences and context to notify ongoing debates.

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The Silent Countdown: Essays in European Environmental History (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1993). Also see, Mark Cioc, Björn-Ola Linnér, and Matthew Osborn, “Environmental History Writing in Northern Europe,” Environmental History 5, no. 3 (2000): 396–406; and Michael Bess, Mark Cioc, and James Sievert, “Environmental History Writing in Southern Europe,” Environmental History 5, no. 4 (2000): 545–56. 26. pdf. Also see, Stefan Scheuer, ed. EU Environmental Policy Handbook: A Critical Analysis of EU Environmental Legislation, Making it accessible to environmentalists and decision makers (Brussels: European Environmental Bureau, 2005).

A river, as they saw it, consisted of a long, thin channel. Not surprisingly, they sheared off the Rhine’s branches and floodplain, depriving it of its geographical breadth. River water was, for them, a free commodity, useful above all to keep the barges flowing at a steady rate. In the end, they paid a lot of attention to the construction of dams (to regulate the flow) and to the maintenance of ice breakers (to keep channels moving freely in winter)—but no attention whatsoever to the pollutants that were poured into the river along the way.

The river’s modern history began with the French Revolution (1789–1815), when French troops swept away the smaller German states and drove out the Austrian Habsburgs, destroying the Holy Roman Empire in the process. The new riparian states that Napoleon created consisted of middle-sized German entities—among them Baden, Württemberg, Hesse, Nassau, and Westphalia— out of what had previously been myriad independent ones. At the same time, Napoleon created the Confédération du Rhin in 1806, to coordinate the political affairs of the German states; the Magistrat du Rhin in 1808, to oversee engineering projects on the river; and the Convention de L’Octroi, to create a uniform set of commercial codes in the Rhine watershed.

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