The Environmental History Podcast has begun a series of short podcasts addressing the question how to define environmental history. Host Jan Oosthoek interviews Donald Worster (mp3) in the first chapter.
As it turns out, the field is quickly defined as being about the interaction of humans with the natural world in historical perspective. Even though 'humans' and 'natural world' admittedly may need additional definition, the major points are how this is different from other, main stream history and from other sciences. Is this just a minor field within history that has an strong interdisciplinary character with for example geology?
Worster argues that Environmental History is to be regarded as a major line of historical research. Just as it is of major importance to historically view humans in their societies, whether states or social groups, also the natural world is crucial and has man historically embedded. And just as history has linkages with the social sciences, it necessarily has with the natural sciences. With the profound importance of the climate in the 21st century, the central position of environmental history will only become more apparent. Thinking of the environment requires an historian's help, Worster concludes.
More Environmental History:
Canada and New Zealand,
Climate Change in recent history,
Urban Air Pollution.