‘Environmental History, Australian Style’ by Tom Griffiths is the feature article in the latest issue of Australian Historical Studies (Volume 46, Issue 2, 2015).
Australia has been a leader in the recent emergence of ‘the environmental humanities’. One of the core disciplines of the new field is environmental history, which has developed a distinctive style in Australia since the 1970s. Understanding the continent’s unusual human and natural histories has elicited a peculiarly intimate relationship to deep time, and settler Australians have been required to learn a very different ecology and to comprehend the last ice age as a human experience. An understanding of anthropogenic climate change urgently requires these longer-term historical and environmental analyses, as well as century-scale histories of science and philosophy, and studies of human and social resilience from both the ancient past and the unfolding present. This article argues that Australia, with its remarkable Indigenous inheritance, unique natural history and compressed settler revolution, offers striking parables for a world facing transformative environmental change.