Author: Benjamin R. Cohen

an assistant professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society at the University of Virginia
ENTRY

Modern Environmental History of Virginia

Virginia’s modern history has been shaped by and has in turn shaped its nonhuman natural environment. In one way, nature has been a historical actor changing Virginia: the state’s climate, geology, waterways, fisheries, wildlife population, flora and fauna, and soil content have provided the conditions for economic, cultural, and recreational possibilities across the state. In another way, Virginians have acted to change land-use patterns, increase waste flows into rivers and other habitats, and intensify demands for energy, putting increased pressure on the environment during the twentieth century. By century’s end, new transportation and energy-producing technologies, more scientific knowledge about interrelated ecosystems, and an accompanying shift in values about environmental features led Virginians to perceive their environments in ways differing significantly from their nineteenth-century predecessors. Moreover, the state’s modern history serves as a representative example of the complex intermingling between culture and nature in America’s environmental history.

Sponsors  |  View all