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Science, Nature, and the Globalization of the Environment, 1870-1990

David John Frank
Social Forces
Vol. 76, No. 2 (Dec., 1997), pp. 409-435
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2580719
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2580719
Page Count: 27
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Science, Nature, and the Globalization of the Environment, 1870-1990
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Abstract

Data on the themes of international environmental treaties from 1870 to 1990 are used to demonstrate an historical shift in the definition of "nature" from resource to life-sustaining global ecosystem. This newer scientific model increased nature's relevance to world society, and thus catalyzed an exponential rise in international discourse and activity concerning the environment. The effect is evident in event-history analyses of the rate at which international environmental treaties were formed during the period 1870-1990. Two organizational changes also played a role in the proliferation of international environmental treaties: the overall structuration of the world polity had a positive effect, and the consolidation of an official intergovernmental environmental domain had a negative effect, even with the effects of population growth and industrial degradation held constant.

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