notes that the connection is especially close in India and that it is part of the Gandhian heritage.
The author of each essay in this volume strives to understand how the process of human interaction with the natural environment unfolded in the past and to gain perspective on the ecological crises of the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The authors recognize the ways in which the living and nonliving systems of the Earth have influenced the course of human affairs. They evaluate the impacts of changes in human society as they relate to changes in the natural environment. In addition, they are interested in what people have thought about the natural environment, how people have expressed their ideas of nature, and how attitudes and concepts have affected human actions in regard to natural phenomena. Their shared conviction is that history today must be, as William Green put it, "perceptive of human interconnections in the world community," and at the same time just as discerning of "the interdependence of humans and other living beings on the planet." 20 The biosphere can no longer be seen as the stage setting on which human history is enacted. It is an actor; indeed, in a very real sense it provides a major portion of the cast.