Similarly, movement against the pollution provided space to environmental concerns in history writing in America. ‘But despite all this, it is also the case that only in the past twenty- five years or so have historians methodically pursued a systematic exploration of this interchange (interchange of humans with their natural environment), in the process establishing a distinct branch of history: environmental history.
“The words ‘environment’ and ‘ecology’ have been subjected to extensive efforts at definition during the past twenty years or so. Already it has been found necessary to allow them space to breathe. So it is also with ‘environmental history’ or even ‘Environment and History’. As with most commitments, it is possible to have ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ positions.
The ‘hard’ might suggest that environmental history necessarily involves an examination of environmental dynamics through human agency in which the change is quantifiable in some shape or form. A softer approach would suggest, perhaps, that change could be inferred from even where data are not available. Interactions with environment may also be frozen in narrow time- scale where change is less significant. Relevant sections of legislation are all part of environmental history.”
Closer exam inaction of the writings appearing under the rubric of ‘Environmental History’ makes it clear that the documentation of the ecological changes/ disturbances caused by the introduction of colonialism have dominated the discourse though there are a few important aberrations too.
Most of the works on environmental history have located their study to analysing the disruptions in the traditional way of living as caused by forces and consequences of industrialisation. In the case of India these disruptions were caused by colonialism and some have continued even after independence. In general historians working on modern era have, along with economic exploitation, explored the exploitation of natural resources by the colonial power to cater to the interests of the mother country.
The loss of natural flora and fauna and explanations of the causes and effects have been the major concerns of the environmental historians working on modern India. Further concerns of historians can be located in the debate initiated by the revisionist school of history writing and subaltern’s attempt to explore the role of an impact on the marginal groups of society, largely ignored in the conventional history writing.