Lydia Barnett


A book cover with a green painting of stormy water and drowning people, title reads "After the Flood'"
After the Flood: Imagining the Global Environment in Early Modern Europe
Lydia Barnett (Dibner, 2021-22)

How the story of Noah's Flood was central to the development of a global environmental consciousness in early modern Europe.

Many centuries before the emergence of the scientific consensus on climate change, people began to imagine the existence of a global environment: a natural system capable of changing humans and of being changed by them. In After the Flood, Lydia Barnett traces the history of this idea back to the early modern period, when the Scientific Revolution, the Reformations, the Little Ice Age, and the overseas expansion of European empire, religion, and commerce gave rise to new ideas about nature, humanity, and their intersecting histories.

Recovering a forgotten episode in the history of environmental thought, Barnett brings to light the crucial role of religious faith and conflict in the emergence of a global environmental consciousness. Following Noah's Flood as a popular topic of debate through long-distance networks of knowledge from the late sixteenth through the early eighteenth centuries, Barnett reveals how early modern earth and environmental sciences were shaped by gender, evangelism, empire, race, and nation.