“Expansion and exploitation are the threads of Dawson’s history, which takes a very long view of human responsibility for ecological degradation, or “ecocide.” Some historians have criticized the Anthropocene narrative propounded by scientists for presupposing a happy relation between humanity and nature prior to the industrial revolution. Dawson avoids this assumption, telling a story of humanity as a species that has been invasive for the past 30,000 years. The earliest moments of anthropogenic extinction include a “late Pleistocene wave of megadeath” in the wake of megafauna hunting and the Sumerian deforestation. The Roman Empire’s unsustainable agricultural practices and recreational killing of large animals like lions and elephants speak to “the exploitative attitude towards nature that accompanies empire.””

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