Environmental Evolution


The mission of the Environmental Evolution website and online course is the pursuit of Darwinian "natural history" enlightened by nearly two centuries of scientific insight: Humboldt, Darwin, Wallace, Kozo-Polyansky, Vernadsky, Wallin, McClintock, McHarg, Lovelock, Margulis and others. Our "object of study" is evolution, not limited to biology, but rather environmental evolution. We track the changes through deep time to the surface of the "living Earth". We attempt to reconstruct Earth history from clues taken to be representational. This science integrates astronomy, astrobiology, "soft rock"-geology (paleontology, sedimentation and stratigraphy), tectonics, geography, atmospheric and climate sciences, biogeochemistry, cell biology, systems biology, genetics, symbiogenetics, physiology, ecology and microbiology.

Over the past decace there has been an accumulation of evidence and an awakening in these fields as our fellow scientists begin to share our vision. We welcome, in Ludwik Fleck's terms (Genesis and development of a scientific fact, U Chicago Press, 1989), the change in "thought-style" of the scientific "thought-collective" as we, along with researchers, such as Margaret McFall-Ngai, Scott Gilbert and James A. Shapiro, promote a rigorous contextual science free from zoocentrism, anthropocentrism and human exceptionalism. We humans are very late arrivals on Earth, we are not special except in our bad manners as planetmates. Evolution is change through time, not progress through time.

We reiterate T. Dobzhansky's admonition that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" and expand it: nothing at all makes sense except in the light of its history.

The Mother-of-All Earth Systems Science Courses is Environmental Evolution

Updated 1/20/2014




Please note:  The current Environmental Evolution website will be moving from the Geosciences Department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to a new URL in 2014.  The new web address will be www.environmentalevolution.org