Book Report of Paul Darcy "The People of the Sea" and Analysis in Reference to Frank Uekotter's "Confronting Pitfalls of Current Environmental History"

Topics: Ocean, Island, Pacific Ocean Pages: 6 (2066 words) Published: September 4, 2013
Book Report
Paul D'Arcy, The People of the Sea: Environment, Identity, and History in Oceania (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2006) 292 pages $22.50

In D’Arcy’s “The People of the Sea” he talks about the maritime dimension of Remote Oceania’s history on the period from 1770 until 1870. The study emphasizes Pacific Islanders varied relationships with the sea as evolving processes during an era of crucial transition”. This was the period as the eve of Western contact, but D’Arcy focuses on a pacific based perspective rather than a euro-centric one. In the first chapter, the author talks about the climate, reef communities, the movements of sea water, and geological forces attending the formation of islands Darcy talks more in depth in the middle five chapters about understanding the sea, where he brings us from a familiar environment to more distant and less known. Chapter two emphasizes mainly on daily activities done by locals in their communities in relation to the sea, such as swimming, fishing, spiritual and practical knowledge of the sea. In the third and fourth chapter Darcy provides a brief but informative insight in sea-travel by islanders who were very skilful in sailing. One of their prominent skills were navigational techniques, infrastructure and seafaring. Darcy believes that despite the fact that the islands are surrounded by water/ocean, they are not isolated by it; as they have developed strong ties in terms of economy, society and politics with other communities. In the fifth chapter, Darcy records that the sea isn’t as free and spacious as Epeli Hauofa describe, as it tends to be a place of conflict and power struggle, even before the European’s arrived. In the Sixth chapter, the author emphasizes on Europeans and Pacific Islanders experiences and natural disasters that intrude from beyond the horizon. Darcy’s concludes by indicating that Western practises have become dominant in Remote Oceania, such as practises of sea tenure and of the modern fishing industry, where the sea is divided among the islands through Exclusive Economic Zone. But Darcy suggests that the history which he had traced – including the extensive connections that stretch beyond the current national boundaries and the organization requires for lives entangles with the sea, show possibility for change. As a whole, Darcy was trying to convey the fact that the sea is a space that is not only natural, but also a cultural and social aspect of the pacific people.

With reference to Frank Uekotter’s approach, consider the relationship between social change and environmental over time as interpreted by the author. Assess the role legal/or political decision played in determining environmental practises and why and how such policies were adopted.

This essay aims to analyse the relationship between the social change and the environment in the pacific according to the people of the sea by Paul Darcy, with reference to Uekotter’s approach. It also aims to convey the gradual change from a society dependant on the sea, to a society that has forgotten about the sea, which is where the environment problem resides. The factors of such change are natural disasters, warfare, inter-island gatherings, and western influence Frank Uekotter approach is called organizational approach provides a useful analytic tool for understanding environment-related behavior in modern history. This process may be subdivided into six stages which are not described in a rigid chronology, as they may overlap. The first stage is defining the environmental problem, second is finding a solution for the problem, this is the organizing of a political support for reform. The fourth stage deciding which reformative option to implement, fifth stage is where the implementation occurs and sixth is the consequence of that change.

The pacific marine ecosystem has always been in constant flux, where oceanic life is affected by natural disasters like Nino/La Nina. Darcy...
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