Environmental history is a recent trend in historical research. It explores the long-term interactions of man and environment. This area of history first developed in the United States in the 1970s, and has since then spread slowly through Europe and other continents.

Environmental history studies how economy, technology, politics, social structures and value systems have affected the natural environment and the use of natural resources and how the changes of the natural environment have affected communities. Environmental history is also problem-oriented and it often focuses on practical problems, as soil erosion, air and water pollution and wastewater.

Urban environmental history concentrates on the cities and their interaction with the environment. A city can be regarded as an ecosystem, but it is mainly controlled by man. It is an open system, not self-sufficient, but it needs energy, food and other resources from the surroundings and it produces various environmental effects.

Mainstream environmental history studies have focused on the history of conservation movement and changes in the wilderness and in the countryside. The history of towns and industrial communities has received less attention until lately. These webpages present studies on the history of the pollution and protection of the surface waters and the sea in Finland and in the Baltic Sea region.

Website design: Sari Laurila, Simo Laakkonen, Jere Majava (weblog), Tarja Toikka (graphics).