1st Edition

Our Traumatized Planet What We Can Learn from Ancient Societies and Contemporary Traditional Peoples

By Mark Q. Sutton, E. N. Anderson Copyright 2025
    240 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    240 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Our Traumatized Planet explores the state of the environment and some the major issues faced today and asks what we can learn and apply from contemporary traditional peoples, ancient societies, and our own successes and failures.

    Providing straightforward information on some of the serious environmental issues we face so that non-scientists can understand them, this book explores what is at stake so that we can choose to make a difference. Combining the latest data from environmental and archaeological science allows for fresh perspectives and an empirical approach to describing these problems that eliminates hopeful denial, speculation, wishful thinking and downright lies. Using archaeological data the authors provide examples of success and failures in the past that could be used to make decisions about the future. They also highlight examples of how traditional peoples, past and present, have dealt with these same issues. Seeing the current crisis through the eyes of two experienced archaeologists broadens our understanding and allows us to set contemporary issues in the context of the past and traditional knowledge. However, this is not a book of easy solutions form the past to solve our future rather it is an impassioned plea to people today to read and understand what state the planet is in and encourage them to find the will to change.

    This book is for students of archaeology, anthropology and environmental science and all those wanting to, in a clear and readable way, understand the fate of our planet.

    About the book; About the authors; List of figures; Acknowledgements; Preface; Chapter 1. The Planet We Live On; Chapter 2. The Life Around Us; Chapter 3. Our Climate Crisis; Chapter 4. Peoples in Peril; Chapter 5. The Air We Breathe; Chapter 6. The Water We Depend On; Chapter 7. The Farms and Fields that Feed Us; Chapter 8. The Forests that Sustain Us; Chapter 9. The Seas We Sail; Chapter 10. The Conflicts that Consume Us; Chapter 11. We Control Our Future; Endnotes; Glossary; Index.


    Mark Q. Sutton is Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, at California State University, Bakersfield. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Riverside, in 1987. Dr. Sutton specializes in prehistory, hunter-gatherer adaptations to arid environments, insects as food and in technology, prehistoric diet and technology, and ecology. Dr. Sutton has published more than 250 books, monographs, articles, and reviews on archaeology and anthropology, including the textbooks Laboratory Methods in Archaeology (1996, 7th ed., 2019), Introduction to Native North America (2000, 7th ed., 2024), Archaeology: The Science of the Human Past (2003, 7th ed., 2024), Introduction to Cultural Ecology (with E. N. Anderson, 2004, 3rd ed., 2014), Paleonutrition (2010), A Prehistory of North America (2011), Bioarchaeology (2021), and A Concise Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (2022). He lives in San Diego with his wife, Melinda, and their dog Elsie.


    E. N. Anderson is Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, at the University of California, Riverside. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1967. He has done research on ethnobiology, cultural ecology, political ecology, and medical anthropology, in several areas, especially Hong Kong, British Columbia, California, and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. His books include The Food of China (1988), Ecologies of the Heart (1996), The Pursuit of Ecotopia (2010), Caring for Place (2014), Everyone Eats (2014), Food and Environment in Early and Medieval China (2014), and, with Barbara A. Anderson, Warning Signs of Genocide (2012). He has five children and five grandchildren. He lives in Riverside, California, with his wife Barbara Anderson and three dogs.