Alexander Von Humboldt and others sparked a centuries-long debate about natural history and geological destiny by discussing what today we call the environment. Some now believe the earth cannot safely accommodate its growing burdens; others say longer life spans and more people are signs of progress. Are humans destroying the earth, or building a better world? Will the future bring despair and destruction, or hope and improvement?
The Science and Discovery series recreates history's 4,000-year journey to better understand the world through scientific means. It is a story of vested interests and independent thinkers, experiments and theories, change and progress.