Frank Uekoetter is deputy director of the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, Germany. He has published widely on environmental issues in Germany and beyond. His books include The Green and the Brown: A History of Conservation in Nazi Germany (2006) and The Age of Smoke: Environmental Policy in Germany and the United States, 1880–1970 (2009).

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It is tempting to start this article with a quip: what do Athens and Essen have in common? At first glance, the only answer seems to be that they are both in Europe. Athens is the capital of Greece and the birthplace of Western civilization, whereas Essen is in the heart of the Ruhr, Germany’s […]

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