Evidence of climate change, loss of biological diversity, tropical deforestation, and an impending crisis in potable water prompt the question: how have we created a situation where our planet—our very future—is at risk? In People and Nature: An Introduction to Human Ecological Relations, noted environmental scientist Emilio Moran provides a lively introduction to ecological anthropology, environmental geography, and human ecology. He examines the evolving relations between human communities and nature, and, by thoughtful analysis, offers a vision of what we must do to have a future worth living.
About the Author
Emilio F. Moran is Rudy Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University and also Professor of Environmental Sciences, Adjunct Professor of Geography, and Director of the Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change.
Table of Contents
List of Figures.
1. Human Agency and the State of the Earth.
Can one conceive of ecosystems without human agents?.
Human agency: individuals making a difference.
Overwhelming evidence for concern with the condition of the earth system.
Looking back and looking forward.
2. A Reminder: How Things Were.
The study of human ecological relations.
The contemporary study of environmental issues.
The evolution of human-environment interactions.
Hunter-gatherers: Setting our preferences.
How did we decide to become farmers?.
Herding and farming: An uneasy relationship.
More food for the masses.
3. The Great Forgetting.
Earth Transformations in prehistory.
The archeology of environmental change.
The urban-industrial revolution and the unleashing of Prometheus.
The contemporary situation: Human-dominated ecosystems.
4. The Web of Life: Are We in It?.
The web of life and trophic relations: Thinking ecologically.
Ecosystem productivity and net primary production.
Land Use and long-term disturbance.
5. What Makes People Want to Change the Environment?.
Learning, Adaptation, and Information.
Mitigation and the Cautionary Principle.
Transforming the face of the earth through making better decisions.
Population and the Environment.
6. Rebuilding Communities and Institutions.
Community in human evolution.
What is sacred in human evolution?.
Tragedies of the commons.
Institutions and self-organization.
Bioregionalism, deep ecology and embedding people in nature.
7. Can We Learn When We Have Enough?.
Material boys and material girls.
Patterns of consumption in developed countries.
Patterns of consumption in developing countries.
A feeding frenzy and a crisis in public health.
Burning fossils fuels instead of calories.
Do we have enough material goods now?.
8. Quality of Life: When Less Is More.
Resource abundance vs resource scarcity.
When less is more.
The scale of the problem and the scale of the solutions.
Restoring Our Balance: Valuing community, and trust, rather than more "stuff".
Are we happier when we have more?.
What People are Saying About This
“We need more books like this! Moran provides a wonderfully accessible and compelling introduction to the greatest issue of our times. This book is required reading to understand the all-too-human dimension of the environmental crisis and why there is real hope for recovery.” –Tom Lovejoy, The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment
“Vintage Emilio Moran! A highly readable, well grounded and insightful stock- taking of human environmental relations—a perspective that will be highly valued by both students and others concerned with an enlightened view of how our species manages or mismanages its habitat.” –Daniel G. Bates, Hunter College, CUNY, and Editor, Human Ecology
“In this original and thoughtful book, Moran leads readers from the past history of human interactions with natural ecosystems through the present crisis of environmental sustainability and into the future, noting serious challenges, and positive trends as well.” –Ben Orlove, University of California Davis, and Editor, Current Anthropology